Category Archives: Lacy Scarf


Added several more rescued patterns from wiseNeedle to the Knitting Pattern link above, including:

  • Firefighters’ Socks
  • Impossible Socks
  • Pine Tree Toe Up Socks
  • Jelly Bean Toe Up Socks
  • Ch’ullu Hat
  • Knot-a-Hat Earwarmer Band
  • Spring Lightning Lacy Scarf

Will continue to plug away.  Reminder – please, if you are thinking of linking to these, please link to the source page rather than the individual PDF.  I can’t guarantee that the PDF links won’t change.


Hmmm. As I was writing today’s entry, I wanted to refer back to a post I remembered writing back in June of 2004. Apparently not all of the posts for that month imported correctly when we transferred our archives over. So the posts you’ll see today are hand-carried ports of the AWOL material. Apologies for the deja vu. True new content tomorrow. I promise.

Material originally appearing on June 14, 2004. For the record, the pattern for the Spring Lightning Lacy scarf is now in the main wiseNeedle pattern collection.


My lacy scarf is done!


As planned, the ribbed center section pulls in a little bit, making the two diamond panel ends flare out. Stretched and blocked, across the widest point of the edgings it measures 14 inches at the end and 12 inches at the center. It’s about 80 inches long. That’s big for a scarf and narrow for a stole, but I like the size. I really enjoyed this project. It was just the right combo of super-easy and super-exacting. The Greenwood Hill Farm 2-ply laceweight yarn was wonderful. I Can t say enough about it. It’s the softest, most buttery Merino I’ve ever worked with. It’s hand-spun look is unique. You can see the slightly whiter areas in the photo – those are spots where one of the plies of the two-ply yarn gets a bit fluffy. There’s a lot of variation skien to skein in the amount of the fluffy bits, so if you order it or buy it at a sheep and wool show, you may want to try to pick skeins that are similar (or not, as your taste and project needs dictate).

I’m not sure whether I’ll keep this scarf or give it as a gift. On one hand I really like it. On the other hand, while it would be an interesting contrast with my guy-style brown leather aviator jacket, I know several people who might appreciate it as much as I do. Plus I’m not tired of my Kombu Scarf yet. Good thing I have the summer to think about it before scarf season resumes.


Here’s an obscure style. Mary Thomas in her Knitting Pattern Book mentions Filet Lace Knitting. It’s a style of knitting more or less equivalent to filet crochet, which is itself an adaptation of earlier lacis and other filled net or withdrawn thread style darned embroidery. In this set of styles, the needleworker follows a graphed pattern, working solid or “empty” squares. The pattern is built line by line by these blocks of squares. This butterfly insertion is a good example of filet crochet:

(Pix from – attributed there to Star Needlework Journal, 1917)

On page 263 of her book, Thomas describes a way to do something like this using knitting. Solid blocks are formed by units of three stitches x four rows. Spaces look to be formed by a combo of yarn overs and bind-offs. I haven’t quite figured them out yet, but Thomas gives several illustrations and a couple of easy practice pieces.

I’m asking if anyone has ever actually tried this because I have never seen any lacy knitting that was done this way – not as a piece of actual knitting, nor in a photo either on the web or in any other book. I have never seen a lace pattern for a project done in this style either. So I’m asking. Have you done this? Do you know of any pix or other sources for the style?

The reason why I’m asking? I’m in the middle of one of those panting-and-eyes-wide moments of gotta-do-it-but-how? inspiration. Yesterday we closed on the new house. I am now the proud owner of a massive Arts and Crafts style front door, with a glass window that’s 30 inches wide by 18 inches tall. There’s mounting hardware there for a lace curtain panel, currently holding a dingy scrap of Woolworth’s best. The door cries out for a better curtain.

But not just any lace panel will do. I’ve **got** to make one, and not only do I want to make one, I want to make one from THIS panel from my book of embroidery patterns:


The ultimate source is a book published in Nuremberg Germany around 1597 by one of the more prolific and well-known makers of embroidery pattern books. Not only did Johan Siebmacher put out several (this pattern was in his Schon Neues Modelbuch vol allerly listigen Modeln naczunehen Zugurcken un Zusticke”), his books traveled all over Europe so they’re very well represented in museum collections. Many plates from them were copied and re-issued during the counted pattern “Renaissance” of the mid 1800s. This particular panel has cropped up several times over the years – often simplified or truncated. The most recent adaptation from it of which I know is a pattern for an cross stitched kitchen tablecloth and curtains set in an Anna magazine from the mid 1960s.

I haven’t a clue as to how I’d go about making my George and Dragon panel, but I’ve got the will, the how-to book, the cotton yarn (Crystal Palace Baby Georgia), and the blissful confidence born of total ignorance.

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Hmmm. As I was writing today’s entry, I wanted to refer back to a post I remembered writing back in June of 2004. Apparently not all of the posts for that month imported correctly when we transferred our archives over. So the posts you’ll see today are hand-carried ports of the AWOL material. Apologies for the deja vu. True new content tomorrow. I promise.

Material originally appearing on June 13, 2004. For the record, the pattern for the Spring Lightning Lacy scarf is now in the main wiseNeedle pattern collection.


I’d hoped to be able to report this a done item, complete with in-block pictures, but life continues to intrude. Closing for our move is on Monday, and hectic does not begin to describe the household right now. At least we don’t move for another month. I’d have gone nuts if packing was loaded on top of everything else.

I can report a good deal of progress on the scarf, even if it isn’t done. Exactly as described, I ripped back to before the final panel, added around six inches of length, then reknit that part. I’ve added all but the last six inches of the edging, going completely around the new end.

One person has asked if I’m doing anything special where ends of the edging meet. I started the edging in the center along one side on the theory that the scarf’s center was most likely to be worn behind the neck. I’m hoping to make everything work out so that I end my edging knitting on the last row of the pattern. That way I’ll graft the live stitches of the last row to the half-hitch cast on I used when I began. That should make an almost-invisible seam. To make sure I end up at that spot I’ll have to plan ahead. My edging pattern is 8 rows long. Since I’m attaching at the rate of one attachment point per two rows (at the beginning of each right-side row), and since the scarf body was done with a slip stitched selvage edge things should be easy to calculate. That works out to one attachment point per slipped selvage chain.

Starting around now with six inches to go, the next time I am about to begin at Row #1, I’ll count the remaining selvage chains to see if the total count is divisible by four. If so, I’ll just work along merrily until the last row is complete. If not, I’ll figure out how to fudge by either adding an extra attachment point or two, spaced out over the six inches, or by skipping an attachment point at the very end. I’d prefer to fudge by adding rather than skipping attachment points because a little tiny bit of extra flutter is less noticeable in a fluttery scarf than would be a little bit of puckering.

Another question I’ve gotten is how I went about edging the corners. At first I’d planned on mitering the corners, but that fell through. Instead I just eyeballed it, working three points worth of rows (that’s 24 rows or 12 attachment points) in each corner. I spread those pick-ups out just a little, starting them one stitch away from the corner, on the corner stitch itself, and continuing onto the stitch following the corner, but the bulk were lumped up as best I could in the corner stitch itself. Here’s the scarf end so you can see:



It’s the last day of the year, and like everyone else I should be looking back over the year past, and ahead to the year future.

Lessons Learned for 2004

First and foremost – blogging is fun and (I hope) less of an imposition on people than is?writing interminable posts to the knitting-related mailing lists. At least the audience here is self-selected. Plus I’ve never kept a knitting-specific journal before. I find myself going back and looking up what I’ve written before to see how or why I did something in a specific way. Who knew?

I learned a lot this year about the periodicity and use of variegated or hand/dyed yarns. Although the projects on which I employed them aren’t completed yet (Crazy Raglan, Entre deux Lacs Tee, and Birds Eye Shawl), I did spend lots of time figuring out how to get the color effects I wanted given the color cycle repeat lengths. This remains a fascinating topic for me, and as each skein of hand-dyed offers up new challenges, won’t be an area that becomes boring any time soon.

Filet crochet. I’ve done piddly little things in crochet before. Even blankets count as "piddly little" because they are generally very simple in motif and technique. Snowflake ornaments, a table-topper round cloth of simple design, several blouse yokes in the ’70s, a couple of ill-conceived faux Aran style kids’ sweaters, but nothing as complex as the filet dragon curtain. It turned out to be an even bigger project than I thought, and consumed the better part of five months. Lessons learned include the fact that no two companies’ crochet hooks are the same size (even if so marked); the effect that near imperceptible differences in hook size can make on gauge; how to do a near-invisible join on adjacent strips of filet crochet; and how well the old graphed patterns for Lacis and other Renaissance needle arts can look in filet.

Along the way to the filet crochet project I learned that none of the methods of filet knitting I tried worked particularly well, nor were they fine enough in gauge to handle the complexity of the dragon graph. I’m not through with this subject yet. I did do some experiments in alternate techniques that were less cumbersome than the methods I had read about. I’ll probably revisit this in the future.

Entrelac is much faster if you can force your fingers to knit backwards. I’m still no speed demon at left-to-right knitting, but I’m faster at it than I am at knitting and flipping at the end of each mini-row. Especially when those rows are only six stitches across.

I also learned (via my Suede Tee) that novelty yarns can bring a world of interest to a simple, well-drafted pattern, but at the same time can be a *(#@ to knit. Side note:? I am also not that pleased on how the Suede is wearing. The microfibers do tend to be grabby, and catch on even the slightest roughness.

I learned several methods of knitting a lace edging directly onto a piece, rather than making it as a strip and sewing it on later. The most fiddly but most satisfying came via the Forest Path Stole. I used it again on my Spring Lightning Scarf:

Under "miscellaneous," I learned a nifty I-cord trick that applies a band of cord to both sides of a strip of knitting (apologies for the blurry photo):

I also used?a highly trendy but extremely boring to knit kiddie poncho to experiment with double width I-cord treatments to help tame edge curl in large stockinette pieces.

And finally, I learned an important lesson about something to avoid in the future. If any of you have ever looked at a loosely plied yarn like the Paternayan’s normally sold for needlepoint, and thought about how nice only one or two of those plies might be for lace knitting – take heed. Spare yourself. The yarn for the Larger Kid’s simple drop-stitch rectangle poncho took longer to de-ply than it did to knit up. For this one, I still bear the scars…

Next year?

Who knows. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll have noted that I’m more of a whimsy knitter than a planner. Projects leap up and seize my interest. Sometimes that interest wanders before I finish, but I (almost always) go back and work to completion. Eventually.

I’m finishing up a couple more unanticipated last minute gifts right now – more socks, and a pair of quickie Coronet hats from Knitty (one hat = one evening). Then it’s back to the Birds Eye shawl and the Crazy Raglan. While I don’t as a rule knit to deadline, the Raglan is for The Small One, and the one thing certain about 6-year olds is that they’re a moving target growthwise. The shawl is a present that I really should finish by the summer. Unless another killer project like the dragon curtain ambushes and drags me off first…


My holiday knitting. I’m pleased to say the Hannukah socks were graciously received by someone who both knows and appreciates hand knitting.

The scarves aren’t scheduled for distribution until later this month, but as all are to be mailed, should be boxed up as soon as possible. Here they are:

First, the blue one for which I offered up the texture pattern earlier in the week.

Not terribly exciting, but soft and warm. And blue. I’m debating whether or not to fringe this one. Fringes aren’t my favorite edge treatment as they often look ratty too quickly, but I have a feeling that this recipient would like them.

Second, the gray alpaca Kombu scarf is finished. Here’s another blurry photo to prove it:

And finally, after sitting completed (but never used) since earlier this summer, the Spring Lightning scarf joins its siblings in this year’s gift parade:

I love it, but I think the intended target will love it more. Plus, I can always make another. I did however want to take a final good picture of it for use in the pattern I plan on posting on wiseNeedle (which I’m still writing).

Two more hats and two more pairs of socks and I can return to my regularly scheduled knitting.


Face it, incremental progress on the Dragon is as boring to see day in and day out as it is to report. The thing is chugging along, but I’m past the part of the process that’s interesting. There are no new challenges or problems to overcome – just plain old slow and steady progress. On my other projects, I’m stll looking for the bag with the raglan and entrelac pieces. It’s here somewhere. Emphasis on the somewhere.

So I turn to another intellectual exercise with a challenge factor increased by prior laziness and poor timing: writing up a pattern for an object that I finished a while back, and on which I took very few working notes.

To be truthful, my Spring Lightning scarf is better documented than most of my efforts. Blogging does serve a purpose after all. I did find the scarf itself – a happy byproduct of my continuing quest for the striped raglan sweater.I’ve got the graphs I printed out to start with, although Providence alone knows where the copy I annotated as I worked has gotten to. And that city’s not talking.

I begin with a photo or two. I’ve posted these before. Unless people here think that these are adequate, I’ll have to take another that shows the piece relaxed and ready to wear. No I won’t take a shot modeling my scarf. I prefer to labor sight unseen.

Now I can figure out my original cast-on number from my chart. I remember that I worked slipped stitch selvedge edges, because I used them when I was knitting the edging on to the finished strip. I didn’t document the little welted eyelet bits between the main pattern sections, but that’s easy to retro-engineer. My original charting didn’t include the long (but simple) zig-zag motif used the scarf’s center. I did that one up off the top of my head as I was working. I think I can re-create it though with minimal trouble. With luck my fingers will remember the pattern.

The edging I do remember playing with, so it’s not quite straightforward. I started with something that was much wider than the final version- arelatively deep lacy edging adapted from one in Heirloom Knitting, but I tinkered with it a bit. Plus I used the pull a loop through and knit with the slack method of knitting the edging onto the body that I learned doing the Forest Path Stole. I’ll have to figure out a way to write that up that’s both original and non-confusing. I think that will be the most tricky part.

So it’s off to boot up the house server, pull up the pattern template in DreamWeaver and Homesite, and code the thing up for wiseNeedle. One thing I won’t be doing this time is rewriting the entire pattern in prose format. I doubt that anyone who would want to knit a lace piece of this complexity is going to want to wade through prose directions. Plus there’s only so many hours in my day, even if I do stretch the definition of a day by being among the "sleep optional" part of the population.

Avant le dluge

I’ve been to keep the trivia of life from occluding my flow of knit-related entries, or from letting daily happenings stomp all over my posts. That’s about to get somewhat more difficult.

Please don’t be surprised if I miss the odd day (or week) between now and August. For example, in the next six weeks we close on a new house,I ammarshalling an army of contractors to rewire, repair the plumbing, and do the floors and (possibly) roof. I personally have toremove all of the old fiberglass insulation improperly installed in the attic, rip down several massive ivy vines invading the stucco and pack all our stuff, supervise the move to the new place, clean the old place,and unpack. During this period the kids end school, the little one begins day camp, the big one gets hauled to horse camp. Also during this period we take our annual week out in North Truro on Cape Cod.

Why a vacation in the midst of the chaos? It’s paid for (we have to reserve it in January); and it’s at a place that gives ‘dibs’ on next year’s rooms to this year’s occupants. I first stayed there when I was a teen, and have been going back ever since we relocated to this area. It’s ona quiet, (mostly) unchanged part of the Outer Cape just south of Provincetown, right on a bay side beach. About all that’s different in this particular place since the ’70s is that the curtainsof the efficiencywere replaced sometime between ’74 and ’95.No phones, no computers. Just books, sandy children, knitting, and paella cooked on the grill.We may come back early, or I may ziphome a couple of times if my presence is needed, but we AREgoing.

Which place is it? I won’t tell you. I want it to remain undiscovered, but if you know that area if I say we’re about a quarter mile from Day’s Cottages in a hotel that straddles Rt. 6A, you’ll have a very good idea of where I’ll be.

(We are NOT staying in Day’s Cottages.)


Good news on the Lacy Scarf! Aftera minor failure of the on-line ordering system (graciously rectified by the ownerafter aphone call)I finally got the skein of the Greenwood Hill Farm 2-ply laceweight I need to finish the scarf. I spent last night ripping back about a quarter of the finished edging and the last diamond panel of the center. My plan is to extend the center section by about six inches, reknit the diamond panel, then finish the edging all the way around. This should take a couple nights of work. I am not sure whether or not the thing will require blocking. We’ll see.

The fulled pillow is stalled. I just haven’t had a moment either to make a pillow insert to the exact dimension needed, or to run to the crafts store to see if I can improvise a solution with off-the-shelf stuff. It sits here on my desk, buttons in a baggie, just waiting.

Entre Deux Lacs Tee is moving along. I’ve finished two of the ten strips needed, and am about a third of the way through the next one. The bowling ball sized lump of yarn seems barely diminished, which is a good thing.

I haven’t mentioned the Crazy Raglan yet. I did end up going back to the clearance sale at Wild & Woolly in Lexington after the weekend. I came home with a bag of Regia 6-ply Crazy Color. It’s a DK-weight machine washable wool, in a somewhat self-striping combo of red, blue, yellow, white and turquoise. I’ll use it to make a top-down raglan style pullover for the small one, probably worked at sport gauge because I like this yarn better knit slightly tighter. The pattern is something I whipped up using Sweater Wizard, customized a bit after the original output. I’ll be casting on for this one prior to heading off on vacation. A plain stockinette small piece in washable yarn sounds like relaxing vacation knitting to me,as I’m not at all sure I’d like to get my entrelac project’s boucle hand-dyed wool full of sunblock and sand.


I see tons ofpeople posting name games, quizzes and other web toys on their blogs. Some are cute. This one isn’t. (I miss Brunching Shuttlecocks.)


I’m feeling better and better about the fits-and-starts process by which I usually arrive at a finished project. As I read more blogs I realize that I’m not the only one who’s journey from start to completion is a single linear process. Especially on original pieces, most people have a three steps forward/one step back path of progress. Thank you Joe, Wendy, and everyone else who has documented forward but retrograde motion!

My own retrograde progress is that the lacy scarf is stalled. The good news is that the hand-spun Merino wool I am using for the lacy scarf is still available. The bad news is that I ran out of yarn, and have ordered another skein.

Now I have two choices – finish out the remaining foot of edging and use the piece as is; or rip back to add length. After (already) ripping the first end and re-doing it, I am liking the feel and drape of the piece more. The only thing that is still bugging me is total proportion. It’s wide for its length. Another three or four inches of the center motif would go a long way to making the piece more pleasing.

I’m leaning heavily towards adding length. With an entire extra skein, I’ll have plenty of yarn with which to do so. Plus I won’t have to remove all the edging that’s been completed. The Knitting Gods were with me when I startedthat partbecause all unknowing, I began on the "downhill" side.I worked from the center down to the cast-on row end, then back up the other long side. That means I only need to rip back enough to free the final diamond end.

As you can see, I’ve tentatively decided on a name for this mangled creation. Playing on the zig-zags, plus the petal shaped holes and fluttery edge reminiscent of our cherry tree in bloom, I’ll call it "Spring Lightning." I’m still debating on whether or not I should write the thing up for wiseNeedle.I shoudn’t have a problem doing so, but I don’t think there are many peopleinterested in a scarf of this type. Most of the scarves I see being knitare low-effort/high-tactile-visual-appeal type stuff from novelty yarns. I see people doing complex lace shawls, but not small scarves. (There’s a poll at theright if you’d like to leave your opinion.)

What to start next? Hmm… Ideas have been bubbling around for that blue fingering weight hand-dyedboucle I wound a couple of weeks ago:

I had fun with the entrelac stole. Perhaps I’ll do some swatching for an entrelac or modular knitTee. But I’d like to work in some sort of shaping as most stuff I see in modular knitting is too boxy a fit for me. I’d also like to make the modules very small to capitalize on the intense color patches in this yarn.

Since I’m now stalled on Lightning andon the perpetual wash cycle mode on the felted pillow, it’s back to swatching for me.


Yesterday’s visit to the halls of jurisprudence was at the same time, quite dull and quite interesting. Although I was not among the impaneled and got to leave early, watching the process up-close-and-personal was enlightening. I metthree other knitters among those waiting in the jury pool, and got lots of edging done in the hours I sat there:

Two of the people I chatted with were quite nice. Both were women who had knit years ago and who were thinking of getting back into it after reading that the hobby has grown in popularity. Both mentioned "fancy scarf yarn," so I’m guessing that the scarf craze hasn’t exhausted the pool of late adopters yet.

The third was a pain, a pest, an annoyance, and I spent part of the morning trying to dodge her. The problem was that she insisted that what I was doing couldn’t be knitting. It was crochet because it was white, lacy looking, had holes, and wasn’t being worked on long needles with buttons at the ends (I was using two DPNs). After all, everyone knows there’s no such thing as knitted lace.

She wandered over and gushed a bit. I kept working, giving short but (mostly) patient answers. "Gorgeous crochet!"
"Thank you. It’s knitting, not crochet."
"It can’t be. It’s crochet. I can tell."
"Sorry. As you can see, I’m knitting."
"Thats not knitting. I know knitting and you aren’t doing that.
You’re making holes. You NEVER make holes in knitting.
It’s wrong. This is crochet. Don’t tell me what I know."

This went on and on, all in a voice that the entire room could hear. I excused myself, picked up and resettled in another waiting room. After a little while my tormenter followed, commencing whereshe left off. I moved again. She followed. I was ever so grateful when they announced the lunch break. I watched to make sure she left the building, then popped down to the cafeteria for a stale tuna sandwich and a half-hour of relative quiet.

On the edging, I’m about 85% sure that I won’t run out of yarn. I’m also not entirely pleased with the two corners. I did try to miter them, but wasn’t able to manage it in the face of constant interruption. They are more or less symmetrical in stitch count and pattern iteration, but they look clunky to me. I’m also not entirely sure that this project will be successful enough to make it to the write-me-up-for-wiseNeedle stage, or to deserve a name other than its current generic descriptor. So it goes.

If any lace mavens out there can offer up advice (or sympathy for ripping back), I’ll listen with eyes wide.


I continue to make progress on my two at-hand projects.

Lacy Scarf

I finished the center strip of the lacy scarf on Saturday night. The center strip took almost one entire skein of the hand-spun lace weight Merino. That rate of consumption put the last stake in the heart of my first choice of edging (with minimal modifications). I did’t think I would have had enough yarn to do one that wide.

So as I predicted, it was back to the drawing board. I spent my knitting time on Sunday and Mondaymessing around with stitch dictionaries bothhard-copy and on-line, usingthe little bit of yarn leftover from Skein #1, swatching out possibilities. Disappointment. Overall, I felt like a cable TV viewer – I’vehad hundreds of choices, but nothing to watch.

I started with several possiblities from books, then tinkered with them. I even drafted up a couple ideas from scratch.I wanted to use diagonals and/or diamonds to mirror the motifs on the scarf end. The thing should be rather demonstrative as the bulk of the body is so plain. I neededmy edgingto be no wider than 12-14 stitches at its widest point. Asawtooth or point detailwould make going round the corner easier.

After extensive fiddling with dozens of patterns (enough to actually wear out my short length of practice yarn from all the knitting up and ripping back), I cycled back to my original pick.It had the best combo of diagonals and I liked the balance of opage to openwork areas. All that effort wasn’t lost though. What practice did do was give me a better feel for how patterns can be changed around. My initial efforts at modifying the pattern book original were pretty tame – taking out a small insertion detail. This last time I chopped it right in the middle of a vertical pattern element, narrowing the thing down by half. As you can see, it’s working:

Stitch counts on the eding range from 10 to 15 (the body by contrast is 27 stitches wide, butbecause it’s a ribbing, it looks narrower than that).

To attach my edging, I’m using the same pull-a-loop method employed in the Forest Path Stole. It’s fussy, but it makes a very airy join, with no heavy column of attachment stitches. I will work from the point shown, rounding the first corner to the center of the end. Then I’ll weigh my remaining yarn. That should give me a handle on yarn consumption. If I’ve used more than a quarter, I’ll rip back and slash another three columns from the edging’s repeat, then begin again.

Fulled Pillow II

The fulled pillow went through five wash/tumble drycycles over the weekend, keeping company with the family’s regular laundry. I didn’t expect much in terms of total shrinkage. I’ve used this yarn before and it takes quite a few tries before it’s sufficiently de-lanolined to full.

It did start to fuzz up around Wash #3. I can still see garter stitch ridges, but the individual stitches are getting harder to spot. The pillow has also begun to get denser, and a small bit of shrinkage has occurred, but it’s not worth photographing yet.

Original dimensions were 26 x 14 inches (66 x 36 cm). Right now it’s roughly 23 x 13.5 inches (58.4 x 35 cm). I do note that the yellow stripes account for about half the shrinkage so far. The blue and green ones haven’t tightened up as much. I’ll keep washingthe pillowuntil I’m satisfied but as laundry is only done on weekends, you won’t be hearing about this piece again until next week.

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