If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see youย at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

Superhuman Cyborg Knitters Spotted in Nashville

Dear Kay,
I don’t know about you, but it is HARD to carve out time for that most important part of life: sitting in a coffee bar with chums, knitting and getting all jacked up on cappuccino.
The other day I managed to peel off to hang out with Mareike (I’ve written about her overachieving/disgustingly modest ways before) and her sister Katharina, who was in town from Frankfurt. (Those of us in the South quickly add “Germany” in order to distinguish it from the Kentucky Frankfort which is lovely but frankly not German.)
Kay, these women are not like us. They knit in the way that we do not understand. It is fast. It is continental. It’s the sort of knitting where they’re chucking cable needles back and forth while conversing freely in a language that is not their first language.
Katharina was making this clever thing:
Here’s what Marieke was working on.
She’s using yarn that Katharina gave her–the same cobwebby yarn that Katharina used for her own version of this shawl.
This is Lily Chin’s brilliant pattern from 2000, Reversible Cabled-Rib Shawl–one of the most gorgeous knitting patterns I’ve ever seen.
The difference between the original pattern and what Mareike and Katharina are doing? The pattern calls for US 7 (4.5mm needles). They’re using US 1.5 (1.5 mm) needles.
My terrible photo does not capture the tiny scale of these stitches, or the six feet or so of it that Mareike has already completed. So I just cadged two pix from Katharina’s Ravelry page to give you a sense of what happens when you do reversible cables at tiny scale:
So lush. Love this.
While you’re thinking about this pattern, take a peek over at our ol’ pal Erin’s recently completed version of this shawl at her blog Pepperknit.com. A beautiful shawl and San Francisco? Doesn’t get much better than that.
PS I am getting that serious Fall Is Here knitting jones. Humidity drops below 80%? Pavlovian reaction.
PSS Having a great time over with the Ten Pound Losers. Has to be the smartest group of losers anywhere. The advice and support are flying–come on over. Catnurse just posted a recipe for Low-carb “Doughnut” Muffins–now there’s a CONCEPT!




  1. I love the tiny cables. They are glorious on that size needle. And well, knitting on 7s at this point feels like knitting with branches or at least rather thick sticks.

  2. I’m planning a dinner picnic in the park for some mom-friends of mine. We are planning what we have to bring. Someone said she had to lose 30 pounds so would bring some salads, and someone else replied that she had to lose 50 pounds, and would bring cake. With friends like that, what can a girl do, but eat cake?
    My arm hurts and I have been NOT KNITTING for a week or two. Unfortunately typing and mousing also hurts the same muscles or tendons or whatever. I find wine helps… but again, not with the weight-loss business.

  3. This shawl is the ONLY WIP I have. For real. I don’t feel like I make progress on it when I knit… and I’m using size 8 needles. Clearly, I am a wimp and need to get back to this. It’s gorgeous, and I’m not knitting is on tiny needles. I have no excuses.

  4. They even look all glamorous and continental,,,

  5. I have German ancestry and just wanted to say that I got the continental knitting. I got the small needles thing. What I did not get in my genetic makeup was the ability to talk and knit past plain stockinette or garter stitch. So unfair ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. OK, how unfair to come across that shawl on TWO blogs today. I have this fantasy of a knitting book that categorizes projects as Good With Wine, Good for Long Train Or Car Trips, Good for Sitting Quietly Early in The Morning, Good for Listening to a Relative Rant At A Family Gathering, Good for Kiddy Sports Event When You Need to look Up and Make Eye Contact With Your Tike Periodically, and Not Good For Your Present Lifestyle. I know where this one belongs.

  7. First, I have to second Gale’s idea for a book. Just splendid! Now, that knitting is stunning and never going to happen in this lifetime at my house. Maybe not the next lifetime, either. But, a girl can ogle, right?

  8. Mareike’s “Henry” has been on my cue forever (five years), and now the perfect alpaca for it has come into my life. Kismet!

  9. So fun to see Mareike’s face after seeing her knitting all these years. I want that shawl! Need that shawl! Won’t likely get that shawl!
    Mareike must be very pleased that you named a major character in your first novel after her beautiful scarf pattern.
    xoxo Kay

  10. That first image is lovely…makes me want to grab a seat, pull up a pint, and get my knitting out! Knitting has not been a very social event in my life (yet), but I have a picture in my mind of how nice it would be. And that image of the smiling knitters is kind of how I imagine it!
    Lovely, lovely knitting ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Ann, these women and their knitting and their language skills are stunning. You also get big ups for reminding me that, OMG LILY CHIN!!!
    Because I too am having that humidity response here in New Blighty. Currently in a … well, a THING (it’s complicated, on again off again, start “fresh” again thing) with James Coviello but I think Lily Chin is looking mighty good to me today.
    And, while I am a couple pounds behind you all, I’m joining you. Thanks!

  12. Oh goodness. Love that shawl photographed against a light source. I am WEAK in the KNEES! So compelling.

  13. Gosh, I’m in LOVE with this pattern. the tiny needle size (1.5?) sure makes it beautiful. Off to look up the pattern.
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. That pattern of Lily Chin’s has been on my to-do list forever and I thought there wasn’t enough of the yarn in my stash – for some reason never thought of making it smaller – duh! Thanks!

  15. do you knit better sober or with a pint or two

  16. what is the pattern that Katharina is working on? the shawl is lovely but I am much more inclined to knit this yummy red cabled scarf like thing.

  17. Love Lily’s pattern too. I made the scarf version of the shawl last year,knitting yards and yards of Kidsilk Haze in a well air-conditioned hotel room while stuck in Brooklyn during Hurricane Irene last year. Then wore the scarf 6 months later during a Siberian spell in Paris. Which makes it not just reversible but versatile too, I guess.
    I have a fantasy of a fancy garment based on reversible cables. Some day.

  18. I like Katharina’s project too. What is it?

  19. Great job! That certainly looks fashionable! I love the patter an I believe that everyone would definitely like what you have done. I am utterly charmed with this. This yarn is now on my find-and-squoosh list.


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