Just me and my pins

It is a dim and dreary day here in Toronto, really too dark to take excellent pictures, which is a shame, because I finished the Peacock Feathers shawl, and my relief is just about overwhelming, since the crawl to the finish line on this one was pretty brutal. At the end of the shawl there were 495 stitches on the needle. Purling back across the wrong side rows when you’re not doing any patterning holds my attention about as well as watching tea steep, and then just when you’re ready to congratulate yourself for sticking to the knitting and finishing the thing up… you’ve got the cast off.


495 stitches, all of which have to be gathered into groups of three, joined by crochet chains. Now, many of you know of my deep personal struggle with crochet. I do it when I have to, but the loop and hook path is not one that fits for me, and it shows in my work, and in my mood while I do it. This cast off sure is pretty, but while I was making all 165 of those little loops, the work moved with all the speed of a teenager’s thoughts on separating your dedicates from towels in the laundry. I could have washed my entire kitchen floor with a toothbrush. I could have served a fried rice buffet with only tweezers as utensils. It. Was. Slow.


Hours, that took (and I made it worse by watching the news while I did it, and listening to politicians talk about the bailout may have actually made time move backwards. Has anybody else noticed that they aren’t really saying anything?) but when I finally finished it was like being given a great present. It was one of those things that went on for so long that when you’re finally finished you’re almost surprised when it’s finally over? Just when you’ve accepted that you’re going to be doing a crochet cast off for the rest of your life and have resigned yourself to that being the total scope of your existence and not fighting it at all anymore… suddenly there are no more stitches on the needle and the work just sits there being all done.


I’m so happy I could eat it. It’s finished, and this shawl is two things. Beautiful, and HUGE.

I have no idea where I’m going to block it…or where I’m going to find 165 pins for all those loops.

Maybe if I move the table…

I wonder what I should knit now? I need something to take on tour. I’m thinking more lace, although I’m also pretty interested in scarves right now, having noticed while I was in Europe that this whole accessory thing might be part of the reason that they all are wearing outfits and I am only wearing clothes. Maybe lace scarf? Suggestions?

I’ll be upstairs with all my pins.

(PS. Many thanks to those of you who emailed Joe and I with congratulations. It is indeed two years today since we “formalized our arrangement” and it’s still nothing short of wonderful, although he does have a disturbingly laissez faire attitude about where the dishes go in the cupboards, but today is hardly the day to dwell on that. Happy Anniversary Honey.)

209 thoughts on “Just me and my pins

  1. You have a gorgeous shawl!! And the size will be
    a perfect cocoon of beauty. You need blocking wires. They will make short work of the process.
    Just thread the wires through the 165 loops and
    put a few pins to anchor it and Voila!! (or Viola if you prefer!!) The blocking wires even come in
    curvy ones so they go around the bottom. I use interlocking foam mats to pin it onto, and you can make the area as big as you want. Rona sells them individually now, in primary colours on one
    side, black on the other. If there’s no space large enough in your house, on a nice day you
    could take it into the front or back yard. Or
    fold the shawl–that works too.
    Congratulations on a fine job.
    (I couldn’t knit in court yesterday because security thought my 4mm circs were capable of being weapons)

  2. Congratulations!
    My mother once presented my Dad with a sweater sleeve one Christmas, the front the next year, and (after a 7 year hiatus) finally the finished object. It was a plain mushroom-beige stockingette sweater, and my dad is tall, so it was BIG. I’m sure this contributed to the slowness.
    You know where I’m going with this…but I’m afraid to ask…how’s the Gansey?
    I’m avoiding telling my History geek of a Scottish-heritage husband about these traditional sweaters, he’ll get it into his head that he NEEDS one, and I’m not sure I’m up to producing one for a 44′ chest.

  3. I just made “Branching out” (Knitty Spring ’05) – and am wearing it currently. It helps it was made in some Handmaiden silk – but a good, interesting, not to boring scarf pattern.

  4. Congrats on finishing the shawl and on your anniversary. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mine was last week, but it was only 1 year, so you are totally winning at that game. As for scarves, I’m currently obsessed with Veronik Avery’s Lace Ribbon Scarf from the Spring ’08 Knitty. So pretty and stylish! Best of luck, can’t wait to see what you make next.

  5. Congratulations on the shawl! I can’t wait to see it blocked. Your perseverance will be greatly rewarded, methinks.

  6. I had offered space in my new place (4 days old) but I filled it with a long lace scarf, a full sized shawl, and a blanket (2 years in the making). All at the same time.
    The shawl is lovely – I can’t wait to see it blocked!
    p.s. Congratulations on 2 years!

  7. Beautiful,just beautiful!! What an accomplishment-especially staying awake through that edging and cast off!!! Long cast offs make me snore.
    Congrats on 2 years of wedded bliss-but can’t you count all the previous years?? Seems a shame to just drop them.
    I just hope I can still afford yarn after the politicians are through with us-the DOW is dropping so fast it’s like a ride at Cedar Point and I guess we should have known that this crew had one final giant screw up left before they leave the Northern Hemisphere in a shambles.
    What next??

  8. Addendum– I have no particular suggestions for a travel project, but can a fan request that you sometime come out to Boulder Colorado? Before I go to study in Athens? Pretty please?

  9. gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!! and well worth the dullness of 495 stitches to cast off.
    congrats on your anniversary, wrap yourself and the Joe in the shawl and ignore the kids for a while.

  10. Congratulations on finishing! I can’t believe how fast you got done! I just finished my shortened version of the peacock feathers shawl at 1:00 Saturday morning (Eastern time), and gave it to the bride at 10:00 in the morning for her wedding that afternoon. It was beautiful, she was beautiful, and I’m taking a break from lace knitting for quite awhile, I think. (Even the shorter version, without the final two long feathers or the border was about 4 feet long from center to tip.)

  11. Regarding yesterdays post, I found this today:
    “Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth.” Madeleine L’Engle
    Can’t wait to see the shawl blocked in all it’s glory.
    Oh, and Happy Anniversary!

  12. The shawl is absolutely georgous! I don’t I would have even had the patience to get half way through the whole thing. Nice job, even on the crochet. Oh, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  13. Beautiful! Congratulations on surviving the cast off. I can’t wait to see it blocked. Have you considered the roof?
    And congratulations on your anniversary! [It’s an anniversary for me, too. Today is the 10th anniversary of my 29th birthday. One of these days, I’m really going to have to turn 30. :)]

  14. Evelyn Clark’s Seafoam Lace scarf is a thing of beauty:
    The pattern kindly lists yardage requirements in weights from lace all the way through worsted. I did the triangular shawl version of this from Spin-Off, and I have to say the stitch pattern is a perfect balance of simple/compelling (i.e. good travel knitting, but not a snoozefest).

  15. Will we get to see a pic of you wearing the shawl? I’m dying from the suspense of wondering whether it will actually trail behind you on the floor.
    Over a month ago I started a sweater. The back is now up to the armholes. The only way I get closure is by watching you finish things.

  16. Happy Anniversary! Perhaps, *don’t* block the shawl on your bed….
    I enjoyed your post yesterday, and need to share your letter to Mr Harper with my musician husband. Thanks for the Canadian politics primer; I got the general idea, but the fine points had eluded me until I got to your addendum.

  17. Happy Anniversary!! Wine and roses are in order!
    And congratulations on finishing the shawl. You looking for the next thing? I offer these:
    Icharus Shawl (Best of Interweave Knits); Sunsport Shawl (purchased from School Products, NYC); and Baltic Sea Stole by Faina Latoutchia (for Fiber Trends).
    All of them are lovely patterns.

  18. Can’t wait to see it blocked.
    I just started knitting the Gerda Stole from Ravelry.
    Looking good so far, but if you check it out it has an error on line 47 in the arms of the snowflake. (easy to see when you look at both sides)
    Needs fine yarn.

  19. “Has anybody else noticed that they aren’t really saying anything?” Isn’t that the definition of politics?
    Happy Anniversary! I’m not sure you get to celebrate, though, until you are actually together for two years. You have to subtract all the time you were gallivanting about with the sock! VBG!

  20. The shawl is beautiful, and the best part is that you are finished in remarkable time!
    Happy Anniversary too. It is lovely that the two of you are very happy together. I think all of us knitters who have husbands/partners who allow us indulge our compulsion/passion for knitting are to be commended. This of course does not take into account the fact that they are on the recieving end of some very nice hand knitted items…

  21. “…and listening to politicians talk about the bailout may have actually made time move backwards. Has anybody else noticed that they aren’t really saying anything?”
    Not to sound toooo cynical, but how long has it been since you’ve heard a politician actually say anything about anything???
    The shawl is beautiful! Hope you have a happy anniversary.

  22. I am finishing the Hemlock Ring blanket. Thought I’d finish it last night as I only had one row then the edging. Ahem. While I was non-progressing I did the math (or maths as you say up nord). For every one stitch I was binding off, I was doing 5–and there was lots of turning the whole mess around several times going on at the same time. So the 392 stitches which already sounded like a lot suddenly became 1,960. Oh. Maybe I’ll finish it tonight instead.

  23. As someone who has now been married (if only legally in 3 states) for 2 weeks today, I bid you Congratulations! As a friend told me on our wedding day – may your road be only rough enough to make you appreciate the general smoothness. It’s an odd blessing, but somehow apt.

  24. In no particular order: 1) congrats to you and Joe!, 2) the shawl is gorgeous, can’t wait to see it blocked, 3) take a look at Ann Hanson’s Tudor Grace lace scarf, and 4) I started reading your new book last night, and it’s wonderful!
    You know that New Yorker cartoon showing “the world without Mozart?” It’s a barren landscape, as I recall, full of rocks and dead trees. The caption could as easily read, “The world without Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.”

  25. The shawl is beautiful, a real work of art and love.
    The “bail out” I am too cynical to want to talk about it. How could our politicians and all of the executives who bailed with thier muliti million dollar “retirement/performance” packages not know what was going on.
    on a brighter note….HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  26. Happy Anniversary!
    I’ve been bitten by the (decorative) scarf bug too. One super-simple one that shows off variegated hand-spun really well is the Montego Bay Scarf from Summer 2007 IK. I’ve made 3 – and if they each take me only a few days, you could probably get one done in a plane ride. I’ve got them on Ravelry if you want to take a look (noblograchel). Other more lacy (but still simple) ones I like are Haruha, Cream of Spinach (Ravelry) and Waves of Grain (newest Knitty).

  27. Happy anniversary!
    And congrats on the finished shawl. It’s gorgeous!
    I second the “Branching Out” suggestion. I’ve always loved that scarf. One of these days I’ll get around to knitting it.
    Then there’s “Seascape” from this Summer’s Knitty. It would lovely in your favorite green. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. It’s beautiful! As for what to knit next, I just saw a version of Wisp (Knitty) done in sock yarn and it’s lovely. I’m thinking of making one in red.

  29. The shawl looks gorgeous as is, I imagine it will be even more beautiful once you have blocked it. Learning there is some sort of scary crochet related bind off does make me doubt the wisdom of having this particular shawl in my queue though.
    As for scarves, I expect you’ve already had this suggestion more than once but Anne Hanson aka Knitspot has a whole series of lovely little scarf patterns. And she sure looks elegant when she models them. Course she looks elegant in jeans and a t-shirt, as do you, and I don’t so for me that’s not as hopeful a sign as it is for you.

  30. Congratulations! If you two are half as happy as my DH and I are you are very lucky. Maybe you could work on the gansey for your anniversary? Can’t wait to see the shawl blocked. It’s already a stunner.

  31. i am loving the lace ribbons scarf by veronique avery from knitty a couple of issues ago. easy and lovely. of course i using AMAZING yarn-Sundara’s fingering silky merino in a lovely peachy colorway-which helps.

  32. You know, I think that unfinished gansey is a teeny tiny part of the glue that holds you and Joe together. I’m not gonna nag you about it any more. Congratulations on your anniversary.
    The “falling water” lace scarf is pretty but I’d find a different edging than garter stitch. One advantage is that the pattern is memorizable, ideal for travel knitting.
    It’s funny how the engineer never sees the track until after he’s wrecked the train.

  33. Congratulations! And…Congratulations again! LOL. Happy Anniversary to you and Joe!
    The shawl is absolutely, gloriously stunning, Stephanie. Just beautiful! Wear it with pride! Who cares if it’s huge? Just fold over the top to shorten it a bit, and it’ll be that much warmer. *Way* cool, Steph – take it on tour!
    I bought that pattern, btw, after I saw the link to it a few weeks back, here. I was dismayed at how huge it is, as I am very, very short (4’10.5″/148.59 centimeters), so I’m wondering… ought I to choose cobweb and size 2 needles? ::shudder:: Oh, well – it’ll fit somebody!

  34. Lovely shawl. I can’t wait to find out how you manage to block it.
    I’m currently knitting Faina’s Scarf (the pattern’s from Fiber Trends, by Faina M. Letoutchaia) and its sort of a fun lace scarf project. Although I am rather regretting my decision to knit the thing in black alpaca.

  35. Happy Anniversary!
    And no Mn stop on the tour?!?! Really? I bet the Yarnery would write a new song…
    I’m loving the new book. great job as always.

  36. Happy Anniversary! I get a present today…I just got an email from Amazon. They shipped out what was your book, but will now be mine (my copy of your book, anyway)! I can’t wait to get/read it!

  37. I have neighbours that are 93 and 94 years old and just this past week they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and they live on their own and function VERY well. My wish for you and Joe is to reach this goal. Happy Anniversay. The shawl and yarn is terrific–good luck in finding a blocking place. Apparently E.Z. travelled and knit on a circular shawl– might be a good one for you to do when ” On the road Again”‘ Fried rice with tweezers broke me up , thanks for the chuckle

  38. Happy formalized day to you and Joe. Nothing like it, huh? Well, it’s hard for me to forget, since today is also my birthday. Ha!
    That is indeed a beautiful shawl in beautiful yarn. Enjoy!

  39. Happy anniversary, Stphanie. I just did the ‘formalization’ thing last summer on our 25th anniversary together. And I got a guy who coos and does housework.
    I’ve gotten into scarves a bit in the last couple of years. I do like my Pinnate Shoulder Shawl, if I may so so. It works as shoulder covering or short scarf in the neck of a coat. Also works well with a single skein of hand-painted yarn.
    Other than that, I usually just dig out my stitch dictionaries, play a bit until I find something that works with the yarn, and then go for it.

  40. Happy anniversary! And congratulations on finishing that shawl–it’s gorgeous. Shawls are useful for northern California; it gets warmish in the afternoons, but the mornings and evenings are downright chilly year ’round.

  41. Congratulations to you and Joe.
    The shawl is phenominal.
    I understand “slow”. I’m currently knitting a cardi for my granddaughter with a “bobble” at the bottom of the rib – ahhhhhh – every two stitches I have to knit 7 times in to the next stich and then hook six over the last one. It not only takes forever, but hurts my joints as well. It does look kind of cute though once it’s done. At 7, she’ll hardly appreciate this master feat of patience. I only hope she likes the cardi.
    Ilga Leija and Sivia Harding have some great projects, and the book Knitting New Scarves by Lynne Barr has some interesting scarves – not lacy but definitey different.
    Have fun.
    Janet MF

  42. Yep, it’s the accessories.
    There’s a gorgeous lace scarf pattern on Knitty dot com that uses beads.
    Yep, I’m aware of what I might have started.

  43. Stephanie, your shawl is absolutely lovely. Don’t worry about the size – big shawls also make wonderful “nap blankies”. I use safety pins and my king-size bed to block large things. Just stick the pins down (at an angle) through the loops into the mattress, set up a fan to dry it quickly, and it should be good. It’s best to do this early in the morning, of course, if you’d actually like to sleep in your bed that night. Do you have quilting friends? You could borrow safety pins from them. Congratulations on two years – it’s amazing how fast it becomes 20! All the best!

  44. Congrats on your anniversary! I just finished a shawl (that also works as a scarf) that was designed by Mary Lou Egan at the Yarnery in St Paul, Minnesota. It is called Fir Cone Lace Stole and is lovely and easy to knit as traveling. (Mary Lou was your MC when you last visited our fair city). I gave it to my sister who lives in Alaska and she put it on and wore it for 3 straight days. Good luck with blocking your shawl.

  45. I’ve enjoyed the tiger’s eye scarf. I’ve always thought beads would be beautiful knitted in.
    Happy Two Years!!!

  46. Sorry about that . Here I am suggesting another shawl and you mentioned scarves and there quite a few really nice ones in Victorian Lace Today book the one on page 98 takes my eye –good luck choosing

  47. As far as the next project, you really can’t go wrong with a lace scarf from Fiddlesticks. I know you just finished the Peacock Feathers (stunningly beautiful colors by the way, Dude), but really, have you seen better charts anywhere?
    And for Joe and the laissez faire attitude? It doesn’t improve after 16 years – I don’t think Ian even knows that dishes go INTO the cupboards…

  48. Did you get a new camera? The photo is really nice. It has a glow to it and you were to photograph that dark yarn so the colors show. Really well done.

  49. Congratulations on your finished shawl and your anniversary. Today is our 42nd anniversary and to think no one thought we’d last 42 minutes.

  50. That was a handy reminder – it’s our anniversary on Sunday. I believe it’s the wool one, or maybe the silk. Funnily enough it was that one last year too.
    I ran crochet thread through the loops – you need less pins that way.

  51. The colors and the pattern are so pretty together. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Quite a few people have knit the Shetland Triangle and worn that in a scarf style…

  52. Congrats! It was 19 years ago today that my husband and I “formalized our arrangement”

  53. Oh hey, congratulations. Both on the shawl and your more formal arrangement, both lovely things.
    As for that bailout, they’re not saying anything because nobody, expecially the politicians, knows what the heck it is.

  54. Have you blocked something with crochet loops before? I found that just trying to rely on using the loops to pull it out resulted in really misshapen lace because the loops were so much longer. I’d suggest pinning the shawl out as usual, and then stretching the loops with extra pins beyond that. I would also suggest getting blocking wires, which I sure wished I had when I was blocking out a freaking *chuppah* on the living room floor.

  55. Happy Anniversary and congratulations on finishing that monster, I mean, shawl!
    I’ve always loved the Zeteor shawl (did you know ‘Zeteor’ means ‘tractor’?)and the Shetland Triangle. Something with a simple repeat would be nice to knit while your brain is dribbling out your ears.

  56. Gorgeous shawl, can’t wait to see it blocked!
    Some scarf suggestions:
    Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery
    Waves of Grain by Rosemary Hill (this fall’s Knitty)
    Flutter Scarf or Persephone Scarf by Miriam Felton
    Happy Anniversary!!!

  57. Lace scarf? Knitspot (sorry, don’t know how to make the link but probably you know of her anyway) has several lovely ones…I’ve bought cashmere yarn to make one but just can’t decide which!

  58. Dude, 2 words: blocking wires. But seriously, try Zonta Dressing Wires, they contain different gauges. Nice work, can’t wait to see it blocked.

  59. Congratulations — both for the delicious shawl and the anniversary!
    As for what to knit next…I think Anne Hanson’s Alhambra is quite possibly outfit-making. Lace…check. Scarf…check. ๐Ÿ™‚

  60. I love it! I have made an Icarus from that yarn for my mother…if you are going to be doing a scarf thing, I have a yarn suggestion: Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere. I just found a pretty lace pattern in the Vogue Stictionary (knit purl, vol 1) and started a swatch that I just kept knitting until I got a scarf. Such soft yarn! I love it.

  61. Congratulations on two years of marriage and on completing the marathon cast off.
    The Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery in the Spring 08 Knitty is lovely and would make a beautiful accessory!

  62. Congratulations on the shawl and the wonderful husband! I wish you many more happy years!
    For your next project, there’s a pretty lace scarf at http://www.straw.com/cpy/cpy9612.html
    Kathleen Taylor is making it in variegated handspun, and it almost looks like a teeny version of your shawl (http://kathleen-dakotadreams.blogspot.com/2008/09/ive-got-fever.html) Or maybe you’d like a break from that kind of thing for a while. (At least this doesn’t involve any crochet!)

  63. Isn’t fall a beautiful time of year to formalize one’s arrangements? My husband and I did it 8 years ago tomorrow.
    Happy Shawl. Happy Formalization. Happy.

  64. Beautiful shawl. I am amazed when knitters start beautiful works and actually finish them. I have many projects that just seem to take forever, then I finish a whole bunch of things all at once.
    As a suggestions for a travel project accessory? How about #049 Silk Alpaca Ruffle Scarf from mac&me?

  65. Congrats on your anniversary! Lace scarf suggestion: Jade Sapphire’s Plum Lotus Scarf is fabulous and unusual…

  66. I totally second (or third or whatever) the blocking wires recommendation. It’s approximately 4 billion times easier and less headache inducing than trying to pin each of those loops out. Or failing that, some white cotton thread run through the loops and then pulled tight and pinned a few times. SO, SO much easier. I think I would have poked myself in the eye with the pins had I tried to block each loop out separately.
    Not that that solves your space issue :/

  67. All I can say is, I feel your pain. I have 5 rows to go and the cast off. Durn thing needs to be completed and blocked by Saturday, when I will finally give it to my mom. I’ll leave a comment when it’s finished so you can come over and see my pics.

  68. Lovely shawl — congrats on finishing eventhough it’s way to big for you!
    We haven’t seen a picture of your beautiful white wedding shawl after its completion — would love to see it. Did I miss Joe’s Gansey, or is it hibernating?

  69. Shawl, you and Joe: congrats. Beautiful on both accounts.
    Moving on, as life does, to what you should knit next. I’ve just thought about the very same thing, as I’m going to SOAR/Rhinebeck/Franklin County Fiber Twist/Bolton friends fiber slumber party (you’re invited, by the way, if you wanna hang out with sheep and knit/spin/felt/eat/drink all weekend) over the next month or so and need something to knit.
    First, to hell with all the old WIPs. That’s what January is for.
    Second, if you spent the summer knitting lace and cables, as I did, move on to colorwork. Substitute your own recent projects and do something different.
    Third, portable and not too hard to do whilst laughing, drinking and talking one’s head off. This is the hard one. No fancy charts. No 17 balls of different colors. No difficult cables needing a cable needle, if you’re inclined to lose the cable needle and can’t do a 6×14 cable without said needle.
    Fourth, something you adore.
    Fifth, use yarn from your stash. This means you will feel less guilty when you buy enormous amounts at SOAR/Rhinebeck/etc. This also precludes spinning up an entire fleece by Sunday AM.
    I’m going with a throw of multicolor Manos and dark red Elann wool, stranded colorwork forming a wavy pattern. I have 6 inches done, so far, so good. I need to design what happens after the first 12 inches or so – whirlpools? Celtic swirls? Comets streaking across? I don’t know yet.
    And you?

  70. I suggest Haruha by Mari Muinonen for your next project. I am knitting it in a sage lace weight from Morehouse Farms and am in love with it. I imagine it all drapey and light wrapped stylishly around my neck. Not just for warmth but to make any outfit so chic. N’est pas? It’s an easy knit and I already have a gorgeous blue for the next one.
    It is on Ravelry for free.

  71. I know several other people have mentioned Anne Hanson (Knitspot), but she’s worth repeating. I always have at least one of her projects on my needles. Right now it’s Tudor Grace, but when you mentioned looking for a project I thought of the Oh! Canada Scarf for you. It calls for a DK or sport-weight yarn, not laceweight, which is easier to travel with (for me anyway).
    Whatever you choose, I look forward to seeing it, and you, in California on Saturday!

  72. Forget the crochet hook: knit the chain of stitches, rather like a 1 stitch I-cord, then k3 together.

  73. Happy Anniversary! My anniversary is today also–19 years. My husband and I went out to lunch to celebrate, it’s all we could manage with our busy schedules. Your shawl looks great, I’ve been working on the lace ribbon scarf since August, it’s my first lace pattern and has been fun, but it’s taking me forever…

  74. Yeah… watching too much news these days can really make time crawl. I’m vowing not to watch any today after yesterday…
    Check out some of Anne Hanson’s Little Nothings. They are simple enough for travel I’d think.

  75. Hmm, I’d say go with scarves, for two reasons. One, yes, accessorizing is in (after three years of teenaged clothing, the designers finally wised up and gave us grownup clothes). Two, the winter is supposed to be very cold, and very snowy.
    So, a nice cabled wool scarf (and hat). Or, the other accessory that is in this year is gloves. Lacy gloves, maybe?

  76. Happy Happy Anniversary! Hope your wedding shawl still fits!
    As for accessories, I seem to be climbing aboard (in addition to the ever-growing sock addiction) the fingerless glove craze. The pair I just finished actually won 3rd place at the state fair, and the prize was…get this…yarn! Seriously, does it get any cooler than that? But not just any yarn, oh no, 10 hanks of Cascade Lana D’Oro in this purple heather color. Dude, that’s like 2000 yards!
    Back to accessories…fingerless gloves are great, I think, because, like socks, they can be used to try out a miriad of pattern stitches on a small scale. There’s a fishtail patterned one that’s next on my list, or just go all out and make up your own! Stick a cable in there somewhere. Or some ribbing. I’ve found that the same basic math applies to gloves/mittens as for socks, meaning that if I’m using the same yarn, I cast on the same # of stitches for gloves as I would for socks. Approximately. Ribbing helps, or if you did lots of cabling, you might need more.
    But 2 favorite scarf patterns are the Go To Scarf, which is just mistake rib, and the Irish Hiking Scarf. You can find them on Ravelry, and both are great fake-outs, in that they look amazing and wonderful like you spent days and days and days, but in reality are pretty fast knits.
    I can’t wait to see what you’re working on when you come to KANSAS CITY! Did you do that just because I politely requested? Thought so. Thanks.

  77. What about the Lacy Scarf in the new Debbie Bliss magazine? You only need to cast on 25 stitches for that, so should only take you a 20th of the time it took to do the Peacock Shawl! It looks nice too.

  78. Ya know….you could wear the shawl when you guys go out to celebrate your anniversary. A romantic shawl for a romantic dinner….

  79. I’ve got big plans for the Lace Ribbon Scarf myself. I’m also contemplating launching into an unhealthy obsession with cowls, starting with Amy’s Abby.

  80. I keep clicking for the blocking pics.. I leave for a convention in Dallas in the morning- HURRY up already– I wanna see the pretty!
    ps- i just ripped out a lace ribbon scarf- and am starting it over for the plane trip– I changed the yarn and it was too wide- re-jiggered the nmbers and casting on again as I type—

  81. Happy Anniversary! and the shawl looks lovely – great color combo.
    I am busy reading a book I received today – Free Range Knitter. I just read about Helen – lovely essay and then skipped to Ken (I would probably stare too!)
    I had planned to start and read it properly, but opening to random essays is a such a treat! Great Job!!
    Good luck on your book tour!

  82. Congratulations on the shawl. It’s beautiful and I’m sure it will be more beautiful once it’s blocked. And Happy Anniversary!!! Seeing all these completed lace projects have me about to take the leap……

  83. Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids. And the shawl is beautiful too. Did you ever finish the wedding shawl and Joe’s Gansy? Or shouldn’t we mention them.

  84. Congratulation on the shawl. Maybe it will end up as a lace counterpane on your bed this winter? I can’t wait to see it blocked.
    And, congrats to you and Joe. Two years – that’s about when young couples like yourselves start thinking about babies. Now, wouldn’t that be exciting? ;>)
    As for the bailout, don’t even get me started. I will say only that this latest fiasco has finally gotten me to start writing my elected officials. Me, and everyone else apparently. This morning the House of Representative email system crashed from too many hits when I tried to contact my them. The people are speaking!

  85. Maybe your tour could be to visit the other people on Ravelry who have started or finished their shawls, randomly chosen locations where people get the pleasure of not just one but two!

  86. Lovely. I NEVER would have the patience to make even a small, tiny, lilliputian lace shawl. I do like to crochet, but that is a moot point when there is that much lace knitting.
    Today is my anniversary as well. I love autumn. What a great time to get married or celebrate an anniversary.

  87. I say you make a lacy scarf… maybe a mobius, if you’re into that. But, frankly, I’ve had enough of hearing how amazing they are, so maybe you shouldn’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I don’t know that it will help, but I’m planning a design for a friends christmas gift… I’ll make a lacy scarf, in a tube, and if there’s enough, it will be wide enough that she could wear it as a cowl, should the desire strike…
    Never designed lace, but with my SO the super pattern helper, I’m confident it can be done. Cross your fingers for me, I need all the help I can get!
    PS: Congratulations on the arrangement anniversary.

  88. Ooooooh, the shawl is beautiful! I hope you find a place where you can block it. Maybe someone you know has a spare King bed in a guest room you can borrow????
    As for scarf patterns, the popular Chevron Scarf is an easy project to travel with — I found it to be so. I know you have a stash of STR you could use. I suggest 2 complimentary, but contrasting colorways of Tina’s Mediumweight STR.
    And congrats to you and Joe! I wish you many, many more years of happiness.

  89. Happy anniversary of your finalization! And hey you got this shawl done in time to celebrate, me thinks you should show it to Joe, with no outfit or clothes lol.

  90. I’m looking forward to see the shawl blocked!
    On scarf suggestions, I just love the Waves of Grain beaded lace scarf in the new Knitty edition. The beads would make that a bit of a challenge for a road trip though.
    Congratulations on your 2 years ๐Ÿ™‚

  91. Love the shawl! Also, congratulations on the anniversary of formalizing your arrangement! Today also marks 19 years since my husband and I formalized our own arrangement. Time has just flown by.

  92. Happy Anniversary!! It’s my anniversary today, too. 30 years ago today we tied the knot. Kind of hard to believe!
    And what am I doing on my 30th anniversary? Going to my knitting group, of course! Does hubby care? Not in the least.

  93. I had forgotten that we were both wise (or perhaps foolish?) enough to have fall ceremonies. Mine was a few years before yours (1982?) but our kids are even around the same ages (I just sent the oldest to college this year). But you have me all beat in the knitting department. The closest I have gotten to Peacock Feathers is buying the pattern!
    Congratulations on the two official years as well as all those warm-up years that came before.
    And thanks for inviting your readers to suggest scarves – my queue just got a whole lot longer when I started looking at the patterns other people suggested that I had never even heard of before. So many I find it impossible to endorse just one. Surprise us!

  94. Thanks for the reminder about what a killer that crochet cast-off is – I’d almost got into the frame of mind to knit a Peacock Feathers for myself having given the last one away…

  95. Happy Anniversary.
    Sounds very much like Zen meditation…. especially the part where you’ve been sitting on your uncomfortable crossed legs wayyyy too long.

  96. It is not good to rush in to some things. Marriage is one of them. I personally vetted my spouse for, um, a total of 13.5 years before I married him–nine of which we lived together. We’ve now been married for 15 years and it’s still great, so carry on!

  97. It looks beautiful (and mine was huge, too).
    Happy anniversary! And, to celebrate? Amazon delivered my copy of your book today!

  98. Comgratulations on your “formal” anniversary. But in your heart of hearts you and Joe were already married some time before “the paper” was writ. I’ve been “formal” 18 years with my DH but were together 8 years b-4 that. You just know.Great job on the shawl. Not for me!

  99. Does Ken have any idea why the “remember personal info” radio buttons will not remember me, no matter how often I say “yes”?
    Steph, use string. Thread a LONg string (double what you think you’ll need) through each of those loops, and though all edges of the shawl. You can then pin the string out, not the loops (because the string pulls the loops in a smooth line! I had to pin the string in the outward curves, but the string took care of the loops on the inward curves! So it’s half as many (or fewer) pins necessary! Look here:
    Just be sure to put the string in before soaking, much easier that way!
    Good luck!

  100. There’s a KAL starting today (first clue was this morning) at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mysticearthKAL/
    You can knit either a stole or a scarf. “Mystic Earth is a rectangular stole, and the third shawl in the Mystic Elements series (following Mystic Waters and Mystic Light). Mystic Earth brings us back to the solid earth beneath our feet with its ever changing seasons.”

  101. Congrats on being in love with each other. Congrats on your shawl (and your pins). Congrats on being a reasonable voice in bi (multi) partisan politics. NY is a mess mess mess right now. Years and years ago, my beautiful, now teen aged niece and I were in the car and we passed a construction site. She asked me “what are they fixing?” I answered, “they’re fixing something.” Five minutes later she started laughing and–when I asked her to explain–she pointed out that I had given her a complete and total non-answer but the funny part to her was that she had actually accepted it as an okay answer. I keep expecting my congress people, senators and candidates to say “they’re fixing something”.

  102. Congratulations on your anniversary and for finishing the shawl. It is going to be gorgeous, if big. Wrap up both you and Joe and enjoy a movie together.

  103. Congrats on finishing the shawl .. and reinforcing the need for me to make a second one in variegated yarn this time. Grrrr
    Do you have long enough wires for stretching across the top? If not, you’re going to need more than 165 pins; I used something like 250

  104. Happy anniversary!
    I look forward to seeing the shawl all blocked.
    I wish I could get to the stage where I was almost finished and time was standing still then – it is standing still on all my projects at present and going backwards on some – wasn’t going to have enough yarn to finish my Icarus, which has been on the needles for TWO YEARS now!

  105. 495 stitches 190+ groups of 3 endless chain stitches
    What a woman – congratulations.
    (and best wishes to you both!)

  106. Can’t wait to see it photographed in full daylight in its full glory after all finishing and such. It looks gorgeous, all full of the colors of iridescence.

  107. Looks wonderful! I’ll have to knit that sometime soon. It’s the pattern that got me wanting to knit lace to begin with! As for your next knit, have you seen the Melon Shawl from Victorian Lace Today? I’m working on it right now out of some handspun and just loving the little melon shapes!

  108. Wow, it’s been 2 years already since your cryptic “family event?” Time flies! Congratulations on the anniversary!
    The shawl is lovely. Don’t eat it.

  109. Congratulations and all the best to you both!
    Your shawl looks absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see it when it’s blocked!

  110. Congratulations on the anniversary of your officializing – have a beer, eh?
    The Lilac scarf from Victorian Lace today is a pleasant knit – a nice sideways border, then lots of quick YO/K2tog rows, and a final border. It took me ages, being the first lace I ever knit, but it sure is pretty when it’s done. You can see it on my blog in the April archives, and I wore it to your Maker Faire appearance. Of course, you’d probably get it done before the first flight leg was over… but you could make several during your abbreviated tour. Sorry I’ll miss you in Santa Rosa.
    Many many more happy and adventurous years together to you and Joe.

  111. What a coincidence – it is my anniversary today too – but we have a few years on you — it is our 30th.
    where did the time go –

  112. I’m with Baraka. Actually, anything from Jane Sowerby’s Victorian Lace book would be fantastic.

  113. I’m a big fan of most of the stuff by Anne Hanson over at Knitspot. Rivolo is on my needles now, and I really love the combination of Sea Silk and the flowing pattern Anne came up with.

  114. Gorgeous shawl… but I don’t think I could stand to have time stand still, or worse move backwards, by listening to the bailout news. The politicians (at least the ones I’ve heard) aren’t offering any real information on how they think the various plans are going to work. Just one or two really big numbers and them saying that they are going to pass a plan any day now.
    Huh. I think I’d get better information by reading The Art of War and pretending it was about the bailout. Really.

  115. I’ve seen you do a partial block of an unfinished item; why can’t you do a partial block of part of the shawl, then when it’s done, partial block the next part, until the whole thing has been done?
    Maybe start with the middle, then block sections around the edge.

  116. Happy anniversary! And if the dishes thing starts to get to you, just tell yourself, “It could be worse.” My b/f insists that newly washed dishes must be placed on the BOTTOM of the stack of dishes in the cupboard, so they all get used evenly. I just hope he doesn’t notice that when I put the forks away, I just dump them on top of the forks already in the drawer. There are probably two forks in there we haven’t used in a year. I’m sure that would drive him insane.

  117. Thank goodness it wasn’t a solid color – at least you had SOMETHING change during the tedium of the end. I am (as usual) in awe at yet another amazing knit you’ve done.
    Congrats on the anniversary though it’s impossible that it’s been 2 years already… tempus fugit.

  118. I love the colorway of your shawl so beautiful:)Happy Anniversary to you both.I love the Mabel scarf Iam going to knit that next right now Iam doing the easy flame scarf by wendy of knit and tonic in malabrigo lace:)Hugs Darcy

  119. Happy Anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been so long, I remember that post as if it was yesterday!

  120. Beautiful! I don’t if it’s too easy for you, but I just finished the Angel Pearls Beaded Scarf. It’s a pretty diamond pattern with beads, and I had a lot of fun with it. If you wanna see, it’s on Ravelry as a download.

  121. Happy anniversary, and great job on the shawl! Lace scarf suggestion : trellis scarf by Evelyn A Clark (I love her designs). It was published in IK spring 2006. It only uses one skein of KP Alpaca Cloud, and you need to knit ‘nupps’ (my next goal is to learn to knit nupps, before Nancy Bush’s new book on Estonian knitting is on the book shelves). Have fun with whatever project you pick.

  122. the shawl is wonderful. I have had the pattern for some time – now I just have to knit it!
    as to a new project – if you are thinking a scarf, how about any of Anne Hanson’s lace scarves? her patterns are wonderful. I just finished Fiddlehead, and have knit Brambler and Boing and they are great for traveling with.
    oh, and if you are ready for another shawl – check out O Canada!
    have to tell you, also that I just finished Baby Mine for a friend’s soon to be born baby girl and it is beautiful, a pleasure to knit – thank you for such a well written pattern.

  123. Your shawl is lovely, and congratulations on the anniversary! (We have our 40th coming up next year). I am in awe of the stamina you show in completing such a huge and complicated piece, and the patience with the dreaded crochet. (Stamina and patience, skills to take you to YOUR 40th!) Now you have a shawl to fit two: a fitting anniversary present! Happy huddling!

  124. Gorgeous shawl, way beyond my talents! Got your book in the mail yesterday, halfway through and enjoying it (especially the one about TAKE’s sense of timing – had to laugh quietly as it was midnight)!

  125. I’ve often thought about sticking those big puzzle like floor tile things to a wall so I could block and leave it without having to find a space to lay it out. Problem is, my long walls are few and what walls my home has, are full.

  126. Completely feeling your pain about the crochet. I always feel a little inferior because I’m so much better at knitting than crochet (and people who don’t do either are always asking, “aren’t they pretty much the same?”), so hearing from another one in the “only crochet when I have to” camp lifts my spirits!
    This time of year, I only want to knit scarves. Well, OK, and socks. And it doesn’t even get that cold where I live.

  127. Let me just start by saying that I love to crochet. Knitting is new to me(well, not that new anymore since it’s been about five years). In any event, my point is that I LOVE to crochet and I would absolutely go brain dead if I had to make all those loops. I congratulate you on your resilience. Lesser people would have shoved that shawl in the back of a closet! ๐Ÿ™‚

  128. It could hardly be a more beautiful colorway to make a peacock shawl in. As for the size, won’t that be a wonderful plus when it gets a little colder than it is and you want to snuggle up in something as you watch your dvd’s? Yum. I have one like that that I thought I’d never wear it was so big but now it’s my go-to when I want to be cozy warm.
    Ah, lace scarfs. You can never have too many of them!

  129. Please share where you decide to block the shawl. I am nearing the finish line of my own gignormous Icarus. At the moment it is almost 600 stitches across and there are still 12 rows left. I am surpressing any thoughts about the cast off and moving right on to blocking.

  130. I latest obsession is the Finnish online magazine Ulla. Beautiful lace (good), free patterns (good), patterns are published only in Finnish (challenging, makes it more inticing! must figure this out!)
    Here is the site, each issue is shown down the right hand side of the page.:
    Some of the patterns have english translations (check out Ravelry group), but the pattern that has me is Aquila, a shawl from the January ’08 issue. Drops has a good knitting English/Finnish vocabulary list. Enjoy! melissa

  131. Congrats on the shawl and the annaversary!!
    My hubby will be up there all next week.. turns out his main office is practially right around the corner from Lettuce Knit. (he has been advised that I would appreciate my ‘souvenier’ coming from there!) Any juicy houses for sale/lease near ya? We might be looking!

  132. It’s gorgeous. I’ve used a 4 x 8 sheet of foam insulation board for blocking big things. If necessary, it can be propped up against a wall with the knitting toward the wall to keep the cats off if I have to leave the house while it’s drying.

  133. Oh yea for anniversaries! Such fun they can be. Congrats. Laughed out loud at the ‘so happy I could eat it’ part.

  134. Congratulations on the shawl…it’s gorgeous! And congratulations on the anniversary. Mine is next Wednesday and it’ll be 25 years. I can’t figure out where the time went and I think that must be a good thing!

  135. I was organizing my craft room (hey! Stop that giggling! I really did– now you can *walk* in there.) when I came across some Jaggerspun Zephyr in a gorgeous blue teal, that I bought out of pure color lust before I knew anything at all about lace knitting. I communed with Barbara Walker, and chose the Shower Stitch for a little “indoor scarf”– something to wear for a dash of color, and to keep my neck warm when my hair is up and the heat isn’t.
    Communing with Barbara Walker is recommended at all times. And I second the suggestion above for a 4’x8′ sheet of insulation board– works a treat at my house.

  136. I’ve been working on a pattern called Versatility (Knitty.com’s fall ’08) that’s awesome, easy, and very wearable. Yes, the bulkier yarn means bulkier travelling, but it knits up *super* fast (I’d have finished mine in a week but I’m waiting for more yarn to arrive as I ran out) and it’s brilliant!

  137. Congratulations on both the shawl and your 2nd anniversary. I’m a new reader of your blog since I went to I Knit 2008 and walked straight past your signing table without the first clue of who you were and why everyone was queuing up to see you. I know better now of course…. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    PS I am from the UK, and I loved your comment about the difference between clothes and an outfit. There’s scarf (or shawl) for every occasion surely?

  138. I have two sets of interlocking foam play mats and blocking wires. Someday I may actually block my Sheep Shawl… in the meantime, it’s SO BIG that it self-blocks by gravity when I have it on. Is that, perhaps, the reason for the casual drape of the Peacock over a chair?
    As for scarves, may I suggest the Matt or the Matthew (available online) by Stahman? Lace enough to be interesting. Directional. An easy middle section.

  139. Ever since I saw that title, that song from my youth by some band that starts with an S (Slade?) has been in my head. Needles and pins-ah! Naturally, nothing but that line. Over and over and over again.
    Thanks ever so much.

  140. If you have another pattern like this you might use an afghan hook as the second needle while casting off. That might make the crochet steps more knitter-friendly.

  141. My husband and I got married just last month (after a brief 4-month courtship–quite the opposite of you and Joe) and we spent some of our gift money on what I kept calling “the marital bed.” After reading your post today, I sent him this:
    You should start reading the harlot blog. It’s funny, and yesterday she mentioned “the marital bed.” ๐Ÿ˜‰
    To which he replied:
    Babyโ€ฆ you know I support you and take an honest interest in your knitting, but I think I must draw the line at reading your knitting blog ๐Ÿ˜‰ I do like the โ€˜see how much I love youโ€™ look on that guy’s face thoughโ€ฆ
    Thought you might get a kick out of it…

  142. Oh my goodness, did you see Greg Kinnear talking about Kinnearing with Conan O’Brien today?!

  143. Belated Happy Anniversary, Steph — and MANY more!
    As for the shawl — gorgeous! Stupendous feat! And thanks for the warning. I just moved to a 1,056 square foot house with no basement. If I make this shawl, I’ll *definitely* downsize it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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