A Hot Tomato, An Icelandic Shawl, And A Charming Tip

Hot Tomato Salsa!

It is Friday the 13th, a traditional "bad luck day" in the U.S.–but I am throwing caution to the winds and wearing my fresh-off-the-needles Hot Tomato. I realize that in doing so, I am making myself a target for coffee accidents, spaghetti spills, and other natural disasters which might be attracted to my new bright-orange sweater. I scoff, nay: I laugh in the face of stains and dribbles, because folks, even if I do say so myself, this top is HOT. (I am no fool, however. I drank my coffee before I got dressed, and I am on a strict water-and-colorless-food diet until I get home from work tonight.) It's not blocked yet, because I finished it literally fifteen minutes before leaving the house. So the photo here is just a sneak preview. Next week, I'll give you a rundown on the modifications I made to the original Tomato, and give you a Hot Tomato Bust Dart PDF status check.

Out of the archives!

Last week, Jeane Hutchins,
Coming Next Week: Icelandic Lace Shawl
the editor of PieceWork magazine, received word that the Yahoo Lacey Shawl knitalong was desperately seeking copies of the pattern for a gorgeous Icelandic Shawl published in the July/August 1996 issue of PieceWork. This issue is out of print, and thus a lot of lace knitters are very sad. Sad lace knitters…not good, people. We want happy lace knitters! So Jeane and I came up with a Plan: Guess what pattern is coming to Knitting Daily next week? Yep. The Icelandic Shawl, fresh from the Interweave archives. At first, we worried that we wouldn't be able to dig it up, as not everything from that time period was saved in a digital format. But Jeane valiantly kept searching, until at last she found the original text and transparencies for the pattern! Our star production department is working on getting this into top digital form for next week.

"I didn't know PieceWork had knitting patterns in it!" Yup. Each issue, PieceWork magazine features one or more knitting projects
PieceWork July/August 2007
with a rich cultural and/or historical perspective–as well as articles and patterns for everything from tatting to embroidery, quilting to crochet. Well-known knitting designer and author Nancy Bush is PieceWork's knitting contributor. The July/August 2007 issue has a wonderful story about a woman who traveled through Russia by train, and found herself buying several Russian knitted lace heirlooms along the way. Instructions for knitting a Russian lace scarf are also included.

Charm Wrap Chatter  

Several of you noted that the oh-so-luscious Classic Elite Charmed yarn recommended for the Charm Wrap is more of a luxury yarn than an everyday sort of yarn…what to do if you have a everyday budget but you still want to knit that darling cardigan? Substituting yarns is a great way to "personalize" a pattern and really make it yours! There are two factors that go into successful yarn substitutions: gauge, and the character of the yarn itself. The original yarn used for the Charm Wrap is a worsted weight yarn, with a gauge of 4.5 sts per inch on size 8 needles–so start your search for a substitute with worsted (CYCA #4) yarns with a similar recommended gauge.

Next: The original cashmere/mohair blend has a lovely drape; the mohair and cashmere each have a bit of "grab" to them so that the stitches hold onto each other and the fabric keeps its shape. You'll want to find a yarn with similar characteristics for a similar look and feel. There are plenty of wools and wool blends out there that would fit that description. But what if you wanted something slightly exotic that was still not too pricey? There are some wonderful worsted weight bamboo yarns out there this season. In fact, I'm working on a sweater using Classic Elite Bam Boo right now, and I adore the drape, the sheen, and the slight touch of "memory" this yarn has. Whichever yarn you choose, don't be stingy with the swatching, as that will be the best "gauge" of how the finished product will turn out.



Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


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109 thoughts on “A Hot Tomato, An Icelandic Shawl, And A Charming Tip

  1. I think your mods on the Tomato are great! It looks terrific on you too! I’m so happy to see the Icelandic shawl coming too! You’ve got quite a great thing going on here! Thanks 🙂

  2. The hot tomato is fabulous! I wasn’t that impressed before but now it’s on my list. And I’m a lucky one who made the Icelandic shawl (a variation really) when it first came out. I wish I could remember who I gave it to.

  3. Hooray, yazoo, yippee and other similar exclamations! I can’t wait for the Icelandic shawl! I am reeling with joy, with anticipation, with fantasies of what yarns I’ll use… Mary

  4. Wow…once again, you’re knocking my knitted socks off with that great modification to the neckline and sleeves…as I was looking at the Tomato, I realized that wide ribbing was putting me off a bit–now once again, you’re saving me! First bust darts, now new revisions…we may just have to dub thee our fairly-knitted godmother!

    I love that lace shawl and will probably , more then likely , positively , make it!!!

  6. Your Tomato looks great! Congratulations! I am so excited about this pattern that I finished my “raging purple” version and have started on one in “buttercream” yellow. I like the look of yours with the band at the waist, so I think I’ll try moving it down on this second sweater. I too had to make a few adjustments for my shape mainly because I’m short and the neckline was beyond daring on me.

  7. Wow! I am impressed. I expected it to be nice, but that sweater looks…dare I say it?…made for you!
    And to Janice F…..Did you get a picture of the shawl? I’m sure you were proud of your work with that one.

  8. I’m glad to see the Tomato all finished, and it looks fabulous on you! Now I’m inspired to get one started, and I’m also going to put the band lower. And I’m definitely going to make that shawl!

  9. I’m so impressed with the way your Hot Tomato Salsa sweater turned out. You look so confident and happy wearing it. Looks comfy, too. A stunning sweater that really looks lovely on you!!!!

  10. I would really like to see a larger world-wide effort to preserve the patterns of our history for future generations. As “Western styles” take over the world, many traditional methods of dress are being lost—like the sari, for example. We crafters should work together and do everything we can to preserve these patterns and methods for future need.

    Congrats on your Hot Tomato! It looks….spicey! *wink*

  11. You forgot to mention that the woman who bought her self lace bought her shawls on a train in her night gown. That is my favorite part of the story. LOVE YOUR HOT TOMATO

  12. Wow! That looks fab! I didn’t think anyone with a bust could get away with wearing this style, but you’ve made it look fantastic. Can’t wait for next week’s installment on bust darts…

  13. The moment I saw your happy, adorable self wearing your brand-new ?Hot Tomato,? I knew I had to e-mail that photo (and your delightful post about it) to my mother. She needs daily cheering-up, having just lost a son, the 3rd of her children to pass away.

    I SO appreciate how we are allowed to copy and send your delightful photos and oh-so-well-written posts to others! Your adorable photo will bring a smile to her face today.

    Also, I simply MUST make the Icelandic shawl the very moment it becomes available!

    Honestly, “Knitting Daily” is the BEST knitting-thing on the entire Internet… Thank you so very much!

    From me and Mom…

  14. Wah ha! As one Rubenesque woman to another…WOW, it looks great on you! I’m looking forward to knitting it myself using your modifications. If it makes you look that good, I can’t wait to see what it does for me. -Robin

  15. Not only are you a “hot” tomato, you are also one “smart cookie”. I love what you’ve done with the sweater, and the confidence you have given all of us to make patterns our own.

  16. Rubanesque!! I thought I was the only one who used that term! Sandi, you are so cool and looking hot indeed in that tomato. Now I will just have to make one for myself.

  17. I ve been thrilled to read this news letter as it comes through.
    There are no knitting groups and although Ive got a friend who Ive started knitting but both of us have busy lives and only get together every now and then so the internet is my knitting group so thank you for this wonderful “magazine”

  18. This is my first time posting, but I’ve been reading since a few days after Knitting Daily got started. Seeing your picture in that Hot Tomato made me just have to jump in and join everyone in congratulating you. When I saw the pattern at first, it just didn’t look like something I was interested in knitting, but seeing it the way you did it and the way that stripe looks as a waist-accentuator (is that a word?!) makes me want to run out and buy some yarn!! I, too, have a bust that does not want a colorworked strip running across it!

  19. You did a great job making that pattern your own. Every change you made is flattering and looks perfect. Even the color (about which I admit I had doubts) is flattering on you and looks great with that brown skirt. Congratulations!

  20. Sandi — So often I see tops that look great on a model, but think how would it look like on a regular body (or at least one that is 50 and had three kids!) Let me just say I agree with all the others, You look marvelous, svelte and darn right HOT! Thanks for suggesting and then modeling this great top.

  21. So I have to admit that I really wasn’t seeing your vision with the stripe location and the whole color arrangement. Truth be told, I was doing the smile-and-nod-politely thing. But I love your hot tomato! Nice work!

  22. You look great in the Hot Tomato! With your modifications it turned out perfect. Congratulations is in order!
    I have been looking through the Knitting Daily each time it comes in my box and always like what I see. It keeps me interested.
    This is my first posting to this website.
    Again, you did a supberb job!

    Anna in NE California

  23. God I really hate you. I am heading from my cold wet Welsh hillside to the heat and sunshine of Crete on Tuesday. I had my holiday knitting all lined up a gorgeous lace and cables sweater in silk I was so looking forward to getting going on it, and then you showed me the picture of the Icelandic Shawl on todays blog and now I have drool running down my chin and I want to knit THAT SHAWL NOT my sweater. AAAArrgh! and I know that I shall be on the way to Crete when you publish that shawl pattern and therefore will have to wait 2 weeks until I get back from holiday to get my hands on it. Oh well patience is a virtue. I just love Knitting Daily, thank you so much

  24. I am so excited about the Icelandic Shawl pattern!! I am praying to the God’s I will have the current Shawl (Lacy Prairie Shawl from Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle) done by the time this pattern comes out! I can’t believe all the wonderful FREE patterns you send to us!!! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.


  25. I love the Charm Wrap cardigan. But as I am in Europe (Netherlands), I have no idea what to do with your inches, needle size etc and description of ‘worsted’ yarns. It would such a great help to have a ‘translation’ list. Do you know where I can find something like this?
    Bye the way, your HOt Tomato is great and suits you well.


  26. I love, love, love the colors. I would have never picked them out myself, which proves you have an artist eye that I wish I had. Your turquoise bracelet and tee shirt really adds the perfect touch. Great job.

  27. Sandi– I’d love if you focused an email on blocking. I understand the concept for the most part, but I’d love to get some tips on good ways to block, and I’d love to see successful before and after photos that demonstrate what you have accomplished by blocking a sweater. Many thanks, and keep up the good work!

  28. I love the way you altered the Hot Tomato, and can’t wait to see your revisions to the pattern. I am a bit busty myself, and although I loved pattern, was reluctant to knit it, and draw any more attention to my bust. Thanks for being so awesome!!

  29. I have always loved Piecework, but don’t subscribe because I already get Spin-Off and IK Knitting. How about a 3 fer price on subscriptions? Oh, and I’m thrilled about the Icelandic shawl pattern. Thanks.

  30. I have always loved Piecework, but don’t subscribe because I already get Spin-Off and IK Knitting. How about a 3 fer price on subscriptions? Oh, and I’m thrilled about the Icelandic shawl pattern. Thanks.

  31. I am an Icelandic woman and I can give you a lot of icelandic shawl designs. The best book is called ?r?hyrnur og langsj?l and I think you can order it online from Iceland. It is a classic book recently republished

  32. I am an Icelandic woman and I can give you a lot of icelandic shawl designs. The best book is called ?r?hyrnur og langsj?l and I think you can order it online from Iceland. It is a classic book recently republished

  33. Yes, it’s great but what do you mean you haven’t blocked it yet? Don’t you have to block the pieces before you sew them together? Very curious…

  34. Wow, now I’m sold on Knitting Daily! That icelandic shawl looks incredible, and I am grateful for Interweave’s effort to get the pattern to us. Thanks for keeping the more complex knitting in the mix, too. Much appreciated.

  35. Top quality cashmere doesn’t have to be that expensive. I purchased cashmere for the Charm wrap through http://www.Colourmart.com which has mill-end cones from Todd & Duncan, Loro Piana, etc. I’ve been buying from Colourmart for nearly two years and have been impressed with the quality and service. They now also stock alpaca, mohair and gorgeous silk yarn.

  36. Bad puns aside. The addition of the side vents was brilliant, Sandi. I’m encouraged to get my own ‘Tomato’ up on the needles in eggplant and chartreuse. Thanks also for the very useful yarn substitution notes today.

  37. Mieke – an inch is 2.54 cm, a
    four inch swatch is a 10 cm
    swatch ( close enough for knitting purposes, not for building houses ).
    For a chart with needle size equivalents, see http://www.yarnstandards.com/hooks.html
    If you have UK sized needles, know that UK size 7 is US size 7, but UK needles get smaller as the number gets larger. So US size 6 is UK size 8.

    Hope this helps
    There is a relatively new standard in the US now,

  38. Nice tomato! I am a Piecework subscriber from the beginning and I frequently go back to past issues for patterns. In fact, I recently completed the Old Shale Shawl from Piecework Jan/Feb 05. It’s a simple shawl with an easy lace border – it’s stunning in a variegated tencel/silk blend. The variegation obscured most other patterns I tried, but the simplicity of this one really enhanced the yarn. I hope you will consider making it available to others too.

  39. Wow! Do you get to knit at work, or do you just knit really fast? I think it would take me a month to get Tomato done.

    It’s lovely, and the colors suit you.

  40. I’m beyond thrilled that you are going to share the pattern for that beautiful shawl! And of course, your Tomato is mahvelous, dahling. In fact I might even have *cough* bought the book, in spite of your having given away the tomato pattern for free. Perhaps generosity is a good thing for all!!

  41. I love the mods you made to Tomato – turning it into hot tomato salsa! I had looked at that pattern but passed it up because of the placement of the houndstoothy band, can’t wait to knit it now. I love Knitting Daily, your bright & fun personality (as well as your love of knitting) really shines through, congratulations!

  42. I LOVE the tomato on you and the color looks GREAT on you. I can’t wait top see the Shawl pattern as well. I’ve never knitted a shawl but this one looks absolutely gorgous. I think I may have to try.

  43. Hi all, This is my first post but have been reading faithfully. I am ready to “dart up” some knitting. I love the idea of my knits fitting my curves! Thanks.

  44. oooh, lovely tomato. I need to get my yarn and make one too. thx for the shawl patterns, I just joined a prayer shawl swap after reading “Back to Blossom Street”. I was inspired to make one and now I’ve got some patterns, some yarn and soon someone to send it to. I’m lovin’ this wonderful community.

    Thx again and have a great week.
    Dawn 😉

  45. btw, thx for the info on Pieceworks ~ I now feel really silly didn’t know they were so valuable. I passed up purchasing several copies at a local goodwill. I’ll trot on over and see if they are still there. ;D

  46. I picked up the current Piecework. How disappointing that the patterns for the Russian Scarf and the Travelers mitts are only typed out. Why not provide charts? I would never make lace without a chart. It is too easy to make reading mistakes. The garmwnts are lovely, but I would never knit them!

  47. i do not really know how hard my method is for new knitters……….i have been knitting most days for 62 years……..but this is my method for keeping up with lace……you need to learn to “read” your pattern on the “rest” rows so that you can find a mistake at once and fix it before it is a mess…….mistakes in lace are almost always yarnovers……….i avoid lace patterns that pattern on every row like the plague………mark the odd row side … and use markers to mark repeats and especially middle stitches that have increases……..set the middle stitch off with a marker on each side in a different color……i have used lifelines……..but they are not really needed when you read the pattern on the rest rows…..besides, just ripping out to the lifeline isn’t very good because it can still be hard to pick up the stitches….i have wondered about something kind of like a blocking wire for a lifeline…..maybe a knitpicks cable with those ends they provide???????….that should work great…..somebody try it and let me know…..you could aldo use theier fixed smaller needles and use neeedle protectors on the points

  48. Thanks for the great daily reading. This is my first post, but I’ve been enjoying all the newsletters since the beginning! Your tomato looks great – good for you for taking a risk with colors! I can’t wait to see the bust dart instructions! And, even though the lace shawl may be beyond me right now, it’s beautiful, and I’ll be putting it in my files! Thanks for all the wonderful patterns!

  49. I really like the Hot Tomato. I can totally sympathize with natural disasters as my chest generally becomes a nice depository for my food! Bah!

    The Icelandic Shawl looks super fabulous. I look forward to the pattern.

  50. I LOL when I read Ms. Walker’s story of belately realizing that she was running amok the train in her nightdress, to buy a lace shawl. Only we knitters can relate to the obsession of our craft.

  51. I LOL when I read Ms. Walker’s story of belately realizing that she was running amok the train in her nightdress, to buy a lace shawl. Only we knitters can relate to the obsession of our craft.

  52. I just now read my Dailyknit email due to a busy weekend. I have a copy of the Piecework July 1996 in great condition. If anyone is interested in the whole artice on iceland knitting and the pattern, I am looking at it right now. That entire issue is full of wonderful patterns, including netting and needle lace. Kim L.

  53. You did a beautiful job on your Hot Tomato! I love it and now want to make one for me! I also want to express how much I love this site and love reading the other knitter’s comments – what a hoot!

  54. Sandy, I can’t find the Classic elite Charm anywhere. Is it still available? I may try the Bamboo. I have never used that fiber before.
    PS I LOVE KNITTING DAILY!!! My Tomato is almost done!

  55. Hello, I have a question that is unrelated to this post, but I didn’t find any “Yarn” topic in the Topics section:

    My parents-in-law visited Peru a while ago, and brought back a bunch of Alpaca yarn for me, some of it in skeins, some on cones. Is there a difference? The yarn on the cones feels a teensy bit different. Should I wind it into balls before using, or can I work directly from the cone? Somewhere I read that the cone yarn is used for machine knitting – is it treated in some way? Do I need to wash it first? Thanks for any tips or info you guys have. I love this forum – it’s such a treasure trove of information.

  56. [My post was cut off for some reason …] Hello, I have a question that is unrelated to this post, but I could not find a “Yarn” topic in the Topics list:

    My parents-in-law visited Peru a while ago, and brought back some alpaca yarn for me. Some of it is on cones, some in skeins. Is there a difference? I vaguely remember that cone yarn is used for machine knitting? Does that mean that it is treated somehow? should I wash it first? And do I have to wind the yarn from the cones into balls first, or can I work directly from the cones? Thanks for any tips/info you have. This forum is great – such a treasure trove of info!!

  57. i love what you did with tomato! so awesome and it gives me, a big girl knitter, some confidence that i can go ahead and modify a pattern to make it how _i_ like it! thanks for sharing!

  58. question unrelated to the post: i was comparing the comfort shawl and the summer shawlette (i’m planning a shawl for my mom) and discovered they both show the same finished dimensions, but the description for the comfort shawl says it’s longer and wider. so are they the same or was there a typo? i like the lace on the shawlette, but wanted to compare the length before deciding which to do. please help!

  59. Hi again! Great job on the Hot Tomato, it really does look great. Two things: 1- I thought we were getting the results of the lace poll on Friday? I probably just missed something in my reading. And 2 – from your suggestion in a previous post I took a look at Lanaknits.com and received my first kit for the Lacy Little Top using hemp yarn. I’m so excited to try this new fibre that I cast on right out of the box. I have also been doing some looking on the net for info on using and caring for hemp fibres and found that a lot of knitters have a lot of questions about it. Maybe we could have a “Hemp Week” with a specially designed pattern and lots of questions and answers?
    I know that if one needs knitting answers the best place to look is here!

  60. Also, about the cone vs. skein question….
    i have worked the same yarn from both scenarios and they work exactly the same. it’s just a different format to make it accessible for a michine if you want to use it. I like the cone too because it’s shape is inheirently sturdy and doesn’t roll around as you use it, thus less inducement for pets to chase it!

  61. Oh, I’m so glad you found the directions for the Icelandic Shawl – it’s going to be my winter whawl project – I’m sooo excited! I absolutely love to come to work each morning and read my

  62. I have been watching the progress of your “tomato” with great interest and a mounting desire to make one for myself. I think I am really going to benefit from all the tips you have given on sizing, modifications, etc. Since I am considerably older than most of the ladies who are making the tomato, I will be making a blueberry instead using blue/violet yarn with a grey colorwork bustline stripe. I will be starting soon as I received the yarn today. I still have another project to finish first. (If I leave the first project, I’ll never get back to it.) Wish me luck! I started knitting for the first time after I retired so have been knitting only about a year and a half. Love the idea of working a sweater from the top down. Agnes in West Tennessee

  63. I just wanted to share that during my early morning coffee & knit time I caught the Tomato on Knitty Gritty with the author of No Sheep For You. I am excited as ever to get started on this project.

  64. Thank you so much for discussing yarn substitution for the Charm Wrap. I about fell out of my chair when I saw how much the suggested yarn cost per skein! I appreciate the bamboo suggestion.

  65. I just picked up the July/August 07 Piecework Issue for the Russian Lace Scarf pattern. To my surprise, there weren’t any charts included in the “complete” instructions. Why not?