Keep Your Neck Warm

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!)



Pattern: Imagine When, by Joji Locatelli

Yarn: Swans Island Merino Fingering in Indigo (note mine is a far lighter batch than their example online)

A Christmas gift for my mum, cast on en route to Bristol, England in August. Let’s blame jet lag for the fact that I misread the instructions and my shawl has twice as many holes in the first segment as the designer intended. Mum won’t mind. And how many lace shawls have ever been knit on the touring bus of the Gloucester rugby team? (It isn’t smelly at all. It has comfortable seats and wi-fi. I would ride that bus anywhere, anytime.)


User error aside, I loved this pattern. The knitting was just the right blend of motoring along and doing something interesting. I used yarnover short rows instead of the given method and it came out fine. I’d love to knit another for myself, maybe in Bristol blue.



The yarn is fabulous, too. I’d hesitate to use it for garments that will see a lot of friction, but this light fingering is divine for airy shawls and the generous put-up covers you for practically any small shawl pattern. (Good thing I have leftovers, because during this photo shoot I managed to get a drop of pitch on the poor lovely thing. I did my best to remove it with dish soap, but I stopped rubbing at it when the yarn started to look a little distressed and there’s still a wee stiff spot. I think I’ll snip a thread and reknit the couple of stitches that were affected.) The indigo dye does turn your fingers blue when you’re knitting, but I didn’t see any color in the bath water and there was no transfer to the towel I used for blocking, so have no fear.


(Yes, I tossed it casually atop the Usnea beard lichens just because I liked the lofty textures and the colors together.) This marine blue is perfect for my blue-eyed mother and I hope she’ll enjoy wrapping it around her neck when she’s up too late typing endless minutes for school board meetings or dressing it up with a nice pin when she goes to the theater.