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Monday, January 31, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

The family is mostly all back to normal today. No one has 100% of their energy, but everyone is back to their normal Monday routine.

This Friday is the start of the In Dreams Mystery Shawl KAL (and also the cut off date for signing up, but the pattern will be available later for purchase if you're busy now or just not a Mystery KAL kind of person). The first link is to the designer's blog with a teaser swatch (gorgeous!) and information about the project. This link is to the Ravelry page for the pattern, where you can sign up if you're interested. Naturally, nothing in my stash was quite right for this project (never mind that I don't really know what it's going to look like, I still had nothing quite right), so I went wandering around the Internets. I ended up buying two different yarns from Solstice Yarns but I haven't quite decided which yarn to use.
On the left is Annwn which is 70% baby alpaca, 20% silk, and 10% cashmere. This is the Avalon colorway. On the right is Morgana which is 80% merino and 20% silk, in the Intuition colorway. I'm kind of leaning towards using the purple one (Intuition) for this project and using Avalon for one of my own designs but I'm not totally decided. Both skeins are just gorgeous and the dyeing is perfect for lace. There's a lot of subtle color variations that aren't really photographing, but the different colors are close enough that they won't distract from lace, or beads. Did I mention that there are 5000 beads in this project? I've decided to go ahead and do the beads - all the beads. I'll be using the same color of beads for either yarn (a clear bead with an aurora borealis finish), so I don't have to decide on anything but which yarn to use. I might just decide Friday when the first clue gets posted. After all, it's not like I don't have anything to work on in the meantime!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Down for the Count

I'll probably be out the rest of this week. On Tuesday afternoon Mickael was diagnosed with pneumonia but we seem to have caught it early enough that he didn't have to be hospitalized. He's here at home resting and taking superpowered antibiotics. This morning Caleb woke up sick so he's off to the pediatrician later this morning to see what's going on with him. Hopefully it will be something minor. So far Logan and I are fine, but for obvious reasons, there's nothing bloggable going on around here. I'll be back next week (hopefully) and in the meantime, be sure to wash your hands and get plenty of fluids!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Man Sock

I'm past the heel on Mickael's first sock and I've just finished the last gusset decrease round. If you knit socks you know what this means. If you don't knit socks, it means that now I just knit around and around until it's time to do toe decreases - autopilot knitting! Mickael realized these were for him over the weekend and he seemed pretty excited about it. I didn't know he was wanting handknit socks so badly or I'd have been knitting him some all along. I think I've got one more pair of socks worth of yarn for him upstairs in the sock stash (I buy 200 grams for man socks), but I might have to do some manly stash enhancement if he's going to be this excited about them! As you can see in the lower right corner, I had assistance with this morning's photos. He's so helpful!


Monday, January 24, 2011


Ordinarily I don't like to launch patterns too close together because you end up competing with yourself (or your Mother). I'm making an exception today because Saturday I whipped up a simple pattern and test knitted it all in one day and I'm offering it for free. Windchill is a simple infinity or loop scarf with an easy, diagonal eyelet lace pattern. It can be worn in a single, long loop or doubled to fit more closely around the neck on colder days. It's knit in bulky weight yarn (I used 142 yards and just knit until I ran out of yarn) on US 11's (8.0 mm). The only catch is, it's only available on Ravelry because I have no other way of hosting pdf's without charging for them. So if you're interested in a quick and easy knit that you might even need to wear this week (or you could save it for a gift), here's a link to the Ravelry page. Enjoy!DSC04725

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Slumbers - A Four Seasons Design

Winter Slumber Stole
Winter Slumbers is the second in Georgina Bow Creations' Four Seasons Series of Stoles. When the world outside is blanketed in snow and the wind is whipping through the trees, you'll want to be wrapped in a cozy, yet elegant stole inside with friends and family. Knit in worsted weight yarn, Winter Slumber works up quickly in a beautiful pattern of lace and cables. Optional beads add a bit of drama.

Winter Slumbers Stole detail
This stole is knit in one piece from end to end with no additional finishing required. Stitch patterns are in charted format only and the length is adjustable. Finished, blocked size as the pattern is written is 27 inches wide by 77 inches long. Shown in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Hyacinth (9 skeins were used) and using size 6 beads.

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Be sure to check out Spring Awakening, the first pattern in the Four Seasons Series.


Snowbird - Getting its Wings

I got Snowbird off the broken cable and finished up the part where the body and sleeves are all one section. (I suppose the proper term for that is "yoke.") I've got the body (fronts and back) on a holder now and I'm working on the sleeves, both of them at the same time. This pattern is written to knit the sleeves flat (although it does include notes for working them in the round) so it's very easy to knit them both at the same time. (The sleeves are the two V shaped things on the needles - Snowbird is not in a very photogenic place right now.)

Since it's been a while since I've knit anything flat, I'll explain why I like to knit flat sleeves at the same time. Most of the time, sleeves are identical in their shaping, so by knitting them at the same time I not only have an identical gauge from one sleeve to the other, but all shaping (and shaping mistakes) should be identical. The end result is two identical sleeves. You can also use this with fronts on a cardigan although cardigan fronts aren't identical, they're mirror images of each other. The only thing you'll need to work two pieces of a sweater at the same time is a second ball of yarn and a bit of patience because sometimes the yarns get wrapped around each other a bit.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Man Sock

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We did, but we sure weren't ready for this morning when it came around! It got warmer around here (finally) and I don't think I'm going to freeze to death at the moment. Logan loves the cold weather but I just can't take it.

I've gotten a good start on Mickael's sock. It's almost 7 inches long right now. I'm not sure how long to make the leg before I start the heel, so I'll probably be playing in his sock drawer later today to compare with some commercial socks and socks I've hand knit for him before. I've got plenty of yarn to make nice tall socks, but I want to double check before I get carried away. I'm loving the different blues and blue greens in this yarn and even though I'm just doing stockinette, I'm not getting bored with the sock.

I also got back to work with Logan in the car this weekend. Christmas kind of threw everything off and we didn't really practice for a while, but now we're back to working him through his car anxiety. This weekend he figured out how to get into the car. He was having some trouble figuring out where to put his back feet, but I showed him where the running boards are (by putting his back feet there) and once he felt where he needed to go, he figured it right out. He is now getting in and out of the car easily on both sides. (Because you never know which side of the car you might need to get in on - I mean what if there is a Yorkshire Terrorist* on the one side of the car you can get in on, you're stuck until it leaves.) Of course at this point, the car is still sitting in the garage and it's off, but our next step will be to get into the car and I will get up front, then we'll turn the car on. There are lots of yummy dog treats involved with our car training, but they're doing the trick and he's getting more and more relaxed around the car. Someday we might even be able to back out of the garage!

*If you have a Yorkshire Terrier, I'm sure it's a lovely little dog. We have a monster here in the neighborhood that has terrorized both Logan and Barclay (Mom and Dad's dog) and the owner is clearly one of those that believes little dogs don't need manners (clearly the owner is to blame here, but the dog is doing nothing for the breed's popularity in the area). I'm sure any of my lovely readers who have little dogs have taught their dogs manners and they would never nip at Little Logan. He was very traumatized by the whole event.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Some Thoughts

In a moment of thoughtfulness this week (mostly my brain has been too frozen to do much of any thinking at all), it occurred to me that I have a thick, warm sweater in my closet that I never wear. Five years ago, I knit an Everyday Cardigan out of Peace Fleece. (The first link is to my project on the blog, the second is a link to the pattern and the third is the yarn.) I love Peace Fleece and while this cardigan is a great, basic, oversized cardigan, it's just not that flattering on me. I find that I tend to grab other sweaters instead of this one, even though I love the color and I know it's a warm, snuggly cardigan. I pulled it out of the closet yesterday and started picking at the seams. There's 30% mohair in the yarn and mohair doesn't always like to be unknitted, but I think it's going to work. I'll have to undo the seams and then unravel all the pieces, but I've done it before and then I can reknit the yarn into something I'll actually wear. This seems like a much better option to me than leaving it like it is and just letting it live on the bottom of a sweater stack in the closet. I'm thinking of doing a top down, raglan shaped cardigan that fits me a little closer than the original Everyday Cardigan does.

Something else I'm thinking about is probably cause for getting my head examined. You all know what I've got on the needles right now, plus there's my little Knit Something of the Month Club, and I'm working on finishing up a new pattern and I'd like to design several new lace patterns this year. Despite all of this clear evidence that I don't really need to do anything else, I'm seriously considering joining this Mystery Shawl KAL, also a Ravelry link. Here's my thinking behind this (I don't know who I think I'm kidding here, I've already rationalized this harebrained idea) - the Knit Something of the Month Club involves fast projects and this will clearly be an involved, stay at home type of project. I'm almost to the part of Snowbird that will be fast and brainless, while this would be a high concentration type of project. Even if I'm designing and test knitting my new designs, I don't usually blog them and the blog must be fed - this would feed the blog quite nicely I think. Finally, I'm quite sure that laceweight yarn, beads, charts and a puppy are a wonderful combination! What am I waiting for? I'm off to sign up for this little bit of crazy. And I'm sure that when I caught Logan with a skein of Cascade 220 in his mouth it was an accident, he wasn't really trying to break its neck, he was trying to shake it out of his mouth. Laceweight will be fine!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowbird - Crashed into a Snowbank!

Last night I was knitting away on Snowbird and when I had one more row before I divide the body from the sleeves, my needle broke! Actually the cable separated from the little screw end that attaches to the point, but the result was live stitches flying around with nothing to stop them from unravelling. I got them picked up and was able to kind of smash the cable back together so I could finish the row (and get the picture this morning), but it's not looking like I can get the cable rejoined without a snag. Today I'll be swapping out the bad cable for a good one and then maybe I can get the body separated from the sleeves.

One thing this pattern does differently from most other top down raglans is to knit the sleeves flat. Now you can knit the sleeves in the round instead, but since I don't mind seaming, I'm going to work them flat, at the same time. Then all I'll have to do is seam them up and knit the body to have a finished sweater.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Man Socks

Here they are! Or at least, here is the first part of the first one. I'm using Trekking XXL in color 71, which means Dark Blue. I'm working them on US 0's (2.0 mm) because I think Trekking is a finer, squishier fingering weight yarn and the 0's give me a nice fabric. They also give me 9 stitches to the inch which means the legs are 96 stitches around. I'll decrease to 88 stitches on the foot to give a little bit of negative ease because I prefer a sock that fits snugly on the foot - I think it goes into a shoe better that way. These started out with a simple K2, P2 rib and now I'm just working in Stockinette - around and around and around. You really can't ask for anything more perfect for public knitting, I mean I can knit and talk to people and don't have to count or anything. The only thing I have to do is to remember to click the round counter every time I finish a round. (My sock knitting lives and dies by the round counter, without it I'd have different sized socks within each pair. I use a Mini Kacha Kacha because they lock and I can hang them around my neck.) In the photo above, the stripe looks like it's zig-zagging a bit, but that's just the way it's sitting - there is no actual zig zag, just stockinette.

In the comments yesterday, Sheri asked about the time involved with making Man Socks and mentioned that her husband and son have size 13 and 15 feet, respectively. First of all, my apologies on the size of Man Socks that you're facing. Perhaps we should all raise our DPN's in a knitterly gesture of encouragement for Sheri. Mickael's feet are 11 wides, so I'm really getting off easy when you compare them. As far as making socks for feet of this magnitude, there are a couple of things you can do to make your life easier. You mentioned that you live in Georgia, which is very cold and snowy/icy right now, but that's not exactly normal and by the end of February, things will be starting to warm up. Realistically speaking, the men in your life can't possibly expect these socks immediately, just because of the square footage of knitting involved. So the earliest that these socks could possibly be both finished and needed would be around December, right? This means you should be able to pace yourself and still get them done by the time the temperatures drop for next Winter - no point in knitting until your fingers bleed, it will be warmer by the time you get the socks finished. For Sheri and anyone facing socks this big, I would suggest picking a pattern that you can easily memorize. Most men like simple socks, so whether it's a plain vanilla stockinette sock, a ribbed sock, a waffle sock, or even the Yarn Harlot's Earl Gray socks (scroll down to August 30 for the pattern), pick something that your men will enjoy and that won't make you want to bury the sock in backyard and pretend it never happened. Make sure you've double checked gauge and actual foot size before you start - you don't want to knit these twice! The other thing you can do to make your life easier is go with a heavier fingering weight yarn (you could even go to sport weight or heavier, but fingering really fits into shoes better than the larger sizes), take a look at Socks That Rock Mediumweight - you can work at 7 stitches to the inch and they still fit in shoes. I'm sure there are other yarns that will work, but that's all I've got with the low level of caffeine in my blood right now. STR isn't a cheap sock yarn, but if you make your son and husband matching socks, or just match the yarn and do two different patterns, three skeins should make two pairs of ginormous man socks for you. Good luck on your journey!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Odds and Ends

Not much to see here today, I've been weaving in ends of Babette squares. When I'm not freezing to death that is. The wind chill is 7 degrees here this morning. Certain people with thick, Canadian coats think it's just lovely to ring the "Outside" bells and go play in the snow. Sitting in it is nice, as is walking around leisurely sniffing how different each blade of grass smells when it's coated in ICE! Certain people who don't have thick Canadian coats don't appreciate the beauty of the frozen tundra, formerly known as the backyard and get really cold, really fast. These people are tired of being cold and are not buying it that the other people really have to go outside to pee every 20 minutes. When you're in the ball park of 50 pounds, your bladder is big enough to hold it for a couple of hours.

At some point yesterday my brain did defrost a bit and I realized that I have no portable project. Hawthorne wasn't portable, but it was done so quickly that I didn't really think about it. The Snowbird cardigan isn't portable and neither is the pattern I'm test knitting (really shooting hard for a February release for this one). Babette is definitely not portable because I don't want to lose squares, needles, or my scissors (and I'm leaving a trail of yarn snippets in my wake). So I need a portable project.

I was going to let you guys decide between a simple shawlette or a pair of socks and while I was typing up my thoughts for you guys to vote, I realized that it's been ages since I knit a pair of socks for Mickael and I've got yarn stashed for him so I made up my mind that that's what I'm going to do. So I'll go stash diving in the sock stash bin (which has more breathing room since I've pulled yarn for my Knit Something of the Month Club) and start a simple pair of socks for him. I hope I remember how to knit socks!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Hawthorne Finished

On Saturday morning I finished my Hawthorne and got it blocked. I wasn't sure how easy blocking would be with the shaping of this shawlette/scarf, but it was very easy. Mine blocked to exactly the measurements on the schematic in the pattern, so while I never actually checked gauge, I must have been right on. One measurement the pattern doesn't give you is the inside curve length - the part you'd wear against your neck. Mine is 75 inches around that inside curve, so definitely big enough to wrap around my neck in a nice, snuggly way. The picture above shows it blocking, along with some socks that were drying next to it. Sweet, little, innocent Logan is apparently quite a sock bandit and he doesn't really care if they're clean or dirty, he just loves socks. I decided to dry the socks in the sewing room which is gated off from the little sock fiend.

Here's a shot of it on the hardwood floor after blocking was all finished. I knit it exactly as the pattern is written and it wasn't difficult at all. There's a lot going on though so I'd suggest using markers at least when you're first getting started so you don't have a major tinking to do. I used markers between repeats and also marked the center stitch of each repeat and didn't have a bit of trouble staying on track in the pattern. I used KnitPicks Andean Silk in Cream and I used in the ball park of 500 yards (I used part of the 6th skein but not much - each skein of yarn is 96 yards). The pattern actually calls for 800 yards, but that's because the designer used a yarn that's put up in 400 yard skeins and she needed two of them. Somewhere on the Internets I found a note that she actually used around 500 yards, so this project was perfect for stash busting a little bit of leftover yarn. Also I think I'll be wearing this soon since it's so cold here right now!

Knit Something of the Month Club's January project is all finished!


Friday, January 07, 2011

Logan's Day

Mommy said I could blog again today since I did such a good job the last time. Mommy took this picture yesterday - it's very hard to sleep when Mommy is taking the pictures but I wanted to show you my cave. Mommy says it's really a knee hole at her kitchen workspace, but I think it makes a great cave. Mommy says I'll outgrow my cave someday but I think if I just move my duck out of the way, I'll still fit.

My humans are so funny. Do you know that when they take me for walkies they NEVER sniff the ground? They have no idea what they're missing. Also Mommy does this weird thing with their clothes (humans wear clothes - isn't that funny?) where she stacks them up into little hills - AND SHE DOESN'T ROLL IN THEM! I mean she spends all that time making piles of clothes that smell like my favorite humans and then doesn't roll in them - what is she thinking? I've tried to help with the piling up of clothes (the faster they get piled up, the sooner I can roll in them - I'm no dummy), but I'm not sure that Mommy and I pile them up the same because she moves around the clothes I pile up into her own piles.

The other day the humans took down the tree they built in the house. If you're going to build a tree in the house, maybe you should let it grow? I tried to help them, even though I don't think trees should go into giant bags in the garage. The tree had this great thing underneath it Mommy calls a "Tree Skirt." I don't care what you call it, that thing was fun. I could smoosh myself under the tree and sit on it (OK, my big, white rear end didn't fit under the tree, but I could just stick that up in the air and wag it) or I could go all the way under the tree skirt thing. That was fun - it was like I was sneaky and no one knew where I was (except my big, white rear end was sticking up in the air and wagging). When Mommy took the wonderful tree skirt thing off the tree I helped her fold it by smashing it down with my paws. That made Mommy laugh and laugh and it sure took us a while to get it all folded (I can't imagine how much time Mommy would have taken without my help), but we finally got it all put away. I can't wait until we build the tree again and get out that tree skirt.

Well, I'm going to take a nap now. Mommy says it's going to get very cold around here soon and it's a good thing I have a thick Canadian coat. I hope you have a thick Canadian coat so you can stay warm too.


Thursday, January 06, 2011


Hawthorne is moving right along! I'm only 10 rows away from being done with the lace section and starting the garter stitch section. Once I got a few rows into it and started seeing the pattern it really started moving right along. It was really only at the first, before I could see anything and before I had a feel for what was going on in the charts that I felt like I needed all the markers to keep me straight. I'll leave them in until I'm done with the lace section though and then I'll take them out.

Here's a shot of what one repeat looks like right now. The pale orange stitch markers are marking the center stitch and they will actually block into the points of the lace when it's all done.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011


From the depths of the knitting basket, long forgotten in the gloom, comes...Snowbird! It's back in the knitting rotation now that I've finished Tea Leaves and Christmas is over. It took me a little bit of time last night to figure out where I was in the pattern and the knitting and get myself back on track, but soon I was knitting along on it again. I'm almost to the place where I divide the body from the sleeves and then it will look more sweater-like in the pictures. I think I should also point out that it's not off white, ivory, cream, or really any color that appears naturally on Logan - it's sweatshirt gray!

Logan appreciates all the nice comments on his accessories. I will try to get a photo of Stealth Dog, but being stealth and all, it's difficult. There was a comment on the leashes you can get through Etsy that match the collars and I had seen that many of the collar makers also make matching leashes which is a very cute look, however Logan has a leather leash. It was originally Finn's leather leash, but when you spend the money to buy a leather leash, you don't let your dog play with it, chew on it, or carry it and they last forever. They also feel great in your hand and I know that if a whole flock/herd/school of squirrels sat by the sidewalk, taunting Logan like the French taunted King Arthur a la Monty Python, not only would I be able to control Logan through it all, my hands would not be torn to bits when it was all over. Nylon leashes do what they're meant to do, but they will kill your hands in the process. If you've never had a leather leash, you should seriously check into them - they're wonderful!


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Accessories for Logan

I asked Logan if he wanted to blog today, but he decided that he'd rather take a nap. It's the first day in a couple of weeks that it's just the two of us this morning, so the house is quiet and peaceful right now. Smart dog. Anyway, I'll do the blogging this morning. We wanted to share some accessories we've gotten for him on Etsy. You can't dress up a big dog (or you shouldn't anyway) like you can one of those little purse dogs, but you can accessorize them with collars and bandanas. Logan hasn't tried on a bandana yet, but earlier last month I ordered him a couple of collars off of Etsy to give them a try.

Now if you look in the Pets section of Etsy and click Collar, you will find over 16,000 options. Some of these can be narrowed down further as I obviously wasn't looking for Cat, Feminine, or Small Dog, but you're still left with a lot of choices. I decided to base my choice of seller on the dogs they had in their pictures and/or mentioned in their shop info. It's not a perfect method, but my reasoning is that when someone Logan's size or bigger (he's 45 pounds now, by the way) has a "SQUIRREL!!!" moment when we're on walkies on a busy street, there's a lot more stress being put on a collar than when a purse dog has a "squirrel" moment. (For one thing, purse dogs don't even use capital letters, let alone exclamation points.) Now I'm not saying that someone who raises wee, little dogs and makes collars isn't making good collars, but for my purposes, knowing that a collar maker is using their collars on big dogs tells me that the collars can handle the strain of a big dog trying to chase a squirrel when he reaches the end of his leash. So I started looking through shops and settled on two different sellers to start with.

The collar at the top is from Fairy Tail Collars, based in Phoenix. It has a nylon webbing construction with a ribbon sewn on top and quick release buckle. The pattern is the Burberry Stripe and Logan wears it when he's feeling preppy. All the ends are well finished and the collar is well made. If you look through the shop, you will see that she has a pit bull wearing the collars. (She also has greyhounds modeling her collars because she does Martingale types as well. Dogs with heads close to the same size as their necks need a Martingale type collar - if your dog is built like this, you probably already know you need this type of collar.)

The collar at the bottom of the picture is from Gone Doggie, based in North Carolina. It has a nylon webbing core and is then wrapped and finished in fabric (you can't see the webbing core, but you can feel it). This pattern is the Kaffe Fassett Purple (and she has one more in Large). Logan wears it when he's feeling artistic. Again, it's very well finished and well made. The seller has big dogs who wear these collars and everything is sewn on an industrial sewing machine. Logan was actually wearing this collar on walkies one day when he spazzed out (not sure what happened exactly - my guess is a brief possession or possibly gas - he settled down after about 30 seconds of crazy). The collar held and didn't slip loose on him.

One other thing we got from Etsy is Logan's tag. If you look at the top collar (that's what he's wearing right now), you will see the silver dog tag shaped tag (the orange one is his rabies tag). I flipped it over because I didn't care to share phone numbers with the Internets, but on the right side is Logan's name, a tiny cute bone stamp and the house phone number and my cell phone number. We got it from Make Your Dog Smile, based in Montana. It was a custom listing based on this tag (you can see the little bone stamp on the listing - cute isn't it). We asked for just a single dog tag rather than the more authentic military double tag that she offers in the listing because with his rabies tag already on his collar, we figured a single dog tag would make plenty of noise. We went for the dog tag shape because Wolverine (AKA Logan) wears dog tags, but the seller has a huge range of shapes and offers the tags in aluminum, brass and copper. We also got a swivel clip for his tags which makes changing collars much easier when his neck grows and as his crazy Mom adds to his collar wardrobe. The funny thing with the swivel clip is that it makes his tags hang a bit longer than they otherwise would. Logan was not happy when we put tags on his collar because he's very sneaky (seriously, he makes no noise moving around). Luckily for Logan, the tags are just long enough with the clip that he can catch them in his mouth if he holds his head just right and he can go "Stealth." It's very funny because being a retriever, once he gets something in his mouth, he starts prancing because he's so proud of himself, so several times a day we have a very proud, prancing, stealth dog around here. He might not be quite right in the head.


Monday, January 03, 2011

Knit Something of the Month Club - January

Happy New Year!

This is the first project in my Knit Something of the Month Club (is it really a club since it's just me?) It's the one I added after I showed you all the yarns and the one I took a sock yarn out of the club for. It's Hawthorne from Twist Collective. I'm using Knit Picks Andean Silk yarn in cream (yes, cream again). I've had seven skeins sitting in my stash for years and I decided it would be perfect for this scarf/shawlette. I'm not usually one to use lots of markers because I prefer to just read the stitches, but on this project I decided to use them. The mint and peach markers around the outside edge mark the center stitch of each repeat and then I've got markers on the needles that separate each repeat. There are a lot of stitches in this project and the repeats are large. The charts aren't hard to follow, but each row is different so I'm not really memorizing this. When I realized all of this, I also realized that if I made a mistake there would be a huge amount of tinking, so using lots of markers seemed like a good idea. At this point I'm a little past the 1/3 mark of the lace section.