Flying

I go through phases with knitting – or maybe, since my love affair with knitting is constant, it is more properly stated that knitting goes through phases with me – phases where it all seems to go really well- and the reverse.  We’re all familiar with the flip side, where nothing works, everything sucks, all the patterns have errors (and if they don’t, you interpret them that way) all the yarn doesn’t do what we want it to or – (and I hate this one) you have the horrible realization that even though you are a functioning adult who’s seeming to do pretty well in the world,  you apparently can’t count to six five times in a row to save your life. 

At least in my life, the two phases are like the two sides of a coin, and it’s mathematically impossible to be in one and see the other.  Either everything works and all I knit is a wonder, or it’s all a reeking slagheap of guano and I wonder how it’s possible that I was able to dress myself considering my obvious incompetence.  I was there a while ago. I screwed everything up and switching projects did nothing to cure it. It was like having a cold.  You can change where you are in the house but you’re still going to need a tissue.

My reward for having endured that phase, is this one. This side of it is glorious, and it seems to me that knits are flying off the needles. I’m making steady progress, I’ve made no terrible mistakes that mean I’m ripping back hours of work… instead I knit, things get knit, and there’s a wonderful parade of lovely things turning up just as I had hoped they would, and that’s where I am today.


The Eventide scarf is all done, and it’s all I’d hoped it would be and more.

Eventide by Laura Nelkin, Yarn: Schaefer Audrey in Almond. $2 worth of #8 Japanese seed beads.


This yarn is 50% wool and 50% silk, and a single. (That means it’s just one ply of yarn…not several twisted together like most yarns.)  Usually I’m not a fan of singles, especially not for beadwork, because the lack of twist and plies means that it’s not very strong, but with this yarn the silk gives it strength, and you can have your cake and eat it too. It’s shiny and straight, the perfect yarn for the elongated crossed stitches in this stitch pattern, but still strong enough to take the weight of the beads and the abrasion of sliding a whole whack of them along the strand. 

The beads are only on the ends of this scarf, and they give the whole thing a charming weight and heft – it lies beautifully and feels satisfying.  (It also meant that I didn’t have to put that many beads on… comparatively speaking, which was totally fine with me because as much as it’s worth it for the effect, I find stringing beads onto yarn as much fun as scraping dried tomato sauce off of the kitchen backsplash. (That – by the way, explains the dried tomato sauce on my backsplash.)

I love how this ended up.  I think it’s elegant and interesting, the crossed stiches were fun to work, and it all happened rather quickly, thanks to the big chunks of elongated work.  (It’s like a magic trick. Knit one row – get the length of three!)

The hardest part of the whole thing, once I sucked up the bead stringing, was the graft in the middle, and even that worked out beautifully. I can’t even find where I did it unless I really, really look.  It’s perfect.

I know it makes for boring blog reading, but man. This knitting thing is all going so well right now.

(I know. Don’t stand too close.  You wouldn’t want the lightning strike headed my way to scorch you.)

114 thoughts on “Flying

  1. Woot! It’s beautiful! I’m waiting for the flip side of my coin that will get me on the good side of things. I can feel it’s coming, but man I sure wish it’d hurry the hell up!

  2. It is so much fun to see the parade! I was on a huge run of great knits then decided to finish WIPs rather than start anew…there’s a reason we leave most projects idle. I finally found a pair of socks that re holding my interest (and sport weight on 2.5mm so they are flying).

  3. do you think the tides of good knitting are personal or more geographic? like the weather? like there’s good knitting over toronto but there’ll be dropped stitches over portland tomorrow.

  4. After your incredible honesty when you kept having to frog that shawl you did you deserve to gloat as much as you want!!

  5. That scarf is beautiful. I love the beads. You could use that to dress up lots of different sorts of outfits.
    I am apparently dealing with the other side of your coin right now, since everything I have been knitting is full of errors and requiring much tinking. It’s good to see that you are having knitting success!

  6. Lovely, just lovely. I hope some of your good mojo swings my way. I’ve restarted a ufo that has notes I made a year ago.

  7. This scarf is so pretty! I’m not in a good knitting mojo this month… I hope I will get some of yours soon!

  8. Gorgeous –adjective 1. splendid or sumptuous in appearance, coloring, etc.; magnificent: a gorgeous scarf; a gorgeous sunset.
    Envious –adjective 1. full of, feeling, or expressing envy: envious of a person’s success.
    Two adjectives describing my reaction to this posting! There’s probably lots more, but no room for them here.
    Someday I hope to get into that kind of groove with my knitting. Right now I’m happy to be knitting Hats for the Homeless. Simple, straight forward patterns.
    BTW according to the NOAA weather site, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are 1 in 500,000.

  9. Very pretty scarf. I love the crossed stitches. I’m glad you are having a smooth patch in your knitting. I’m always amazed by how crummy the second sock is for me. You’d think having successfully knit the first one, the second would be a breeze. Sadly no. If I had a loonie for every time I’ve had to rip back huge chunks of a second sock due to my own ineptitude….

  10. On the other hand, maybe if we all stand close enough, the lightning strike will have a positive effect on us! Your work is stunning as always and if I could turn out socks that look and fit as beautifully as yours always do, I know for sure I would become hooked for life. Knit on while the streak lasts!

  11. Wow, you are brave! I’ve never dared tempt the knitting goddess quite that directly! It is lovely, Steph….. wear it in good health and enjoy the memory of perfection. (I’m assuming everything will begin to balance out soon!)

  12. the scarf is so utterly beautiful! truly an inspiration to other knitters who, like me, might be thinking… hmm, maybe i could do that too.. one day!

  13. Would the pattern work without the beads?? The part without the beads is very pretty too, which would be my personal preference…just wondering??

  14. Just beautiful…and I say that with no envy, even feeling (knowing) that I will probably never be able to knit something like that…

  15. Hey, since things are going so well right now, you should really take advantage of the mojo and… Well. You and The Blog know what I’m going to say, right?
    Thought so.

  16. I don’t usually comment but this one has really hit home and I wanted to say thanks. I’ve only been knitting for about a year and have had the normal ups and downs, but for the last month or so I have hit the phase of which you speak. I thought I’d probably gone as far as I could with knitting but after reading this blog it gives me hope that I will come out the other side! The only question now is do I ditch everything I’ve made a mess of so far and start something new, or try and fix what I have. Thanks again for the new perspective.

  17. Right now I’m on the flip side where I can’t seem to knit anything right. Sigh. Nothing wrong with the yarn or the pattern. Just me. I hope it’s just a temporary glitch. Lovely scarf!

  18. I too am on the flip side. Lately, I’ve had a hard time counting to 2. As in K2,P2.
    Your scarf is beautiful. I don’t think I have the nerve to try those elongated cross stitches quite yet. They’d probably snag on everything, anyway.

  19. Way to go, Steph. It’s just lovely. I don’t have the patience to knit with beads but you are inspiring. Enjoy!

  20. Man, I’m glad I’m not the only one who experiences the bad knitting voodoo. It’s lasted way to long for me.

  21. Things on the needles are going fairly well for me. I don’t know how easily my hubby will get the cabled socks over his heel, however… I have had enough knitting dogs in my time to never take a successful outcome for granted.
    Gorgeous scarf indeed!

  22. Ugh. I’ve been in one of those bad phases for MONTHS now. I’ve reworked the gusset/beginning of the heel flap on the Cascadia socks from the January Rockin’ Socks Club. Granted, I only cast those on in early March, but STILL. I’m only on the first sock. I find it rather disheartening, so I’m ignoring it. (I knit and ripped back the gusset three times in two weeks. I deserve a break, especially because the heel turn refuses to work.)
    That’s a beautiful scarf. I’m obscenely jealous of your ability to get stuff done. Also of how quickly you knit.

  23. It’s gorgeous! I love those stretches when you are in the zone. More than makes up for the crappy times.

  24. Hope you’re home knitting today & staying in the zone, Toronto looks a little scary at the moment & I never thought I’d say that

  25. You make it look so easy!! Just purchased and downloaded the pattern. Do you have a website you like to use for beads?

  26. The way this post started, I was expecting to see something from the “slag heap” that you had to frog back umpty-eleven times. Imagine my surprise to find that the opposite was true. At least today. Gorgeous scarf, girl. Way to knit.

  27. Just lovely! The scarf looks quite elegant.
    And it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who experiences “difficulties” with her knitting/crochet.
    🙂

  28. I’ve been working on the same pattern for a bout a week, and I’m having the worst time getting the beads in the right place while I’m doing the pattern… any hints?

  29. I know just what you mean about the two sides of the coin, and love it when the lucky side is up. On those days when I can’t count I resort to house cleaning with the headphones on.
    Lovely Eventide Scarf!

  30. OH OH OH I have never seen a more lovely scarf. Wish I could see it for real and even just touch it. A sight for tired eyes for sure.

  31. Wondering if you’re going to get to wear the scarf or if it’s an early project for the holidays? Stringing beads onto yarn for someone else makes it more worthwhile, but for myself? Not so much. I edged a scarf with beads that I put on where I needed them using a crochet hook to grab the bead. That was super fun, especially compared to the beaded tank I made for my grand daughter. I broke a beading needle and had to go back to the bead store several times because the pattern never specified HOW MANY BEADS TO BUY! Such fun. I hope you get to wear that scarf yourself this winter.

  32. By the way, the Embossed Leaves socks have the absolutely cutest toes! They look a bit “generous” on your tootsies, so I’m guessing some one lucky is being gifted.

  33. You know what would really be spectacular with a bit of mojo to help it along…?
    Maybe something that combines fibre prep, spinning, your own pattern, interesting construction techniques, some knitting history and a big hairy man…

  34. Gorgeous! I like that so much, I think I might give it a try for a mother-in-law Christmas pressie.

  35. That scarf is elegant, the silk reflects like so sweetly. I am almost out of baby-sweater time and those long stitches are appealing. I’m not sure my hands could work with the beads, but the scarf is alluring.

  36. Lovely. I never do beads but you have inspired me to contemplate it…
    I have to laugh at the fact that you mentioned how inexpensive the beads were, but you never said what you paid for that hank of Audrey 😉

  37. Beautiful scarf, gorgeous yarn choice. Have you ever thought of giving the blog an idea of how you pick the right yarn for a project? That to me is one of the hardest parts for those of us who haven’t been knitting very long. Nice camera work, too!

  38. Really really pretty. I have that in my queue, and I think it will be started sooner than later.

  39. Sold to the lady in the second row! I’ve resolved to make this for ME, in “Lettuce” color Malabrigo Silky Merino with #6 beads in deep purple, because it still makes me think of blackberries.
    Gorgeous work, Stephanie.
    And? When do you sleep?

  40. Oh, thank sweet baby jesus. I thought I was the only one who gets stuck in particularly painful failed/hated/stalled/abandoned knit project stretches!!!
    Happy for your success. Horribly bitter about the my recent failures.

  41. Presbytera, I’m just waiting for the day when she pops the finished gansey on us, totally out of the blue, like it’s been her stealth project all these years.

  42. What this post lacks in entertainment, it makes up in hope for good mojo.
    Truly gorgeous and to know that it all fell together smoothly is a bonus.
    Nothing more to say, don’t want to mess with something going so right.

  43. I’m so glad you brought up the bad pattern phase. Feel like I have just come out of one of those myself and it is bad bad vibes. Cast on two sweaters, both patterns were wrong, and I had to go make something easy to break the bad voodoo. Almost done with a shrug that is unbeleievably boring, but more importantly, it is almost done! We should get everyone to talk about the worst pattern disasters they have had!

  44. That scarf is GORGEOUS! I would love to see a photo of you wearing it … if you have an air-conditioned place to take said photo.

  45. Beautiful! Beads in knitwork look so cool, but I haven’t ever tried it myself. I’m glad the knitting is going well, but talking about it too much, is like a nurse saying, “Gee, it’s been a quiet night tonight!” It’s the chance for the gods to send chaos your way!

  46. And what a lovely place to be. I’ve been in the other place (since a pair of socks went bad). So I’m knitting a Clapotis. Very hard to mess that up (altho I would’ve said the same about socks but it was a new heel style for me & I don’t like it). Hoping that will get me back on track.

  47. In these photos it looks very lovely. In the previous one it looked rather flesh colored for my fellow pale skinned knitter. I wasn’t going to say anything since you clearly adored it (and well, we aren’t on that level yet). I love the way it has turned out.
    May your good knitting karma continue!

  48. Lovely scarf but man, you do like living on the edge LOL! Every time I say something like “This knitting thing is all going so well right now.” it’s like I’m issuing Murphy an engraved personal to come and rain on my parade. (Murphy is the one that says anything that can go wrong, will go wrong and usually arranges for things to be that way! In this case Murphy would be the lightening that is probably heading your way.) Being of Irish descent, I learned at a very young age to have great respect for Murphy. I hope that when he or the lightening arrives, you don’t get scorched too badly. I also hope he gets lost so your really great knitting phase will last longer. Happy knitting!

  49. Ouch, ouch ouch! I’m trying to get Socks for Veronik underway and I’ve been starting and starting and starting. Granted I’ve switched it around a bit to make my first ever pair of toe-up socks but I managed to get past the toe part after a few bad starts. Now I’m working my way through a few bad starts and then some on the foot. First the pattern, then the guage, which was just right has gone wonky on me. Then the kitten decided to chew on the cable of my needle (I like magic loop. This would be the second needle I can’t use because the first one had a defect and a burr where the needle joined the cable. The result is, that while I’m still fighting with it because I love the yarn, I’m spending hours on the internet looking for the perfect Jacket in a 10sts.= 10cm. for some yarn I have waiting. Of course, assuming I find that perfect pattern, I still have to wait for the rest of the yarn to arrive here from the States(there wasn’t enough room in my luggage for all of it.) Seems I can’t be unfaithful even when I try!
    Lucky you. It seems the knitting gods are with you for the moment. Do I get a turn?

  50. By the way, The “Murphy’s Law” in the household
    (not Irish) I grew up in was, ” Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, and at the worst possible time.” It came with an infinite number of corollarys.

  51. I think the good knitting mojo is the universe’s way of making up for the Not Fun stuff surrounding the G20 summit. If your knitting wasn’t working right now, you might take to your bed and never leave.
    And then who would the teenagers complain to about the lack of clean dishes in the cupboards?

  52. Wow, that scarf really is beautiful. I hope this phase continues for you and we get to see more stunning knitted things.

  53. Thanks for putting words to the blech feeling I’ve had about my knitting lately. I was gung ho to start a dress but I couldn’t get the transition between the two repeated patterns to happen without a sloppy knit stitch. I tinkered and toyed with alternates and felt defeated by the whole process. I think I finally hit upon a happy substitute and now I’ll carry on with my gauge swatch. Thank goodness for a long car ride and another driver so I can get some knitting done. And maybe, I’ll add some beads to a new scarf based on the smashing job you did on yours.

  54. Beautiful! I have a skein of Audrey that I was planning to turn into socks but I may have to make a scarf instead.

  55. ARGHHH! I also have been in the cellar, making stupid mistake after stupid mistake. I WILL get out of it!
    Love the scarf and got the pattern…

  56. I have a scarf in progress with the cross-over knitting stitch that started well, but now is starting to give me agita, refusing to cross nicely. My reference used multiples of 4. I like yours better. Should I rip the 18″ and start over? Or leave it in time-out until it feels like cooperating? I have the beads…

  57. So that’s the reason I’ve had to frog my Tempest sock, my Flow tank, and my Climbing Vines pullover all within the last seven days!(Flow is back on the needles and moving right along and Climbing Vines has been re-cast on.I gave up on the socks for right now though.)The coin theory explains a lot and I think I’ll go knit now that I seem to be on the “good” side of the coin!

  58. I would like to thank you for this post. EVERYTHING I have knit or have attempted to knit for a while now has turned to rubbish in my hands. Thank you for the reminder that it happens to everyone.

  59. Thanks for sharing the good knittin’ times as well as the bad, Steph. And thanks to Steven A for his comment (June 26, 2:19). I’m still laughing– “dropped stitches over Portland”. My local forecast: occasional sock flurries.

  60. Oh hon, I can’t believe you said that out loud. You know the knitting gods are glaring in your direction, right?
    The scarf is lovely!

  61. It is lovely!
    The two sides of my coin are cast on a billion projects/finish a billion projects. I start so many projects that I run out of needles and project bags, feel guilty, then cast on a few more. But when I get the bug to finish stuff, I already have half of everything knitted, so I get to finish 5 to 10 things in one week!

  62. Started riding my bicycle again and it is a struggle that makes the flying sweeter! I’m also 2/3 through my second cardigan and I don’t want to jinx it but its ying-flay oo-tay.

  63. Harlot, thanks, as always, for sharing your perspective on the yin and yang of knitting. Yet another reason I knit, because I have learned from you and the experience that there are life lessons there, too. Patience and faith are often the key in the bad times, and it’s important to ride the good ones. Thanks again.
    P.S. That scarf is stunning – I love the look!

  64. I hope you were touching wood while writing this post because it makes it harder for the universe to take aim.
    Just into chart B of bitterroot while on holiday in lovely hot sunny France (am am afraid to even think about how well it is going)

  65. As I was reading and looking at the lovely picture, my sense of dread was growing. I am sure hoping the knitting gods who love to spoil a good run don’t strike out at you.

  66. Lovely… your version of Eventide is perfect, so glad it has helped you achieve that epic knitting place we all strive for! So, does Denny still get Eventide after all? p.s. LOVE your pics!

  67. The scarf is beautiful. I’ve used beads in stitching but I’ve never dared while knitting.
    On the other hand, I, as an otherwise competent adult and math major to boot, cannot get through an entire evening of P2K4 (and then reverse, K2P4, on the next row) without a goof to save my soul. And this was supposed to be a simple and fast project. *sigh* But I’m still having fun, so that counts for something.

  68. Lovely knitting, of course … but do you mind if I make a totally OT remark? After the world saw all the violence in Thailand generated by protesters, it was kind of a relief to see that “First World” countries ALSO have violent protests. Hope you understand that remark and don’t take it wrong (and I’m pretty sure, like 200% sure, that the violence was started by visiting neighbors from down south, not Canadians, fer shure).

  69. I am currently in the other side of that phase. The one where everything is going wrong, as is evident by my hissy-fit of a blog post last night.
    I can’t believe i have been thwarted by yarn. I am beaten 🙁

  70. That scarf is beautiful! I have been looking for a project to use with Lorna’s Lion & Lamb and I think this might be perfect! I guess that means I’ll have to buy the pattern and the yarn… oh and beads too. Such a shame.

  71. If your knitting mojo was like this 100% of the time, you could charge knitters to come by and rub your head for a minute, hoping that the gift would rub off on them too!

  72. I am so glad to hear it just wasn’t me having a few lean months. it has been rough but i am finally getting back to the good side of the coin. thanks stephanie for doing your best to power through the tough times so we all know it isn’t just us. you are my inspiration.

  73. After last year, you so deserve some good knitting karma! It’s nice to see so many lovely things on the blog.
    I’m about to wrestle with beads and knitting, thanks to one of my student employees showing me the crochet hook thing that avoids prestringing. I just wish I lived further north than the humidity-ridden state of New Jersey, and could knit more in the summer.

  74. I love it when the knitting karma hits me. The scraf is wonderful too. I have so many things to finish and you’ve inspired me! thanks!

  75. Ohhhh!…. so okay now I know why the fair isle hat that I was doing yesterday was magic and flew and the hat I am doing now, (same freakin pattern) is killing me!!!!! It is not me, it is bad knitting juju…..

  76. This is so beautiful. A real stunner. The beads add such a nice touch and I love how they are arranged on the stole. I hadn’t seen this pattern before and am so happy I got to peek at it via your blog

  77. Have been looking and lusting for a few days, and finally ordered some suitable yarn and the pattern–it will make a great 50th birthday gift for my best friend!

  78. I looked on Laura Nelkin’s site, and don’t understand using a dental floss threader to string beads. Did you do this? Could you explain how? If you did something else, what? (Couldn’t you use just like a regular needle and thread the beads with that?

  79. hey now steph, love the scarf! I wanted to let you know about a tool for stringing beads. it’s called a “bead spinner” and lets you string beads quickly, it has spinny parts, it’s actually kinda fun..it makes me say to myself “wheee look at all those beads I just strung in 1 second!” you can google it…not sure if Arton has them but I got mine at BeadFX. Worth the investment for the number of beaded projects and dislike of stringing beads that you do and have.
    Keep up the good work – and might i request planning one of these awesome knit camp thingies in canada please!

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