August 17, 2005


As usual, I sort of flamed out on re-entry. The girls were away while I was, cottaging with my mum up north. We all arrived home, exhausted, dirty, sunbrowned (them) and yarn-laden (me) and descended upon poor Joe (who had spent 11 days putting cups the wrong way, cackling about big reels of wire in the living room and sleeping sideways on the bed. He won't admit it, but I know that this was what he did..especially since when I arrived, the family computer had been moved from it's post on the computer desk and had been thoughtfully arranged on the coffee table. The coffee table, naturally, so that a feral man can surf the web, drink beer and watch James Bond movies all at the same time. ) It took us a few days to get sorted, get the laundry done, take toolboxes, wire and computers out of living spaces and buy groceries. I slept, knit, worked and pulled myself together. We celebrated Meg's birthday and I watered the garden. Somewhere in that, I finished this.


(Can somebody tell me why my arse looks like that? I'm not even sure that's me.)
It's the Diamond Fantasy Scarf by Sivia Harding, knit with...get this...
ONE SKEIN of Fleece Artist Sock yarn. (320m/350 yards) ONE. I'm delirious with joy. I love stuff to make with small amounts of yarn, and this makes a decent sized shawl (she calls it a scarf, but on me it's totally big enough to be a shawl.)


I had some trouble with the pattern until I worked out that there is no problem with the pattern. There comes a time, on rows 36 and 46 when the travelling stitches appear briefly to be travelling in an unexpected way. I yanked back this row about 20 times trying to figure out how I was screwing up. Turns out that If you don't try to outthink Sivia and do exactly as you are told (especially on rows 36 and 46) ...suspend your disbelief, don't try to "fix" the brilliant design and blindly follow her directions, all will become clear within the fullness of time. If you can do as you are told and follow a pattern without sabotaging yourself, this is actually an easy knit.


My favourite parts? The edge is knit on as you go, so when you are done you are done.. and the last instruction is to "Block Severely".
I love it when you need to block severely.
I give this pattern a 10 out of 10. Gorgeous result, clever construction, brilliant use of a skein of sock yarn, charts and written instructions and a chance to pin 8000 pins into a piece of knitwear.

Posted by Stephanie at August 17, 2005 2:57 PM

Oh no! Joe still got the cups wrong? Hee. At least they were in the cupboard, though, right?

Lovely scarf/shawl! My, you do knit fast!

Glad all is returning to normal. Welcome home.

Posted by: Mary in Boston at August 17, 2005 3:01 PM

Yeah, I fell in love with the shawl on your previous entry about it and my copy of the pattern is already winging its way here. It may be the perfect pattern for the autumn colored Opal sock yarn I have that has been "too good" for any other pattern.

Poor yarn not fulfilling its destiny...

Posted by: Laurie at August 17, 2005 3:12 PM

No mention of Mr. Washie... all is well with the world.
Lovely shawl.
You must have lost weight on the trip ~ thus the arse thingy.
tee hee.

Posted by: cherish at August 17, 2005 3:13 PM

The shawl is gorgeous and now I know what to do with some sock yarn that wasn't going to work as socks. (Looked much too much like athletic socks when knit up.) I had wondered what you had done with the girls.

Welcome home and thanks for a lovely evening at Stash in Berkeley.

Posted by: Peg at August 17, 2005 3:13 PM

I love that diamond lace pattern, and was actually using it myself on a stole just a bare week ago, until things sort of imploded and everything turned back into an empty needle and a ball of yarn. (I swear, I only turned around for a second before it happened!) The shawl looks absolutely lovely, Stephanie. And yes--at least be grateful that the cups were in the cabinet. That's something, anyway.

Posted by: --Deb at August 17, 2005 3:25 PM

I love that diamond lace pattern, and was actually using it myself on a stole just a bare week ago, until things sort of imploded and everything turned back into an empty needle and a ball of yarn. (I swear, I only turned around for a second before it happened!) The shawl looks absolutely lovely, Stephanie. And yes--at least be grateful that the cups were in the cabinet. That's something, anyway.

Posted by: --Deb at August 17, 2005 3:26 PM

Oooh, pretty. Welcome home. so, just to be dense, let me confirm: that is the scarf size? Not the shawl size?

Posted by: Kat with a K at August 17, 2005 3:26 PM

I don't do well with re-entry myself so I feel your pain. I shudder to think what my house would look like if Dale were left alone there for 11 days.

Posted by: Carole at August 17, 2005 3:33 PM

Grrl, you know how to knit 'em.

Posted by: margene at August 17, 2005 3:33 PM

nice indeed. don't worry about your behinney, (behinney-a southern word), it looks ok. lol
beautiful pattern. i love strong linear lace. thanks for the heads up on what a small amount of wool can do for those of us on limited budgets.
oh yes, the morning glories are lovely. yesterday i discovered a bud on my moonflower. i believe it will bloom tonight
marie in florida

Posted by: marie in florida at August 17, 2005 3:36 PM

WHAT arse?? You're right, I didn't know it was you -- I thought it might have been one of your teenaged children.

Posted by: Anne at August 17, 2005 3:37 PM

Arse looks great, and well travelled. Welcome back to Planet Harlot.
I just discovered Sivia Harding. I am starting her gorgeous Shetland Garden Faroese shawl, using 30-year-old J & S laceweight.
I would love to persuade Sivia to design an entire garment - in lace, of course.

Posted by: Judith - the original at August 17, 2005 3:43 PM

OK, I'm blocking-challenged, so maybe this is a dumb question, but:

How do you pin out something as big as a full shawl? I know this one is (relatively) small, but what do you do when you have something that is seven or eight feet on the long edge? I have never successfully blocked anything larger than my ironing board. I've tried using the floor, but (a) I can't keep the cats off and (b) it's really painful trying to hammer pins through the carpet. I've tried using my bed, but the pins just pull the bedcovers into a knot underneath whatever I'm attempting to block, and nothing gets stretched except my patience.

Do you block things one section at a time? On what surface? Do you use special extra-long pins? Suggestions welcome...

Posted by: Mairi at August 17, 2005 3:45 PM

Beautiful! One skein of sock yarn, eh? Okay. I'm in. You've twisted my arm.

Posted by: Jean at August 17, 2005 3:49 PM

Lovely. I'll have to put that one in the queue.

Posted by: Julia at August 17, 2005 3:50 PM

The shawl is lovely!!! I really really dig the colour.

I have to thank you for linking to her site. My next project is one of her creations... the Gothic Leaf Pattern Wrap/Shawl.

Posted by: Caren at August 17, 2005 3:52 PM

As soon as I saw a sample of that shawl on your blog the other day I ordered it, and it arrived today. I'm so giddy! I hope mine turns out as gorgeous as yours! Very purdy.

Posted by: heather at August 17, 2005 3:53 PM

Love the shawl! I just ordered her Shetland Garden Faroese shawl pattern and can't wait to start it.

Posted by: Melanie in VA at August 17, 2005 3:53 PM

Your arse is fine. The pants are a little baggy but that happens when you sit and knit.

The shawl looks lovely!

Posted by: Christy at August 17, 2005 3:55 PM

I'm with Mairi - I am blocking-disabled. I honestly believe this is what is keeping me from piecing together a sweater I finished knitting a year ago.

That shawl/scarf is gorgeous...the color is so nice!

Posted by: Libby at August 17, 2005 3:58 PM

Fantastic scarf/shawl... what do you do with them all? Did you turn that back room into a knitting showcase? We've never seen the end result of the back of your house... I'm of course assuming it is done by now, no?

I'm in between little vacation jaunts and have also been watching James Bond while away (we have no tv at home)... that Sean Connery is the perfect vision before bedtime, I'm telling you.

Posted by: tree at August 17, 2005 3:59 PM

I'll second the request for a Harlot Tutorial (TM?) in Severe Blocking. Sounds invigorating! Beautiful shawl--now you're making me rethink whether the fun pumpkin-y sock yarn I just bought actually wants to be socks...

Posted by: Sarah at August 17, 2005 4:01 PM

That shawl appeals to both my frugal side (one skein!) and my perfectionist side (the phrase "block severely" just makes me purr), aside from being just plain lovely.

Glad you're all getting nicely reaquainted, and that the house is still standing.

Posted by: Kathy at August 17, 2005 4:02 PM

I dunno I think the arse has that sat and knit look due to the pants..
and if you don't want us looking at it then crop your photo!!

The shawl looks great.. you sure are an addict! Let's see what is Steph knitting next? socks or a shawl? heheh you need to branch out lady!!

Posted by: Denise at August 17, 2005 4:06 PM

Another lovely bit of lace, and such a steal at one ball of wool. What's not to like about that! I think your pants may be a bit too big - may be time to go shopping again! Or just send them off to have Mr. Washie take care of them. Glad you're home and the world has righted itself again.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 17, 2005 4:07 PM

oh, yes please on the blocking advice! I'm working on a baby blanket with lace stitches in it which I'll (hopefully) be blocking within the next two weeks, and since it's wider than my available styrofoam sheet and the first time I'll be blocking anything with lacy bits, I'm not entirely sure how to do it.

Totally unfair, btw, that your arse gets smaller while you sit and knit, and mine, while sitting and knitting has been getting bigger and wider by the damn day...

Posted by: Rachel H at August 17, 2005 4:13 PM

It's not your arse. It's your trousers. They're too big for your arse. You need to try a different cut, or something. Or stick to skirts. They dont'cause issues.

Posted by: valentina at August 17, 2005 4:23 PM

Now *THAT* is a one skein wonder.

And I agree with Valentina -- you need better fitting pants!

Posted by: kelly at August 17, 2005 4:26 PM

I agree with the last comment--your pants are too long in the rise. I'm short waisted too, and it's so terrible right now while I'm pregnant and suddenly can't buy 'petite' clothes. Don't they realize that short gals get pregnant too?!
Love the shawl. I'd like to make that, but I'm not a shawl person. For my first adventure I might try a stole (don't see the reason for the little point on a triangle shawl), but I do really love the geometry of yours...I'm not a frou-frou gal. Got any suggestions for non-frilly shawls/stoles?

Posted by: Tracy at August 17, 2005 4:30 PM

Love the scarf/shawl!!! In fact the weather has been so strange it fried my radio and I had to send it in for repair. Glad to see it has not been sooo hot too hot for you to knit!

Posted by: Loretta at August 17, 2005 4:39 PM

Yeah...its not your butt, its the pants. Of course I have just the opposite problem (no sagging, lots of pulling). Anyhow, if you want to keep the pants but worried about the fit, you could go for some of these:

BTW, the shawl is beautiful. One skein designs are the best, especially when they turn out so gorgeous.

Posted by: Teresa at August 17, 2005 4:40 PM

Great shawl. Lovely pattern.
Your pants appear to have stretched a bitor maybe you've lost weight. Maybe a hot date with Mr Washie will bring them down to size?

Posted by: Lynne S of Oz at August 17, 2005 4:50 PM

I know I'm gay and all, but I'm still a pretty good judge of these things, and there's not a darn thing wrong with your tuchus.

I like the idea of you severely blocking a shawl. I like to think that when you do it, you transform into a sort of Avenging Angel of Knitting, wielding flaming blocking pins and showing no mercy as it cries out in pain.

Maybe you need a t-shirt: Unblocked shawls will be dealt with severely.

Posted by: Franklin at August 17, 2005 4:51 PM

Ok. You've talked me into it. I've got some Fleece artist in a beautiful pewter's languishing in the stash, too beautiful for socks. Can you hear it calling? What a beautiful shawl. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Ann at August 17, 2005 4:57 PM

We have synchronicity, Steph. I'm doing a small triangular shawl as well, but top down and yours seems to be bottom up. Your bottom's fine, by the way.

Knit-as-you-go edging . . . smart idea. On the razor shell lace shawl I'm doing (click on homepage to see) I'm going to have to rip and redo the edging to make it eat the live stitches faster - it was a bit too stretched and I was going to run out of yarn.

Posted by: Leigh Witchel at August 17, 2005 4:58 PM

That's a lovely shawl!

Speaking of Fleece Artist, I have a question for you: What's your favorite source for their yarn? I'm trying to find a retailer through whom to acquire a custom-dyed skein or two of Fleece Artist yarn, and I don't really know where to start.

Posted by: naomi at August 17, 2005 4:59 PM

My copy of the pattern came last week. So glad it stopped kicking your arse and can now ..... complement it? ;-)

Posted by: Cassie at August 17, 2005 5:06 PM

Nuttin' wrong witcher arse, babe; maybe your pants are having a bad hair day.

Mairi et al, try this:

Posted by: Ellen in Conn at August 17, 2005 5:17 PM

Arse is good. Hair, boring.
I miss those wild, carefree days.
And then people wouldn't look at your arse.
Beautiful shawl. Did it hurt much to follow blindly?

Posted by: k at August 17, 2005 5:35 PM

"a feral man" - I love it. When I met my husband, the contents of his "living room" were green plastic lawn furniture and a 35" TV with surround sound. His first Thanksgiving in that apartment he cooked a turkey, put the roasting pan on a big box, put a cooler of beer next to the box and ate.

Posted by: Liz at August 17, 2005 5:36 PM

Shawl is fab, arse is fine too. "Cottaging" must have a totally different meaning in Canadian than it does in UK - not sure whether I should explain, but it is definitely not something you would be happy to let your teenagers do!

Posted by: annie at August 17, 2005 5:44 PM

Whereas, if you were left alone for a week, you'd be sitting on the couch with 900 balls of yarn, a couple of seasons of something on DVD....the wool woman's version of freral.

Posted by: Juno at August 17, 2005 6:44 PM

Why oh why am I not knitting that gorgeous thing and attempting to finish the Edwardian Lace Stole before Saturday instead? Arrrrgh! Looks gorgeous as all of Sivia's patterns do.

Posted by: Angela at August 17, 2005 7:42 PM

Oh, the shawl is quite pretty! Nice to know that there is, in fact, a pattern that uses just a ball.

As for Joe, well, did you expect anything other than what you found? :)

I also have to say that I had never before contemplated the intense end of the blocking spectrum. I hear "block severely", and I picture a grey-hair nun in a strict traditional habit, pulling the shawl to measure it against her knuckle-rapping ruler and fiercely stabbing pins in, all the while lecturing on the topic of pins as they relate to the nails used for crucifixion. Maybe that's just my Catholic upbringing coming through. :)

Posted by: Jena at August 17, 2005 7:59 PM

I don't need to point out the irony of coming home "yarn laden" and yet singing the praises of a shawl that knits from only one skein, do I? :-)

Enjoy! It looks marvy.

Posted by: Colleen at August 17, 2005 8:20 PM

At least he hadn't moved the bed into the living room. Or the refrigerator for that matter.
That is really beautiful. I just became the proud owner of actual sock yarn. The first time I have ever even held any. I have 6 skeins. But before I dive in, I am making hubby some camo socks. It's worsted, and soft, but I can tell it will withstand the manliness. And it sure is going faster than the kneesocks!
Enjoy being back and the well deserved rest.

Posted by: Micky at August 17, 2005 8:52 PM

You need smaller pants.

Gorgeous one-skein beauty,, maybe I could do that with my handspun. Except I don't do triangles. However, Sivia's got a really beautiful stole I'm dying to make...

Posted by: Lee Ann at August 17, 2005 9:20 PM

okay, so last night I asked how weird is it having so many people know so much about you. So today, 47 of us (so far) are talking about your 'arse.' (What arse would that be?) Is 'arse' pronounced like it sounds, by the way? I'm technically a Yankee, raised in Georgia by European parents, now living in Virginia -- it's one of those words I see written but have never heard spoken. My aunt lives in Ontario, but she's off the boat too and may not know ... and, by the way, she reads her email too irregularly to have made the function in London a couple weeks ago. But I would have come.

Am knitting a big clonker wrap thing in garter stitch on size 17 needles, gorgeous hodgepodge of shiny ribbony stuff and mohair and subtle frufru. Delicacy, schmelicacy. I'm just so not in that place. But you inspire me.

Posted by: Tina at August 17, 2005 9:29 PM

Hey Stephanie,
You win the prize - your web site can't be viewed at my school now because of its content. Could it be the word "arse" that is keeping me from reading it at school?
How many knitting blogs get censored because of its content??

Posted by: Cathy at August 17, 2005 10:07 PM

Gorgeous scarf/shawl. Beautiful color.

Posted by: eyeleen at August 17, 2005 10:28 PM

For some reason this entry was blocked by web sensors at work I know why.

I succumbed to your subtle enabling when the Diamond Shawl was last mentioned and it's now sitting happily here with me (along with the "Follow the Leader Faroese Shawl") while I ponder yarn selection....sadly my stash is not as extensive (yet) so I am forced to shop!

Posted by: Annette at August 17, 2005 11:08 PM

Oh, very lovely. And I'm stunned at how fast you finished it. Sure, mine's another repeat (and a half!), but it took more like a month than a week. Sheesh.

And yup, I didn't trust Sivia either on those stitches starting the new diamonds. And I was wrong. And she was right. What a surprise.

Lovely. And Cassie will be so glad to hear that it made a beautiful shawl (I agree, not a scarf) with 350 yards...

Posted by: mamacate at August 17, 2005 11:29 PM

It's not your arse, woman, it's your PANTS.
Didn't you just start that thing? It's TO DIE FOR. Oh, and I like your morning glories.

Posted by: Jacky D at August 17, 2005 11:36 PM

Great shawl. I pass judgement on no one's arse (lest they judge mine!), and I think pumpkiny sock yarn would be lovely done in that shawl! I have yet to successfully do any lace knitting. Perhaps Sivia is the lady I should check out!

Posted by: Alyson at August 18, 2005 12:07 AM

cool scarf/shawl!

Posted by: LauraA at August 18, 2005 12:30 AM

I bet it feels good go be home!! Your shawl is gorgeous! I just may attempt to give it a try :-)

Posted by: Kim at August 18, 2005 7:58 AM

beautiful "scarf"! i love that it was knit up with one skein. and happy (belated) birthday to your daughter! i especially love the other children's comments about their sister. classic!

Posted by: faith at August 18, 2005 10:02 AM

what a lovely shawl..and I have a few skeins of fleece artist lying around ..but can a half zombie like me do one?..I'm going now to get it if there are any left..

Posted by: cara at August 18, 2005 10:23 AM

ok I bought it.That was fun! are you going to the Kitchener fair in Sept?

Posted by: cara at August 18, 2005 10:30 AM

I'm finally over my sulking enough to comment on your blog again, although I'm still upset that I missed you not once but twice on the tour. So anyway, yay, welcome home! I'm sure the cup thing was intnetional - they don't want you to think they can get along without you, you know. Which they can't, but maybe can't admit either.

Posted by: gaile at August 18, 2005 11:27 AM

Sometimes when I go away, even on vacation, I need a vacation from my vacation when I get back home. Going away for work... my gosh, I hope you get loads of relaxing knitting time this week!

Your shawl/scarf is just beautiful... I have one skein of Misti Alpacas Laceweight, and I can just hear this pattern calling my name!

Posted by: Mary-Heather at August 18, 2005 11:37 AM

mmmm, yes. So glad Annie pointed out the language barrier issue over "cottaging". Not a recommended hobby for teenagers generally ;0)

Lovely shawl. Perfectly normal arse. Saggy trousers ? 'fraid so.

Posted by: Heather at August 18, 2005 1:36 PM

Your arse looks very SJP. I think you just wanted to say arse, you've been on tour and good behaviour for a long time.

Posted by: allyson at August 18, 2005 1:44 PM

Beautiful! I've got the pattern coming anyday now.

Posted by: Cara at August 18, 2005 2:22 PM

I ordered that shawl when you first mentioned it while you were on that I see it finished, I can't wait to get home, scour my mail for the pattern, and get started on it. It's gorgeous.

And btw, it's not your arse, it's the pants.

Posted by: Christine at August 18, 2005 4:31 PM

Beautiful shawl and the colorway is just beautiful. I'm sure you are glad to be back home. Hopefully school will start back soon and you'll get back to your regular routine!

Posted by: Wanda at August 18, 2005 6:40 PM

Gorgeous shawl, and there is nothing wrong with your arse. Heh. I love that word.

Posted by: Tonia at August 18, 2005 10:42 PM

That's an absolutely beautiful shawl. And just one skein - wow! Hope things settle back down soon.

Posted by: Amy at August 19, 2005 2:04 PM

What a great color! You must be feeling fall in the air already.

Posted by: Birdsong at August 24, 2005 2:52 PM

I just found this site and I am trying to find which sock yarn was used. I am odering the pattern.

Posted by: Judy Gaffny at September 29, 2005 9:16 AM