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  • You two have me looking at old Kaffe designs….not sure if I should thank you…..or run screaming from the room 🙂

  • So beautiful. Good Luck … I hope I’m strong enough to resist that kit, but it’s so beautiful

  • I have yet to attempt something so immense as a Starmore stranded sweater, but I am in the middle of an Alice Starmore Aran sweater. The cabling is non-stop. I start with my own ritual, creating a spreadsheet that tells me which row of each cable I am on for every row of knitting and highlighting where the crosses are. I think I need a chart holder and magnets, my spreadsheet is getting messy. This is the first of three such sweaters I am knitting, as the husband decreed that I should knit Aran sweaters for our nieces and nephew for Christmas gifts. Thank goodness they are still small.

    • Really. Your husband decreed? I hope that’s literary license because unless he knits he’s not the boss of your knitting.

      Sorry, I’m stuck on the couch with a broken ankle (week 2 of at least 4) and I think I sprained my sense of humor in the fall. You are all much braver knitters than I am.

  • Don’t get me started. Please don’t.

  • That is some powerful mojo Kay is working. I ordered Zauberflote yesterday. After reading MDK. You have a lot to answer for, Lady! Ann- what about putting the chart on Knitters Companion? I wonder how well that would work….

    • Zauberflote by Jade Starmore. And I’had that sweater in mind when wasn’t available. Maybe the mojo is that the kit is back in production.

  • I spent all of February jealous of your Bang Out a Sweater KAL as I had started an immense Marianne Isager intarsia sweater back in January. No bang here, man. I’m still grinding away, but at least now I feel good about having a head start on you two.

  • I confess that after I finished Glenesk I didn’t take it off for the entire first winter because I loved it so much. But I did poop out and use corrugated ribbing rather than have to purl on the right side. For me, an early member of the Never Purl on Colorwork group on Ravelry, it was a good choice. I am in awe of your daring.

  • Crotal is a lichen used as a traditional dye. I learned that when we visited the weaving center on Lewis, or Leodhas, as the locals spell it. I can’t remember how they spell Stornaway, but it hurt to look at it.

  • Now you’ve done it! I just rummaged through the back closet and dug out Meg’s Fair Isle Cardigan.

  • Oh boy, I mean, oh girl! You two could get me thinking about my stashed Jade Starmore kit for Fort Ross, from Pacific Coast Highway. But I don’t want to travel that route right now. To paraphrase from Hamilton: Stopover is easy, young woman – Glenesk (or Big Flower, or Ft. Ross) is harder!!
    But maybe, just maybe, watching your progress on your projects will push me to finally make that Afghan sweater from the inimitable Rowan 10 for my hubby…..
    (Have to admit that the only sweater I made from PCH is the beautiful, one color, Mendocino. Cables, moss stitch, saddle shoulders….it’s been a favorite for years! But Kaffe’s color work, that’s a rabbit hole I’ve been down again and again.)

    • Everything leads back to Hamilton, doesn’t it?

  • I shall watch with great delight as you guys knit these *awesome* sweaters. Right now I am starting a hat, because I couldn’t resist a ball of chartreuse eyelash yarn in the sale bin. I will eventually turn to something more adult, I am sure.

  • Ha! It’s like the opposite of the Bang Out a sweater KAL. A Grind Out a Sweater KAL?

  • When I see a temptingly beautiful sweater like this I think, “But I never wear pullovers. Making this a cardigan would disrupt that centered pattern. I’d better not.” (Then I think, “But I could offset the pattern…”) Good luck! It will still be just as beautiful in a year or five or however long it takes to finish.

    • I stand in awe of both of you.

    • Not to be the knitting enabler here, but I just popped over to the Virtual Yarns website to look at the Glenesk pattern and it does say, “This design is also available as a cardigan.”

  • Wow…the theme from “Chariots of Fire” is running through my mind…think of the barefoot running on the beach part…

    • …although in my case, if I attempted these patterns it would be more of a barefoot screaming on the beach run. I’ll be watching from the stands, waving flags and eating snacks and watching for swift moves. Good luck!

    • Ahhhh I love that so much. Must run off to YouTube to watch it again.

  • Oh so true! The adrenaline rush, the exhilaration, I’m there with you.

    I also love that: the goal is to start. I did that recently with thistle – three colours in some rows, worked flat. Am mixing stranding and intarsia, whatever works best for that section. Am knitting it to a customfit pattern instead of the one in the book, with a different yarn to boot. Wonderful!

  • Dang nabbit! I have a kit from “Alice” somewhere in the deep stash. I can hear it calling me, but I need to put my earbuds in and ignore it. I just sold my house yesterday and the buyer wants it in 30 days! I don’t have time for my current 30 or 40 quadrazillion wips let alone time to start another. Maybe I had better leave the packing of the stash to last or who knows what will happen when I come across that kit……..

    • Leave the packing of The Stash to the end, so you know where it is when you arrive. I’ve done that, packing up a house on my own in 30 days. It IS doable. The house I was moving into was still occupied, though, for 45 days, so we shared accommodation, and furniture (and Christmas), then the friend moved on.

  • I took a class with Alica Starmore many years ago and way hooked! I have knit a few of her patterns (as well some of Jades). I love them!!!!! I have most of their pattern books.my concern – Which of my kids or grandkids will want them some day? ( or know their worth?)

  • A few months ago I c/o for a complicated cardigan (Hedgerow by Ann Kingston) and life’s complicatedness got in the way. That is a project that I need zero distraction while doing (no children, no tele no interruptions). I put it away, 1/2 of a sleeve complete. Maybe, though, maybe now is the time to give it another try(?).

  • I was breathless just reading this….I kept thinking…do I have yarn in my bathroom? haha

    • That’s the line that caught me, too!

  • I have no Kaffe or Starmore in my stash but perhaps I will put down the garter stitch and do something more complex after I finish this Purl Soho Very Easy Baby Blanket.

    • Surely Purl Soho has a Very Difficult Baby Blanket? No?

      • I think that is the cost of the supplies.

  • Glen wake is a gorgeous pattern. I’m still not sure I’m as brave as you too, but I will enjoy the ride!

  • You had me at shade card.

  • I just started a Knit and Swirl Coat of Many Colors sweater, so I understand the thrill/fear factor.

  • I made a number of Starmore’s in my youth, and I have a barrel (a literal packing barrel) of Starmore and Jamieson yarns to back me up. No more for me, please, the hands can’t handle stranded knitting any more.

    Part of my preparation ritual was reprint and enlarge the pattern. Then I would actually color it: using a colored pencil (more forgiving than a highlighter as its erasable), I would color the same color over all of the primary pattern symbols, leaving the background plain. Having the pattern part (yarn carried in my right hand) pop out against the background (yarn carried in my left hand and knit continental) helped me keep straight what I was doing. And yes, I did laminate the chart…now a work of art…when I had it fully colored.

    My best advice: Highlighter tape, available at most LYS, is a wonderful thing.

    • This! I was just reading to the ends of the comments, amazed that no one had yet mentioned coloring the chart or the highlighter tape. I have the intarsia -intense http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nasty-dog-dragon-scarf AND a http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hanami-stole on my needles at the moment (I really needed to concentrate to keep out the other worries whirling in the squirrel-cage in my brain) and have deployed all the supplies-magnets and stand and colors and laminations and tape….).

    • I love the notion of a “preparation ritual”. Gearing up and getting ready for a big project is a lot of the fun, isn’t it?

      • I feel like I’m heading out for a week of bass fishing. LOVE YOUR GEAR.

    • Love that idea of coloring the chart!

  • I fell off the stash wagon last spring and bought all the yarns for Jade Starmore’s Arabesque, got started and like it but I think I need to restart (again!) as the bottom edge is curling: https://www.instagram.com/p/-CMY7rwqaE/?taken-by=e.brown27
    I think I need new needles to get it right. I love the Starmore patterns and they take you on a knitting journey every time.

  • I blame you two…. teehee….
    I was safe in my blechdom of mediocrity . I had been knitting cute little mitts, scarfs and gloves. They are somewhat fun but not too challenging.
    I read your posts. My heart trips with the fear and anticipation. Now, I see I must swim the river of Strand …ing of many, many colours before spring has sprung.
    From the bottom of my …” I need a challenge and it has been taken up” heart, thank you.

  • I’m trying SO HARD to only knit Christmas gifts for my family right now, as I start grad school in the fall and won’t have any time then. However, all I want to do is cast on a shawl for ME, that I honestly don’t need, and I keep having to talk myself out of it. I hate color work, but I love the Starmore’s cabled sweaters, and I have a dream of making one someday! ❤️????

  • Dear Ann,

    I once had a Kaffe Fassett Sweater kit, my best friend Cathy went to England and felt compelled to buy it. She never got around to winding the yarn and after maybe ten years passed it on to me. I got as far as knitting the back. It was probably the first time that I ever knit with many skeins of yarn and frankly, I don’t know how I did it. But I did. The back and the remaining yarn, some wound, some not, remained in my bin of stuff for many years until I gave it to someone. Maybe even back to Cathy. I don’t remember. It was a long time ago. I can’t imagine taking up the challenge of knitting with several colors of yarn again. I haven’t finished banging out my sweater from your first knitting challenge. I haven’t finished the socks I started as a way to get away from the sweater challenge. And, I have a crochet project that requires lots of tiny tiny granny squares. Held up by a need for certain color of Koigu that I’m damned if I’m going to pay shipping to get. AND, have not been able to get near a brick and mortar source in quite a while. This is all my way of saying that I wish you, and your cats, joy as you take on the challenge of your Starmore Kit. I will take on the challenge of finishing the three things that I started. You and Kay remain an inspiration.

    Liz

  • Oh, I’m so excited to watch these sweaters take shape! I’ve been playing around with a starmore inspired cardigan design that uses colors picked somewhat at random. This might be the kick that I needed to cast-on!

    Good luck, ladies!! ^_^

  • My next big challenge is going to be learning how to use Magic Loop to knit two sleeves at once on my next Afmaeli. I’ve been meaning to get to the LYS for that 40-inch circular for a while now. Maybe today! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • This pattern is gorgeous and subtle. What a project!

  • I am quite happy to watch and marvel at the two of you from afar as I finish my endless one-color cardigan. I’m not even sure it qualifies as living vicariously as I can’t quite imagine plunging into such a complex project. But I’m excited to watch your sweaters grow!

  • Maybe it’s something in water… or sunspots… causing the number of us to have similar thoughts 🙂 I’ve started gathering/ordering yarns for Kaffe Fassett Petal Play just several days ago. It will be my first intarsia knit but I enjoy stranded colorwork. Somebody here mentioned Fort Ross kit; it is somewhere very deep in my stash. Aaahhhh, so many things to knit, so little time. Even if lifetime is counted.
    Thank you for your daily posts; I really enjoy them.
    Well, good luck to us all with our more demanding projects!
    Andrea

  • Kay’s post started me thinking about Kaffe Fassett’s Tumbling Blocks Throw, for which I laboriously collected all the colors some years ago. Now Ann has me digging through my Fair Isle kits–maybe Anne Feitelsen’s Brae Cardigan. I am seriously inspired. And afraid. Moved both to the top of my queue while I contemplate.

  • The color names. On first glance, I read “Scrotal” rather than “Crotal” and had a serious eewww moment. And Tormentil: I hope this is not a description of the knitter’s experience.

    • hahaha!

    • Yeah, that was worrying me too!

  • Ok, so I read this whole piece, but kept thinking, it was stored in the bathroom? Don’t know why, can’t get past that!!

  • I recently bought Alice Starmore’s book on fair isle, but I haven’t done more than leaf through it… somehow I feel like I can’t tackle it with less than several uninterrupted hours. Much less tackle knitting from it! I want to someday, though!

    There’s a woman in my spinning guild who made a fair isle cardigan out of handspun. I haven’t asked but it sure COULD be an Alice Starmore pattern! It’s just gorgeous.

  • I completely understand the spring cast-on fever. And I also tend to find big projects appealing this time of year for some reason. I love to knit blankets, and currently have the yarn for 2 full-sized ones staring at me. The only thing holding me back is that a few weeks ago I realized that my baby blanket gift stash was empty, and I’m at the age where friends of my children or children of my friends seem to produce babies several times each year. So now, somehow, I have three baby blankets in the works… And since I usually make them more like a crib quilt size, there is a steady bit of knitting to be done. Hooray for the ‘How to Log Cabin’ pattern!

  • I think I felt a disturbance in the force last night, because I cast on for this giant cabled wrap (basically a blanket) in a bulky yarn. I managed to mess up the cast on and first row, so basically I’m starting out strong. Mine probably won’t take as long as your projects, mainly because I’m only knitting cables, not stranded charts. Looking forward to seeing all of us progress.

  • Would I do fair isle? COULD I do fair isle? I browse through the Starmore and Fassett designs, and I am amazed by the intricacy and beauty of their designs. Their work is genius. And for an insane moment I think —

    I don’t know what I think. But I’d like to throw Marie Wallin into the mix here, because I imagine my first fair isle to be more along the lines of her Windermere:
    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/windermere-4

    With only two colors to juggle, the decrease in the variables makes the prospect of insanity more within the parameters of the possibility of success. And two color fair isle can be beautiful too.

  • There are specific endorphins released when one sees Golden Plover stranded with Mara. Lapwing makes my heart sing. And if there’s Corncrake in the mix . . .

    I’d pushed the charm of Starmore colors back into the recesses of my mind – they are perhaps the only ones “even better than Rowan”.

    Yesterday, my niece Alice posted her personal “to-do list” on her Facebook page – focused on the words “don’t have an emotional breakdown OR have an emotional breakdown, with class”. I think these magnum opus sweaters might be emotional breakdowns, with class.

    In my history I have Grant Avenue, from Pacific Coast Highway, and Sheilavig, a bulletproof vest of Scottish Fleet.

    I just spent time I didn’t have this morning finding my copy of American Portraits, just to see if Blue Corn Cafe still calls to my heart. It too is huge and not in fashion, and there are no kits at Virtual Yarns — but you’ve inspired me. Some day.

    • Just added Blue Corn to my queue on Ravelry with the note — before I die . . .

      I’m in the middle of a promised project or maybe I’d start the color hunt.

  • Good thing I am at work or else I’d need pull out my Starmore kit that has been aging in the yarn closet. Maybe the sirens song will pass by the time I get home!

  • I’m still in recovery from a Ron Schweitzer all-over fair isle. It took me 4 years and I ran short of one of the colors. I too was bailed out by a kind Raveler. I have another Schweitzer J&S kit sitting waiting for me. But I don’t think I have it in me yet.

    • Also, when the trip to Lewis is in the works, please let me know. I’ll drop everything and follow you there.

  • Now I’m actually frightened. I got sucked into the Stopover vortex having avoiding colorwork for many many years (far too many awful intarsia cartoon characters for small children). I loved it, and I love the completed sweater, flaws and all. But this. I find myself looking at these kits, revisiting all my Fassett books. The resolve is slipping. And I really need to get the taxes done.

    • Not to be an enabler or anything, but taxes aren’t due until the 18th this year!
      ;o)

  • Ok you’ve got me motivated. If you two can dedicate yourselves to those works of art and multiple colors, I can pick up my 8 (or more?) years languishing Giant Latvian Cardigan. Size 3 needles, but only two colors. A few structural issues to work out, and the Schoolhouse Press pattern is cryptic at best, but I can do it! right?

  • Y’all are crazy pants! I will not join you on this journey but I will enjoy pictures & further missives on these epic projects! Happy knitting!

  • I LOVE the starmore Oregon cardigan. I want that kit. I must finish at least three existing WIP sweaters before I blow that kind of $$$ on more yarn. Plus, with size 2 or 3 needles, I’ll want a bit of finishing success on a larger item than a cowl first.

    Good luck!

  • I have a Bohus sweater kit lurking in the deep stash — Grey Shimmer. I got it from the Bohuslän Museum after visiting Sweden, and I think there is a matching hat. I keep hoping I will be inspired to knit the sweater, but there it sits, year after year. Maybe you two will provide the spark I need. Miles of stockinette on tiny needles….

  • The Starmores seem to be incapable of coming up with a bad design, but you’ve really picked a winner!! (P.S.: Those color names really mean :warm, colorful place for naps” in Feline — ask Kermit!).

  • I am in awe. My big projects are size not complexity. I will have to wait until all kids are potty trained, and over the habit of pulling needles out of my knitting before I tackle color work like that. I look forward to watching it come to life!

  • I’m in awe. I’m in the final stages of a slipped stitch “colorwork” bag and have practically broken my arm from patting myself on the back.

  • I am awed by your gumption! I have dreamed of making several Kaffe sweaters (I own a book of his sweater designs from the 80s) for ages. Never felt I had the skills (or the access to the proper yarn) The internet makes the yarn a bit easier, but…I.am.afraid! Perhaps watching the two of you will give me the motivation I need to take the leap.

  • Yowza – you girls are much stronger and sturdier than I am right now! I salute you both for your fortitude, but I’m going to sit back and knit something mind-numbingly easy (or at least one-color) for a bit. However, I am your biggest cheerleader and look forward to the fabulousness of the projects as they unfold.

  • The big sweater project in my stash is a Bohus kit for Forest Darkness. This is not the week for me to be casting that on – but perhaps soon?

  • You’re so right about the beauty of the Hebridean yarns. When I opened my first kit from Virtual Yarns, I actually gasped – they’re like jewels. That was Rosarie de la Haye, by Jade S, after which I’ve made the Elizabethan jacket (also by JS) and the Grant Avenue vest by AS. You’re making me think that it’s time for another, especially because stranded knitting is so much more and faster than the intarsia I’m working on right now . . . but it’s a beautiful Kaffe Fasset design and I’d love to see it done . . .

    • “much more FUN and faster than intarsia”. Sorry about that, the intarsia must be stunting my brain.

  • Inspirations…both of you. having recently pulled my Foolish Virgins scarf from deep hibernation, worked twenty rows, and placed it back into deep hibernation, I am now spurred into action. Out of hibernation it comes again. To be completed by end of summer (riiiiiight).

  • You’re making me wish I get get started on my Laleli by Jade Starmore kit, but I’ve got some other knitting commitments I have to complete first. Can’t wait to get started though. Thinking end of summer….

  • So, I’m sort of on board, as I’ve started Hringsol kjoll . While it’s not truly epic colorwork like the two of you are planning, it’s a challenge for my limited colorwork experience. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

    • I adore that sweater.

  • I’m in. All in.

  • I love this, and look forward to seeing it progress! Though I am impressed with your ambition, for my part I am still firmly ready to start the Spring and Summer knitting, which means lightweight (and non-wool) yarns, light colors, and always for me, ocean-inspired projects. There have been lots of agates and fossils on our beach recently, and I have been inspired to knit a crescent-shaped shawl inspired by the fossil clam shells. There are so many subtle colors and patterns that I may have to do more than one!

  • Start something ginormous? No challenge there. I suffer from debilitating startitis. 🙂 So my herculean task this spring is to finish something, anything that is currently on needles.

  • Get some colouring pencils or felttips and colour in your chart: to match the yarn colours of course!. I promise you it will be easier to “read” and your knitting will go faster

  • Gasp…you two! Glenesk is also stunning.

    Have you checked projects on Revelry? Very few – you are in very elite company. One knitter’s Glenesk kit was purchased in 2002, started in 2006, and completed in 2012. You have lots of leeway here! The Big Flower projects have few photos and notes. I suspect the makers were still sucking in oxygen as they posted.

    I can’t wait to see progress and…beautiful triumph!

  • that certainly will be very beautiful when you finish it…

  • Ladies… does this have anything to do with tax filing procrastination? I mean… I’m telling myself no knitting, knitting blogs, or anything until ours are finished. Best wishes to all, whether the projects are taxes or sweaters!

    • LOL I love that you posted this comment…on a knitting blog. Good luck with your taxes–get them done so you can knit!

  • I will admit I have always lusted after Starmore’s Henry VII. May have to move it higher on my bucket list. Is it too early to start hinting to one’s spouse about Christmas presents?

  • Yarn……stored in the bathroom.

    What the heck kind of bathrooms does Nashville have?

  • When I was a college student studying in France, (home of the brioche), I went with friends down to Tangiers and got to ride a camel! (Got both words in one sentence!)

    I would love to win the beautiful yarn!

  • My current “big and cumbersome knitting challenge” is Kay’s Mitered Crosses blanket. I’ve been working on it since last summer and the squares are about half done. You can do it, Ann!

  • I’ve been wanting to do this for some time: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/springflower-scarf
    Not only is it complicated knitting, but it will be translating also. I’ve done that already with one of her easier patterns thanks to google translate.

  • I was given the Glenesk pattern and enough yarn to start a small shop
    My problem is how many of each color do I need. I’ve looked at the darn stuff for too long and am ready to jump in. I don’t have Golden Plover but lots of others that will work. Help

Travel Alert:

Join us for a festive dinner at Vogue Knitting Live Chicago featuring Clara Parkes and us! Friday, March 9. Details here.