Prepping for Umaro

I’ve been all about the stitchy lately, so I thought it might be a good time to tell you about some knitting plans. I’m in the middle of some not-so-exciting projects and was trying to make some decent progress on those before I started anything new. But I’m a yarn addict and I’m weak. I’m sure you can sympathize.

Wanting something warm and cuddly to play with over this freezing weekend, I lost my last tiny bit of resolve and started prepping a new project: the Umaro blanket. Based on the Hemlock Ring I knitted for my mother, I want this one to be a pretty small lap blanket. For those evenings that are a bit cool, but a full blanket is just too much. Or for times when a full blanket draped all around just isn’t practical – sitting at my desk, surrounded by embroidery bits, etc. I have plenty of bed-sized blankets, this one can be a small one.

So I frogged a sweater I’d never worn, skeined it, and gave it a wash to get rid of the noodle kinks.


I’ve never done this before, so I was surprised that I had the whole process done in a weekend. I was also kind of amazed by the way the kinks just softened right out of the yarn almost immediately on hitting the warm water, it was kind freaky. I have a few skeins hanging over my radiator, so maybe I can get started really quickly.

Of course, now I’m worried that I don’t have enough yarn. Typical.

Handspun Cladonia Shawl

Cladonia Shawl

Finally! I’m so pleased with how she came out – isn’t she pretty? To be honest, I wasn’t totally crazy about this shawl while everyone else was knitting it. I think the colors the sample was knit in just aren’t for me and sometimes that clouds your judgement of the pattern as a whole. It shouldn’t, we knitters should be able to look past the sample yarn and just see the design, but sometimes it’s hard! I’m sure it works the other way too – a design you might not have liked otherwise looks better to you if it’s shown in a color or yarn you love.

Cladonia Shawl

Anyway, I was on the fence about Cladonia until I saw the amazing version knit by Monika of Smoking Hot Needles. Monika’s an amazing knitter, only in part because she has such a beautiful way with pairing yarns to patterns, and I was smitten with her version. Introducing a new high-contrast color into the lace border was genius, and popping in just a touch of a bright color (her green) was even better. Her color arrangement made all the sections of the shawl really work perfectly together.

Cladonia Shawl

So what better way to show my appreciation of Monika’s knitting than to shamelessly copy her?! (If you see this, Monika, sorry about that, I hope you know it’s a compliment!) In a mad fit of spinning mojo, I gathered up a pile of batts I’d bought from different people (I’m sorry I don’t have the labels anymore, so I can’t give credit to the lovely batt-makers) at different events only to discover that they looked perfect together. I still needed a fourth yarn for those eyelet rows so I actually just took the leftovers of the lighter purple (from the stripey section) and over-dyed it! I figured that if I kept within the purple family, an over-dyed version of one of the yarns already used would have to match. So I dumped some magenta over it and hoped for the best.

Cladonia Shawl

I’m so in love with it, I can’t wait to wear it somewhere! And because I’m not really the best spinner in terms of getting the yarn weight I was aiming for (it’s always thinner than I intended), my yarns were more like a very heavy laceweight (maybe ever so slightly heavier than Malabrigo lace) and the shawl came out very airy and drapey. Funny how Cladonia started off as a shawl I was just so-so about when now I could knit a million of ’em!

One row to go


Lace section restored and the color layout much improved, I’ve reached the edging row (aka the last row) of Cladonia. Whee! I decided against the looped edging and to go with a simple picot edging as a few other Ravelers had done. I felt the looped edging was too much – especially for me, I’m not usually a dainty edging kinda girl – and has too much potential to look sloppy if it’s not blocked just so. do Funny thing is, in 5 years of knitting, I’ve never done a picot edge before! Turns out it’s simple enough, just a little time-consuming. I suspect it will take me more than one evening to get this last row done, but the next time you see this shawl, it should be all finished and blocked.

In the meantime, I’m planning for my next just-for-fun knit, the Magrathea shawl in yarn I plan to dye myself this weekend. That’s already a bit of a story, but more on that later.

In the even meaner-time, there’s been a lot of stitching been going on behind the scenes over here and I hope to have some news to share very soon! Eep!

Now you see it…


One of my post-Christmas-gifts holiday knitting projects was a handspun version of the Cladonia shawl. I actually spun the yarn specifically for this pattern months ago, but only got to it now. I reached the lace portion a few days ago and was so excited to knit it, I actually saved it for the perfect cozy time. Luckily, I really enjoyed knitting it, because I’ll get to start it all over again tonight. My Cladonia plan involved introducing new colors in the border, one in the little eyelet rows that begin and close the lace section, another in the lace itself. After I finished knitting the final row of the lace last night, I suddenly realised I hadn’t switched colors in the right place, way back before starting the lace. I tried to pretend it wouldn’t bother me, but deep down, we knitters know those kind of mistakes will make us crazy. Sigh.

Woolgathering: lace

Woolgathering mosiac: lace

1. Lace Doily Flat Note Cards, 2. Lace Hearts, 3. Lace Tray , 4. Lace Tree, 5. Lace bracelet, 6. Lace candle holder, 7. Layers Of Old Lace, 8. Lit up lace lamp shade in black and white, 9. white lace printed kraft paper, 10. Lace Gem Earrings, 11. Lace Ruffle Tunic, 12. new shelf border for my craft cabinet, 13. lace detail from smock, 14. Progress on the Russian tape lace, 15. lace hearts, 16. Vintage Trim

I’ve been weirdly obsessed with lace recently – all sorts, too: cheap craft store lace to apply to any number of things, crocheted lace edgings, doilies, and especially handmade bobbin lace. Funny, because I’m not especially girly and never have been – as a child I rebelled against everything that could possibly be considered ‘girly’, even the Girl Scouts. But my tastes have been sort of moving in a more girly direction lately. I blame the BBC and their blatant thrusting of bobbin lace in my face, clearly propaganda to distract me like a little monkey who wants new toys to play with. How else can you explain its appearance on both Edwardian Farm and Lark Rise To Candleford (yes, I’m a giant dork) within weeks of each other? As if I don’t already have a list so long that even my hobbies are stressing me out. Sigh. But I wants them, little bobbins and a pretty pillow and, oh dear, the handmade lace. It’s so bewitching – the twisting and turning and seemingly randomness which ends up, magically, as a beautiful piece of lace. It turns out an antique stitchery book of mine has a whole chapter devoted to what they call ‘pillow lace’, which only added to the mass manipulation. I must resist, really, but for how long – how long?!

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