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Rope Knits | Adventures in Yarn | Page 3

Big Kid and Saturn, reunited

Our little lamb, who is now named Saturn, went to her new home on Friday but we were able to go visit on Saturday. She and her mother live on a little farm with about two dozen other sheep. There were two other week-old lambs there so Saturn will have friends to play with as she gets older.

And there were several older lambs who are still quite happy to have a bottle when the opportunity arises:

Middle Child feeds a friend

Although we miss out little friend, we’re happy she’s in good hands. Her new owners know much more about sheep than we do and will take good care of her. And they’re very generous about letting us visit; we’re already planning another visit for next weekend.

I still have a hard time believing that this is where yarn comes from.



The kids started school again yesterday after two full weeks off. It made for a busy morning, and I didn’t get around to feeding the sheep until Middle Child came home from kindergarten at lunchtime.

She and I went out to feed the them. Daisy, the youngest, can be a little frisky sometimes but yesterday she was crazy. She kept jumping on me and butting me with her head while I was fetching hay for her trough, then running around in circles, jumping and bucking. I sent Middle Child out to the trough in the field with the grain to get her out of the way because I was afraid Daisy would run her down.  Once in the field, MC started yelling something but I was still trying to dodge Daisy and couldn’t understand what she was saying.

I finally got enough hay, shoved Daisy out of the way and followed Middle Child into the field. And that’s when I realized what was going on:

Venus, the sly old girl, had had a baby!

I actually stared at the sweet little thing for about 30 seconds trying to figure out where she’d come from. No one knew that Venus was pregnant. I immediately called her owner who was just as surprised as I was. We got Venus and baby into the stall and Daisy immediately calmed down. I really think she was trying all along to tell me to make sure the lamb was safe. When I went out to the barn last night to check on them, Daisy was lying in front of the stall door like a guard dog. She’s a good auntie.

Best guess is that the lamb was born either yesterday morning or the day before. She was dry when Middle Child and I found her but there was still a bit of umbilical cord attached to her tummy. Fortunately, it’s been dry and relatively warm here for the past couple of days. She’s walking well and seems perfectly healthy.

Unfortunately, she won’t be with us very long. She and her mum will be going to another farm this weekend. Venus was always understood to be a temporary resident, and I guess another farmer has already offered to buy the lamb. I’m sorry we won’t get to see her grow up but very happy we were able to first people to meet her.


ETA: Thanks to several wonderful people, this pattern has been tested and is now available!

It’s a scarf, it’s a cowl, it’s a loop… It needs testing, whatever it is.

If you have access to about 260-ish yards of sock/sport weight yarn*, six buttons and some #6 needles and think you could provide feedback within the next two weeks or so, please leave a message below. Thank you!

*The yarn shown is Madeline Tosh Sport in the “Posy”colorway. I used a bit less than one 270-yd skein.




Just made the cowl pattern available! It’s on 50% off special until Sunday, when it will go up to $6.

It’s a quick knit in bulky yarn that makes a very cozy, warm cowl. You could easily turn a few of these out before Christmas if you needed to.

Notes on yarn: just about any bulky yarn that’s soft enough to wear around the neck and that shows off cables well will work. Ideally, you should get about 3 sts/inch in stockinette stitch but gauge isn’t super critical (as long as the cowl fits over your head, that is).

What you need to know:

Finished size: 16.5″ top circumference x 7″ long (42cm x 17.75cm).
Yarn: Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky (85% wool, 15% alpaca); 100gr/108 yds. One ball.
Needles: US 10.5 16” circular or dpns.
Gauge: 14 sts x 17 rows = 4”/10cm in stockinette st.
Notions: Cable needle, tapestry needle for weaving in


I know, again with the bad lighting and messy hair. But it should at least give you the idea.

I’d love to have a handful of volunteer testers for this cowl. It calls for about 105 yards of bulky (3 – 3.25 sts/inch) yarn. I used Alpaca Yarn Co. “Snuggle,” (3 sts/inch)  but am re-doing it in Katia “Peru” (3.25 sts/inch) which shows off the cables better. Other possibilities might be a single skein of Malabrigo Chunky or Valley Yarn’s Berkshire Bulky. I used #10.5 Denise needles on a short cable; dpns or a 16″ circ would work.

I’m hoping to release this late next week, so I’d love to get feedback pretty soon if possible. It’s a pretty quick knit, though, so with any luck it won’t be more than a few day’s knitting. If you’re interested, reply below. I’ll e-mail you an invitation to a Yahoo group where you can download the pattern and leave feedback.







And here it is, the Finchley Road Hat. I had a couple of balls left over from making the shawl and figured a warm, cozy hat would be the best use for them (it’s getting chilly out here in the Northwest).

The price is $3 for now, as (to my embarrassment) testing isn’t quite done. The pattern has been tech edited and I think it’s in pretty good shape but until I get all the feedback in, it’s on sale. Once I hear from the testers, the price will go up to $6. If you buy it now you’ll automatically get updates as they’re made.(Price has now gone up. BUT there’s a deal: if you buy the Finchley Road Hat at $6 you can buy the Shawl at 50% off ($3) and vice versa. And it’s retroactive so if you’ve already bought one you can buy the other at half price anytime. )

Like the shawl, the pattern is both written and charted, and of course I’m always available for support if you have questions about it.

Finished Size: 21″ (53.5cm) at brim (to fit average woman’s head).
Gauge: 26 sts x 28 rows = 4” (10 cm) over cable pattern with larger needles.
Yarn: Valley Yarns Sheffield (70% Merino/15% Silk/15% Angora); 50 gr/120 yds. 8 balls.
Needles: US #7 (4.5mm) dpns or size needed to achieve gauge; US #3 (3.25mm) dpns.
Notions: 4 st markers, cable needle, tapestry needle for weaving in ends.





When I studied abroad in London years ago, my dorm room window overlooked Finchley Road. It’s by no means the most famous or the most historic street in London, but I walked down it everyday to catch a bus or get to the tube station or to go to the pub with my friends, and I still associate it with a sense of adventure and excitement. My time in London set the stage for later travels and my roommate from that semester is still one of my best friends. A few months there grew into much larger part of my life.

Like my time in London, the Finchley Road Shawl starts small, then branches out wider and wider. Since it is worked to size, gauge is not vital and virtually any cozy yarn that shows off cables well would work.

The pattern is both written and charted, and of course I’m always available for support if you have questions about it.

Finished Size: 62″ (157.5 cm) long x 22″ (56 cm) deep.
Gauge: 26 sts x 28 rows = 4” (10 cm).
Yarn: Valley Yarns Sheffield (70% Merino/15% Silk/15% Angora); 50 gr/120 yds. 8 balls.
Needles: US #7 (4.5mm) or size needed to achieve gauge; US #6 (4mm) needles.
Notions: 4 st markers, cable needle, tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

PS – There’s matching hat pattern at a pre-release price if you’re interested. I’ll have to post more about that tomorrow as I’m completely wiped out from today.

The sheep were unusually friendly, probably because we hadn't yet fed them that day.

Update on the library book

I’ve had more than 50(!) submissions so far and I’ve got to say, I’m just delighted. So many great ideas, so many clever library references. I’m so impressed with what people have come up with and I wish there was room for all of it. There are still a couple of days to the deadline (11/11/11) so if you’ve got an idea, it’s not too late!

Heather Ordover of CraftLit was kind enough to give my call for proposals a little shout-out in her most recent podcast and it’s already brought in at least one submission—thank you, Heather! Heather is the author of What Would Madame DeFarge Knit?, another Cooperative Press Book, and was incredibly helpful in talking me through the initial stages of getting my own book off the ground. Her podcasts are a lot of fun and full of useful information—like the fact that my deadline coincides with Nigel Tufnel Day!—so check them out when you have a chance.

In other news

I’ll be releasing a shawl pattern tomorrow and a matching hat pattern hopefully next week. My pressed-into-service photographer husband and I have been trying, with various degrees of success, to get some good photos of them. Here’s a taste of what we’ve come up with so far:

That's Bo...and that's me getting a whiff of sheep-breath.

Here's a somewhat more dignified view of the shawl...

...and the hat.

Stay tuned!


Mysterious paper sculptures

"... We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)"

Yesterday, I tweeted a link to this charming article about a series of mysterious paper sculptures that appeared last spring and summer in Scottish libraries, incredibly elaborate pieces, cleverly tied to each library’s mission and each with a note celebrating the existence of libraries.  I encourage you to have a closer look at these tiny works of art. The story  of them left as anonymous presents is just as delightful as the objects themselves.

Mysterious paper sculptures

"‘A Gift’ @Edinburgh_CC This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas…. LIBRARIES ARE EXPANSIVE"

Mysterious paper sculptures

"'A gift' LOST (albeit in a good book) This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas...."

Mysterious paper sculptures

"To @edbookfest 'A gift' This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas...... & festivals xx"



As mentioned in previous posts, I’m working on a book and am now officially opening it to submissions!

The Book: Tentatively titled Stitching in the Stacks, this will be the first knitting book to pay homage to librarians and their craft. From buttoned-up blazers and tweed skirts to things a saucy librarian might wear underneath, this collection of hand knitting patterns will include pretty and practical clothing and accessories for men and women, tributes to fictional and historical librarians, home-and-office objects—even a Children’s Department for future librarians.

The designs will be predominately knitwear but I am open to some crochet patterns as well.

Download the storyboard and proposed chapter contents here.

Submission Requirements: Please send the following in one PDF labeled with your name and the type of design (e.g., “JSmith_shawl.pdf”).

  • Sketch
  • Photo of good-sized swatch
  • Description (including how/why your
    design will work with the theme of
    this book)
  • Proposed yarn and ideas for acceptable substitutes
  • Sizes
  • Schematics (unless it’s something really simple in which case
    measurements will suffice)
  • And above all, contact information!

Send to: Please send PDF files to me at sarah[at]ropeknits[dot]com.

Support: I will arrange yarn support (unless you’d prefer to do it yourself). Samples will be returned to designers within a year of publication.

Compensation (a bit complicated; please bear with me): Designers will be paid out of royalties from the book and from the sales of their individual patterns. There will be no advances or flat fees. Patterns will be assigned between 1 and 4 book royalty shares based on size/complexity (i.e., a complicated sweater in multiple sizes will earn more than a simple scarf).

Individual patterns will be released on a rolling basis after the publication of the book as part of an on-going publicity effort. Designers will earn 50% of net royalties from the sale of each of his/her pattern(s).

I will send you payment and a statement every two months after book publication. You will also have the option of participating in an affiliate program, whereby you’ll get a percentage of any book you sell through your website.

Cooperative Press will hold the rights to your pattern(s) for a period of one year after publication. After that one year, you have the option of withdrawing from the program in which case you no longer receive royalties of any kind but you will have the rights back to your pattern and can do whatever you like with it (you may remain in the affiliate program even if you withdraw). You also have the option of remaining in the program for as long as the book is in print and continuing to receive royalties. You may withdraw at any time.

Cooperative Press will handle the final technical editing, schematics, charts and photography.

The book will be available Spring 2012.

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