Melissa has been helping me catch up on some of my finished pieces that hadn’t been photographed off the blocking boards.

First the cropped eyelet cardi that I test knit for The Andi Pants. For this picture, Melissa said “Pretend you’re playing castenets!” That’s Maggie down at my feet helping.
Eyelet sweater being modeled

And here I am with Mortimer (aka Scaredy Cat) who officially lives around the corner and over the fence, but who likes to join our knitting afternoons.
Eyelet sweater being modeled

Here’s Victorine, which Bob was helping to block recently. The yarn is Henry’s Attic Alpaca Marl.

And detail. One great aspect of this shawl it that it’s knit from the point up, so it works with pretty much any amount/gauge of yarn.
Victoire detail

An Ulmus that I knit for Melissa out of Malabrigo Sock and Berocco Ultra Alpaca.

And two detail shots—the slipped stitch pattern makes this shawl extra bouncy and mixes the colors wonderfully.
Ulmus detail

Ulmus detail

Finally, here’s Skuld. I loved this knit. I’m loving the second knit in the Norns series—and I’ve already signed up for the fall three-pattern subscription which will be for shawls inspired by world heritage sites.

We are off now for a camping > Shakespeare festival > beach retreat vacation. I took great care to bring plenty of yarns and patterns, but I’m already finding out that the yarn I’ve brought isn’t necessarily suitable for the pattern I chose. Oh well, maybe I’ll have to bu some more.

Another Test-Knit

Here’s my nearly done Cropped Eyelet Cardigan, a test-knit for The Andi Pants.
Eyelet sweater being blocked
It’s knit in Sierra, a cotton-wool blend from Cascade. I bought a bag of this yarn quite a while ago from Little Knits, when I hadn’t been knitting long and assumed I’d prefer cotton yarns, since I prefer cotton clothes. But then I learned what pretty much every knitter knows—wool yarns bounce in the hand, but cotton yarns feel hard and can hurt to work with. So the Sierra had been sitting neglected in my stash until the opportunity for this test-knit came up. Since the original was in Sierra, I figured I’d better use mine, even if I did feel a bit trepidacious.

To put it simply, I fell in love. The mix of fibers (80% cotton/20% wool) is just magic. It feels like cotton on the skin, but there’s just enough wool in it to keep my hands from getting sore as I work with it. This will definitely be one of my go-to yarns in the future.

And back to the test-knit.
Eyelet sweater, detail
Isn’t this detailing lovely? Now I’ve just got to sew the buttons on. We aren’t having sweater weather right now, but this sweater will be getting a lot of use come fall.

Once the pattern is widely available, I’ll post an update and a link.

P.S. If you’re interested, Andi has a nice review of several cotton-blend yarns she tried on this sweater over at her blog.

Alpaca and Cilantro

Sometimes I’m in a starting mood. Lately, I’ve been in a finishing mood. Creature Comforts is done except for stitching down the pocket linings. A new sweater I’m test-knitting is finished except for blocking and buttons (wove in 18 ends this afternoon!). I don’t have pictures of those yet, but here’s a little alpaca eye candy for you.

First up is a blocking shot of Skuld, pattern from Knit and Knag. When I first saw this shawl on Ravelry, I knew I had to knit it. Had to. Soon. As in immediately.
Blocking the Skuld shawl
This blocking picture is a bit of a tease, as I don’t yet have a shot of it off the boards, but I’ll remedy that soon.

This shawl is part of a three month “Seasons of Lace” series. For $24, you get one new shawl pattern each month throughout the summer, each of them inspired by one of the norns—the Scandinavian fates, who spin, measure, and cut the thread of life.

As you can see, the shaping of this shawl is unique. I pinned it out doubled over to make sure the two halves were symmetrical.

I knit this shawl from one of my favorite yarns: alpaca marl from Henry’s Attic. It comes in big, 600-yard skeins, and I weighed mine carefully as I progressed to be sure I was using every bit that I could, which resulted in my getting an extra repeat on either side of the shawl.

At the same time that I was blocking Skuld, I pulled out another project for blocking—Victorine, pattern from Baxter Knits, worked in a different color of Henry’s Attic alpaca marl.
Bob is helpful
I’d knit this shawl for Melissa, so of course Bob (who is not our cat, but who loves her with such a passion that he’s made the one-mile journey from his “official” home to her yard nine times now) had to help with the blocking.


And now for the cilantro part of this post.

Melissa is one of those people with an instinct for making up her own recipes that combine flavors in interesting, delicious ways. Case in point: her latest creation—

Thai Cilantro Pesto

In the Best Food Processor combine the following ingredients, blending until they reach a thick, pate-like texture.

1 large bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 handful or so of basil
4 tablespoons hot pepper infused olive oil
2″ length of ginger root coarsely chopped
1/2 cup peanuts
salt and pepper as desired
1-2 teaspoons water as needed to achieve desired texture

If you don’t have pepper-infused olive oil, just add a pinch of whatever kind of hot pepper you prefer.

The finished product is deliciously complex, spicy, tangy, and just a bit sweet all at once. Serve it as a spread on crackers, baguette slices, or toast or stir it into warm pasta. Yum!

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The I Love Moss Stitch Shawl

I’ve been a moss stitch fan from the start—I love its texture, and I love the way it can play up a variegated yarn. Moss stitch pretty much guarantees you won’t have to worry about pooling.

Given my fondness for moss stitch it should come as no surprise that my first pattern through Knit Pick’s Independent Designer Program is the “I Love Moss Stitch Shawl.”

The moss stitch shawl

I made up the pattern for this on a road trip last summer. I had two different but coordinating skeins of hand-dyed yarn, and I wanted a pattern that would show them off to best advantage, not be too complicated to interfere with watching the world going by outside my window, and not be so boring that it drove me to distraction.

When I blocked this shawl, I pinned the ruffle into pleats.
Blocking the moss stitch shawl

I love how they hang on the finished piece—drape-y and crisp all at once.
Detail of the moss stitch shawl

If you use the link above to get to my pattern, you’ll see that the sample is knitted in different—and much more vivid—colors. I think that’s one of the strengths of this pattern: it works well with a range of yarns.

If you’d like to buy a copy, you can download one for just $1.99 via Knit Picks. And if you have any questions, you know where to fine me: right here at What If Knits.