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  • Dear Ann, I can’t thank you enough for pointing out the Old Shale ebook, which I’ve already downloaded and started reading. Great reading, full of information. Oh, it makes me want to knit something Old Shale, and maybe a hap shawl or two.

  • Re: Olympics, Michael Phelps? That was a funny joke. I love the guy but he’s already won a million medals so not a lot of suspense there. And half the athletes aren’t going because of Zika. Ah well. The Old Shale book looks like an amazing labor of love, which I shall go download.

    FYI, your blog does this nutty thing wherein every so often I don’t get email notification of a new post for a day and then it starts up again as if nothing as happened. It’s no big deal, because I do know you guys post everyday and I also know where to find you. I just think its curious. As so many things on the interwebs are.

    • Yes, I got no notification today as well. I say this just so others can report in too in case it is a trend. When I was doing Old Shale on a baby blanket I found out there is a difference between Feather & Fan and Old Shale. They are not the same stitch when you go back to the origins in Shetland. Check northernlace.com to find out more.

      • Yes, they write about the difference between Old Shale and Feather and Fan in the ebook.

        • I think we were cross posting earlier. I took a look at the book and I don’t yet understand their explanation of the difference between feather and fan and old shale. In fact, the pattern I followed seems to be exactly the same as one of their patterns, but I will have to review more closely.


          I have a feeling there’s a lot of mislabeling of patterns on Ravelry too.

          Anyway, a fascinating project.

    • I also didn’t get my fix and like you know where to find them – thank heavens!

    • Yes, I also did not get notification of today’s post in my email inbox. But, like Charlotte, I know where to find you!

  • I have a reason! One of the knitters in the group I knit with has a son who is going to swim the 100 M backstroke. She wasn’t going to go but then some friends raised the money so she could go watch him. She knit socks for him to wear at the trials. His name is David Plummer. Here’s one article about him: https://swimswam.com/rio-2016-olympic-previews-mens-100-back/ and it even made the Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/sports/olympics/swimmer-david-plummer-can-finally-call-himself-an-olympian.html?_r=0

  • Old Shale? I thought it was Feather and Fan! I will read the book now. I just finished a feather and fan scarf, but I’m not happy about how the two ends don’t look alike. seeking a solution.

  • Thank you for the link to the Old Shale e-book. I’ve been thinking about an Old Shale afghan for some time now, but kept running into (seemingly) odd variations in the stitch pattern. This is just what I needed to eplain those, and to get me started. Thanks again!

  • Oh, this makes my DAY! when I saw the cover, I thought, “Oops, I’ll have to break the fiber-expenditure-embargo and buy this book,” so to read on and find that it is a free! download! pretty much makes this my birthday. Thanks for spotlighting!
    The Olympics…well. There was a time (waving a cane vaguely toward the past) when the timpani ALWAYS made my heart beat faster. But since 1986, when professional athletes could suddenly be reborn as amateurs (my interpretation of the rule change), the Games no longer had the same meaning for me. I watch bits and pieces, but it’s Sport$ to me now; not Games.
    As for Rio…no one could pay me enough to go there. Even though my own Amateur Status is intact.

    • Exactly. Amateurs schmamateurs. I think I made up a new word.

      • Had the exact same reaction when I saw the book cover. Thanks for the link, Ann!

      • How about “Shamateurs”? 🙁

  • Two comments:
    –So proud of the Birmingham Fiber Guild for doing this project!
    –Tour de France, Ann! Tour de France!! At least as good as Olympics!

  • SIMONE BILES!!!! I love her. And I still haven’t gotten over the heartbreak of Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardener. My boyfriend, who isn’t a sports guy and certainly not a gymnastics guy is on Team Simone!


    • Followed your link. Love Simone Biles

    • We’re on Team Simone all the way! We happened onto the US Championships on TV and got enthralled. Such an amazing athlete. The way those young people can bend and stretch… (wave your cane again, Quinn… oh wait, I’ll wave my own)… makes my muscles ache just watching them.

      A member of our knitting guild here in good old Green Bay, WI is from England and turned us onto the Old Shale book last winter. It’s a wonder.

  • AGH!! I went to check a link and lost my post!

    I love Andrew Sullivan! He is a frequent guest on my local (and I assume Kay’s) NPR, WNYC. So agree about the mess that will be the conventions.

    So sad about what happened in Nice.

    As to the mess that is Rio – well Youngest is a swimmer in college, and a friend made it to the Olympic trials, but not to Rio, but swimming will be watched in our house. However, there was a great piece about the artist whose work covers the aquatic center in the Gray Lady yesterday – here:


    And writing as a knitter whose first foray into the addiction known as lace knitting was feather and fan, thank you for that info and the Ravelry link!

    Plus, if you are really into ancient textiles, read Elizabeth Barber. If you ever get a chance to hear her, go, she is great. I will never look at Greek vase painting, ancient weaving or European folk dress the same way ever again.

  • Thank you so much for posting this! I want to bring it to the attention of the Madison Knitter’s Guild! I would not have known about this wonderful study without you FB post and the link on your blog page!

  • Simone Biles and the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team are amazing. They are all super human athletes!

  • Olympics: I worship Kerry Walsh Jennings (beach volleyball). It would be great if she were back with Misty May, who has retired, but I’ll watch anyway. I’m sure I’ll tune in to other events and the opening ceremonies. But right now, with world events and Zika virus, you have to wonder.

    Kerry Walsh Jennings was actually pregnant with her third child during her last Olympic win. I guess she’s given that up for now, given the Zika problem.

  • The Old Shale collection is amazing and what a gift to knitters everywhere! I am currently knitting a scarf in a variation from Barbara Walker’s books in some treasured yarn i brought back from Scotland. I can wait to see which pattern I might try next!

  • Thank you for the Old Shale ebook. Old Shale is the preferred pattern for baby blankets in my family. I just finished Kate Davies’ Book of Haps — it was one of the most enjoyable reads of my summer. Not only a wonderful history of the hap shawl (and Old Shale), but some inspired patterns to knit as well.

  • I’ve always loved the olympics (finally got to go live in Park City), but agree that the run up this year has been odd. I’m sure I’ll tune in anyway, but it lost something for me when it went from every 4 years to 2. Seems less “special” now, though I’m not sure exactly why.

  • Thanks so much for the Old Shale encyclopedia and the Andrew Sullivan link. I desperately need a sane voice in the coming months vis-a-vis politics.

  • Not to get obsessive or anything, but here’s an interesting link where someone distinguishes right before our eyes between Feather and Fan and Old Shale (or Shell). She thinks the two terms became muddied some years ago. (Even Barbara Walker used them interchangeably in another link I found on Ravelry.)


    What they call Feather and Fan, I’ve never even seen! And I don’t even like it much. What does anyone else think?

    • Well, she really got down to the nitty-gritty. Like you, I have never seen this feather and fan and don’t find it very appealing. I’d also never even heard of Old Shale (Shell), but the pattern is totally familiar as what I (and no doubt many others) thought was f and f. Very enlightening. I need to take a look at the ebook and see what it has to say.

    • I’ve also read this, and it’s always the first thing I think of when I read a reference to “Feather and Fan.” Whatever it’s called, I love a lace pattern that has only a 4-row repeat AND only one “weird” row!

  • To heck with Old Shale – All Hail Andrew Sullivan!

  • Thanks for all the kind words about our e-book. It was totally a group effort and we all a ball working on it. Knowing that other people are using it is the best part, so ‘Thanks’ to Ann and masondixonknitting.com for telling your readers about our book!

    • Thank YOU and your collaborators! It’s a lovely book 🙂

  • Thanks for the Andrew Sullivan heads up. I’ll be listening to the NPR Politics podcast, where reports chat about what’s going on, and I love them! They’ll be posting every day of the conventions.

    I’m usually lukewarm about the Olympics, and then I start watching them, and then I can’t stop. No doubt the same will happen this summer.

    • All hail the NPR Politics Podcast, which became my new favorite the first time I heard it! (Just a tiny step ahead of the wonderful Planet Money during this political season…)

  • I have a reason for watching the Olympics this year–the son of one of my knitter friends is swimming the 100m backstroke. His name is David Plummer and you can read about him here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/01/sports/olympics/swimmer-david-plummer-can-finally-call-himself-an-olympian.html?_r=0

    His mom knit socks for him for the trials.

  • The ebook is lovely, thanks for that. I too miss Andrew Sullivan, although he is not a Hillary fan, so may have to skip his more vitriolic posts (I put him on timeout for a while in 2012 when he was convinced Obama had blown it).

    I will note that I have never gotten an email notification, despite having signed up, but since you update every day, I just check. Will try signing up for the newsletter again.

  • The Knitting Study Group- I like that. We need more of them.

    The glory days of the Olympics are gone. It was great when a team of college students could take on the world and top everybody, esp. the Soviets (basketball, hockey). The pros aren’t that interesting. And then the men swimmers started wearing the one-piece long john suits instead of the basic speedos. Tragedy.

  • Thanks so much for the heads up on Andrew Sullivan. I’m a fan and so glad he’s throwing himself into the storm. The only thing that will make it all more bearable, are perspectives and insights like his. Sheesh…madness prevails…

  • I am excited about the women’s gymnastics to see three women of color compete on behalf of the US where race relations have become to complicated. I will be following them, but nothing else, although that’s not a big chance from other years for me.

  • The 2012 Olympics were a huge event for us as our home games, like Atlanta for you, so it’s hard to feel the same about Rio. Add to that a frightening virus and Russia’s state-sponsored doping scandal, and Rio has it tough. But come the day I’ll almost certainly spend more time glued to the screen than I should. I particularly enjoy coverage of the more obscure (to me) sports: suddenly we can all be armchair experts in Taekwondo and slalom canoe and Rugby 7s.

    “Old Shale” is such an evocative name: thank you so much for the link and write-up.

    PS I would heartily recommend Bloglovin’ to anyone experiencing problems with the feed from your website. A single daily email notifies me of new posts not just on your blog but all the other blogs that I follow.

  • Thanks for the Old Shale ebook. This is one of my favourite stitches as it’s easy to knit yet produces such interesting patterns.