Sin nomine

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Meet this nameless black shawl. It is very warm. It is very soft. It is rather more fun to knit than you might expect for this yardage of stockinet.


It is worked from end to end, beginning with a strip of cable and a pick-up along the edge of said strip, with short rows to curve the cable up around both long sides so that the edging can continue right along with the knitting. The piece widens gradually as you proceed toward the center.

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From the back, it looks like a triangle. This bit is accomplished with short rows. I promise they are not as difficult as you might fear. You might even enjoy them.


(Please pardon the glowing weirdness of my forehead. No amount of post-production can eliminate it. I am a beacon. The British are coming by land.)


The fronts are generous in length. There’s plenty of fabric to wrap over one or both shoulders (your favorite shawl pin would look just right here), or you can leave them to dangle. I don’t know if securing them with a belt is currently an approved fashion, but why not? It’s comfortable and convenient and I think it looks rather smart, really.


This shawl used exactly 3.5 skeins of Cascade EcoCloud wool, or approximately 575 yards. I knit it on a US #10.5 (6.5mm) needle, which really makes the project fly. If you’d like to test it, let me know here or on Ravelry. I am working up numbers for a lighter gauge (same dimensions) and should have a draft pattern ready by the end of the week! Maybe I’ll have thought of a name by then…

In development


I’ve been silent here, but not for lack of material! My camera is finally back in action with new batteries and a cord to connect directly to the computer. The Yosemite system update caused me no end of compatibility headaches, one of which was that my card reader no longer functions. Grrrr. Anyway, my first attempt at a photo session was a pretty poor showing (not the fault of my father, who was clicking away for me; I set the depth of field too shallow and then moved too much, which means we have lots of fuzzy pictures and only a few clear ones), but here’s a slightly blurry teaser to hint at one of several new patterns I’ve been working on. This black shawl was a commission from a parishioner at the cathedral to replace an old one she’d worn out. I inwardly groaned at the thought of all that black knitting, but as I began to play with construction ideas I got more excited about it. Annette of Happy Knits looked at the original shawl with me and puzzled through the options; together we hatched a plan that resulted in a simple and elegant piece that knits up quickly. It’s mostly motoring along in stockinet, but there’s some unusual shaping and a cabled edge to keep your mind engaged.

This first version was in Cascade Eco Cloud, a lovely soft wool with a chained construction that lends a pleasing texture to the stockinet surface. I’m happily anticipating working up a second sample to keep in Woolfolk FAR merino, which is also a chainette yarn.

Tomorrow I’ll post some more photos and see if anyone’s interested in a test knit. For now, I’ve got to attend to the children. We’re off to the grocery store to buy eggs for dyeing, and they’re just a little bit excited. I was saving onion skins, but didn’t begin in time (or make enough soup) and don’t think it’s worth trying to dye with the little I’ve got. Sigh. Next year…

(And that’s our neighbors’ beautiful flower garden in the background, not ours, alas. But we have big plans to spiff up our outdoor space now that the addition is finished. There will be columnar apple trees and green kiwis! And more blueberries!)



Photograph copyright Jared Flood 2014

Whee! I can’t quite tell you how thrilled I am to have a design in the Wool People 8 collection without grabbing your hands and jumping up and down… you’ll have to imagine that part. Oh, my brown sweater. Drab as it sounds, that’s how I refer to it amongst the few friends and family who saw it take shape last summer. My knitting sisters, Katrin and Martha, who each put a few long rounds into the body for me while I drove the car to Bainbridge Island and back on a girls’ weekend. (Seriously, we humans can land a probe on a comet somewhere off Jupiter but we don’t have self-driving cars commercially available yet? How is this possible?) My family, who watched the sleeves grow as we all huddled around the television watching World Cup fútbol. My husband, who fielded texts full of unladylike language when I realized I’d made the ultimate careless error, setting aside the wrong number of underarm stitches on one side, a mistake that meant there was nothing for it but to rip 14,000 yoke stitches less than a week before the deadline. (He had no visceral understanding of the tragedy, but knew enough, stout fellow, to be sympathetic whilst volunteering to pick the kids up from school and feed everybody for a couple of days.)

This sweater is born of a decade’s learning and inspiration. Elizabeth Zimmermann is here in the seamless yoke construction. The contrast cuffs and hem are especially for her. The brilliant mid-century Bohus Stickning designers get all the credit for the techniques that make the colorwork sing. I turned to Amy Herzog and Ysolda Teague for guidance on flattering, contemporary shaping of the torso. Jared Flood saw promise in the design and helped me bring it to maturity, choosing the final color palette himself. I’m grateful all around and feel just plain blessed to be alive in the wonderful worldwide community of knitters at this remarkable moment in the craft. Thank you all so very much for the warm reception you’ve given this design.

Now my little brown sweater is out there in the big leagues, in extraordinarily fine company. (I mean, look at this. And this. And I’m totally planning to knit one of these and one of these for myself. Pretty sure Ada and I need matching cabled berets, too.) Treat yourself to a pot of tea and the whole Wool People 8 lookbook if you haven’t already.