My current work in progress:

Newlyn Jacket, by Jane Gottelier, knit from Rowan Original Denim, using 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles.

Archives for February 2004

Happy Birthday, Lucy


Tomorrow is Lucy’s “official” birthday. I don’t know when her actual birthday is, just that she was born in February 2001.

Valentine’s Day seemed an appropriate day to celebrate because she’s such a little sweetheart (you may commence barfing and retching now). So tomorrow we’ll be saying . . .

Happy Birthday, Lucy!


Where in the World?

Have I been in my life?


It’s deceptive, because when you select Canada and the United States, it colors in the whole country. I haven’t been to too many U.S. states.

Here’s my “States Visited” map, near as I can recall:


I think I’ve remembered everything. Hey Mom, have I left out any New England states? Was I ever in Maine, Vermont, or New Hampshire as a child? Huh?

Aren’t you glad you all know all this about me?

New Haircut!

You may notice I’ve changed my blog template a bit — I’ve moved Izzy up into the header, where she belongs, I think. And I had a couple of people suggest to me that I ought to put my photo permanently on my blog. So there’s my big ol’ face gazing out at you from the sidebar. Until I can’t stand it any longer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And thank you for all the extremely kind comments about my new hair. Way to swell a girl’s head! Yesterday, my first day with it, I blow-dried it straight (or as straight as I can get it) but it was crying to be let back into “curls gone wild” mode. so today I’m back to my old curly self. And I think it looks pretty damned cute.

As for the color . . . that’s all me — haven’t changed it. It’s not really that red — it just photographs redder than reality. Dunno why. Indoor photos with flash make it look redder still.

Floating Frida

Yes indeedy — behind those long expanses of white in Frida lurk some very long floats. Wanna see?


How do I do it? I’m using wooden needles (ebony, to be exact, but bamboo would work too) and spreading the stitches out carefully along the needle to make sure I’ve got exactly the right tension when I’m switching to green from a very long expanse of white.

And the photos are a bit brighter than reality. But still I think the design in real life is a little bit brighter than the photo in the book shows. But right now all you’re seeing is the colorful bottom border. The top pattern has a lot more white in it, which will undoubtedly balance things out and make the colors seem a bit more subdued.


February Contest

I have received well over 100 entries so far, each one more adorable than the last. I have employed a panel of judges to select finalists. Then another judge will choose the first, second, and third prize winners. All this is sort of arbitrary and subjective because all the photos are wonderful. That’s why I’m not judging them myself. I can’t be objective because I know so many of you, either from blogs, or email friendship, or real life. so I’ve passed the buck. Winners will be announced on Monday, and I’ll have a page with a sampling of some of the photos sent available for your viewing pleasure.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all from all of us here at WendyKnits!


And I’m happily knitting along on Frida.


Meanwhile, Lucy is helping with the laundry.


Yes! More Q&A!

Karen asked:

Will you post or link to the baby blanket pattern your new knitter is using?

The pattern is here. But as I said, I’m eliminating the knitted on lace border and rewriting it to add a garter stitch border all around.

Angie asked:

Hey, where didja get the cool Wallace and Gromit clock?

I got it off eBay a few years back, I think from a seller in the UK. It’s battery run, and the alarm plays the Wallace & Gromit theme song, and the figures move. Shaun even goes “baaaaa!”

I’m such a child.

Ahem. The second part of Angie’s question:

I have noticed when you are making something with a large gauge (say a booga bag, bucket hat, or the multi-directional scarf) it seems to take much longer than your gorgeous multi-color, teeny-needle sweaters. Is it because you don’t work on the large gauge item as much or do large needles truly slow you down?

All those projects are done only on the train going to work (and sometimes a bit at lunchtime if I have a chance) so I spend far less time on them. Hence the longer time to complete.

Aubergine asked:

From whence did all your knowledge of steek-i-ness come from? The part about 4 or 5 stitches per side still eludes me- they’re not formally part of the color pattern, are they?

My steek knowledge? I picked it up in the streets. No, seriously, it’s just stuff I picked up along the way, from all the fair isle patterns I’ve done. The Alice Starmore fair isle book (now out-of-print) has great steek explanations, as I recall.

A “whole” steek is usually about 10 stitches — 1 edge stitch which is always worked in the background color, 8 steek stitches, which are worked alternating the two colors, and 1 edge stitch in the background color. When you cut the steek down the center, you have 5 stitches each side of the cut edge. You pick up your stitches for the sleeve (or the collar, or the front band, depending on which steek you are working with) between the edge stitch and the first pattern stitch.

Another steek question from Lisa:

Just a few rows into my first Fair Isle (Rosemarkie from The Celtic Collection) inspired largely due to your incredible knitting and your blog! I am feeling a little stressed out because my steek stitches don’t appear to be as tight as yours look in your tutorials. I am trying to reassure myself that I am still only 3 or 4 rows in and not to freak out…..but should I be concerned about this?

No, no, don’t freak out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you getting the gauge called for in the pattern? Yes? Then worry not. Photographs can be deceiving anyhow. If your gauge is correct and everything else looks good, you’re okay. And besides, the first couple of rows of a steek always look a bit smarmy, I think.

Yet another steek question, from Kristin:

When you are knitting a pullover, how do you handle the ends BEFORE you get to the steek portion of the armholes and what do you do with all the ends on the sleeves?

I know you mentioned that you knot instead of weave. If you’re using Shetland wool, do you just knot and cut the ends or do you still weave them in after knotting? I’ve been knotting on Luskentyre, but I’ve held off of doing anything with the ends.

At the beginning/ending of the round, I knot them, using a square knot. And trim them. No fuss, no muss!

And Chandra asked:

I have an “over and under” question for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ When I started doing fair isle, I recall seeing a lot of instructions stressing the importance of always having the lighter color come underneath the darker, or vice versa, but I’m not sure what the point of this is. I can see in intarsia where it would be important, to prevent your motifs from becoming separate little potholders.
But in fair isle, it doesn’t seem to make any difference that I can see. Which color is over or under in any given row for me depends on where that ball of yarn is in my organizing box. Do you know why this over/under business is important in fair isle?

I always carry my background color on top and my foreground color on the bottom. Always always always. The way you hold your yarns affects the way the pattern “pops out” so you always want to be consistent. The difference is very subtle, but there is a difference, so you wanna be consistent in what you do.

New Haircut Girl!

My trip to the ritzy salon was a success!


My New Knitter

My new knitter is ordering yarn for her first “real” project — Plymouth Encore, to knit a baby blanket for a pregnant friend.

I found a pattern online for a basketweave baby blanket. It has a knitted-on lace edging that I think is a bit advanced for her, so I’m rewriting the pattern with a garter stitch border.

We’re very excited!

Steeks Again!

Suzanne asked:

You said you didn’t trim your steeks or stitch them down, so why don’t I see any yarn ends? I’m having trouble understanding how it looks so nice and neat without weaving in ends or stitching them down as someone mentioned. I really and truly don’t see a single yarn end in the photo above. Maybe I am misundertanding what you mean by “trim the steeks” since I have never knitted a fair isle. I really want to some day soon, though.

A fair question.

Yesterday’s photo showed the inside of the front bands flanked by my untrimmed steeks. The yarn ends were in the center of the front steek. When I cut the steek down the middle, I cut off all the ends. No weaving in, no tying off, just trim them off.

But the steeks themselves are not trimmed. Most steeks are 8-10 stitches wide. You cut down the center and that’s 4-5 stitches per side. Then most directions tell you to trim the steeks to a two-stitch width after you have picked up your stitches and completed your knitting. That’s what I didn’t do — trim them to a two-stitch width. I never do.


Here she is:


So far, way fun to knit!

Though Lucy apparently has other things on her mind.


No Name?

That’s Dale 10903 to which I refer. The nameless wonder

It’s funny, too, because a couple of the designs in the same book have names. Frogner. Fana. And another one I can’t recall just now.

Perhaps I should give her an “F” name? Okay!

I did a search of Norse names and have settled on Frida, which I’m told means “beautiful”. So from now on, she shall be known as Frida.

I’ve just barely started Frida, as you can see from the photo.


I have the facing done and have just barely started in on the pattern. The facing curls horribly, so I’ll be steam pressing it before much longer, just to keep it from curling up and annoying me while I knit the body.

By the way, the pattern is written for pullover and cardi versions in both adult and child sizes. No adjustment necessary.

The colors I’m using for Frida are those in the light colorway photo I posted last week. A couple of the colors don’t seem to be available any longer, so I substituted similar shades. We’ll see how it looks as I knit along.


Renata asked:

Would you consider posting a photo of the inside of the sweater, near the front or neck bands. I am doing the bands on Firebirds and am wondering how much to trim the steek and whether to cross-stitch it down as the instructions suggest. Do you ever bother to cross-stitch, and if so do you just catch the strands on the inside? I am guessing that you don’t go all the way through the fabric ‘cos that would show.

Here you go! This is the inside of the front bands and steeks. As you can see, I don’t bother to trim my steeks, nor do I tack them down. I’m a bad girl.


If I were to tack them down, I would do so in a cross-stitch fashion, just catching the steeks to the wrong side of the body of the sweater.

Abalone Photo Shoot

Thank you for all your kind comments about how good I looked in the Abalone photo shoot. Ha! You are just lucky you didn’t get a close-up of my face, and that the wind was blowing so it fluffed up my hair to make my bedhead look not particularly horrendous. It was a lucky fluke.

My hair is actually looking quite hideous right now. It’s been three months since my last haircut (I sound like I’m at confession). Three months ago I got the Evil Haircut from Hell that made my head look lopsided. So I’ve been gun-shy. But I have an appointment to have my haircut tomorrow, this time at a GOOD salon, downtown. Of course it’ll cost twice as much, but you get what you pay for.

Will I post a photo post-haircut? We’ll see.

Lucy can’t wait.


Thanks for all the pet photos I’ve received so far. What a way to brighten the start of the week!

February Contest

It’s Valentine’s week, kids, so it’s all about love, and mush, and sentimental slop. I give you:

The Excessive Cat Sentimentality Contest

Email me a photo (or a link to a photo online) that shows excessive cat sentimentality and I will enter you in the drawing for one of these fabulous prizes:

First prize: 10 skeins Alpaca Country Fina — 20% alpaca, 80% wool yarn in a pretty pink. This is sportweight and has 150 meters per 50 gram skein.


Second prize: Dale book 109. I understand this is now out-of-print and getting harder to find. Lots of great patterns in this one! This copy was kindly donated by L-B!


Third prize: An 8×10 glossy of Lucy, suitable for framing.

Please note that photos depicting excessive pet sentimentality of any kind will be considered. Get your entries to me by 5:00pm, EST Friday February 13 to be considered for a prize!

Speaking of Dale Book 109 . . .

My new project is Dale 10903. Yes, Lotus won the popular vote by an overwhelming majority. But I wanna knit the runner-up. Partly because I don’t want to knit two cardis in a row — I find button bands to be a pain. So sue me. I’m knitting the pullover version of 10903 in the light colorway.

Hmmmm . . . we gotta come up with a better name for it than 10903.

Steeky Question

Mary asked:

Having never ‘steeked’ myself, I may be asking a dumb question. But isn’t a steek just for cutting open your sweater? If so, then why would it matter if you make a mistake in the pattern of your steek; or, why would it be necessary to have a pattern at all ???

Well, no, you don’t need a pattern. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake.
But when you are knitting with two colors in one row, you’ll want to alternate those colors in the steek stitches. Alternating the colors stitch by stitch makes a firm fabric that adds to the strength of the steek after you cut it.

Oh, by the way . . .

I finished the multidirectional diagonal scarf.


Oh, by the way . . .

I finished Abalone.


No one can accuse me of vanity after seeing this photo. Not only is my hair unwashed, I didn’t even brush it for this photo. Rolled outta bed, finished the last three rounds on the last cuff of Abalone, and popped it on for a quick photo shoot before brushing my hair or even washing my face. Forget about make-up.

And Abalone hasn’t even been steam pressed in that photo.

Oh, just to show you I haven’t lost my sense of style, I want you to see that Abalone coordinates nicely with my bruised knee, courtesy of a fall on the ice last Wednesday.


Lucy is appalled.


Oh, there are more photos on the Official Abalone Page.