The State of the Shakerag Top

By Kay Gardiner
May 3, 2018
MDK Field Guide No. 6 is a spring wardrobe in the form of a small, handy book.

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43 Comments
  • That’s quite a nice travel schedule you’ve got going, Kay! I’m a smudge jealous. Have a most excellent time with your most wonderful mom, and send lovely pix when you can.

  • 8 1/2 × 11 inch paper is a good measuring tool in a pinch.

    • Yes! I have done that in a pinch as well as I usually print out patterns. I often want to look into buying a phone case that has a ruler on it for in a pinch because I know I will always have my phone next to me, if not a measuring tape.

      • I bought measuring tape – real tape and attached it to my last phone. I got it at Joann in notions dept. bet there’s washi tape out there too.

        • Thank you! I will look for it.

    • Totally agree—I do that a lot. Especially with something like this where an extra row or two won’t matter.

  • Another very convenient measuring gadget is a dollar bill. Six inches long. Never changes.
    Though world travelers (France! Croissant and excellent coffee everywhere! Cafe’s for knitting and people watching!) will have to measure the money where they are.
    Looking forward to the pictures!

    • What a great tip! I have a 20-pound note from a recent trip to the UK. It’s 5 13/16 inches LOL. Sorry, I’m not going metric for the European contingent.

  • Hey, Kay, I used the “count the stripes method” during my initial endeavors on the ballband dishcloth!

    Wish you a great trip and safe travels. Enjoy the time with your MMM!

  • Brilliant improvisation re the the picture. When I’ve been unable to lay hands on a tape measure I have used a page of 8.5 by 11 paper folded into sections .

  • There should be a book “Kay’s Tips for Lazy Knitters”. I want the first copy. I know it would be chocked full of good things. Just saying.

    • What a great title!

      • OMG this is MY BRAND. Thanks you guys!

    • This would be the best possible field guide. Please make it happen.

  • Project Fidelity + Netflix shows with many seasons = winning

  • So clever to count stripes. It sounds like the travel fairy is being good to you.

  • Lol on your shortcut! It seems perfectly reasonable to me. Isn’t it amazing how creative we can be to avoid the inconvenience of putting down our knitting?

    • In my defense the tape measure was in my bag under the airplane seat in front of me, and also it’s hard to measure with a tape on a tray table. I honestly felt that counting the stripes was more accurate.

  • A trip to France with “Most Moisturized Mom” to see friends … sounds nice.

    A tip; though only applicable in the US: a dollar bill is 6 inches. I have no idea how long a Euro is …

  • I’m new around these parts and Oh gosh I just have to ask. Why is “most moisturized mom” called that?? Great name but there’s got to be a story here.

    • That is a fair question, Rachel, though I can’t even remember when I started calling her that here. My mom has always taken fantastic care of her skin. Brushing up against her cheek is a very fragrant, dewy experience. She recently met a knitter and told her about Her Daughter the Blogger, and the knitter exclaimed, “YOU’RE MOST MOISTURIZED MOM!” which tickled the heck out of her.

      Meanwhile I’m 20 years her junior, but her skin is definitely younger than mine at this point.

  • One of my favorite things about you, Kay, is that you make me laugh. Then for good measure I laugh a little bit more and a little bit longer. It always surprises me, I don’t see it coming, lovely feeling.

    My own mother had gorgeous skin. Also extremely well taken care of. I should have listened. Give your mom an extra hug for those of us that have lost our own.

  • Kay, you should invite your mom to write a guest post: “How to pamper your skin”.

    • Two words: Estee Lauder.

      Two more (or is it three?): Oil of Olay.

      • The mention of Estee Lauder makes me smile. My mother, grandmother, aunts, great aunts – all used EL Re-Nutriv Souffle in the frosted glass jar with the gold lid. It was so good these women who grew up with cold cream were willing to fork over the then (1960s) outrageous price of $25 per jar.

  • I thought you were going to tell us that each stripe was .75 inches, and so you multiplied, and voila! But no, you didn’t even multiply! You counted! We need that book, Kay’s Tips for Lazy Knitters, volume 1.

    • As long as you’re willing to accept Kay’s “Approximate” Results!

      • Sold!

  • Enjoy your adventure with MMMom. The top is looking fantastic. I may have to forego Project Fidelity of my Magic Spring Shawl to start one….

  • This just in: Yarn shops in France are reporting that their skeins have gained the ability to speak. They are all calling “Kay, venez ici. Nous avons besoin de toi!” That Albers Shawl may never be done…!

  • Enjoy Paris with your friends and Most Moisturized Mom. I’m looking forward to a letter from La Bien Amie. I will be very jealous of you but most interested to hear more about the store.

  • I am totally looking forward to Kay’s Field Guide for Lazy Knitters.
    Enjoy your time with your mom – and get all her skin secrets – I so need them.
    I was just in Paris about a week ago and visited 3 or 4 yarn shops…but nothing tempted me. I hope you visit yarn shops and report back on your findings!!!

    • MMM is a full-time job but I hope to get to La Bien Aimee and maybe a drive-by to La Droguerie.

      • Not a knitting tip, but a lazy clothes shopping tip I never get tired of sharing: if you’re not sure whether a skirt will fit you and are in two minds about going to the trouble of trying it on, hold it at the waist and bring it round your neck like a scarf. If it meets comfortably round the back of your neck, it should fit you at the waist. Works with trousers, too.

        • I wish I could picture this, because I hate trying on clothes. I’ll have to come back and reread it when I’m not tired 🙂

  • I have been known to estimate by using a piece of notebook paper, 8.5 X 11.5, to decide if my knitting is almost 12 inches. (I just checked, and a standard sheet of paper is actually 8.3X11.7 inches….close enough to 12 for this knitter!)

  • Thank you for making me laugh at the end of what has been a very rough week! I’m not bending the time/space continuum to achieve lots of knitting time, I’m just a firm believer in project fidelity. Imagine what I could accomplish without the Pesky Day Job.

  • Kay, you *always make me laugh. thank you. Bon voyage and I 100% want those foggy skeins too. Gorgeous ! From the bus home from Montréal, bisous, —KAF

  • I just returned from my first trip (and most assuredly not last!) to Paris – I brought some yarn to start work on a log cabin blanket, as the little squares are so nicely portable and figured I whip through a few of them with 9 days over there. Other than the plane back and forth, in between some napping, I got no knitting done at all – just too many gorgeous sites to look at, everywhere! Gah – the entire city is a work of art. I considered my non-knitting time some inspirational time. 🙂 Happy travels to you!

  • My hand! 6.5 inches from wrist to tip of middle finger. Measure yours, and know.

    Also, you just made me realize that since I’m so short on top, I may need fewer stripes. Thank you. I’ll go measure a shirt I like.

    And! That Albers Shawl yarn combo is gorgeous! Have a(nother) great trip.

  • Kay, I hope you have a great time in France! I look forward to pictures 🙂
    And I also love the idea of your book.

  • Whoo hoo!!!

  • Help! Somewhere in one of the MDK musings there was an article about knitting a shawl/scarf with Sylph as a sort of intro to the yarn. Well, I did it, and I love the result. I also then knitted a shakerag and kinda love it, BUT in the s/s article you mentioned a very specific way of softening the end result, involving the dryer. I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find it. The texture of my scarf is perfect and I want to have the same result with the shakerag, but am nervous about putting it in the dryer . . . Can you help?