Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

The Ditch: A Cautionary Tale, with Free Advice

The Ditch: A Cautionary Tale, with Free Advice

Dear Kay, This one is going to be REAL QUICK, because it was not the most joyous knitting ever, but it was necessary. Back when I started this Donegal pullover, back in 2008, back in the Bush Administration, I was so carefree. I would get to the end of a round, figure out what yarns needed to end and begin, and by golly just drop one and add in another. It’s definitely the fastest way to go, but in the long term, you pay a bitter, sour...

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Finishing a Steek: The Wimp’s Method

Finishing a Steek: The Wimp’s Method

Dear Kay, Time to deal with those pesky steek flaps at the neckline of this thing. Alice Starmore says to cut the neck steeks, then knit the neckband, THEN finish off the steeks. This means that I was manhandling this thing, knitting the neckband in the round, steeks unfettered, yet nothing unraveled. The fact is, shetland wool is not likely to unravel at all. It likes itself! (Kate Davies writes about all this in her usual fascinating way...

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Quick Peek at Cutting a Steek

Quick Peek at Cutting a Steek

Dear Kay, Short on time but never short on coverage of every little step in this Donegal project. Our last episode ended with this situation: Top view of the neck opening, except that it’s not really open because along the way, I somehow in the dim recesses of my memory recall putting steeks here so that the knitting in the round could continue unabated all the way to the shoulder line. If Alice Starmore says to do it, I just do it. You...

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Things Done and Undone: Sleeve Update

Things Done and Undone: Sleeve Update

Dear Kay, Oh for pity’s SAKE I finished the second sleeve of this thing. The problem isn’t that it’s hard. The problem is that it’s not portable. You have sit right there with the thing, with the chart and your snack bar of tiny balls of yarns, with your steam up and your Internet off. You need your good light, because after sunset, Pickle = Bark and Bramble = Roseberry. You need things to align like the sunbeams on a...

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Bark Where There Ought to Be Pickle, Or, The Error That Dogs Us

Bark Where There Ought to Be Pickle, Or, The Error That Dogs Us

Dear Kay, Well, I just excavated the reason why I stopped working on this sweater in December 2009. Taking a foto this morning to show Proof of Progress, I noticed this: On Sleeve One, there is Pickle where there should be Bark. I think when I discovered this, back in December 2009, it was the last straw. I wrote: The ever-decreasing tube of inside-out two-handed knitting has become something akin to braiding cat’s hair, to aligning...

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The Gaping Maw, Or, Freaky Steeky

The Gaping Maw, Or, Freaky Steeky

Dear Kay, It’s Steek-cutting Thursday! Come on and enjoy the thrill of chopping a hole in your knitting. It just never gets old to me. This is the left shoulder of the Donegal sweater. This sweater is knit in the round. Whenever there needs to be a hole in the sweater (neck opening, sleeve holes), you work a batch of checkerboard stitches that will not be visible in the finished sweater. Makes it easy to work Fair Isle when you...

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Monday Morning Weigh In: No Pain, No Gain

Monday Morning Weigh In: No Pain, No Gain

Dear Kay, Progress on the Alice Starmore Donegal extravaganza continues. This is absolutely the least efficient means of manufacturing a sleeve that I have encountered. These Rowan Donegal Lambswool yarns continues to amaze and amuse. At night it’s so dim that Bramble and Pickle are indistinguishable. Elderberry and Roseberry might as well be the same color. But in the light of day, it’s pretty dazzling to see. One sleeve to go, a...

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The Remembrance of Knits Past, Or, WHAT WAS I THINKING?

The Remembrance of Knits Past, Or, WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Dear Kay, Moving ON. Powerful urge to plow ahead into the future, into knits unknown, horizons yet to be seen. The shock of the new. More like the shock of the OLD. After the long-haul pleasures of that Thorn shawl (thank you all for your supportive comments, and my apologies for offending Chicago Bears fans), I craved some color that I knew I would love. At the foot of my desk, for many months now, has been a plastic bag filled with a knitting...

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Pale, Pale, PALE!

Dear Kay, I guess at some point I have to come out from behind the turkey carcass. It was so warm back there, so tryptophantastic. I am here to announce that, once again, I have hit the wall on my Alice Starmore Donegal Fair Isle sweater. I’m not worried about this. I don’t doubt that I will be dragging the thing out of its hole again. But at the three-quarter mark on sleeve one, I found that the ever-decreasing tube of inside-out...

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Going All In

Going All In

Dear Kay, Have you seen the new Twist yet? I’m liking Sivia Harding’s Dryad. It’s not a square, a rectangle, nor a circle: it’s . . . ovalish! And I’m intrigued by Alasdair Post-Quinn’s Introduction to Double-Knitting: The Four Winds Hat.” Video tutorials and everything. Bless him! I’ve never tried double-knitting, but it’s probably twice as fun as single knitting, right? I admire...

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