Summer Season Kick-off Cowl KAL

Long time no write, I know, I know.

But to usher in summer with the Summer Season Kick-off Cowl KAL!

Check out all the details on my East Coast Knitters group on

Here’s the assignment!

Sanibel Cowl – by Berrocco/Black Purl Image


I’m using Maya yarn by Berrocco Image

It’s got a nice “hand” to it – a rayon/cotton blend.

Here’s what my beginning looks like:Image

This pattern is what my friend E in Boston (blogger for Knitting in Beantown) likes to call “potato chip knitting” – i.e. you just want to knit one more row.

Come join us on the East Coast Knitters group board on Rav.

Happy knitting,



Shine Shawl with Fringe

I added fringe to the shawl and am quite pleased with the results. Pattern now available at

Shine of Rainbows Shawl

First completed attempt at the Shine of Rainbows Shawl

I am making the shawl from the scene on the sea shore where they call out to the seals. Once I started the grid, it was apparent my stitches were a bit off, since it is wavy at the edges. I will post the pic as it is now, and unravel it (!) to fix it. I just need to memorialize the hours of work that went into this……Terri

The Wedding Shawl – Part 3

Ninnawe:  Let’s get this thing started.  It’s my first lace shawl and I’m anxious to get going on it.

Everything goes well at first, except I think a garter tab beginning would have been much nicer.  To be honest, I always wondered why so many shawls start with a garter strip, but once I had the first 25 rows or so completed,  I figured it out.  That garter tab makes the beginning edge of the shawl looks almost exactly like the 3-stitch garter border.  That thud you just heard was the palm of my hand hitting my forehead.

Things went along swimmingly for the most part.  I worked through a couple of oops moments early on, owing to my practice of knitting while watching TV talking with hubby).  I miscounted somehow; I knit through the stitch below (more than once); I tinked a few times and snarled at myself for not paying attention.

But eventually I settled in and found that the basic 4-row lace pattern is exceedingly simple.  (There are two small typos on the chart, but easy to figure out.)  More quickly that I envisioned, I completed 12 rounds of the lace pattern; I decided to do 14 rounds to make it a little bigger.

Fast forward to day before yesterday.  I was ensconced on my side of the couch (aka Knitting Central), and my dear husband was sitting on the opposite end of the couch.  I was nearing completion of round 13 of the pattern as we watched Judge Judy on TV.

Then …. WHAM … mi esposo, my soulmate, my hero . . . knocked over a full glass of Red Pop sitting on his end table. Red is everywhere.  We have light beige carpet.

Chaos ensues.  I cared not a whit for my husband’s well being, nor for the condition of the carpet.  No, my first thought was The Wedding Shawl.  Fortunately, none of the soda made its way to Knitting Central or its environs.  (Fortunately for my husband, that is, because there could easily have been blood mixed with the Red Pop.)  I am certain a jury of my knitting peers would not have convicted me for what I might have done at that point had any Red Pop spray made it over to my side of the couch.

After the excitement died down my dear husband and I both spoke one of our favorite sayings: “We’re just making memories.”

And so love and knitting go on.  I’m almost at the end of the lace repeats, and have decided to put some small beads around the bottom of the edging.  I have never done much beading with my knitting.  That  should be good for another paragraph or two.

Knitting slump

I knit for the Zen of it. I don’t really like to follow patterns, and I like the rhythmic motion of knitting and using my hands. Plus, I like to get things done. Therefore, I make a lot of square things because nobody cares if they fit.  My favorites are baby blankets, hats, and those shapeless little things you put on hapless tikes before they learn to protest. On top of that, no one looks that gift horse in the mouth.

My rationale is that I already do enough thinking with work, but at work, I don’t have a ‘product.’ It’s pretty much just thinking and talking. So all my problems are solved with knitting simple stuff. I don’t have to think much for my leisure, and I get a tangible item, with the bonus of being able to look at something just long enough to finish it and give it away.

To be honest, the thought of making something for myself at this point seems not only selfish, since it would be at the expense of my charity efforts (which is not to betray any illusion that my contributions would really be missed), but I would be confronted with those known defects every time I saw the item in my house.

This has all contributed to the Avocet B default. This simple pattern that I promised I would complete with my fellow bloggers and readers continues to occupy a topless Tupperware bin on the floor of my closet. It mocks me from afar.

I have suggested that the next KAL be a simple bag. Can you spell ‘rectangle?’ Sure. I knew you could.


The Wedding Shawl – Part 2

Ninnawe:  I am ready to begin the shawl.

My paternal grandmother, who managed a yarn store for years, taught me to knit.   She always admonished me to wind my own skeins and she was a big believer in feeling every inch of the yarn. She warned me that just the time you take a short-cut and start knitting off the skein or ball as it is, you will find a knot or imperfection at an inopportune place in your project.

So, my habit is to open the hank of yarn, hang it around my neck, and start unlooping it as I rewind it into a loose, quishy ball. (Yarns like Opal and Regia that come already wound into a skein get the same rewinding treatment — sometimes twice, depending on the stripe pattern.)

I hear Grandma in my brain:

  • “Lay the yarn down loosely.”
  • “Let gravity do the work.”
  • “Tight winding is death to wool.”

Grandma didn’t have a swift or a ball winder to my knowledge.  My winding method, developed over the years, takes more time than using a swift and a ball winder, but I get to feel every inch of the yarn. Whenever I wind, I wonder if there are others out there like me … who need to feel the yarn first. No matter. I do it because it works for me.

I pour myself a Diet Coke, ease into my knitting chair, turn on an episode of The First 48 or Hoarders on my DVR, hang the hank of yarn around my neck and begin the winding process. The rhythm of it all is nice … unwind 8 to 10 loops, then run the yarn through my fingers as I rewind into a ball. I can pay attention to the TV, yet get a feel for the yarn. Ninety-nine percent of the time, all goes well. It takes me just about one episode to wind 400 yards of yarn (running the commercials in fast forward).

Alas, something goes horribly wrong with the skein of Heritage Silk. Evidently I have pulled more than one loop of yarn over my head at a time, and now the darned thing is hopelessly tangled.  Every time I try to reloop or figure out the tangle, it gets worse.  All knitters know how this turns out. There is no other choice but to settle in and untangle as I go. Two hours later I have my nice squishy ball of ivory yarn.

The next day, though, I return to my LYS store to have them wind the second skein of ivory yarn. Habits, schmabits. If I do need to use that second skein, I will just pay extra attention as I am knitting. No need to be anal about this touching-winding stuff.

My pattern? Spring Thaw Shawl from Ravelry


The Wedding Shawl – Part 1

Ninnawe:  My son is getting married in about 45 days. The wedding date was set 16 months ago. I had plenty of warning.  Five days ago I decided that I should knit his bride a lace wedding shawl.

Now, lace knitting does not intimidate me. I have done a fair share of lace scarves, hats and socks. But those projects were done at a leisurely pace . . . no angst over deadlines, and certainly no impatience with tinking and occasional frogging when there was an error.  I had time then to ponder the value of lifelines; time to mull over the difference in drape between a size 6 or 7 needle; time to plan projects for my assorted single skeins of silk, cashmere, and/or alpaca blends.  Time was already running out on this shawl when I decided to knit it, and I hadn’t even begun!

As I am (vainly) hoping this shawl will be of heirloom quality . . . something the bride will want as a remembrance of The Day . . . I decide on some hue of white.   While I have lots of potential shawl yarn in my stash, I don’t remember buying any white.  Hurray . . . I  find one skein suitable for a wedding shawl . . . a skein of ivory Cascade Heritage Silk.  Beautiful.  At least there won’t be too much cost involved in this project.  So, I have the yarn, now all I need is a pattern.

Pattern picking consumes the major part of 3 days. Prior to Ravelry, pattern picking for me consisted mostly of spending an hour or so on Knitting Pattern Central, plus a visit to my LYS to peruse their offerings.  I might even go look through knitting books at the local library.   It was all hit or miss, in pre-Ravelry days.

Now, with Ravelry, not only do I spend hours looking through potential patterns, I must also spent quite a bit of time reading about what other Ravelers have done with the Cascade Heritage Silk. If I am lucky, I will find a beautiful shawl pattern that someone else has already done in that yarn.  Investigate.  Analyze.  Re-investigate.  Re-analyze.  The process of knitting is almost replaced by the process of Raveling.  (When will Webster add this new definition of raveling?)

I choose a lovely pattern, with a simple 4-row lace repeat. Even better, it has been done in my yarn by another Raveler.   My confidence builds.

Then angst attacks. Will one skein be enough? No, of course not. My future DIL is tall, nearly 6′.  So I want to make this a little bigger than the pattern … maybe one more repeat of the lace. This may take additional yarn … big sigh.  I wish more Ravelers would tell how much yarn they have left over from these single skein patterns.  Then I could make a more informed decision.

Oh well, back to my LYS for another skein. Of course the dyelot is long gone (I bought the first skein there over a year ago.) But, the owner and I take one skein each from the dyelots she now has outside to compare with my skein. One of the skeins is so close that I don’t think anyone could see a difference, but ‘close’ on the skein may not be ‘close’ in completion. I figure that if I need the skein at all, it will be at the very outer edge of the shawl and probably no one will ever notice.   And really, what other choice do I have? (I was secretly hoping that the store owner would take pity on me and offer to take my skein back and allow me to get two skeins of the same dyelot because this is to be a Wedding Shawl, after all. No dice. She had no pity.)

I purchase the additional skein of yarn, and head home to cast on.

I will have the pattern details and some pics in my next post … am too worn out from all this writing today … must knit to relax.

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