As you probably figured out, I posted a couple of days of entries in advance. So to get back to feedback from Monday, thank you all for your kind words about Dragon. I hope (if nothing else) I’ve proven that projects like this that look overwhelming when done are worked in stages – everything is possible given time and determination. Pick up a favorite chart and try out filet crochet. There’s no law that says you have to do it in teeny string to start. Size #20 or #10 cotton will give nice results and will both go faster than my piece. On to questions:

Dragon Questions

What did you use to block?

The same hardware store brass tubing I used to block the Forest Path stole, and my daughter’s Waterspun poncho. The stole write-up describes them They’re described in more detail at the bottom of this post.

Why are the edges rippled?

As I wrote, I was a bit nervous about how much the piece had contracted in the wash, so when I blocked it I blocked it to the full north-south dimension. I shouldn’t have been so aggressive. I ended up with a piece that’s not under tension north-south in spite of being threaded on stretcher bars. The next time I wash it I will go for east-west stretch instead because I could stand to gain an inch in that dimension, and go for the on-door mounting bars to provide the requisite tension. That should elminate some of the looseness at the left and right edges.

How did you know how big to make the holes for the curtain rods?

After I’d done a couple of rows I tested them out with the bars from the curtain scrap left behind by the previous house owners. They fit. If they hadn’t I’d have figured out an another way to hang the curtain panel.

Are you afraid the curtain rods will discolor the panel?

Not very. It’s true they’re brass, but they’re quite old and the tarnish doesn’t rub off. I don’t intend on polishing them (I don’t want to get polish residue on the curtain). The curtains will get dusty over time. The thread I used is machine washable. In fact,I tossedmy Dragon in the light color/warm water wash just after completion, before blocking. After an entire summer and early fall of being dragged around accumulating hand-dirt, sunscreen, household dust, and the odd fleck of wine it seemed like a good idea.

Did you steal the dragon pattern from these towels? beautiful set of woven towels by Alianora Munro (another member of the SCA). The last set shownhas a very familiar dragon on them. She used the same ultimate source as I did: Johann Siebmacher, Schon Neues Modelbuch, published in Nurnburg, 1597. My version is the one I graphed up for inclusion in my book The New Carolingian Modelbook: Counted Embroidery Patterns from Before 1600. There’s also a nifty drafting of the original in my friend Katheryn’s reissue of patterns from that work under the title Needlework Patterns from Renaissance Germany. (Both books are hard to come by these days, but occasionally surface used or on eBay.)I have also seen at least one commercial chart for a counted thread sampler that has a simplified version of the same motif, but I can’t find it on line right now.

Can you send me the pattern?

No. Why is at the bottom of this page.

Washing machine!! You put THAT in the washing machine?

Well, yes. The string is marked as being warm water machine washable (no dryer, no bleach). I had a load of white and light colored t-shirts with no buttons, zips or adornments to melt, snag, or run, so I put the curtain in along with them for a normal warm water/cool rinse wash. I took it out and blocked it wet. Was I nervous? Not particularly, but I had already made and test-washed a swatch, so I knew that the yarn would survive the process.

Poncho Questions

I’ve only seen the Paternayan yarn in cut lengths ready for needlework. Where did you find whole skeins?

I lucked into it at Wild & Woolly in Lexington, MA – my local yarn store. I don’t know if they had it left over from long, long ago when they might have stocked needlepoint yarn, or if they had it more recently, but by the time I found it at one of their legendary semi-annual sales all that was left was a heavily discountedmixed bag of blues – a refugee from at least two prior mid-winter sales events. I have however seen other retailers on line selling the stuff in large uncut hanks. A quick Google search on "Paternayan wool" will turn them up.

How big will you make the poncho’s rectangles?

I don’t know yet. Probably something like 13 inches wide and 39 inches long each. That’s a nice eye-pleasing 1:3 ratio. When I get up to that point I’ll cut out some paper and tape it together to make sure the target child approves of the size.

Why bother?

Why not? I have to admit that right now I’m on a bit of a yarn diet, constrained by new house expenses to using up yarn from my stash before buying new. The target child saw the bag of mixed blues and fell in love with the color. I knew thatat the fullthree plysI wouldn’t have enough yardage, and that she wanted something lacy anyway. So I began unplying…

Why do you do everything the hard way, figuring out your own patterns or just starting stuff without a good idea of how it will be accomplished?

Again, why not? People knit for different reasons. I enjoy confronting problems, figuring out solutions, and making my own way. Yes, it’s not the most productive method of working as there is more two-steps-forward-one-step-back motion than most people prefer. To me though learning something on the journey is more important than the end product, however nice. So I make a mad plunge forward on almost every project. Sometimes I shelve them for greater or shorter lengths of time. Sometimes everything falls into place and I finish. Usually I do learn something along the way, even if the thing at hand ends upvacationing inThe Chest of Knitting HorrorsTM.

Other Questions

What about the Crazy Raglan and the entrelac piece? Are you going to finish them?

Both were in the same bag and went AWOL during our move. I finally found them over the weekend and will (eventually) finish them. In the mean time, I’ve got other obligations lined up. After the poncho I’m on the hook for a triangular knitted shawl for the sister who didn’t end up with the Forest Path lace stole. I’m thinking of the Heirloom Knitting Bird’s Eye Lace free pattern, done in Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace in purples and blues. Possiblyadding a border strip to the long top edge of the triangle. But if I think too much about that project I’ll get derailed from the poncho, and those sad puppy eyes brook no delay.

And the Cursed Socks?

Those I AM working on right now, in between winding yarn for the poncho. After all, I can’t schlep the swift and ball winder with me to appointments. I’m about half-way through the heel of Sock #2, and hope to be done in the next couple of days soI can write up the pattern for wiseNeedle and post it along with the pattern for the Summer Lightning lacy scarf in time for people looking to knit holiday gifts.

What do you call those nifty lookingcross-hatchedwindows next to the door in your house?

My friend Kathryn (who knows lots of neat stuff) tells me that the proper name for a window divided into small panes is "mullioned." Mullioned windows appear to come in many types, including ones with lead as well as wooden dividers. Lozenge is the name for a diamond shaped pane, so I guess I’ve got a circa 1912 Arts and Crafts style two story bungalow (bungaloid?) with casements featuring mullioned lozenge transoms in the living room and dining room. Which is a long winded way of saying "old house with nifty windows that are a pain to dust."

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