Thistle, one more lace repeat..

With the 4th lace repeat added to the scarf WIP, I just passed the half mark in the lace section! Here a quick shot (no time to block and show the pattern):

Thistle scarf, the 4th lace repeat

Thistle scarf, the 4th lace repeat.. finally over the half

The project is running on schedule, as shown in the Gantt chart:

Thistle project, the Gantt chart showing the status of advancement

Thistle project, the Gantt chart showing the status of advancement

There was little progress on the market bag that I mentioned in the last post, so it’s not very interesting to post a picture 🙂

I also had some ideas for new projects, but haven’t decided yet as to whether put these into practice. They would require  a very long knitting time and I don’t know if I can commit myself at the moment, so we’ll see…

Make it a project: how to keep focus on a long-term WIP and startitis at bay

To help when knitting a long-term project, I envisaged a strategy to keep focused and enthusiast: make a project out of it!

The current WIP is the Thistle scarf that I have been blogging about recently, but lately I’ve been thinking to cast on new projects to complement my WIP – more on this in a follow-up post 🙂

Breaking down the project into chunks – that when reached give a sense of achievement and progress towards the FO – can make it more enjoyable! Basically, you divide your long-term project into sub-sections. In my case, I have the flowery lace sub-section for a total of 7 repeats (this accounts for about 1/3 of the total length) and the scarf body sub-section (which features a simpler lace and accounts for 2/3 of the total project). Each sub-section can be further split into tasks, if you like. Then for each of them, you enter a start and end date, can add task dependencies, record the progress made thus far and export the project in various formats (for example, as an image, a PDF, etc).

Thistle lace scarf, the project

Thistle lace scarf, the Gantt chart of the project

I have created a project plan using the open source software for Gantt charts called Gantt Project. Open source means that, thanks to development communities who volunteer their time, it’s free – no fees, nothing to pay whatsoever. Cool, I love open source!

From Wikipedia:

[Gantt Project] features most basic project management functions like a Gantt chart for project scheduling of tasks, and doing resource management using resource load charts. It has a number of reporting options (MS Project, HTML, PDF, spreadsheets).

It’s really easy to use; here is a tutorial that explains how to install, set up and use it:

Gantt Project - YouTube tutorial

Gantt Project – YouTube tutorial

You can download Gantt Project from their webpage:

By the way, I completed task ‘Repeat 3’ (the third repeat in the flowers lace section) and I can see that I should have the whole flower repeats by the 25th August, according to the schedule. The body of the scarf should get done prior to the end of September.

Thistle scarf, the 3rd lace repeat

Thistle scarf, the 3rd lace repeat it’s done!

Thistle scarf, detail of the 3rd lace repeat

Now I know (and cannot possibly attempt to ignore!) that there is a limited resource: knitting time… so I can’t just keep adding new WIPs. Conversely, casting on new projects will have an impact on the completion of the current ones.

This is my new tool to keep startitis at bay 🙂

Thistle (WIP) and new project?

Another repeat in the lace section of the Thistle scarf was completed in the wee hours last night.

Thistle scarf: 2 lace repeats done, 5 to go

Thistle scarf: 2 lace repeats done, 5 to go

The lace knitting is going fairly well and no major accidents occurred so far – just some minor unravelling here and there. The pattern is not exactly easy with its 28-row repeat and requires concentration.

I’m pondering whether to begin another item of a different sort, something that would suit better for those times when attention may not be at hand. It could be some geeky knitting (a fractal shawl, a Klein Bottle hat), or a Kate Davies’ pattern (Sontag, for example), or some quick and easy knit… Is this the beginning of a startitis?

Fractal shawl: The Sierpinski Gasket Shawl

Fractal shawl – Original photo of Miss Julia Sett wearing her shawl (source:

What projects are you working on? How many ongoing items do you usually have?

Thistle – the lace section (WIP)

In the recent days there have been a few hic-ups, but the Thistle scarf has finally made some progress. I completed the first repeat of the lace section. Six more to go!


Thistle scarf, the first repeat in the lace section

In the beginning, there was a bit of a false start, due to my misreading of the chart. This is probably typical of when one has the excitement to create a new item whose pattern has not been tried before. After a bit of fiddling, unraveling and precious advice from Johanna of Like Flora Poste (she is an experienced lace knitter and kindly dedicated some of her time to read the pattern, my problem and make a swatch herself), I was able to proceed further. Thank you Johanna ♥

The Shetland yarn I’m using is 100% Shetland 2-ply wool, used double stranded, and seems to have a different look from that originally used in the pattern (Juno Fibre Arts Belle, a sock weight 4-ply 70% alpaca 30% wool). It is thinner and gives a somewhat rougher stitch definition – though this may change once the wool is washed and blooms. In any case, the scarf is a bit of an experiment with this yarn and I’m looking forward to see the outcome.

Looking at the close-ups below, I think that there are a few mistakes: in a few points the stitch doesn’t seem to align with the overall pattern. I’ve been quite careful in checking the stitches and used stitch markers (I mean those funny things, home-made out of red wool yarn!) to make sure the repeats within each row are correct. Thus, I’m wondering whether some stitch has been knitted in a slight different way from what it should be?



Thistle scarf, close-up of the lace section

I’ll post an update when the lace section will be more advanced and by then I will see whether it was a one-off mistake or an actual error in interpretation.

P.S. A small parenthesis here that is not related to the knitted item and hence it’s an optional read. It may take a bit before the next step because both myself and my other half have been unwell: for me it’s just an annoying cold, but my partner had to be treated at the A&E for a severe asthma attack. He had ongoing issues with asthma, but those escalated to a level that it was a problem even to get to the hospital by taxi… I have to say a HUGE THANKS to the doctor and nurse personnel at the emergency: they made an incredible job and rescued him in a life-threatening situation. Despite the government attempts to hatch the National Health Service (pardon, I think they name it “open the service to the private sector”), may our NHS live long, healthy and free for everyone!

Thistle, the beginning

Recently, Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits came out with a new pattern book: Handmade in the UK, which contains many cute lace items knitted in artisan local yarns. Emily, who was born in Canada but lives in Edinburgh, was inspired in her work by the landscape and nature surrounding her new home. Being myself a lover of local produce, ordering the book was an opportunity to support one of the skilled designers working in the UK and thus I ordered both the ebook and the print version.

After long pondering, I am going to attempt a lace scarf (if it comes nicely, I’d also like to try in the larger version as a stole): Thistlewhich is the flower of Scotland and one of my favourite.

Because I have a huge stash, I prefer to use one of the yarns I already have rather than the one suggested in the pattern. Thus I’m knitting with a pure Shetland 2-ply in double strand on needles size 3mm. I also changed to a shade that I prefer – a fairly vibrant purple, which you may remember from my previous post on Shetland yarns. Changing the weight of the yarn and the size of the needles, I slightly modified the pattern by adding a few more repeats for each row.

So far, I only started the border and am now about to begin with the lace pattern. I’m curios to see how it will come out in the yarn of choice. In any case, it will probably take me ages (if) before it’s completed!

A first shot of the beginning….. wish me luck 🙂