When you can knit but can’ t count

Carefully considering the appropriate cast on for the 7 Crescent Shawl by Lisa Barnes, I quickly put 232 stitches on a 24″ size 7 needle the night before our Montreal road trip. By the end of the weekend, the lace portion was complete.

“What long rows,” I thought.

Alanna Nelson knits shawl in New England

Never mind, the rest of the Crescent Shawl was stockinette st short rows… perfect for our sailing vacation which began two days later. I plugged away, enjoying the mindless knitting while watching waves, wind and lightning. Eventually it occurred to me that this shawl was asymmetrical.

Crescent Shawl knit while sailing

The #7 Crescent Shawl with a long tail


I’d cast on 332 stitches, not 232! All scrunched up on the short needle, I couldn’t really tell.

Do I finish, I wondered? What if I worked 12 st past the join on the long side, so I would finish up at the same time on both ends? What the heck, it may be just fine. It’s still mindless knitting.

Well, it’s really not. Once finished, no way did I want it to do on my present shelf. Really, the lace pattern is a bit disjointed. Actually, there’s so much going on in the yarn that I really couldn’t see the pattern anyway. But the Noro Mirai yarn is quite soft. I like the yarn, I like the idea of a crescent shawl, but something with lacey, easy to knit holes, something soft and buttery, with light layers would be a better mix for this cotton/silk/viscose yarn.

Rather than rip out and knit again, I think I’m going to write my own crescent shawl pattern. Stay tuned!

Christmas in August Stockings

When I worked as a seasonal ranger for the National Park Service, August 25 was a great excuse for a party.  Dubbed “Christmas in August”, we enjoyed more of each other’s company  with a dose of Christmas cooking and perhaps a small present or two. When you live in a transient, isolated small community, hanging out together is a pretty popular activity.  Most of us wouldn’t be together for the winter holiday and the summer season was beginning to wind down. While there might be mulled cider at “Christmas in December,” there never were stockings and Saint Nick wasn’t even discussed.

Crater Lake National Park, OR

Thanks to the NPS for this aerial view.

Now that you know this little tidbit about me, you can understand why debuting a Christmas stocking pattern in late August  isn’t so crazy.  It gives you plenty of time for you to knit up a couple for this Christmas.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to reproduce Christmas stockings for a Stoneham, MA family.  When their girls were small, a neighbor had knit them each a stocking.  Now that the girls are women and building their own families, the parents wanted to add a stocking for the son in laws as well.  The original stocking was typical sock construction, with a seam up the back and an attached loop to hang from the chimney.  I altered the pattern to work the stocking in the round and incorporated the loop into the stocking itself.  For those who hate to seam, this is a simple stocking for you!

I’m planning to riff on this pattern for some color work holiday stockings, but click The Warren Christmas Stockings by Alanna Nelson for your own copy of this classic Christmas stocking to knit in worsted weight yarn.