Pass the confetti

I’m almost afraid to say it, lest I be punished for being encouraged,

but things are looking up.


Buttons are found.


I’m completely charmed by this wee sweater. I’m also pretty impressed with how much good buttons can make a piece. (The stars also have the advantage of being a little “grippy” to keep the buttons from sliding back through my slightly shoddy buttonholes.) With ordinary buttons this sweater would be cute, but with the little stars it impresses me.

The Whisper scarf is done. The magic of blocking is never going to get old. I can tell.






After..oh, after.




I love this. There were some questions in the comments yesterday about the Cherry Tree Hill Suri Lace. Some knitters had found that the colour was somewhat fugitive, bleeding into the blocking water and onto needles and such. I had my suspicions about it, since when I was winding the yarn I noticed a blue dye stain on my fingers, but there was no dye transfer during the knitting, and the water was completely clear during blocking. (I even used warm water to encourage any unfixed dye to bleed.) Nothing. This yarn seems completely fast to me and I’d use it again. I don’t know that I’d use it for a really big project, since it costs the earth and it’s still against the law to sell one of your kids for yarn money, but for small projects…you can sign me up. I did one extra repeat on the scarf and still had tons left over, easily enough to make it even longer than it is. (It’s 49 X 14 inches.) I even got over my issues with variegated lace, since I think that this yarn is so subtle it doesn’t obscure the lace work. Overall, I’m thrilled, and floating it around the house like fragile wings is a darned good time.

Can I have the parade now?

117 thoughts on “Pass the confetti

  1. What no mention of this being the first day the girls are back in school?
    Sweater is soooo cute. Shawl is beautiful. It’s my birthday today. Want to give the shawl to me?

  2. *tosses small amounts of merino in place of confetti* Because any parade for you should include fiber. *G*
    It’s gorgeous. And I love the buttons on the sweater!

  3. Just beautiful! I love the magic of blocking lace, too; it’s amazing the transformation.
    Cute buttons on the sweater, too.

  4. Have to admit to a little green eyed envy…..all the cool knitting stores you get to visit!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not much on the east side of TO.
    Work looks great. Love the baby sweater and the shawl….beautiful. Congrats definitely in order!!

  5. Oooh, love the baby sweater. Very nice.
    We should work on getting that law changed. Heh.

  6. Well, holy copper-bottomed timpani. Fine, right fine — and longer’s a good idea.
    I wanted to discuss the limitations of blocking strings, specifically parallel 72″ blocking strings before I got them taut enough (lace was 5″ narrower in the middle than on the ends) but it was 4:15 a.m. and you are right, they really are a Good Idea. I was just pushing the envelope. I’m back to being grateful.
    And the wee sweater…excuse me, my consonants are beginning to soften. Wassa iddle sweet… (flees.)

  7. I love the baby sweater. I have looked at a ton of sweaters for a new neice and none have looked just right. Do you remember the pattern you used? I looked back in the arcives and could not see it. I voted in the contest and voted for you!!

  8. That sweater is really yummy, even more so with the stars, yes! Lucky kid. And beautifully displayed on the sunflower fabric(?), too, if I might add.
    That scarf is a huge inspiration to anyone not experienced in lace and blocking!
    I wonder if you have noticed Jane Brocket of
    Yarnstorm’s feud with Cherry Tree Hill? It has a lot to do with runny colours. Just mentioning it.

  9. The star buttons are truly cosmic! Love them…
    If you are ever in Boston, I know just the place for you! Downtown we have a store called Windsor Button that sells an amazing selection of really, really great buttons (as the name would imply). But here’s the kicker: although the name would NOT imply this wonderful fact, it is *also* a yarn store.
    Be still my heart…

  10. Love the sweater, love the buttons, and really love the lace! I have the Whisper Scarves patterns (and a whole lot of other Fiddlesticks patterns), and have the same one on the needles in cream Zephyr. But I think I’ve been reading you too long – it’s been cast aside for a shawl, two socks and a sweater that I had to start yesterday. Is Harlotness contagious?

  11. Beautiful! Both the sweater and the scarf! Buttons and blocking makes such a difference.:D Congrats! Parade on! Betcha don’t know what to do with yourself with the girls back in school and you all done. ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. I am awed by your lace work. It’s is so pretty and delicate… and daunting! I don’t know if I’d ever have the guts to try it.
    And the star buttons totally make that sweater. How adorable! Now I want to go make children’s sweaters (for who I do not know but they will be made).

  13. Beautiful work. I am not a “lace person” (more the rugged outdoorsy type), but wow! That was gorgeous. I cannot believe what a difference the blocking made. And I love the colors of both.
    I love a parade. . .

  14. The sweater is darling and the scarf is lovely. Enjoying your books. I see you had Yarnharlot endorsed by Lucy. She just lives basically down the road and around the corner from me … a lovely afternoon stroll. She was at the knitting meeting last week and we had a lovely chat.

  15. Baby Sweater is adorable!! Buttons are fab-o! It took me more than a month and a half to find the “right” buttons for my first sweater. With the right buttons, you can turn an OK sweater into something fabulous. With the wrong ones, you get that – “I saw the same sweater at Wal-mart” thing.

  16. Of course you can have a parade! Take your pick – Macy’s, Rose Bowl, which one? Now humming, 76 trombones led the big parade . . .

  17. Buttons make the sweater. Blocking makes the scarf. Steph gets a parade. Wahoo!
    Ellen is right about Windsor Button.

  18. Beautiful sweater and lace. Is the sweater for one of the tinks? I was expecting a post about how quiet the house is with the kids back at school. My sisters went back yesterday after being off for two weeks.

  19. Oh my! The sweater is adorable!! And you’re right, the stars just MAKE it!!
    And the scarf, *gasp* Gorgeous! Love the yarn, love the pattern. Dainty, fluttery, beautiful.

  20. Not only can you have the parade, you can be the Grand Marshall, the Lead Majorette and the Drum Major all in one!
    Love the baby sweater. Must go back and look that one up, was it a fast knit? We have a friend who just had a baby boy, that would be perfect.
    Once again, you have made me feel like Homer Simpson – “mmmmm, lace”

  21. That scarf is beautiful! And is that a blocking wire I see before me? For some reason I thought you were not of the blocking wire persuasion…

  22. Love the sweater! The buttons are wondeful! And the scarf is just lovely. One of these days I will get the nerve to try my hand at lace. If I keep reading your blog, I doubt it will take much longer! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I’m not much of one for variegated yarn, but this I like. It’s so subtle. The piece has depth but the lacework is still the star of the show. Cherry Tree Hill ought to requisition the scarf to show off the yarn.

  24. Parade away!! Lovely lovely! (Just because I cannot knit, does not mean I cannot appreciate!) Adorable swweater and beautiful scarf!

  25. Loverly. I shall go and purchase a baton forthwith for much twirling in your honour. And after a few drinks, perhaps I’ll come and march up and down your street with it for you.

  26. The baby sweater is absolutely adorable… I love the star buttons. As always, your lace makes me want to make some of my own, but alas, the queue is currently full up with promised worsted and sock yarn projects.

  27. the sweater is very cute and i like buttons.
    the lace work as always amazes me.
    beautiful just beautiful
    and i think i see the color guard and drum major coming up the street now…

  28. The right button does indeed take a lovely item and make it spectacular. Great choice!
    Lace… it’s good that you are out there to trumpet the miracle of blocking lace. I’ve been working on my first lace shawl (called Pacific Northwest) in a KnitPicks laceweight alpaca, and despairing of it ever looking like anything but a pot scrubber. You’ve given me hope that blocking will miraculously make it beautiful.
    Instead of ticker-tape for you parade, we should use yarn.

  29. Of course you can have a parade… we’ll all knit little roses for your float (acrylic, so they won’t run in the rain, of course) and toss a years worth of yarn ends, all cut up into confetti… we’ll wear our hand knit (or crocheted–can’t be craft snobs!) scarves and hats and stadium blankets and wave fringed banners of casherino intarsia that sing your praises: ALL HAIL THE YARN HARLOT, WE COULDN’T BE INSPIRED WITHOUT HER.
    (Hey…I know I have deserved such a thing when my finished objects are complete:-)

  30. Throwing confetti! What’s a parade without confetti or ticker tape? (No, I’m not that old, I just really really liked the whole idea when my grandmother used to tell about them…)

  31. Of course you can have a parade! Should we all throw thrums about? After all, you need to take a break before tackling a few more of those projects that may be lurking in the stash!

  32. Before I started reading the post I was thinking, wow, those buttons really make the sweater! They’re so festive!
    I was also thinking (again), I can’t believe the Harlot and I have the same sunflower blanket. Every time I see it, I am amused.
    Everybody loves a parade.

  33. Wonderful FOs!
    By the way, that’s either one mighty small baby sweater, or it’s lying on a tablecloth/bedspread that has a mighty big flower print on it!

  34. You know… If you sent your kiddos to the homes of influential government leaders for the next few long breaks from school you could probably get that law about selling your children for yarn changed. They’d all have to go to the same home at the same time, though, just to ensure the effectiveness of the lobbying. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I have a 40 hour a week job when school’s out. ๐Ÿ™‚ My kiddos are wonderful! I wouldn’t take anything for them, but sometimes the house is really small…

  35. Oh, that scarf is a treat for the eyes! I share your general distaste for lace done with variegated yarns, but you’re right, a very subtly variegated yarn can yield surprisingly nice results.

  36. Steph, the finished items are glorious. I agree — there should be a law permitting the selling of offspring to purchase yarn. Perhaps we could introduce that concept to the politicians in the throes of their current election campaign? And, as a final comment — isn’t the quiet wonderful after the kidlets head back to school?!

  37. All lovely of course! Now I’m trying to figure out where to sneak in buttons on the pullover I’m finishing for my little guy. Maybe where the trellises cross? Or at each cable crossing? Even better – new sweater!

  38. We’ll all bring ticker tape to the next book tour – which is really about the grandest parade there is! Loved the adorable little sweater even before it met the perfect buttons.

  39. I don’t think you’re tempting fate by reveling in those two beautiful FO’s. That sweater is just ridiculously cute (and yes, the buttons are the proverbial cherry on top). That lace is just breathtaking. Enjoy the quiet (at least until school gets out).

  40. Oh no – star buttons! A year ago my mother made beautiful Aran sweaters for both of my kids. My daughter got a cardigan with lovely round pewter buttons, no problem. My toddler son got a sweater that opens some on one shoulder, with loops and little star buttons. Getting it on and off him, trying to get him to hold STILL long enough to get the star buttons through, is so hard!

  41. I, too, would love to know where you found that baby sweater pattern. And, if it’s your own, WOW, it’s quite lovely.

  42. Well, I hope you’re satisfied, Harlot! Visit my blog for more details.
    In the meantime, nice stuff…let the parade begin! I’ve got a lot of neps to add to the confetti mix!

  43. I think you even deserve a ticker tape parade (although I’m not sure how that differs from confetti, but…). And wine. Don’t forget the wine. Marvelous projects – the sweater, well, it’s just adorable, and the lace is stunning.

  44. I love parades. You deserve one. I’m not a lace “person” either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire the beauty in it. My kids have strict instructions to have a parade at my funeral to the sounds of John Philip Sousa, whom I believe I shall meet in heaven. My father, now quite elderly, used to play the tuba and I was brought up alongside marching bands. My son played the coronet, among other instruments, and he too played in a marching band for several years. As to the baby sweater and the lace shawl, all I can say is: “Oh, yeah, baby!!”

  45. Beautiful, simply beautiful – each piece.
    I love novelty butons for baby sweaters – I’m casting one on today too – if I can get the socks cast off.

  46. your whispering has me breathless!
    sometimes i block a small bit of the lace work in progress just to show the difference
    marie in florida

  47. Hurray! *joins others in tossing little skeins of yarn* I admire anyone who can knit so finely — lord knows I haven’t worked up to it yet! Just found this site — and may I say I love the knitting, I love your blog, I love the book (stuffed into my stocking!) and I’ll be back often!

  48. Heck Yeah, a BIG parade with flaming batons, marching bands, and fire trucks at the end, with our favorite Harlot waving floating, fragile wings of lace from a to-die-for convertible…….
    All the rest of us cheering madly, glasses raised, and equally fabulous parades for us all when a project comes out that well.

  49. The buttons are perfect, but so is the yarn and the pattern. I like that heathery mix.
    There is a blue wave washing through the blogs this week. Blue and more blue. Not complaining, mind you. Just enjoying.

  50. Way to go! I looove a parade! Could someone please tell me what “lys” means? I tried Jeeves and Google but they were no real help (although I did find out how to indicate that I am female: I won’t type it out just in case someone would be offended but think parenthses and peroids).

  51. Gorgeous!! Really Gorgeous!! and such an inspiration! Thank you!..and, where DID you get the pattern for the darling baby sweater???? ‘fess up…inquiring minds wanna know..

  52. I see I’m not the only one who spied the blocking wires. Were they a Christmas gift? How did you like them? Should we all rush out and buy them? Are you feeling a bit like Oprah (who says “I’m reading this” and suddenly it’s on the best seller list)? Which reminds me, I saw your book Yarn Harlot at Borders Books being promoted with a variety of books on a special table near the front of the store and of course in the knitting section as well and thought YEAHOO.

  53. I’m with John Phillip Sousa – that sweater makes me say things like, “Hooda wittle tweety-kins?” That lace is quite beautiful, and I love that you float it like wings around the house. I can almost see it, and I can feel the eye-rolling of the teenagers from here…

  54. You are too, too generous! All those wee ones in Canada wearing your wee sweaters and looking way too cute to be real!!! And, then your friends who are wearing your gorgeous drop dead shawls, looking too gorgeous to be real!! You have realy done your duty for inmproving the image of stodgy Canadians. Oh, did I say Canadians lacked style as a general rule, no, no, no!

  55. Beautiful scarf. Just love the lace. And the baby sweater is so precious. The stars really make it “pop” (no pun intended) and really make it stand out. Such a precious sweater. The mother will be verklempt.

  56. Wait…we’re NOT allowed to sell them for yarn?
    Why don’t people TELL me these things?!?!
    That sweater is officially adorable. And the scarf is absolutely gorgeous beyond all reason. The magic of blocking is truly all-powerful, as is your talent with two sticks and a bit of string.

  57. Yay! The little sweater is really cute. Great job!
    Is that made from Philosopher’s Wool? Or maybe Briggs and Little? The yarn looks familiar, that’s why I ask.
    The lace turned out great! I just finished Whisper Scarf #2, using Alchemy Yarn Works Haiku (lace mohair/silk combo). Very nice. Enough on the skein to make either scarf, but not to add extra repeats. Lettuce Knits has the yarn – I couldn’t resit!

  58. Oh, lovely. That pattern has been aging in my stash for about six months. I may have to break it out, but need to FINISH a few things first.
    Love the sweater too, and star buttons are completely my thang for baby sweaters.
    Yummy! Thanks for the fab slide show.

  59. I just LOVE that little sweater, there’s something about stars, particularly stars with either navy or purple. I like stars and purple myself, very Dumbledore-ish. But yes, cute sweater. And even for die-hard traditionalists, the navy is “masculine” but the stars could let it be “feminine” enough, although I think it’s cutely unisex anyway.

  60. (singing) I… a parade!!!
    How DO you finish so many things so quickly?
    Love the baby sweater….AND the buttons. Perhaps in a pink with tiny heart ones for a girl?
    Great knitting…beautiful FO’s!

  61. Love the sweater. Can you share any info on where the pattern can be found? Enjoy your parade!

  62. The baby sweater is adorable – the buttons do make it, I agree.
    I’m still amazed at blocking magic. Those pictures illustrate it perfectly. Lovely!

  63. Yes, you should get a parade complete with huge floats shaped like happy little sheep. Happy little sheep wearing knit sweaters of course. (since they would be shorn and therefore a bit chilly) None of that plain stitch pullover stuff either. Heavily cabled ganseys are in order.
    Love the sweater. There is something about baby clothes, isn’t there? Especially little handknit baby clothes; so sweet.
    The lace is gorgeous as usual. The before and after difference is quite remarkable. You do good work.

  64. I’d love the pattern for that cute baby sweater with the star buttons, any chance of getting it or pushing me in the right direction of where I can find it? And also I see you have an Ashford wheel, so do I. I’ve been spinning for over 30 years now and still enjoy the calmness it affords me.

  65. Gorgeous. Every time I think I might have the courage to try lace, I see something like that and it scares me off. I’d mess it up. I can’t even do a sweater back or sock without dropping a critical stitch somewhere. At least in those I can *hide* it. With lace, not so much. But I’ve got 1000 yards of simply gorgeous TwinkleToes in Coffeecup shades, and it’s telling me it wants to be something lacy. Yes, I know it’s sock yarn. It doesn’t. It wants to be something lacy.
    Something like that maybe …
    Except without all the … lace … O_O

  66. That sweater is so freaking adorable! The stars are perfect! And I love the lace. I’m still a little too freaked out by it to try, but I love it.

  67. (writing after a long day at work. yes, work. last year I was a stay-at-home mom and this year work has sneaked up on me and made a big dent in my knitting and blog reading time).
    Anyhow, I don’t know about you, but it always amazes me when someone admires the buttons more than the hand-knit sweater they are sewn on. I almost hate to get nice buttons, but who can resist?
    Shawl is to die for – meaning I bet it would kill me to try and knit something that ethereal. Kuddos, m’dear.

  68. What a charming sweater! And the buttons are heavenly! I also appreciate your comment about Cherry Hill Farms lace yarn… Perhaps there was a single batch what was not ‘set’ that faded poor YarnStorm’s socks. I’m thinking a little vinegar in the rinse water might not hurt.

  69. Even unblocked the picture yesterday sent me straight to a site to buy the Whisper Scarves pattern to to a couple of skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Night to make the oval one. Your beautiful blocked result today just makes me anxious for the mail to come (although I still have one Christmas present to finish, the sweater for my husband, the one for my son, my own sweater(s), …) Cheers — I’m a latecomer to the blog and I just enjoy my surreptitious visit every day during work to admire and (often) giggle.

  70. Beautiful! The light shining through your lace work is just lovely. Almost makes me want to consider it as a window treatment (making lace, I mean, not your scarf in particular.) But then reality sets in, and the cats and the toddlers….

  71. I’ll throw in a Mardi Gras krewe, a Pride wagon full of pretty bois, and a bevy of wee ones from the Portland Rose Festival Children’s Parade. Whee!
    I love blocking lace. It is so magical. Nice work, Steph.

  72. That shawl is absolutely gorgeous. Interesting overall shape. I tried lace weight yarn but found it too difficult to start with. The first shawl I made, having been inspired by your efforts oh Goddess of the Shawl, was out of Opal Sock yarn. It was a great way to start working with lace patterns. You can frog sock yarn repeatedly without breaking it down. Since then I’ve gone down to fingering weight yarn. Suri Alpaca is gorgeous but won’t take a lot of frogging. I thought about spinning two skeins of lace weight together as opposed to just knitting with two strands. Maybe I should just wind two strands together first. Any opinions out there?
    One thing is sure. No matter how good you are, don’t get cocky. Run a thread every repeat in case you do have to frog. Nothing will tempt the forces of doom more than confidence and lace knitting.

  73. As a former drum major, I will gladly lead your parade. The sweater is adorable, I’ve also learned that great buttons can completely take a sweater from nice to wow! And wow, wow wow, your shawl is a knock-out! I’ve always wanted to do some lace knitting and every time I see one of your great shawls, the urge grows.

  74. That’s compleatly beautiful! I’m glad you had a good experiance with CTH, since there seems to be issues in Blogland with it. The colors are beautiful, but I would have been suspicious of bleeding if my hands had turned blue while winding!

  75. Your work is beautiful as always! My feeling about those cute buttons though — they shouldn’t be the first thing noticed; the sweater should be. I knit a really cute kid sweater once and the thank you was “what a cute button”. Hmmm.

  76. You rock … your books rock and I can’t wait to meet you at either the Sheep and Wool Festival and/or Stitches East. Baltimore is a mere 30 minutes from me!! The baby sweater is adorable and any baby not thrilled to wear it is not worth his/her drool.
    Betty of Maryland

  77. You are so right…buttons can really put the “OOOhhhhh…AAAhhhhh” into a piece. The stars are perfect for that sweater.
    I am a fairly new reader to your BLOG and no matter how bleak my day may seem, your entries have me laughing out loud and smiling again!!!

  78. You’re absolutely correct, blocking lace is magic and those little star buttons are the perfect finishing touch on the sweater! As always your knits look great. ๐Ÿ™‚

  79. Hey Thanks for stopping by!!! You are a great inspiration and I am fascinated with unusual and magical processes. You also make me want to try lace…damn…will it ever end?

  80. OK, I admit it. The sweaters are beautiful, but…well they’re sweaters. And the baby ones are cute, adorable, but …well, they’re sweaters, too. Fine, wonderful, useful. BUT the scarf is poetry. It’s amazing, a Victorian lady turned vamp, a sophisticated goth gurrl. The yarn (now that yarn is symphonic all by itself-I would be proud if I were the spinner) with the intricate patterning of interlocking hued fibers…Alas, I am in love. Form, function, and art meet in a knitter’s hands.

  81. Loved the baby sweater. I noticed a couple of posts that asked for pattern information. I’ll 2nd, 3rd or 100th that! Thank you!

  82. Wow it always astounds me how you get these projects done so fast. I suppose it takes lots and lots of practice. You are the knitting queen ๐Ÿ™‚

  83. Oooh, aaah. Baby sweaters are just so darn cute. And the scarf is lovely – delicate like a spiders web. Beautiful!

  84. I love the Baby sweater!!! Is this a pattern that can be purchased? Or is it one of your own? I would love to make this sweater for a Grandchild!!
    Happy Knitting!!

  85. The baby sweater is beautiful!
    I was having a bit of a dilemma about a baby sweater I made: I was thinking about using snaps (because babies tend to like chewing) and now I’m thinking that buttons might not be so bad after all!
    Any thoughts on this?

  86. Yo! There’s bunches of us that don’t know where to begin looking for the baby sweater pattern… Please give a hint! If you tell me where you found it/who distributes it, I’ll even mail all the people on this comment section who wanted it!
    Glad you got some rest.
    Amazed at the Fair Isle corrections.

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