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March 2012

February 2012

Outside in or inside out - choices, triangles and shawls

All the triangular - and hexagonal - shawls I've made until now have been what I would describe as inside out. By that I mean they have started with few stitches that form the centre of the long edge and the pattern increases in two triangular panels either side of a central "spine" - as in the leaf pattern on this shawl.

Knit 003

But last week I made Blyth by Kitman Figueroa which works the other way. You start with the edging casting on, in this case, more than 300 stitches, and forming the shape by decreasing to create triangles on each side of the spine.

There are advantages and disadvantages of this method. Yes because each row is shorter, there is a feeling of the whole process speeding up. On the other hand with an inside out construction you set the initial lace pattern over a very few stitches and can then use preceding rows to help accurately place new pattern repeats. With the outside in approach you have to correctly place a lot of lace repeats over the 300+ stitches with nothing to refer to.

Each person will probably have their own view of which method they prefer but both produce lovely shawls so the choice may depend on what effect the designer wants from the edging.

Meanwhile my Blyth is looking great.

Lace 049

Lace 048


Fair isle fun

I haven't done much colour work over the last few years - perhaps due to my lace obsession - but a while back I bought yarn to knit Julia by Judy Furlong.     

image from


By coincidence a friend also bought yarn for it, in the original colourway shown here - I'd chosen more red/browen tomes so no clash at least.

And that is as far as either of us got. Well no, I had at some point cast on 130-odd stitches and worked a few rows of the 1x1 rib for the back. But that was definitely it.

We occasionally bemoaned this state of affairs with little effect until my friend came up with a challenge. We would make it our knitting for the Six Nations rugby tournament this year. 

With hindsight this may not have been the most sensible combination - it is hard to keep count of stitches when you are leaping out of your seat due to a refs decision or a brilliant try. Also it is quite hard to leap out of your chair when you are knitting one colour in continental and one English style.

Proj 084
But with the back complete I am feeling happy about fair isle again and establishing a smooth technique and even tension. I've becaome more confident with floats - I've worried in the past about carrying yarn over more than five stitches without catching it but having spoken with a friend who is floaring for nine in another pattern (following a masterclass) I'm happily doing seven stitch floats (the most the pattern requires).

Proj 083

I don't know why I haven't been doing colourwork much, now I've returned to it, I'm full of colourful ideas.


Meeting a need: manly fingerless gloves


Hamilton 002

The long-suffering Mr Penguin was complaining of cold hands when he was working in our spare room/home office.  I said I didn't have the same problem but he pointed out that this was probably due to my collection of fingerless mitts.

 Ok so mine are fine, often lacy and possibly a bit girly, but eventually a pair of DK fingerless gloves (definitely not mitts - v girly apparently) was agreed on.

But a pattern search revealled nothing suitable. There were few men's fingerless gloves or mitts about and of those that I could find none passed the Mr Penguin test.

So it was out with the measuring tape, plus a sheet of paper where I drew round his hand, a calculator and a bit of swatching. 

And a few days later it was cosy hands all round.

The same day as the gloves had their first test run. we were out with friends when another knitter's partner mentioned he wanted fingerless gloves (with all the same caveats). A definite gap in the pattern market.

So I've written up the pattern and published it - yes really, I've had confidence in my designing and writing skills, to create a simple but hopefully popular pattern.

So if you know of a man with cold hands, help is at hand. Plus in extra good news, these are a stashbuster, using under 200m of DK yarn.