Sunday, October 19, 2008

Latest Additions to The Mermaid Shawl Knitting Book

If you purchased Kathleen Valentine's novel The Old Mermaid's Tale and would like a copy of the Mermaid Shawl section of the book in PDF format, please email:

was a perfect autumn day here in Gloucester and, since I had been invited to my friend Connie's house, I took advantage of the beauty of the day, the great view of Thacher's Island from her deck, and her willingness to act as model, to photograph three new additions to the knitting book I am working on. The book is really coming along well. I've made a lot of charts and diagrams and am
photographing work that explains the techniques. I had three new pieces that fit perfectly in the third chapter --- Rectangular Scarves and Stoles --- and was eager to get photos for the book so today was the day.

The first is a gorgeous long, cozy stole in a merino wool from Knitpicks. The color is called "Pool" and the pattern is a stylized Tulip so I am calling it the Blue Tulip Stole. That's Connie at left wrapped up in it. Isn't she a great model?

The second one is an absolutely scrumptious rectangular stole in Knit Pick's luscious alpaca-silk. It is the softest yarn but with a lovely weight to it that makes it drape around the figure. The pattern is a curious little lace variation on tumbling blocks. I haven't really thought of a name for it yet so am just calling it Rose Alpaca-Silk Wrap.

This next one is a fun piece that was made from odds and ends leftover from other projects. I keep leftovers in zip-lock bags sorted according to color. That way, when I want to do something fun and funky, I can mix and match treasures from my leftovers bags and see what happens. This scarf, which I call Scrap Bag Scarf, is nothing more than row after row of Old Shale but the yarns changes every 4 or 6 rows. I didn't concern myself with weight, fiber or texture --- just as long as everything was a shade or rose or violet.

I also want to thank Marge Kenney for acting as my art director on the shoot. She made sure everything was just perfect.

And, finally, Rebecca sent me some photos of her in the second Mermaid Shawl I made. This one was knit specifically for the KAL in 2006. When it was finished I gave the shawl to Rebecca and she wears it a lot which makes me very happy. I had asked her if she would take a picture wearing the shawl so I'd have it for the book and she sent this one which I just love. It was shot by her boyfriend David in his boatyard. David is an artist and a boat-builder, too.

So the book is progressing and I hope will be ready before too long. I spent the better part of the day yesterday trying to draw a diagram of the "Tricky Beginning" of the Mermaid Shawl until I realized that I had made a mistake in the original drafting of the instructions. No wonder people had problems with it! So I re-knit and re-photographed the beginning and it makes much more sense now. One thing I have discovered is that the best way to learn how to do something is to try to explain to someone else how to do it. Amazing how that works!

So, again, I want to thank Connie and Rebecca for helping with this. I think they look just beautiful and add tremendously to the book. You can see more photographs at Okay, back to work!

Thanks for reading.


  1. Wow, this book has really grown into it's own entity, hasn't it? I can't wait to get a copy.

  2. Connie certainly looks right at home in front of the camera. Those are beautiful shawls. Did you make them?


  3. hey Kathleen! I just updated the link for your blog from my blog. i will link you under blogs i am following.

    finally had a chance to catch up on some reading (internet access is a bit tricky lately).

    one of these days we will make time to have a glass of wine. wed, thursday eves are usually good for me. come to my place?


    and ps: one of these days i will have to dream up a fabulous shawl. yours are beautiful.


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