My current work in progress:

1. Drachenfels, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Madelintosh Pashmina in the Black Walnut, Seasalt, and Mineral colorways on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Wendyknits Presents . . .

The Feburary Contest!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, coming up this Friday, I am offering the following prize for the February contest:

febcontest03 Wendyknits Presents . . .

This is 18 skeins of Gjestal Vestlandsgarn Norwegian wool (same stuff I knitted the virgin sweater from) in varying shades of pink and lavender. It’s 100% wool, sportweight. To do with what you wish!

What do you have to do to win this? Here’s the contest question:

How many Alice/Jade Starmore designs can you list that have a United States place name in the name of the design?

Here’s a big hint: I’m working on one of them right now!

The person who emails me (see email link in the sidebar) the longest list of correct answers by 4:00pm EST on Friday, February 14, will win the yarn. In the event of a tie, my lovely assistant will draw a name.

Snow Day Friday

Izzy and I had a lazy day.

izzy feb7 Wendyknits Presents . . .

Hey Kate — do you recognize those fuzzy feet?

And those of you who don’t believe that Izzy helps me on the computer, here we are, checking email.

izzy feb8 Wendyknits Presents . . .

Oregon Progress

I did make progress on Oregon . . . see?

oregon feb9 Wendyknits Presents . . .

I started shaping the v-neck and started the armhole steeks. Steek close-up, for your viewing pleasure!

oregon feb9a Wendyknits Presents . . .

Happy Monday all, and don’t forget to enter the contest!

Fair Isle Cardi: Horror and Joy

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m knitting a fair isle cardi. The Oregon Cardigan, to be exact. There’s good bits and bad bits.

The good bits.

It’s knitted in the round, therefore you do a steek for the front opening. This design has a v-neck, so you do your v-neck shaping on each side of the front steek. When the body is done, you’ve got this bizarre looking misshapen tube. But you know what happens when you cut it open? Presto-chango, the v-neck falls into place. Call me sheltered, but I get a kick outta that.

The other cool thing about a fair isle cardi in the round is that you start and end colors in the middle of the front steek. No, I repeat no, weaving in of ends. Do you have any idea how much I like this concept? Wanna see what the inside of the front steek looks like right now? Sure you do.

oregon feb6b Fair Isle Cardi: Horror and Joy

And here’s the front steek from the outside.

oregon feb6a Fair Isle Cardi: Horror and Joy

Now for the bad news.

After you cut open the front steek and witness the Miracle of the V-Neck, reality sets in. You now have to pick up about 17 ba-zillion stitches to knit the front bands and neck. But wait, there’s more. You then have to knit (insert ominous music here) corrugated ribbing.

Ga-a-ack!

Anyhow, here’s a photo of my progress thus far:

oregon feb6 Fair Isle Cardi: Horror and Joy

Snow Day

It’s snowing like crazy and I didn’t sleep well, so it’s back to bed I go. Nighty-night, I’ll talk to you later.

Have a good weekend!

izzy feb6 Fair Isle Cardi: Horror and Joy

Sock It to Me, Bay-beeee!

It’s all about the socks!

Because I finished my lovely Lang Jawoll socks, the wool for which was given to me by Sabine as part of my birthday month. Thanks Sabine! You can see them on the Mediterranean Sock page. (Because the colors do look like the Mediterranean Sea!) I really loved the Jawoll sock yarn — very soft and nice to knit and I love the way the colors pooled. A true pleasure to knit and I highly recommend it.

Thank you again, Sabine!

And I’ve got a new sock-in-progress, being knitted from the sock yarn given to me by Lindsey-Brooke. The yarn is Dancing Feet, from Joslyn’s Fiber Farm. If you’ve never experienced this wool, buy some. Do yourself a favor! It’s not only drop-dead gorgeous, but it feels wonderful. Heck, I may never wear the socks, I might frame ‘em. The colorway I have is “treebark.”

sip feb5 Sock It to Me, Bay beeee!

I notice on their website that they are on vacation until February 10. Not too long to wait for orgasmic sock yarn, eh?

This is thinner than Regia and Opal — I’m knitting it at about 9.5 st/inch. So these socks will take longer to knit. But the wool feels so good, who cares?

Oh, Izzy was a big help photographing this.

izzy feb5 Sock It to Me, Bay beeee!

More Sock News

I was very pleased and flattered to get email from Matt of Crowing Ram the other day. He has a sock group and wants to use my toe-up sock pattern and my toe-up article from the last issue of Knitty. Cool!

Sock Yarn Stash Enhancement!

Yeah, believe it or not, I bought more sock yarn. This is sport weight, bought to make socks for my dad.

sockyarnfeb5 Sock It to Me, Bay beeee!

The one on the left is Silja and the color number is 329. I bought it online at The Knitter. The one on the right is Regia 6 in a jacquard pattern — color number 5180. I bought it on eBay.

Three skeins of each cuz my dad has big feet.

Sock Bind-off Questions

In the past couple of days I’ve gotten the same question from two different people. What’s a good bind-off for toe-up socks that’s stretchy enough?

My response:

There’s a couple of things you can do for cast-offs. Here’s a page that has two good ones.

I sometimes use the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn cast off documented there and have found it to work very well.

Another thing I do when I’m knitting socks with a plain stockinette leg: When I get to the point where I’m ready to do the top ribbing, I increase several stitches evenly around the leg — if I’m working on 64 stitches, I’ll increase to 72, then do knit 3 purl 3 ribbing and cast off loosely.

Carpe Knitum

There are some days when you just wanna chuck it all, grab your knitting, and knit til your hands fall off. Yesterday was one of those days. The sad part is that I got not too much knitting done — a lot of time spent doing non-knitting stuff last night. What’s with that?

But here’s a close-up of some little trees on the Oregon cardi.

oregon feb4 Carpe Knitum

It’s not totally accurate as to color — not quite as dark and the colors are more muted. But you get the general idea, right?

So I go floating along.

Quite a lively discussion in my comments yesterday about floating versus weaving. I think those who responded are pretty much split down the middle. Some of you prefer to weave, some to float. Duh, you figured that out yourself, didn’t you?

I think a lot has to do with how you were taught and how you knit. I knit in a very bizarre fashion. I taught myself to knit when I was four years old, from a book that had drawings in it that documented how to form a knit stitch and a purl stitch. I looked at the pictures and imitated the motions. I couldn’t read the instructions because I didn’t know how to read yet. No doubt my mother gave me needles and yarn to keep me quiet and no doubt I could have gone to her and asked for help, but I was a stubborn child. So I figured it out myself.

I’m left-handed and I knit quasi-continental. I hold the yarn in my left hand and when working with two colors I drop the one not in use and pick up the one in use. Not the most efficient way to knit, eh? But it works for me. I did learn two-handed color-knitted when I was in my 20s, but the truth is that I can knit much faster my own bizarre way. And with really even tension.

The motto of this story is:

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Izzy!

I’m thinking that Izzy must have had a long session with her new catnip mouse yesterday. This is the most I saw of her all evening.

izzy feb4 Carpe Knitum

Tuesday

First of all, look at this adorable button that Marit made and displayed on her blog:

wendy feb3 Tuesday

Isn’t that cute? Of course I love it! Thanks Marit!

And I noticed that Teresa, bless her heart, displayed it in her blog yesterday.

More on Conspiracy

Okay you guys. I finally read through all the messages you have sent back and forth about my birthday conspiracy. Wow, what fun that was! Some made me laugh, some made me (almost) cry and some made me go hmmmmmmm. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to be suspicious when Ian was gleaning information about what knitting periodicals I subscribe to and stuff like that.

So once again, thank you all. I am amazed that you all would go through all this just for little ol’ me. And I am mighty impressed by Kate’s sneakiness and powers of organization. Kate, if you ever get sick of knitting I know I could get you a job with the U.S. government if you ever wanna relocate to DC and become a U.S. citizen.

And of course, if it wasn’t for Amy, none of this would have happened in the first place. So thank you Amy, not only for this, but for giving me a creative outlet in Knitty.

And Caroline, I printed out the database per your instructions — thanks!

It’s hard to know when I figured out what was going on . . . early on someone made reference to “Wendymonth” which made me remember the exchange on Amy’s blog. So I guessed that the whole thing started in Toronto . . . and I was right.

Once again, thank you all. I love you guys. Sniff, sniff.

I’m an Ore-Goner

I’m working on the little trees on the Oregon cardi. I love this. Fair isle is so totally addictive, dude! For the trees you change the foreground color every two or three rows, which keeps things very interesting.

oregon feb3 Tuesday

And here, in response to requests, a photo of the wrong side.

oregon feb3a Tuesday

To Float or To Weave?

That is the question. I used to weave. But no longer. Now I float, always. Even for long stretches, like ten stitches. As long as I make sure I’ve got my stitches spread out well on the needle while I knit, I have no problem with tension. I find that weaving sometimes shows on the right side. At least it does when I do it. When working with shetland wool, floats adhere to the back side of the work with no problem, so you don’t have a bunch of messy loops like you might think.

What do you all think? Are you floaters or weavers?

Sock Doldrums

Yep, I’m still knitting socks! I’m coming down the home stretch of a pair I’m making from the Lang Jawoll that Sabine sent me. It’s taking a little longer than usual. I only knit on my socks during lunchtime at work and on the train. Lately I’ve been having more problems than usual with motion sickness on the train (blurk!) and therefore am getting less knitting done. (Probably more than you wanted to know, eh?) Sigh. So the socks are progressing more slowly.

Virgin Sweater

Thanks for all your kind comments about said sweater! I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, myself.

Izzy Sez Meow

And she’s very flattered by all your comments about her photo layout, frolicking with her mouse. But the truth is, she’s a tad embarrassed that you all saw her behaving in such an undignified manner. Here she is being proper.

izzy feb3 Tuesday