Problem Solving

Yesterday, I cast off those pretty socks, smirked for a bit and then realized that for the first time in a long time… I didn’t have another pair of socks on the go – or not here anyway.   (If I was home I would have had another few choices, as I have the basket of abandoned sock projects that I can rifle.)  Luckily for me I’m travelling with Tina – who usually has a fair bit of sock yarn on her, but before I decided to break into her car and look for a little skein of something pretty,  we noticed that the fridges level of beer was getting perilously low, and we decided to go to town.  Town here is Port Hadlock, or at least that’s the closest town with a grocery store, so we struck out in the wind and rain in search of replacement beer.   We found the store with no trouble, and on our way back to the car we saw it.  A yarn store. Dinah’s Yarn Shop, to be precise, and like moths to a flame, we were in.

One cozy hour later, after seeing many charming things, and getting a special demo of the very cool Hansen Crafts MiniSpinner (They’re local) we staggered out of there, with rather more wool than we came in with, and a plan. Both Tina and I cast on for a swirl scarf with Jojoland Melody yarn, and spent the evening exploring all of the ways that it is possible to screw up the pattern. At one point I actually went to Ravelry to make sure that someone else had ever finished one, since it seemed impossible for either of us to make it correctly through one swirl.  (This trip to Rav was devastating.  Not only have lots of people finished this, most of them did the shawl rather than the scarf. Obviously it’s me.  I’m trying not to take it too hard.)

This is, after several hours of knitting, all I’ve got (please pardon the photo.  I had to take it in poor light because it’s still raining) – and I’m light years ahead of Tina, who had to start over an extra time because she accidentally took my yarn out of the bag and started with that, and I made her give it back, even though she was underway. (What can I say.  It was my yarn.) I’m getting the better of if tonight.  I can feel it. 
In other news:

Another Port Ludlow employee knitting. (This is Dana, and I’ve just showed her how to purl.)  It’s really all over but the crying for them.

167 thoughts on “Problem Solving

  1. OMG, I started this Swirl Shawl in June……. still not finished, only 17 left to go!
    Swirl On!

  2. I always find it extremely comforting when YOU have trouble with a pattern because I almost always take awhile to get started on anything “new”. And that pattern looks tricky but you seem to be doing it up just fine! Look forward to seeing the finished product.

  3. Dinah’s Yarn Shop looks charming. Did you stay for Wed. night open knitting? Probably not… the beer would have gotten warm, right ;>)

  4. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! Dammit, I have been successfully resisting that pattern for slightly over a year, having seen it on the first Lansing Yarn Crawl with Presbytera. Damn, damn, damn. Stop right now. I even have some (not enough, mercifully) Jojoland. Stop. Fail. Embrace defeat. Bury it. Get home and get distracted. We will not speak of this again.

  5. Ah, you have a tropism for yarn stores. A fun thing, no, to be able to find local yarn stores wherever you go.

  6. You may be starting to reform yourself.You are with a Yarn Dying Godess and you went and bought your own yarn instead of stealing more of hers. (Although you are still there so there’s still plenty of time to score another skein or seventeen of Tina’s without her noticing-much!)

  7. Everyone I know who has completed that swirl scarf/shawl has whined a ton throughout the process. (And I’m familiar with whining, so when I say it’s a ton, it’s a ton.) So it’s not just you, if that makes you feel better!

  8. I’ve cast on for the swirl shawl too. I have the hardest time with the cast-on portion. I hate it. Hate hate hate the complexity of it. It takes me just as long to cast-on as it does to knit the sucker (about an hour for each). I think I’m going to try to do a crochet cast-on for the next swirl.
    Oh, and my picked up stitches are terribly uneven.
    Yours is lovely.

  9. Next time you want beer, kiddo, call me!!! I got a nice homebrewed Scottish Ale, a Kolsch (don’t question….just know it’s good), and a Blonde (ale not woman) just waiting to be shared. I’d even drive it to Port Ludlow for ya!
    And that swirl shawl…..has looked real seductive to me, too. But I just hate knitting little pieces of things. Someday, I might give in. But NOT anytime soon!

  10. We did the swirl shawl as a knit a long last summer at the LYS. The big trick is to think “purl” for the yarn over at the start of the needle. And use pointy needles, they really help with the K3 together.
    The way the colors change is endlessly entertaining.

  11. We did the swirl shawl as a knit a long last summer at the LYS. The big trick is to think “purl” for the yarn over at the start of the needle. And use pointy needles, they really help with the K3 together.
    Watching the colors change is endlessly entertaining.

  12. I’m knitting the swirl shawl for my mom for Christmas! All I can say is that I must love her an awful lot…

  13. Yarn shops are to knitters as Borg ships are to drones…something to be instinctively homed in on. Much warmer and cosier, of course, and populated by a nicer class of folks altogether.
    That scarf is wickedly tempting. It’s a good thing I have my regularly-scheduled holiday knitting to keep me out of its clutches. (Only a few hundred — okay, it’s really only eight or so — more pairs of slippers to knit!)

  14. I love the look on your face in that last picture. It appears to be a combination of evil glee and pride. Or glee and evil pride. Either way, really.
    The shawl looks like a great pattern, but personally, I’m leaning toward crocheting mine. I know a crochet pattern that’s eerily similar, and since I crochet WAY faster than I knit, I’m going for it. Someday.

  15. I make it a rule never to spend lots and lots of time making something that drives me crazy just because I think it’s kinda purty!
    There are too many less crazy-making patterns out there just waiting for me to attempt to screw them up!

  16. I started making the shawl for my mom. She got a very lovely scarf. By the end it was taking me just about an hour per swirl. And yeah, then there were two ends per swirl to weave in. But she loves it.
    You can do it. I swear. It’s very forgiving of errors and miscounts. And you won’t forget what row you’re on if you put it away – it’s always clear.

  17. Hmmm…I have some Jojoland somewhere. And how in the name of heaven could you possibly draw a simile using those EVIL creatures?!?! A shudder nearly took me off my chair. Don’t DO that to me! The M word…I hates it.
    (Yes, I’ve had some “pest problems” lately…why do you ask?)

  18. I’m delighted that you converted that whole hotel. It’ll be great for next year, when you are all back…but…one of your great amusements will be gone. The hotel employees now *get it*. They won’t look all bemused at the knitters anymore!
    It’s probably worth it, though 😉

  19. I could barely get through the cast on edge of this pattern. I think I’ve started the scarf about 30 times and I’ve had the year for over 9 months.
    I feel your pain.

  20. Until I went back and re-read that you spotted the yarn shop on the way to the car, I had this great visual in my head:
    *driving along*
    “YARN SHOP!!”
    *screech of tires and an illegal U-turn*

  21. Today I was reading Free Range Knitter, and I had read the short story about your early knitting days as a poor knitter.
    Well today I think I realized I am either a poor knitter or frugal.
    Here I am reading while balling a skein of silk yarn by hand that I had worked two days at a yarn shop to buy. The yarn is for gloves for my mother. I dropped the ball when I clicked on the shawl pattern and saw the price.
    Did you really pay $40 for a pattern? I work at a book store so I don’t have to pay full price for mass paperback books, and will help out at a yarn store to get yarn…

  22. Is Dana another notch on your knitting needle, or does she fall under the hotel’s knitting bug infestation?

  23. Christian…breathe in, breathe out…someone will surely correct me if I’m wrong, but to me it looks like the pattern costs $5. The “kit” is $40. Hope you can sleep tonight…

  24. I too purchased that pattern at Stitches West last year. So far I have only successfully completed the first swirl. I cast on the second swirl 5 or 6 times and then found out my sister-in-law was having a baby and since I can do the Baby Surprise Jacket with my eyes closed…Well, needless to say, that fascinating pattern is now sitting on the dresser leering at me. I’m not sure how long I can ignore it though. It’s almost time for Stitches West again and how can I justify more projects if I haven’t completed last years.

  25. That pattern is EVIL!!!! After much swearing, I ripped it off my needles and made a lovely Clapotis with the yarn. Our yarn shop owner did make it, and it is very lovely. She also made a baby blanket with worsted using the same pattern. It is probably more manageable with thicker yarn. Maybe??

  26. I’ve been slowly working away at the Swirl Shawl using Noro Sock and love it. The pattern is super easy to memorize once you get in the groove. What I especially appreciate is how each little swirl is its own world – complete one and you feel like you’ve accomplished something. And if you weave in the ends as you go, when the last swirl is done, you’re actually done. No other finishing work needed. I love that.

  27. PLease come and visit my yarn shop in Port Townsend. We are just a skip from Hadlock ( who added Port back to its name to be a much more impressive place than it is ) and we will help you with your swirl scarf and inspire you with our diva -ish ways! xo, Lois at DIVA YARN

  28. I’m working on the Swirl Shawl now. I haven’t had any trouble with it, other than with the initial cast on. The trick for me was to do a cable cast on, rather than the knitted cast on the pattern recommends. I thought the knitted one was too loose, but the cable is nicely structured and holds the shape of each swirl much better. On one swirl, I was one stitch short on one needle, so I just did a k2 instead of k3 and it looks just fine, so I think the pattern is rather forgiving. I like the gratification of getting to finish something (one swirl) rather quickly – I feel that I’m making progress. And the color progression is fascinating.

  29. I have to say I likely have never commented on your blog before even though I’m an avid reader. But I’m commenting to say I am for once using the same yarn (and colorway it appears) as you and it’s got me squealing with joy.
    I do believe that the yarn itself lends itself to ruining patterns. I’ve cast on for a pair of socks with it about 1000 times and ti NEVER works right!

  30. I finished a swirl scarf today! A friend and I took a class in August – she made a shawl for her mother and completed it in about a month. They had us use a cable cast on, which I had never done but find very useful now that I’ve done it a gazillion times. I had a heck of time figuring out how to get the swirls joined the right way – I kept doing it upside down somehow. But I finally got the hang of it. Now I’ve got to block it.

  31. I just started the swirl shawl with Melody in the pink/blue colorway. Got 4 done in 2 nights. Woot!!

  32. What fun. Dana is a friend of mine. What a kick to see her on your blog. Our kids have gone to school together since Kindergarten.

  33. I bought that yarn and pattern last year. I gave up on the pattern (it’s not just you), but that yarn made a very lovely pair of socks.

  34. So now that you’ve experienced West Coast winter, would you trade it for the Toronto kind?

  35. What a fabulous place to be stuck by weather! What other new stash treasures are you carrying back to Toronto?

  36. Oh, lord help me. I also have that pattern, but have not yet attempted it. It does not bode well for me (or for that shawl) that the *Yarn Harlot* is struggling to make it work.

  37. I just love how you two have converted the Port Ludlow employees! I can’t wait to go back for Sock camp!
    And seriously, with Tina that close, I can’t believe you didn’t just grab some sock yarn.

  38. I couldn’t imagine being Dana, and being taught to purl by a knitting goddess. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend in our spectacularly rainy, windy state!

  39. Stephanie, are you sure it’s the pattern you and Tina are having problems with? Didn’t you say something about going out to get more beer….?
    Keep on keeping on. It’s such a beauty it will be worth it in the end.
    To Kathy in KS. I did the swirl shawl in crochet, maybe the last thing I ever crocheted, more than thiry years ago. I
    t’s fast. I think my knitting-crazed daughter still has it. (Now there’s someone who’s waiting to inherit a stash – like her own hasn’t swallowed her guest room!)

  40. Love the swirl scarf pattern, it looks lovely. Bought the yarn and pattern at Stitches West (possibly 2008), started it, put it in time-out. Don’t know if I will ever finish it.

  41. I bought the Swirl pattern in September while vacationing on Cape Cod, MA. The yarn shop had one made up in the Melody and it was gorgeous! I was looking for a shawl pattern to make for a niece’s wedding. I made the first swirl in a sport weight yarn and don’t remember having a problem. The second swirl, however, got slightly goofed up so it was frogged. And I decided I’d never make that shawl in time for the wedding so I abandoned it. I will, however, try to get at least a scarf made one of these days.

  42. I made my mom the Swirl Shawl for Christmas last year. She got it a few months later. I’m pleased with how it turned out but don’t feel the need to knit swirls anytime in the next decade! Happy Swirling!

  43. Wow, I know this is “schadenfreude” but I was happy to hear you had trouble with the swirl scarf. I bought the yarn and pattern at last year’s Rhinebeck and have ripped it more times than I can count. It’s so beautiful, but once I move from one swirl to the next, I invariably pick up the stiches in such a way that one faces one way and the other one faces in the opposite direction…sigh. Now I want to pick it up again.

  44. Great last line of this post. I’ll have you know that I was not a knitter before I read your first book. I’m not really a crier, but I have done a lot of swearing. And, well, sometimes your name gets throw into the mix. 😉

  45. Steph, I had to start and re-start the Swirl numerous times before I “got” it. Mine’s not finished yet, but it’s in progress.

  46. Yeah… I started that swirl shawl too. I got one swirl done (wrong, I might add) and stopped. I started it after seeing one of our knitting group ladies making it out of her leftover sock yarn. She had already made like two of them and she made it look so *easy*. I plan to get back to the swirl shawl “one of these days” because its so pretty. Maybe you can inspire me to work on it this winter….

  47. I just finished the scarf after many false starts — and if it hadn’t been a gift it might not have been finished yet! At one point, I managed to knit one hexagon so that the wrong side was up…I still haven’t figured out how I did that! It makes me feel better that I’m not the only one who had trouble.

  48. I’m really glad I’m not the only one out there that looks at ravelry and goes… “Really someone finished this?? Am I the only one having problems with it??”

  49. I did that yarn in a shawl and it’s wonderful! Yes, fiddly, but lots of fun. I did end up using a needle to finish off the last stitches.

  50. You will HATE. THIS. PATTERN. I worked on it last year, thinking I would teach a class on it. I cannot tell you how many times I had to start over because I couldn’t make it work! Even after I finally figured it out, those !@#$%^&*()_+_ hexagons drove me nuts. I ended up making a very small neckerchief, and lucky for me, the class didn’t run. A friend of mine made it, however (after lots of trouble at the start), and she persevered over the months and now has an absolutely beautiful swirl shawl. I think it depends on how much purgatory your’re willing to endure for a lovely result.

  51. I have this pattern in progress. Soon the little hexagons become addictive like potato chips… my maijor diversion has been baby knitting though.

  52. I am getting dizzy just *looking* at those finished scarves…I think the pattern itself would give me serious vertigo. But didn’t you say just the other day in Never Not Knitting that you enjoy a challenge and are bored by the plain bits? While you’re tearing your hair out over this scarf just keep thinking…”At least I’m not bored.”

  53. Funny what projects will trip us up. I spent 3 hours trying to circular cast-on and knit a few rows of Girasole. I finally selected a heavier yarn and then was able to move on.

  54. For the first time EVER, you have some yarn that I already have (actually, I’m wearing my Jojoland interpretive monkey socks today!), and a pattern I have already seen.
    I feel so exclusive! I feel like a “real” knitter because I was able to identify the yarn and pattern before I read what you wrote!
    Today shall be a good day.

  55. I am using this yarn in browns to make a sweater!!!! i thought the yarn was just in the east (aussie and korea and stuff)!!!!

  56. I bot this at Stitches East and found it so very hard!! I feel so much better knowing you had a hard time, since you are the mistress of all stitchy things!

  57. My Swirl Shawl is hibernating right now, but I am DETERMINED to finish it. This may sound silly for such little hexagons, but after my 4th or 5th time dropping a stitch and having the whole thing unravel right when I was nearing the center of the swirl, I started putting in a lifeline after the 2nd round (the purl round). I figured that if I messed up, at least I wouldn’t have to go through the whole picking up, casting on rigamarole. And, of course, since I did that, I haven’t dropped a stitch once! Go figure.
    I also found Knitfool’s project notes very helpful on Ravelry:

  58. That pattern looks like it could easily drive one to drink. Good luck. Get dizzy just looking at it !!

  59. I bought the pattern and yarn two years ago at Stitches Midwest.
    I think I didn’t like how my first swirl turned out and then I put it down. But I really like the shawl so I should get back to it.

  60. I Started the Swirl Scarf this summer and currently have six swirls finished. I really truly don’t want to knit any more. So, I’m figuring out how the six swirls in a row can be called a finished product… Perhaps it’s a large bookmark? Or maybe I could applique it to a pillow?
    Perhaps this pattern could be the next Yarn Harlot letter to the knitting pattern designer?
    Dear designer… WHY?

  61. That’s cute. I’m not sure I would want to buy it as a kit though. I’m not sure of the yarn weight, but it would probably be pretty cute with the Minimochi too.

    If you haven’t been to The Artful Ewe in Port Gamble (right up the road), you have to go there! Weekends only. Delay your trip home if you have to. It’s the most unique hands-on place anywhere for miles.
    The website doesn’t do it justice. At all. It’s hand-dyed, hand-spun hand everything. It will bring tears to your eyes.
    FYI — I don’t work there. I just happen to live in this area and I am in love with that place. You’ll love it too. I’m not kidding.

  63. Raaaammmms, oh Raaaammms, I’m calling you…knit me…you must knit me…you want to knit me…you need to knit me…you will knit me.

  64. I started the Swirl Scarf/Shawl about 6 months ago (After the LYS tour in the Puget Sound area). I have only gotten through about 8 of the swirls. I kept picking up and knitting them upside down an not realizing it until I was almost done with the swirl. Then I just had to frog and try again. It’s sitting in a Ziplock in my yarn room…..Maybe I’ll pick it back up after my holiday knitting is done.

  65. How about a week(end) away somewhere in Muskoka next time? Then the Americans can come visit us. I know the west coast is lovely but I just can’t afford to fly there. Pleeeeease…

  66. Stephanie,
    Look at Norah Gaughan’s shrug from her book Nature. I’ve made it. Lots of fun and sooo cute. same kind of construction. A project you can do while visiting with little concentration.

  67. Love the Swirl Shawl, so I bought the yarn and pattern last Spring. Finished one swirl, after much cursing (or what passes for cursing for me since I was raised a good Baptist girl), and it is been hibernating ever since.

  68. I was sucked into that whirlpool, too. I made about 5 swirls, then changed my mind about the yarn. The pattern sits, and waits.

  69. That is one of the more popular patterns at the LYS where I work. It’s really not bad once you get used to it. 🙂 I have grand plans to use all my leftover sock yarn to make a crazy quilt version — someday. 🙂
    The Spiral Octagon Shawl by Selma Miriam is a beautiful use of this motif, albeit on a larger scale. It was published in IK Summer 1998. 🙂

  70. Started this 2 summer ago, sucked in by the lovely colors and cool design. Did 2 of the freakin’ swirls an about 6 hours and it has been at the bottom of the project pile ever since.

  71. Stephanie, I had exactly the same problems. The most difficult part for me was figuring out how to pick up stitches for a new swirl that comes out knit side up, if you see what I mean.
    But the Jojoland yarn is gorgeous isn’t it?

  72. Excellent! Saturating Port Ludlow with wooly love! Eventually, the whole town will be knitting. They’ll probably erect a statue of you & Tina, to show their appreciation for saving them from wandering the streets without hand knit scarves and sweaters and socks (o my!)

  73. That minispinner is a beautiful piece of woodwork; I’d love to see it in action.
    Good luck with that pattern. (While eyeing Dana’s gorgeous sweater…)

  74. I know you are not a huge fan of crochet, but those swirls seem like they would be much easier with a hook. I am just saying!

  75. Might the struggles with the pattern be the slightest bit related to the rate with which you all are depleting the beer supply in the fridge? Just a thought. 😉 Have a blast. It looks great.

  76. That swirl shawl will be the death of me. May actually be the first project I will ever frog. I have to be doing something wrong, because it’s awkard, and fiddly, and the needles point in all kinds of directions, and I’m not sure I’m not twisting my stitches after I cast on. Aargghhhh!

  77. Dude. I tried COUNTLESS times to knit this one scarf. It was a basketweave, and I finally had to give up because…get this…I apparently was incapable of COUNTING TO 4! LOLOL
    And the Argosy pattern? I’ve tried numerous times in numerous yarns, and just can’t wrap my head around it.
    And Baktus has kicked my “arse” (as you’d say). I’ve started a bunch of times, as my mom wants one, and once again I am stumped with by the number 4. It’s a four pattern repeat, and three rows are plain Knit!!! I don’t even have to PURL!!!! *sigh*
    I’ve knitted lace, and entrelac, and socks, and apparently the number 4 has it out for me. LOLOL

  78. I’m just reading Free-Range Knitter. Wanted you to know that all the projects started refers to me and cross-stitching. You hit the nail on the head with a lot of your comments.

  79. I’m working on this also (I needed something a little fiddly while knitting 1×1 rib scarves for the extended family). It has great hopes of turning out nicely, but it could easily turn against you. So! Watch your swirlies!

  80. It’s not just you! Gorgeous, lovely, beautiful—both the yarn and the pattern. I made it through exactly one swirl and decided it was too “fiddly” for me. I think part of my problem was having to knit from the outside in. I spent too much time trying to reverse the order of things so I could knit from the inside out. Alas…all was not lost. Just yesterday, I came across that lonely swirl and gave it to my daughter—who promptly turned it into a bun wrap for her hair!

  81. I finished the Swirl Shawl and found it is easier using 2 circular needled than DP’s and the knitting gets MUCH easier after you finish the first row. I kept knitting the swirls upside down/insideout until I got to the second row and could wrap my head around the placement.

  82. OMG!!! I cannot believe I have actually done a project that the Harlot covets. Ok, to be honest, I have not DONE the project, but I only have about 6 swirls to go. Dare I get it out and commence swirling this close to Christmas??

  83. I also started the Swirl Shawl and gave up after almost one swirl. It was just too fiddly. I was so irritated at myself for the impulse buy that I gave the yarn away (a wonderful feeling). I will never attempt modular knitting again.

  84. I just finished that scarf in the same colourway!! Hang in there. Remember that it’s all in the blocking.

  85. I can completely sympathize with you on knitting and knitting and knitting and still having nothing to show for it. I just ripped back for the third time my Colonnade Shawl that four hundred and some people have already completed on Ravelry!!! I know I’m not stupid, but boy do I feel stupid now. The sad part is that I’m not even making the same mistakes. Apparently, I learn so well from the previous mistake that I make up completely new ones for the next go-round. Best of luck to both of us in our next endeavors.

  86. I first saw the swirl shawl at Webs and loved it. I made it last year to wear at Holiday parties. I enjoyed the process of knitting it so much I made a scarf out of a different colorway. I really enjoy modular knitting. I can do a little bit and still feel like I have accomplished something. I hope you get to a point where you enjoy the knitting. Oh yea, I didn’t knit the last 6 stitches together into one. I took a needle and threaded the yarn through each stitch. That was much easier.

  87. I too have the swirl shawl in progress (for quite some time now) the swirls got a little tiresome after awhile. They are only addictive for about the first 15 or so… But, you have inspired me to drag it out and get back to it!

  88. You make me feel better. I tried to start that damb swirl scarf about 6 times with no success. I it very lovely but I would rather do another pattern thank you very much!

  89. You make me feel better. I tried to start that damb swirl scarf about 6 times with no success. I it very lovely but I would rather do another pattern thank you very much!

  90. You make me feel better. I tried to start that damb swirl scarf about 6 times with no success. It is very lovely but I would rather do another pattern thank you very much!

  91. I just finished a hat with the Melody, and I loved knitting with it. My LYS owner has the swirl shawl on display above the yarn. I play with it every time I go in.

  92. So funny. I bought this pattern in North Carolina and am knitting it in worsted. Love it. However, it took my several, SEVERAL, times to get it going. I got cocky and then I’d have the wrong number of stitches on each needle. Argh. Tink, tink. But, it’s sooo cool once you get your groove on.

  93. So funny. I bought this pattern in North Carolina and am knitting it in worsted. Love it. However, it took my several, SEVERAL, times to get it going. I got cocky and then I’d have the wrong number of stitches on each needle. Argh. Tink, tink. But, it’s sooo cool once you get your groove on.

  94. I had to put point protectors on each end of each double pointed needle that was not in use, and placed a stich marker every ten stitched (I think it was ten), to successfully complete one swirl circle. This was, at first, a very trying pattern for me until I finally got the hang of it, and the result was so worth the effort.

  95. what was that? before the swirl…abandoned sock projects? you, intrepid knitter? What makes you abandon a sock project? reasons like mine? Disappointment in the nonstretchy quality of the seacell? the top hem of squirrel nutkin (being knit with some german import not recommeded by the designer)? losing the row end yarn overs on Lenore?
    Actually, Lenore is back in action – in spite of multiple reworks on that top lace. Looks gourgeous knit up with the black parade starry. Nice.

  96. Sometime when you are out in the Olympic Peninsula again, try to visit Port Townsend. Not only will you find yarn stores but there is a restaurant that serves poutine. Despite the poutine, it is an community that leans towards vegetarianism, sustainable living, and the arts. The Victorian atmosphere of the town is also pleasant.
    Come back soon–perhaps in better weather.

  97. “it’s all over but the crying” I bet when you see her again, she’ll have a serious stash of yarn!
    Total non kid knitter who’s been helping 1st and 2nd graders learn to knit in a semi Waldorf way…they rock the knit!

  98. Wonderful to see you doing this! Started the swirl a couple of weeks ago myself, and thinking it’s not too bad. The best part so far: Finding an excuse to order Signature dps.

  99. I’m so glad you went into Dinah’s Yarn Shop… it’s a great shop, and you got to see the new mini-spinner. I live in Sequim and it’s one of my local favorites.
    Sorry our weather has been a little rough the last few days, but I hope you had a good time. I’m considering learning how to knit socks, in part due to the fact that you always seem to be knitting some very cool socks.
    Take care and I hope to meet you one of these days at some knitting function, maybe Madrona next year.
    Take care – you are a great inspiration!

  100. “like moths to a flame!” LOL! That made me laugh. Which reminds me, my 17yo knitter is perilously low on yarn supply. We will need to take her shopping soon. The swirl pattern is very lovely, but looks hard. Yikes. I bet you had fun shopping for yarn. I guess it’s time to check out the new yarn shop that we haven’t been to. It has Mmmmmalibrigo yarn! Emily loves malabrigo!

  101. Swirl scarf?? I took an all-day class for that baby and didn’t finish one swirl. I’ve decided to use the yarn for something else. Someday. We still aren’t speaking.

  102. Don’t misunderstand, because I consume my fair share of beer—but it never helps me out when I’m trying to do a difficult pattern. Just sayin’.

  103. The LYS owner — where I bought the swirl pattern (one of my UFOs) — said to cast on and THEN pick up for the next swirl. That way you’re not stuck with backwards loop for the added stitches.

  104. Ugh. I so wanted to love this project, but after a year I only have two swirls done and am looking for something else to do with the yarn. Very frustrating! Oh, and it’s comforting to know that even YOU have issues with it. Bless you!

  105. Love the swirl, but am having enough challenge teaching my hands the lever method right now. It is getting easier, and I think my flipper flapper has finally relaxed under the spell of ribbing!!! Your classes at Madrona are waaay full, so I’d better keep working it on my own!
    Also, thanks for the history lesson! It has led to great conversation about how and why we knit the way we do. Port Ludlow was a mountaintop experience – thanks to you and Tina and Morgaine and Debra and Stephen and the Inn staff! This was brilliant and I can’t wait to see what Knot Hysteria comes up with next!

  106. thank you so much for mentioning hansen crafts spinner! i have been in contact with kevin and found we have a lot in common, spinning on a boat, living aboard a boat, sailing, and living in alaska!!! thank you!

  107. Have you thought about doing the Swirl Shawl on the Kollage square needles? They make joining without twisting easy, and that’s the hardest part of this pattern, I think.

  108. We all know that you are an exceptionally capable knitter. Are you sure that your lack of initial success with the swirl scarf had more to do with the beer fixation than knitting ability??

  109. I was just at my LYS and they had the swirl shawl on display. I bought the yarn and the pattern. All the way home I kept thinking what an idiot I am—if you are having a hard time, I’m probably SOL. But I’m going to try!!!

  110. It’s the yarn, isn’t it? How can you resist the jojoland mojo? I can’t. If nothing else, i have to stop and fondle…oooooo… pretty…

  111. I’m in love with the Jojoland Melody as well as Ballade (solid colors — find them quite inexpensively at Someone at my LYS knit the swirl scarf. It’s lovely. I’ve also held two strands together (both of the same colorway, but not necessarily starting at the same point) and knit a hat (using US 3 needles). Just two balls will make a lovely hat, and the way the colors mingle is magnificent. Pattern (free) is here: Pictures are here:

  112. Dear Harlot: So delighted to think of you at Dinah’s! It’s a great shop where I bought the yarn for my first 2 sweaters (crocheted, but it’s still yarn!). But did anyone think to tell you that just up the road a ways in Port Townsend there are two count ’em two local breweries with excellent bars at which you can get their own excellent beer? They are less than a mile apart, with two yarn stores in between: Diva and the Twisted Ewe. Call me if you need a ride!

  113. It’s not you. My knitting bud Cindy and I were on a 2-person knitting retreat centered around a fiber festival in Sedalia, VA USA. We both left the festival with this pattern and the Melody to complete it and jumped in with much enthusiasm and excitement when we returned to our guest house. After many starts, frogs and much cussing, we both abandoned the project for something much less likely to make us homicidal. In short, we hated it and decided life was too short and there’s not enough beer or wine in the world to enable us to knit that cursed thing. Ever. I know that many folks have finished it, have a beautiful product to admire and impress, and you will probably conquer it and finish it with ease. Me, my Melody is happily forming into Ann Hanson’s Twinings and I’m a better person for it.

  114. I have a project like that. An “intermediate” level skirt pattern called “Aune”. I felt like such a dweeb for failing (multiple times) to get it right. In order to do one without using bad lauguage, I must work alone and in silence and there can be no mood-altering drinks (or even fumes thereof). Good airplane knitting if you’ve earplugs.

  115. Just to pour salt in your wounds – I not only finished a scarf in the swirl pattern, I even memorized the pattern. It’s really cool in a vividly variegated yarn.

  116. Oh that’s gorgeous – when you finish it (note I said WHEN, not IF!), do post a photo won’t you?

  117. Well, Stephanie, now you know why I thank God for the Yarn Harlot who writes such extremely logical and symmetrical patterns that they are a breeze to memorize(I’m talking Pretty Thing Cowl here).After an initial error with the yarn overs before a purl stitch, I’ve fully mastered the pattern(shouldn’t have said that!!!!!). I’m on cowl #3. The swirl might be handy for all the small balls of sock yarn I have squirreled(another bad word) away in case of holes in gifted socks-that’s if I can figure it out and still retain a full head of hair.Cheers, Hazel.

  118. can i come and sit with you ? It got to 43 here in sydney (109) and its only november… Its giving me extra incentive to the dream of living somewhere cold…

  119. Sound like rough time weather wise but really great knitting wise. Hope you had a smooth trip home.

  120. My frustration with the first half-dozen swirls changed to enjoyment when I started using Addi Lace Turbos – I tried two other kinds before. Full details are on my ravelry page (I’m awknit).

  121. I bought this yarn and pattern last year and have not started mine yet. Now I am scared! If you are having trouble what chance do I have.

  122. Of course the purchase of more beer and the fact that you had trouble with the pattern had nothing to do with each other…

  123. What is Dana wearing?? Can you make a chart of that so I can knit spectacular mittens??

  124. So I have been reading your blog for a while now(I have been reading since the end of Oct after stumbling upon it mystically) and I have to tell you that I love it. (I am reading from past to present. I have this wierd curiosity and somehow starting from the beginning of 2009 was not enough for me. Currently I am in Nov ’04)
    I read you whenever I have free time, at work mostly, but since free time is also knit time neither of you are getting the attention you deserve. (I also like to read books, but that is more of a disease since it eats up my “un-free” time). I wanted to comment that I find you completly hilarious (like laughing hours later about your blogs, and laughing when ever I use the word dumbass).
    I will part on a note that I just gave in (not suppose to be spending money)and purchased one of your books and I don’t think I have ever once checked USPS tracking this many times in a day (6-7 times) for a knitting purchase. It says it won’t be here until Wed but it came early last time so I am going to be waiting tomorrow so I can sneak it past the mister (The yarn for his Christmas present is in thier as well).

  125. I need to know if you are coming out with a “never not knitting” calendar for 2010, or should I snag a 2009 and pretend?

  126. I must say it: I hated that pattern. Passionately. Fiddly-splitty-yarn-annoying.
    But a gorgeous shawl. (That which does not kill us makes us stronger? My arse.)
    p.s. You’ll get faster at each swirl. Just practice.

  127. Well my mom used to knit, even i tried to learn from her but wasn’t able to. I wanted to but it took a long time, When i saw this blog i found it interesting a good way to learn, now i made small pair of socks and a scarf for my cousin.

  128. You got farther along on the scarf than I did. I bought the pattern at Stitches-Midwest. I did one swirl and couldn’t figure out how to pick you the stitches!

  129. Hi Stephanie,
    Actually there are quite a few yarn stores in that area – 5 to be exact unless one has closed since I was up there last. Twisted Ewe and Yarn Diva in Port Townsend, Dinah’s and Textile Yarns in Port Hadlock and next time you are in the area you really have to take a trip to Port Gamble to Heidi’s yarn store The Artful Ewe. Heidi has spun and colored some of the most amazing yarn.

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