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 🙂



No, this is not a post about those (I imagine) beautiful islands. While ago, I bought some Shetland wool on cone and I’ve been eager to play with it since. Finally, my vintage ball winder arrived, so I set out this weekend to make some yarn cakes… yummy.

Shetland yarn cakes and cones, close up

Shetland yarn cakes and cones A small part of the cakes produced so far… 

I made a very little swatch with double strands, just for the washing test. It had to be small: using 2mm needles, work progresses very slowly (and I’m already no fast knitter!).

In the beginning I was a bit worried because this wool is a rather fine 2ply and also had a fairly rough feel. I heard from other people that wool on cones is oiled and usually blooms once washed, so I was hopeful that this would have been the case. Indeed, it was so, to my joy. After gently washing it with washing up detergent, it turned into a fluffy, soft wool. Absolutely beau-ti-ful.

Swatch before washing The swatch before washing

Swatch after washing …and after washing

Yarn comparison: before (top) vs. after (bottom) Yarn comparison: before (top) vs. after (bottom)

I had in mind to use my Shetland wool for swatching patterns I created inspired by some Donegal fabrics seen not long ago – just wasn’t sure it would turn out fine. Now I’m relieved to see such a beautiful swatch.

I love my old Toyota ball winder (made in Japan) and the Shetland wool in all those shades… I can’t wait to find some time to play with it. In fact, right now, I wish I had nothing else to attend to. Do you also get such a feeling?

Vintage Toyota ball winder in action