Countertide Pattern


Still in the midst of knitting frenzy here, this week’s offering is Countertide

Another adaptable crescent shaped shawl, knit from the top down, with room to make the pattern you own by varying the width of the stripes, or saving the lace to the edge, and extending the edging.


Next week should see Winterleaf being released,


The last leaf left in the tree.


Winterleaf detail.

And Sacre Coeur has just opened for testing, so please drop by the group if you’re interested – the more the merrier! It’s deadline-free, and knitter’s choice of yarn weight, colour and pattern variables.



Sacre Coeur, for the arches/ hearts in the main lace, and the stained glass look of the edging.

July 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm 2 comments

Poetic Thursday #21 Frost



early winter’s morning

on a foggy window pane

small boy draws a face


July 17, 2014 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment


interplay p1

While I’m on a roll with this adaptable pattern concept, here’s another choose-your-own-adventure shawl, cousin to Willow and the upcoming Countertide.

Interplay is a top-down, striped, crescent shaped shawl, named for the interplay it encourages between knitter and pattern: this is a pattern you can play with!

  • Start the lace when you like, extend it as far as you like, or use it repeatedly with plain sections in between.Or knit the whole shawl in lace..
  • Knit from two ends of the same yarn for subtle stripes, or use two contrasting colours, or no stripes at all. Perfect for showing off some handspun or variegated yarn.
  • The edging makes a playful little ruffle or can be blocked into large eyelets. One enterprising tester even crocheted her eyelets.

The pattern is deceptively simple, yet can be used to make many different shawls.

It was inspired by a gorgeous skein of Three Waters Farm with such intriguing colour combinations that I didn’t want them to get lost  in a typical gradation. I wanted to shuffle them up against each other and give the contrasts a chance to sing!


Handspun shawl interplay

Self striping some Three Waters Farm handspun

Handspun shawl Interplay

Knitting from both ends of the yarn breaks up the colour progressions in intriguing ways.

quickblocking lace shawl

The same shawl sopping wet, lazy blocking on the clothesline.


Interplay shawl 5

Another TWF handspun, this time alternated with a lightweight grey to let the colour gradations speak for themselves, and be called out by lace section.      The little ruffle here is partially blocked to round out the eyelets a little.

Who would have thought lace design was addictive? Knitting therapy to stave of the winter blues! I have 3 more shawls in various stages of readiness currently, and another test knit starting in a day or so. This one has a leafy theme. Any takers?

July 16, 2014 at 11:02 pm Leave a comment

Poetic Thursday #20 For boys only

round the campfire

Keeping warm

coils of fragrant smoke
crisp stars in a frozen sky
the joys of camping

but not for me – I
am snug and toasty, sleeping
in a quiet house!


playing in the dirt

Boy with purposeful rock.

almost sunset

Temperatures dropping on a clear winter’s night.

Flinders ranges at dusk

The day’s last rays linger on the Flinders Ranges.

full moon

July 10, 2014 at 6:34 am Leave a comment

Willow Pattern


Inspired by one of my childhood favourite books The Wind in the Willows, and by my mother’s love of blue willow china, here is a shawl designed to work well with the brightest colours, or become gently geometric for a solid hue. It’s a simple top-down lace crescent, with optional beading, called Willow

You can start the lace whenever you wish, switch back and forth between lace and plain, and then knit until you run out of yarn.

It uses just the one 12 stitch repeat the whole way through.

It’s a pattern with the ingredients included for fellow tinkerers, yet simple enough for beginners. Some of the test knitters got quite frisky and added garter rows into stockinette, and vice versa, garter rows into the lace, lace rows into the plain section, and so on. I had such a blast seeing them take on the pattern and give it their own twist, as this was exactly what I was aiming for – a thoroughly adaptable shawl.

The plain section can be knit in stockinette or garter. You could even knit the whole thing in stockinette if you really wanted to – it would alter the diagonal lines and put more emphasis on the verticals – but it’s possible!

Or just knit one garter row on the WS at the start of each chart repeat to break the vertical lines up a little.


willow leaves

This is the back of the shawl. Knitting the whole shawl in garter would look more like this.

willow edge

I’ve included two styles of picot for the bind off – Oakleaf-esque

swallowtail edge

Swallowtail picot

whole willow

Mine is a fairly small shawl, modelled here by a gorgeous friend.

Willow wrapped

She serendipitously arrived on my doorstep perfectly colour themed, so I made her pose for me.

Willow stretched

Next up – Countertide, something festive and playful, currently accepting test knitters. Like narrower stripes? Sure! Or wider too. Or save all the lace until the end as dynamic edging. Beading optional, size adaptable, garter and/or stockinette. This is a ‘choose your own adventure’ knit!


Currently seeking test knitters – no deadline, knitter’s choice of yarn and colour. Sign up here

July 8, 2014 at 10:01 pm Leave a comment

Poetic Thursday #19 Half-remembered dreams

as I lay my head
I find last night’s dreams on the pillow
right where I left them


July 3, 2014 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

The busy knitter’s cheat’s guide to blocking lace shawls


Warning, this is the quick and dirty approach to blocking! It’s not fancy or thorough, and it may not work for all shawls. But it’s great for straightening out the top of a crescent and opening up lace patterns.

And being this quick can make the difference between doing it now, straight after you’ve finished the shawl, and sticking it in the cupboard with the rest of the ‘I’ll get to that later’ pile, where it may languish for months.

shawl blocking

Soaking prior to blocking. I always seem to end up using the saucepan. No idea why.


  • Soak shawl in warm water.
  • Take soaking container outside to clothesline.
  • Gather together every peg you own.
  • Peg soaking wet shawl onto clothesline, starting on either side of the middle, but not the middle itself because you want to minimise that bump where the first few rows sit. This also helps to create that nice upside down rainbow curve to the rows.
  • As you peg, stretch the top out as far as it will go.
  • Now use every peg you can lay hands on to add weight to the bottom edge of the shawl. Start at the middle and work up your way up towards the edges, stretching the hem downwards as you go.
  • Now grab your container and using the remaining water, slowly pour it over your shawl, adding extra weight to help stretch the fabric out.

And then wait until it dries. That’s it.


Sopping wet after pouring on half a saucepanful of water. Note that I haven’t pegged the top centre. After pegging out the bottom I removed the two pegs closest to the middle too, to help straighten out the top edge even further. The pegs taper off towards the edge because I ran out. I even scrounged the grubby ones that had fallen into the flowerbed.


If you want to be more brutal or block really vigorously, when it is nearly dry you can bring it inside and pin it out as per usual. Hopefully this job will be easier than normal as half the work has been done for you by the water and pegs.


I’m airing my dirty laundry here – see those wrinkles extending down from the top edge? That’s because I knit the border stitches too tight. As a result this one is a shorter, deeper shape than the other Interplay.

June 28, 2014 at 9:50 am 2 comments

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