Time to introduce my partner for The Amazing Lace!

First step was to send out applications. The response was overwhelming! Behold – The Amazing Lace Stash:


The applicants were all worthy. Which to choose? Shadow by Knit Picks in a glorious grape color. Alpaca Cloud, also by Knit Picks – so very soft and in subtle shadings of Moss, Iris, Sunlight or Sand. But wait, there’s more! Also by Knit Picks (have they got my number or what?), Paint Your Own Laceweight, either in natural or a lovely Kool-Aid Berry Blue.

What about the lovely Skacel Merino Lace – in three lovely colors, one with matching irridescent beads? Or, a true heirloom could be started, perhaps one of Sharon Miller’s gorgeous designs in Jamieson & Smith Cobweb. Perhaps the lovely Inky Dinky Spider, Tina, or Paisley Long Shawl by Dorothy Siemens.

In the end, the winner was a project already on the needles – Peacock Feathers, by Dorothy Siemens. The yarn – Knit Picks Shadow in Vineyard. The needles – size 4 Addi Turbos.


Why, you might ask did the balance tip in favor of Peacock Feathers? Three reasons:

1. Fidelity Matters. Why go looking for a new love when I’ve got a perfectly good one right at home? (Kind of like marriage, huh?)

2. She’s Cheap! No, really! Shadow – $2.29 a skein. Total skeins needed – about 2 1/2. Need I say more?

3. She’s Familiar. For me this race is not about winning. With all of the amazing contestants out there, I know I have no chance whatsoever to win. For me, it’s about finishing and having a good time. This is my second Peacock Feathers. The first was made for my mother last Christmas. It’s comfort knitting at its finest and I intend to relax and have a good time.

So, we’re off and running. Here we are with our final member of the team – Agatha:


Traveling will be done this summer on The Amazing Lace. Itinerary so far – Bellevue, Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Dallas (airport time only) and Orlando (YES!! Izzy time!) and who knows where else?

We have returned safe and sound from our trip to Vancouver – no small feat when you’re driving a car the size of a large suitcase! This was my first trip with the car on a longer trip (my husband drove it up from San Francisco) and I was pleasantly surprised that it was not too uncomfortable and I felt safe and secure. It was loud, however! The show was fun although we didn’t win anything. I think part of that was because we were one of the later arrivals and they ran out of room, so we were parked slightly apart from the rest of our class. It was cold and windy, but the rain stayed away. And knitting was accomplished (mostly in the hopes it would keep me warm):


In fact, knitting was completed on the Opal socks:


I find that the Opal yarn was not as soft as some others (namely, the Austermann), but I love the well-behaved stripes. Look mom – they match! These are for my friend who is embroidering the Hummels for me. And yes, that picture was taken today, beneath a very confused Christmas Cactus!!

The park where the car show was staged was Van Dusen park. It is well worth the trip! It is as beautifully landscaped as Buchardt Gardens, but in a less formal, more naturalistic style. And I think I have found a new passion – photographing flowers:




Before we left on our short trip, I got a wonderful package in the mail – my Project Spectrum gifts. Helen knows me well!


As you can see, in addition to lots of green goodies, there was (drum roll, please!) LACE YARN!! WOO HOO! This is Skacel Merino, one of my favorites, in a color I do not own. In addition, she enclosed the most beautiful irridescent green beads to go with it. So the search is on for the perfect project to make some beaded lace. Thanks, Helen – you’re the best!

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I have done some housekeeping on my sidebar – long overdue! I have added some blogs that I read on a regular basis (not all, but a good sampling) and yes, I have caved in and joined The Amazing Lace. Later in the week I’ll introduce you to my partner.

“Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Just a reminder that I’m not getting too confident here! But I think I may be on the road to success in my quest for a tank. The first step was to fool the Gauge Demon. I decided to start from scratch by picking out a pattern I really liked, regardless of gauge (well, as long as it was close to recommended gauge for the yarn). I selected the tank from the Thorn and Thistle set from the current Interweave Knits. It has nice, slimming lines and offers a little more coverage than the average tank. The gauge was 5 stitches to the inch. Then, I did a gauge swatch with the size needles (4) that I felt gave a nice fabric. I got 6 stitches to the inch. Next, I looked at the pattern and found the size that, given MY gauge, would give me the closest desired measurement. I deduced that by using the directions for the 49 1/2″ size, with MY gauge, I would get a measurement of 41 1/2″. That gives me about 1 1/2″ ease – what I think is comfortable. And, for a change, once I started the actual knitting, my gauge remainded the same. Ok, enough talking – time to step up with proof:


I’m pretty happy with the results! My only worry is how it will fit. The measurements sound ok, but I’m not familiar with how cotton drapes on the body. Also, most tanks I have seen recommend “negative ease”. Well, I’m not a negative ease kind of gal! Time will tell.

This will probably be the last progress I’ll have for at least a week or so. This weekend my husband and I are heading off to a car show in Vancouver, Canada. We’re taking his Mini Cooper, so space is quite limited and I will be taking some socks and Peacock Feathers. When we return, I need to dedicate next week to finishing up my course on Early Childhood Development, then freedom for the summer!!

I leave you with some pictures of our gorgeous rhododendrons:



I is for Isobel.


What else? Can it be that she’s already one? This has been such a joyous year for us. Everything everyone said about being a grandparent is true! We loved being parents, but there is such a feeling of responsibility. With gandchildren you have absolutely no responsibility at all!! You just sit back and enjoy.

Since Ben & Abby moved to Florida we had been keeping their two dogs (or more accurately, Allen had been keeping them). Two weeks ago we shipped them off to their new home. We were a little concerned about how they would react to Izzy, since when she left she was just starting to sit up on her own. How would they react to this very mobile, intrusive little person? We need not have worried. Once they figured out that she was an unending source of Cheerios, they became fast friends:


They read stories together and watch the world go by:


So, Happy Birthday Izzy! We can’t wait to see what 2 will bring!

There has been stash enhancement here at Missouri Star this week:


Twelve skeins of Knit Picks Shine in sport weight, two skeins of Essential sock yarn in Navy and one skein of the self striping for Fair Isle socks. Take a close look because this is the last stash enchancement you’ll see for a while. I am officially on a yarn diet! Some expensive home repairs (a backed up septic system and a leaking skylight) have put a dent in our savings, so until I get that built back up I am trying to be frugal. I will allow myself some sock yarn and perhaps a lace pattern later in the summer, but at least until August I’m going to make do with what I have. You heard it here first!

The Shine is for my summer tank. I was so excited to begin, but the Gauge Demon is really rearing his ugly head! Plan A was for the Shine to transform into Calliope. The gauge calls for 31 stitches to 4 inches on size 2 needles. I’m a loose knitter and usually go down one size to start, but since this was already pretty small, did my guage on size 2’s. The pattern was lovely and I liked the fabric it made. My gauge? 23 stitches to 4 inches. Not even close! Then it kicked in. 31 stitches to 4 inches? That’s darn near the gauge I get on size 1 needles with fingering yarn! Are they out of their ever loving mind? Who could possibly knit that tightly with sport weight without breaking their fingers? I contemplated just keeping the gauge and calculating either knitting a smaller size or rewriting the pattern.

Instead I moved on to Plan B. In looking through the new Interweave Knits, I saw The Bonita Shirt. That’s the ticket. Sport weight yarn at 6 stitches to the inch on #5 needles. Much more realistic. I did a gauge on size 4’s. 6 stitches to the inch – spot on! I washed and dried my gauge. 6 stitches to the inch – spot on! So I spent the entire evening doing a crochet chain provisional cast on on size 2’s – 258 stitches! I spent the next evening doing 11 rows of stockinette for the hem. I debated doing a purl row for the turn or a picot hem, but in the end decided to go with the pattern as written and was very pleased with the nice rolled hem:


But wait, something wasn’t quite right! It seemed a little, well, LARGE! I tried measuring scrunched up on the needle and finally in desparation threw caution to the end, stretched it out to its full length. 52 inches!!!! Not 43 as it should have been. What happened? How could I get 6 stitches to the inch on size 4 needles one night and 5 stitches to the inch on size 2 needles the next????

I have debated what to do and changed my mind about 10 times, but as of this writing I think I will redo my gauge for Calliope, wash and dry it and then see if knitting a smaller size in a larger gauge will give me a good fit. SIGH! Is this why socks have seemed so attractive lately?

What a wonderful week this has been! I told my boss that he must be crazy to go away and close the office and leave me with an entire week at home. It gives me a little taste of retirement and I like it WAY too much! In addition the weather was gorgeous. On Thursday, my husband’s birthday, we drove to Keystone and walked on the ferry over to Pt. Townsend. On the drive down, only about a mile from our house, we passed a field and saw SIX bald eagles sunning themselves on the ground! It’s not unusual to see bald eagles, even in the trees around our house, but this was the first time I’ve ever seen that many on the ground.

Coming around the bend to the ferry, we had to pull over to the side of the road and admire the view. The sun was shining and you could look across the fields to the calm waters of Puget Sound with snow capped mountains in the background. Beautiful! Unfortunately, you will have to take my word for it. Like complete dummies, we remembered to bring the camera, but left the battery happily charging away back home.

However, I do have at least one knitting pic for you:


The Austermann Step fraternal twin socks are finished. Other than the frustration of trying unsuccessfully to match the stripes, this yarn was such a pleasure to work with. It is so incredibly soft. Do you like my sock blockers? My husband made them for me – I’m so pleased with them. I won’t really use them for washing my socks (stretches out the top rib), but I love them for being able to take pictures.

Last summer was the Summer of Lace and this summer is turning out to be the Summer of Socks. My knitting group wants to do a program on socks in October and yours truly has been appointed the fearless leader. I think I want to concentrate on free patterns off the net. I would like to knit as many of them as I can, and with my current sock yarn stash I should have no shortage of materials. Here’s the plan:

More Fun than Cables by Marguerite out of Knit Picks Essential (already finished).

Old Shale Two, once again by Marguerite. Knitted and given away so will have to do again with yarn to be determined.

Lizzies Lacy Ribs by Debi. Already started out of Regia Cotton. Scroll down on her sidebar for a list of her patterns.

Rob’s Twined Rib Socks, also by Debi. Not sure about these. I love the pattern, but would need to find some Sport Weight sock yarn. Any suggestions?

Broadripple socks, by Rob Matyska out of Lorna’s Laces.

Pomatomus by Cookie A. out of Regia Silk. As long as I don’t have to pronounce it.

Hedera by Cookie A. out of Regia Silk.

Mini Basketweave Toddler Socks by Marguerite out of scrap worsted.

I will also include several socks already knitted from my own generic top down pattern.

That’s the tentative schedule. I do have to look through Sock Bugs patterns and may substitute one of those. That gives me six pairs of socks to knit between now and October, not counting the toddler socks, which can be done in just a couple of evenings. Any hints or suggestions will gladly be accepted!

I have a new luv:


Not the socks, although the yarn is quite nice (Opal Lollipop). It’s the Pony Pearls. I had heard favorable reviews of these needles and when I spotted them at my LYS, thought I should give them a try – especially since the price was reasonable. $5.50 for the set. I like them very much. I’ve always liked the fabric that size 0’s give for socks, but the tiny little needles hurt my hands. These are rigid, but have a “soft” feel to them.

And yes, I started a new pair of socks before I finished the others. Part of it was that I wanted to try the Pony Pearls, part was because I’m frustrated with the Step socks. Usually I don’t worry too much about stripey socks matching exactly. But because these have such wide stripes, I thought they’d look better if they matched exactly. I’ve started the second sock no less than five times!!! And I’ve finally come to the conclusion that there is no color sequence that exactly matches the beginning of the first one. Here’s the set so far – what do you think?


I have a few days off and despite all of my intentions to work hard around the house and study today, I played instead. Look at the cute little sewing bags I made:


These go into the gift stash except for one that I will keep for myself. The pincushion is removable, so they could be used as little knitting notions containers too. And they were quick to do – only a couple of hours each.

Tomorrow is Izzy’s first birthday! Has it been a whole year? The day after is my husband’s birthday and we’re going to celebrate by a day trip to Pt. Townsend on the Olympic peninsula. We’ll walk on the ferry and spend the day wandering around town (and they have both a quilt shop and a yarn shop – how good is that?) ending with a late lunch and a ferry ride home. Weather’s supposed to be nice – up in the 70’s. Perfect summer in the PNW.