August 15, 2006

Meg is 15!

Today is Megan's 15th birthday, and she continues to be a lovely, engaging young knitter woman. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Megan for not doing anything too horrible during the year she was 14...and especially for not doing anything that involved a fire truck, police station or the words "safe house". Keep it up kid, and I'll keep making the birthday waffles.


We have a tradition that the birthday person in the family plans the menu for all three meals of their day. I've been absolutely flabbergasted to discover that even when they can have anything at all, the girls still plan really well balanced meals. Meg's dinner tonight is rice, mushroom sauce and those yummy fake meatballs from The President, (I really feel affection for him, don't you?) salad with goat cheese, balsamic and pine nuts, and apple pie with sharp cheddar.

When I was Meg's age I think I chose a big plate of sauteed mushrooms. Full stop. (That was a great dinner.)

Although today is Tuesday (and tuesdays are for spinning) it rained too much yesterday for the fleece to dry. Today is warm and sunny, but too windy to put the fleece outside, so I guess it will wait for another 24 hours before I haul out the drumcarder. (Really, I need to wash more anyway. I'll fulfill my spinning obligation by washing fleece. I do it on the stove...I'll show you how in an upcoming blog if you want. It's gross, but effective.)



My shropshire shawl is amusing me to no end. I've worked three repeats, and by my reckoning (and without figuring the math for getting my chosen 50 row border to fit) I think I need seven. According to the shawl calculator (found on Jessica's blog in the sidebar), this means I'm about 14% done.

14%? This could take a little longer than I thought.

Shawl Q&A

Mary Asked what needles I'm knitting this on...


3mm Ebony Holtz & Stein circulars. I like them, since they are
a) Black. Easy to see white yarn on black needles.
b) Pointy enough. I would wish for pointier, but I always do.
c) Wood. Gives a little bit of grip for manipulating wee yarn.
d) Have a reasonably smooth join, though I still find that the yarn catches on the join as I try to pull it back over on the purl side. (Someday I will do a scientific study about why "knit-facing" mounted stitches slide nicely over even the most craptastic of joins, but "purl-mounted" stitches resist the charms of even the nicest of needles. Anybody else notice this?)

Barbara A.M. asks:

All that laceweight yarn is inspiring me to try some myself. Any advice to someone trying their first laceweight project? Should I make your snowdrop shawl? Is there a classic, laceweight yarn that every knitter should use in at least one project? I am wide open to suggestions from those who have gone before!

I actually wouldn't suggest my snowdrop shawl for a beginner, not because it isn't easy...but because the directions are a little "quick and dirty". I'd suggest starting with any of the shawls or scarves from Fiddlesticks Knitting. Dorothy's charts and instructions are impeccable, and several of her designs (like Lotus Blossom or the Triple Mohair Triangle) are written for larger gauge yarns, so you don't have to get used to lace and tiny yarn all at once. Really, I don't think lace is difficult, it's mostly just yarn-overs and knit two togethers, it's keeping track of where you are that takes learning. My solution involves moving post-it notes around the chart.

WavyBrains (love that) asks:

What ball winder do you use/recomend for these herculean tasks?

I've got me a standard issue ball winder. The gears on it are starting to go, but it's served me nobly for many years. The design limits the ball size, some huge skeins (like the shropshire) need to be broken down into smaller balls, but I don't mind, especially with lace, when a large ball is more likely to result in a tangled ball.
Some knitters swear by nostepinnes, but when it comes to winding 3000m of yarn (that's 3km!) there's no way I'm doing it by hand. I want to be able to use my hands when I'm done.

Mardi asks:

I'm knitting a baby blanket in the Lorina Shell stitch pattern, and have resorted to knitting off my #2 needle onto a #5 just before the row that says "knit 4 stitches together" because otherwise one ends up paralyzed after attempting to work the needle through the 4 frickin' stitches umpteen times over. Anyone else out there ever have this sort of problem??

Yes. I myself work multi-knit togethers using a complex system requiring a decent Shiraz, a very pointy needle, isolation and curse words. You don't want to know what "PURL 4 together" takes.

Other solutions welcome.

Filambulle says:

That whole lace thing is addictive, isn't it?

Yes. Next question?

Tour update:

Jayme-the-still-seems-pretty-wonderful-publicist who is completely in charge of where/when/why I go places has sent me some updates for the tour page.

Sept. 10th I'll be at Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire, WI at 6pm

Saturday, September 16th I'll be at the Park Slope Barnes and Noble in Brooklyn at 7:30.

Sunday, September 17th I'm going to the Knit Out in Union Square
(New York, New York ) from 11am to 5pm

....and there's one change. The Powells event in Portland is at Powell's Books for Home and Garden, 3747 Southeast Hawthorne Blvd, not at the other store.

I'll update the tour page shortly, but for now, I'm off to bake birthday pie.

Posted by Stephanie at August 15, 2006 1:14 PM