Goodnight Irene

I am vibrating in place with excitement. We leave immediately after work for Pennsic.

My Knitpicks Shadow laceweight arrived on Wednesday. I absolutely adore this yarn. I have not ordered anything from Knitpicks that I haven’t just adored yet, and I am not paid by them to say so. For $2.99 a ball, you cannot beat the value. I needed two balls (880 yards) and including shipping, my cost for making Moonlight Sonata will be under $10.

I am also happy to report that despite the fact that my monitor suggested I was getting a blue yarn, it is in fact, closer to black, with the green showing up quite a bit and a hint of navy in there. I love the color of this yarn as much as I love is smooshy feel.

Even though I said I wouldn’t start Moonlight Sonata until after Pennsic, I couldn’t resist casting on. I had some trouble understanding exactly what I was doing at first and reading through the archives on Ravelry, so did many other people. I will try and break it down and see if I can help.

This provisionally cast on band, is only 7 stitches wide. It is 83 repeats of two rows, and I was beginning to panic when I realized my 83 repeats was only about 18 inches long unstretched. I assumed I was knitting the band for the whole top edge of the shawl, but no, this is just the “center” of the crescent shape of the shawl. Knitting this band is what will help give Moonlight Sonata its unique shape. Pretty clever, I think, but a bit mystifying if you go in unprepared.

I cast on and was knitting on faith for the most part. One thing I changed was to substitute a slipped stitch for the yarn over, knit two together direction, which makes the edge of my shawl plainer, but made me feel a little saner. Your mileage may vary.

Neck Band of Moonlight Sonata

The trickiest part for me was picking up my stitches. It said to pick up in the garter ridge bump, but my yarn was small enough that it was very difficult to do so, so my join is not as seamless as it could have been. I picked up most of my stitches in the “valleys.”

Once I picked up all my stitches, I went ahead and knitted one row across plain, just to make me feel better that my lacy stitches would all start on a more evened-out row. This may or may not have been necessary, but it didn’t hurt anything.

I highly recommend putting a stitch marker after your first 7 border stitches, and then a marker either through your center stitch or one on each side (I have one on each side), and then another stitch marker before the before beginning your other 7 stitch border. Note that if you are a chart reader like I am and don’t do well with written instructions, the chart does not note the border stitches or the center stitch.

I suspect I will soon be placing a stitch marker in between each of my “moon” repeats.

I would not call this shawl especially challenging yet. I have worked on harder patterns, but I know that the truncated chart and the unusual cast on and beginning make it seem intimidating. By following what the instructions say, and just trusting them, it is much easier in the working than it is in the reading. I will update more about the shawl when I get back in 10 days or so.

In the meantime, I did promise a picture of my Finnish Socks:

They now belong to one of my favorite attorneys, and she says she likes them quite well, but I cannot begin to express my disappointment in the fact that they do not match. The toe of the second sock is terribly ugly, but I just didn’t have enough black yarn to finish out in solid black.

Also, the Cats Paw pillow from A Gathering of Lace in my hand spun and hand dyed 2-ply yarn:

A detail of one of the cats:

This was a crazy easy knit. The real trouble will begin when I try and find my pillow form and a good contrasting color (I am thinking a chocolate brown) to put under the lace.

And the cats paw Shetland lace scarf:

I don’t know what will become of the scarf. It was accidentally pulled off the needles in a packing “incident” as I was getting ready for Pennsic, and having neither the time nor inclination to wrangle those stitches back into some sembalance of order and get them back on the needle, the scarf has been wrapped up and locked in my work drawer where I expect it to remain until after my vacation.

I don’t know where the obsession with Cats Paw lace has come from. The 6 row stitch seems to be in everything. Even the Moonlight Sonata has places where it looks vaguely like a cats paw stitch. I don’t think it was intentional on my part, I just seem to be stuck in a rut of lace that includes the cats paw stitch or motifs similar to it.

That is what it is. I have 64 minutes until I leave for my vacation. I wont have access to email or the blog until August 9, so do not expect to hear from me. Comments are moderated from new commenters and I wont be able to allow any you leave until that time either, so please do not take it personally if you leave me a comment and don’t see it post for a while.

Be well. Knit happy. Work hard. Play harder. Hug the ones you love tonight and be thankful for every minute you have with them.


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