My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for November 2005


(That sound you hear is me, crashing upon re-entry to the real world.)

Today was my first day back to work after my wonderful fiber-filled weekend. All the issues and problems I was dealing with at the office did not magically disappear while I was gone. Imagine that. Reality bites. But, such is life. And it is actually not all that bad. Nothing too dire occurred while I was away. And hey! Friday is a federal holiday, so this is a three-day week.

But still. I had trouble concentrating at work this morning because I kept looking out my window to see if the body lying on the median strip was a homeless person sleeping or a dead body. I swear, the guy didn’t budge an inch for at least six hours. I finally saw him move in the late afternoon.

Ah, life in Washington.

So. Anyhow.

Last night I cast on for a Mermaid sleeve, so I’d have something a bit more portable to take for commuter knitting. Here it is:


I’ll not give you a progress pic of the body of Mermaid, because it’s not too far advanced beyond what you saw yesterday. Why? Because fired up with enthusiasm from the weekend, I actually did a little spinning yesterday.


This is a mixture of all sorts of stuff — several different wools, angora, silk — that I bought on eBay ages ago. I brought it and another pile of roving of similar composition (but in purple and brown) to the retreat for L-B and me to spin with. We spun only Black Welsh Mountain roving, though. Funny, because we both brought some fun colorful stuff with us.

We split up the rovings we brought between us, so I decided to spin up the pink stuff I brought home. I’m pretty proud of it, because the composition made it hard for me to spin. I think I did a fairly even job of it, though I did leave some slubs in it.

I am extraordinarily proud of it because it’s the best balanced yarn I’ve spun so far.


It does this beginner spinner’s heart proud. Okay — one more picture. Humor me, please!


More Knitting

I did start another project, even though I’m less than halfway through Mermaid — the Frostrosen Mittens.

One mitten is just barely started, as you can see.


I started it on Sunday morning at the retreat. The Sunday morning session was called “New Beginnings” and the idea was to cast on something new and make it something for yourself. So I figured the Frostrosen mittens would be the perfect project.

So during this session Clara suggested that as we start our new projects, it might be fun to ask invite other knitters at the retreat to knit a stitch or a few in your project. This mitten was perfect for that, as the cuff starts with garter stitch ridges — nothing too complicated as I took it around the room asking people to put in a stitch or two.

So this little mitten has the work of at least 30 amazing, talented, wonderful women in its cuff. I’m going to make this the left mitten because I am left-handed. And that way I’ll remember that this is the mitten that has all the good retreat vibes in it!

The Liam Sweater

Lelah said:
WOW- now LB is a *really* great friend. 😀 Was it a “just because” present, or for an occasion?

L-B knitted my Liam sweater for me as a gift to commemorate my book, so I could possibly wear it on a book tour. How cool is that?!

The First Rule of Knit Club

You don’t talk about knit club.

L-B and I were both very much amused by Karma’s comment:
As for this LB person, I’m beginning to think that she is your own alter-ego, sort of a Fight Club sort of thing. You two seem to be knitting the same projects quite often, and you are always sharing progress photos for “her”.

Heh! There are over 60 people who saw us both last weekend who can attest to the fact that we are two different people.

Or are we?

Lucy can tell her Momma and her Auntie L-B apart!


Mermaid Monday

Nope, I didn’t finish Mermaid over the weekend, but I did make some progress.


And I still have the sleeves to do as well.

Pssst! Johanne — here’s a close-up of L-B’s Mermaid colorway.


So. A brief weekend wrap-up.

This was the fourth annual Knitters Review Retreat, and the second one I’ve attended. It was unseasonable warm, and I had the a/c on in the car, both driving there and back. But that didn’t seem to affect the lovely fall colors.


I was fortunate enough to be rooming with someone who has emergency training. You know. Just in case.


And of course, there was our other roomate, Maggie.


So apart from Mermaid knitting, socializing with other knitters, and eating way too much, I did a little spinning — some Black Welsh Mountain.


Oh, and I did some shopping.

Here’s my beautiful new “A Year in Yarn” calendar.


I also shopped at Spirit Trail.


Both of these are 100% silk, dk weight. I got enough of each for a sweater or shawl.

And L-B gave me a great gift — my own design, Liam, that she knitted for me from Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed.


And a close-up of the center cable, albeit with very inaccurate colors!


And Lucy sleeps through it all!


Back From the Mountain

I got home from the Knitters Review Retreat earlier this afternoon. Tired! We were having too much fun to actually sleep, so I’m going to need to do some catching up tonight.

I think the foliage was at its most beautiful this weekend. Here’s the view from the front porch outside our room:


It’s hard not to be happy when you are sitting in a rocking chair in the fresh air, knitting, while looking at that, huh?

Here’s an early morning shot of the lodge, shrouded in a mysterious mist.


And just for Sandy, a shot of the sky.


I’ll post progress pix of Mermaid and other assorted fiber-related photos tomorrow. I have to go spend some quality time with Lucy, who had a lot of fun with her daddy this weekend, but nevertheless was very happy to see me.


Guilt? Hah!

For the record, not even Snow can make me feel guilty. Here is her attempt:

I hope your retreat is lovely and that you don’t get to feeling horrendously guilty for leaving some of us behind to slave away in our dreadful offices as you knit merrily along on your lovely Mermaid.

Oh, and I hope you don’t miss poor, lonely Lucy too dreadfully. Who will take care of her while you’re away? Will she pine for you, and go off her feed?

In answer to her first point I say:

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

That was very funny.

To address your second point, dear Snow:

Lucy will have some uninterrupted quality time with her daddy, The King of All Remote Controls. Lucy adores her daddy and will be delighted not to have her mommy around this weekend so she can have the total undivided attention of The King of All Remote Controls.

Ah, Lucy. Doesn’t she look abused?


But . . . on to knitting. My progress for today:


This is a mouse that I made for a sweet kitty who lost his favorite mousie to that bitch, Hurricane Wilma. Oh sweet little kitty, if you happen to be reading this, your mousie is in the mail!

I did work on Mermaid as well. A little.


Katrina asked:
The Mermaid jacket is beautiful and I’m glad to see someone making it, but I’m curious as to what you would rate the level of the knitting involved. Beginner, Intermediate or Skilled knitter?

I’d rate it intermediate. You need to be able to do short rows and i-cords, and follow instructions very closely. But there’s no terribly difficult knitting techniques involved.

What do other Mermaid knitters think?

Okie dokie — I’m off to the wilds of Virginia tomorrow for the Knitters Review Retreat. Depending on what time I get home on Sunday, I might post then. But more likely on Monday.

Y’all have a good weekend!


Mermaid Confessions

(Okay, I just spent half an hour attempting to unscrew the top peg on my Lendrum wheel so I could fold it up. Finally got it. That sucker was screwed in tight.)

Snow (that trouble-maker) said:
Wait a minute! I thought Mermaid was to be knit on retreat next week. Aren’t you getting ahead of schedule? What if you run out of things to knit at the retreat? Quick! You’ve got to go out and buy more yarn!

Okay, missy. Do not make me smack you with an unfinished Celtic Dream. The retreat starts the day after tomorrow, so there will be Mermaid knitting going on during the retreat and long after the retreat.

Besides, L-B started hers too. So there. Nyah, nyah.

Concerning Mermaid, Julie asked a good question:
I have my trigger finger on ordering a Mermaid kit, but I really am nervous about the size – the large says about 42-43″ – I need a good 46-48″ finished size. As you are knitting on, do you think adjustments larger would be manageable? Or would I drive myself nuts? (which could happen anyways).
I’m also thinking a good blocking could add a couple of inches – it is good ole wool after all.

Absolutely, adjustments could be achieved pretty easily. It would just be a matter of adding a garter stitch ridge or two in each piece, I think. You could probably block it out a bit larger, too.

One warning — it’s a kit, so if you run out of yarn it might be hard to find more.

Brigitte asked:
Wendy, how are you finding the instructions, are they clearly written? One of my biggest knitting peeves is a crappy set of instructions; it will completely kill the project for me, no matter the designer or design style. It’s rare that I’ll bother to decipher them, something in the back of my mind reminds me that if they don’t care enough about good quality instructions, the finished project cannot be too compelling, regardless of the photographs.

When you first look at them, the instructions seem a bit daunting. However, they are very clearly written and I’ve had no problems thus far. You do, however, have to make darn sure you read carefully, because there is a lot of shaping in this baby and the instructions need to be followed to the letter to get it right.

Margene asked:
I’m so tempted by Mermaid! It is a gorgeous jacket and one I know would
be worn often. It looks slightly felted. Is it?

No, but you are instructed to wash it in lukewarm water and spin-dry it, then lay it out flat to block. I think the yarn will bloom a little from that so it will have the appearance of being ever-so-slightly fulled.

So. A couple of you have mentioned that you can’t quite figger how what I’ve got knitted so far is going to turn into Mermaid. Maybe it would help if I turned it and photographed it this way?


Feel better, L-B? Do you see the lack of progress? I did extremely little knitting last night, and not because I was spinning. I did no spinning whatsoever. The truth is . . . and this is almost unheard of for me . . . I felt too crappy to knit.

Not sure why, but my best guess is that it is simply job stress and extreme fatigue. It occurred to me this morning when I was leaving for work that I really need a vacation. I locked my front door and had trouble remembering how to find the garage so I could get in my car.

Sad, no?

But coincidentally, my need for a vacation coincides exactly with, well, a vacation. I left work this afternoon feeling lighthearted because I will not return to the orifice office until Tuesday. Yay.

(And in the joy that is being a Federal employee, after I come back from the retreat, I’ve got four weeks of vacation that I must use before January 7. Covering three peoples’ jobs and not having time to take a vacation pays off in the end. It’s use-or-lose leave, and that is sacred. I have to take it. Darn. Dang. Rats.)

And Now For Something Completely Different

Kristy asked:
Do you have any pointers for someone who wants to learn to spin and (quite possibly) eventually invest in a spinning wheel?

My best advice? Find someone who knows how to spin and ask that person to show you how it’s done. That’s what I did. Pretty much exactly a year ago . . .

And Now For Something Completely Completely Different


The tree outside my office window. It’s autumn! It’s autumn!

And for Sky (and Mitten) Queen, today’s sky:


I took this picture because to me the little cloud looked like it was hiding behind the building, peeking out furtively.

Did I mention that I need a vacation?

Hey, Look!

You scored as Pissed at the World Cat. And here we have the next serial killer. Try having some cotton candy, it’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, Psycho.

Which Absurd Cat are you?

created with


Quiz link found on Rock Chick’s blog.

Lucy is concerned.


She feigns indifference, but I know the truth.