Inspiration Book – Tin Ceilings

When we were in Sydney, we stayed at the Mercantile Hotel. It’s a pub on the ground floor with modest rooms above, built in 1915 or so. I loved the tin ceilings at the Mercantile, and there seemed to be a different pattern in every room.

Mercantile 001

Mercantile 002

Mercantile 003

Mercantile 005

Mercantile 006

Mercantile 010

Mercantile 012

Mercantile 013

Mercantile 014

Mercantile 016

The textural, repeating patterns seem like they would be (very roughly) adaptable to knitting. Maybe as a cushion or an afghan. I’ll be mulling it over.

Handspun Showcase Shawl

Woo hoo!  I did it!

I went from this,


to this,

spinning 015

to this,

Handspun Showcase Shawl 054

during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

I am very happy with it.

Handspun Showcase Shawl 037

I designed this shawl to let my one precious skein of handspun really sing in an unfussy setting. I wrote up the pattern here. The darker yarn is Cascade 220 Heathers in charcoal gray.

Handspun Showcase Shawl 060

I’m glad I went with the shallower shape, since that makes it wide enough to wrap generously around the shoulders. Even broad shoulders like mine.

Handspun Showcase Shawl 045

The edge is just a couple rows of garter stitch, so it has to be blocked pretty severely to lay flat.

Handspun Showcase Shawl 062

As a result, it’s a bit lighter than you’d think for something made from worsted weight yarn.

Handspun Showcase Shawl 057


Coming out of hiding

Last night I mentioned that my first trip to Rhinebeck is coming up.  As I was writing that I realized that, indeed, Rhinebeck is only two weeks away!  What should I wear?  It seems that everyone who’s anyone is making a Rhinebeck sweater (as those in the know have for years, of course).

I haven’t started (or finished) any new sweaters recently, so I was thinking hard about what I could whip up in two weeks. Then I remembered this:

DPP hibernating

It’s my Pinstripe Pullover that I put in storage back in March.


I have about two inches left of the body to do before I start the sleeves. Think I can finish it in time?

WIP Wednesday – Sweater Edition

First of all, I’m delighted to report that I’m very close to finishing Wicked.

Wicked End

I’ve re-blocked Serrano, and the shoulders are working out much better. Now the only question is what I ought to do for a closure, which is a topic complicated enough to deserve its own post.

Cathode is also coming along nicely.

cathode 3/25

I’m about 2/3 of the way done with the bottom ribbing, so I can probably finish in a few weeks. I’m trying to finish Cathode before Serrano, because Serrano is lacy and light enough to wear well into spring. I know the bottom part looks preposterously small, but it’s very stretchy. I also think that negative ease is important with something like this, since it has the potential to really swallow me up if it’s too big. I had considered lengthening the sleeves, but I think I’ll stick with the short sleeves. I had also considered doing a smaller collar (which is why I did a provisional cast on at the neck) but I might as well do the big goofy one. It’s never going to be a “normal” sweater, I might as well follow the spirit of the pattern and make it totally nutso!

And now for the bad news. DPP had been relegated to a space bag to wait out the summer.

DPP hibernating
(There it is, hanging out with Tailored Scallops)

This project had really become a slog, which is heartbreaking considering that it’s my own pattern.  But it was a slog the first time too, and as I’ve discussed, it put me off knitting for a few months.  This project embodies knitting angst for some reason.  Part of it is just the way things have worked out – as of this writing, Foliage is still on the Ravelry Top 20.  I’m a little bummed that after my initial success DPP has been, shall we say, noticeably less popular.  But again, as we’ve discussed, knitting is my HOBBY.  The fact that DPP has become a slog, for any reason, justifies a time-out.

DPP 3/25

But the good news is, I’m almost done with the body and I like how it’s turning out. Some time this fall I’ll pick it up with renewed energy, and it will be finished in no time.

My own DPP – Sizing

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.  I have much gift knitting to discuss, but I think that’s best wrapped into a larger year-in-review post, since I don’t know where to start and I’m about to be without my computer for a few days. I’ve decided instead to begin my series on knitting my very own Pinstripe Pullover (I did not choose the word “dainty” and I always forget to use it). I intend to document my progress in meticulous detail, since this blog really dropped off when I couldn’t share what I was doing the first time around. Also, I hope that my commentary will be helpful to those who decide to make it for themselves.

I started it on Election Day, but I had to abandon it for holiday knitting right after that. When I picked it up again for the trip I saw that my tension was REALLY wacky (probably from all the drama of watching the results) and I had made a mistake. I want this sweater to be perfect so I ripped it out and started it over, so I’m right back to where I was at the end of Election Day.

I hesitated in starting my own because I agonized over what size to make (ironic, huh?). I have a 42 inch bust, so I was right in between sizes. I decided to make the 40.5 inch size because the pattern as knit with Alpaca Silk has quite a bit of horizontal stretch to it.

Here you can see the swatch I did for the Interweave sample. In the unstretched state there are just about 7 stripes (28 stitches) in four inches.


When the swatch is stretched, I can get six and a quarter stripes (25 stitches) to cross those four inches pretty comfortably.


Using that math, it could fit a 46 inch bust, not that that’s what I would recommend.  Once I’m done with this I would love to get several other women to try it on so we can do our own size 12 Interweave Gallery.

I am heading out to Chicagoland to visit my Grandma until Tuesday. My mom, dad, and sister are coming too, so it’ll be a holiday visit to Illinois with the original Mooney clan, just like old times. The Pinstripe Pullover is a great project for travel to visit family, since that nice deep ribbing requires little concentration.  When I return, I’ll begin my year-end series of posts!

Dainty Pinstripes Pullover

As many of you noticed earlier this week, I have a sweater pattern in the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Knits, the Dainty Pinstripes Pullover.  This has been such a surreal, exciting experience that I had an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude about the whole thing, and I didn’t really tell people about it.  Well here it is!

Nov 2008 004a

Here I am taking a page from the Kate Gilbert playbook:


I’m delighted with the photo spread, particularly because some of the photos are next to a marble fireplace, similar to mine, my favorite feature of my house and next to which I knit a lot of the sweater.  I’m particularly excited that the photo in the lower left of the magazine page above shows the back detail, because it’s my favorite part:


It’s less obvious from the photos what’s happening in front. There are increases there too, arranged to look like princess seams:


The whole thing is knit in the round, with raglan decreases sporting one pinstripe each:


That picture should also give you an idea of how the pinstripes are created.

On election day I started my very own in pink and purple, but I haven’t worked on it since. I didn’t want to jinx anything, and I have Christmas knitting to work on! I am so excited to be able to show you the version I’m knitting for myself as it takes shape. While this has been a very exciting experience, it was a very lonely one. I knit the whole sweater in three weeks, which kind of killed my knitting mojo (and the blog) for awhile. But I’m back! And now that the sweater is public, I have renewed enthusiasm for knitting, blogging, and designing.

Wa na na na na na na na BAT SHAWL!

(doesn’t my sister have pretty hair?)
My bat shawl pattern is available in the new AntiCraft.


I knit this last summer. It was one of the secret projects I worked on on my road trip. While I knit it over the summer, I didn’t finish writing the pattern until about a month ago, at that’s the pattern I was referring to in my post at the beginning of this year.


It all started with the swatch of the bat motif in the Walker Treasury Project. As you can see, the first comment was mine, and the idea came to me pretty much immediately.

This pattern probably won’t be as widely used as Foliage, but I am still psyched to get it published.  The Anticraft is obviously the only suitable home, and I’m really glad that they liked it!


Secret Project Revealed

The recent kerfuffle about whether a blog is more like a tea party or a house party got me thinking about blogging in general and my own blogging goals.  I enjoy blogging and I enjoy designing, but unfortunately those goals have been at odds lately.  It wasn’t a huge problem with quick projects like socks and hats.  I designed those and knit them on the side, and my blog didn’t suffer too badly for lack of content.  With big projects like blankets and sweaters, however, the relative silence is pretty noticeable.  We’ve all seen blogs go down hill when their writers switch from public knitting to secret designing.  I don’t want that to happen here, I enjoy blogging too much. 

My two favorite blogging Ruths have been a real inspiration lately.  Ruth S. of Knitting on Impulse recently revealed a beautiful sweater with interesting construction that she’d been giving us glimpses of for months.  Ruth H. of Ruthless Knitting has shown us the full design process of several sweaters over the last few months, Tokyo Top most recently.  Blogging and designing can be excellent companions when one is willing to actually show the designs in progress. 

With that in mind, I’ve decided to share one of the sweaters that I’m working on.  This is not the secret project I mentioned last week, which to be honest is in Slog mode.

Those of you who have known me for awhile know that I am a huge fan of Noro.  The big challenge of designing with Noro is getting it to do something other than orderly horizontal stripes.  Not that there is anything wrong with horizontal stripes, but they’ve been done.  I wanted something more interesting.


This is fitting the bill so far.  What you’re looking at is the back of a sweater that will one day hopefully look something like this:


It will have a scoop neck, and the stripes will be diagonal. There will be raglan sleeves, and the seams will be formed by grafting the body to the sleeves. I started in the center bottom with two balls of yarn going, and added stitches every other right side row until it was as wide as I wanted it to be. Then I turned the corner by decreasing instead of increasing. It is not perfectly square yet, but I’m confident that a good blocking will make it work.


I decided to knit the back in one piece, twisting the two strands on the wrong side of the work. I could have knit the pieces separately and then seamed them, but this method allows the piece to stretch very evenly while a seam would not have. It looks very neat, even from the wrong side.


I feel a bit exposed showing you this, after keeping it a secret.  I hope it works out!

WEBS trip

One of my knitting buddies from college works at WEBS, and I had heard through the grapevine that there was a sample of Foliage over by the Malabrigo. Being the total dork that I am, I really wanted a picture.  I went up with my mom and my sister today, and we had a fun photo shoot with my friend the foam head.




When we were checking out, Melissa introduced herself and said that she had knit the sample Foliage, so I got a picture with her.  This is the first time I’ve seen an example in real life that I didn’t knit myself, and it was equal parts trippy and awesome.


Good times.  I’m sort of embarrassed to reveal how excited I was to see my hat at WEBS, but I was really, really excited.

Inadvertently Trendy

I was at the mall today trying (and failing) to buy a decent looking lawyer suit. Do any suit-wearers out there have any advice?

When I was there I saw this in the window of Forever 21.

Forever21 hat

Is it just me, or is it uncannily similar to this?

Emilee 143

That’s right, I’m trendy without even trying to be ;)