My current work in progress:

Tawney Sweater,by Jenni Barrett, knit from MadelineTosh Tosh Sock, using 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles.

Archives for April 2007

So Many Sock Yarns, So Little Time

Alice asked:
Since you mentioned liking the panda, but that it’s not your favorite, what IS your favorite sock yarn to work with? I’m always on the look-out for something better and softer for my toes!

There’s no way I can narrow my favorite down to one sock yarn. Some of the sock yarns I love are Socks That Rock, Claudia Handpainted, Cherry Tree Hill, Fleece Artist Merino, Scarlet Fleece, Apple Laine Apple Pie, Zen String (both Lotus Toes and Serendipity) . . . and . . . and . . .

What are your favorite sock yarns? 🙂

Other than the Panda Cotton socks I just completed, I’ve not used any cotton sock yarns (apart from some Regia wool/cotton blend ages ago, and those socks were given away, so I can’t comment on how they wear) so I don’t have any useful opinions there. Please feel free to weigh in on cotton sock yarns in the comments if you have something to share.

I just got some of the Fleece Artist Sea Wool Bordello Sock Yarn, from Loopy Sheri, of course (Psssst! Didja hear she’s gonna be carrying yarns for lace knitting soon?) — the one with sea cell in it. I think I’ll try that next. It certainly looks alluring!


I’ve turned the heel on my yummy Melon Ball sock.


And I’m knitting on the front of my miter sweater.


A number of you suggested in the comments the possibility of knitting solid color sleeves for this sweater. Yep, that’s a possibility. Nope, I’m not doing it. I have a strong aversion to sweaters with different color sleeves. And I have a strong aversion to “letterman” type jackets too. (I also dislike zip-front sweaters, but that’s another issue.)

I think that having solid color sleeves would make the patchwork effect of the body of the sweater stand out in a bad way, playing up the patchiness of it. I think it will blend together as a whole if the entire sweater is done the same way. I wouldn’t, for example, like a stained glass window that has a solid border around it.

(The reminds me, did any of you see the Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows on the CBS Sunday Morning show yesterday? WOW!)

We’ll just agree to disagree on this part, shall we?

I am planning on knitting the neckband and edging on the bottom of the body and sleeves in one of the dark brown shades that I’m using for the squares. Well, I haven’t decided yet if I’m knitting the edging or crocheting it, but I’m leaning toward knit — in garter stitch, to match the rest of the sweater.

Marjorie commented:
I like the look of your mitered sweater. I have not yet done mitered squares (to be remedied, I hope, later in the year), and I wondered if it would have been possible to leave live stitches at the neck edge for picking up later. One reason I’m curious is that I’m working on an entrelac sweater that has a similar feel (a kind of patchwork appearance), and I have left live stitches at the back neck and shoulders using short rows as described in the current IK. The front is shaped like yours, and I wanted to leave live stitches there also, if I could. I thought I’d figure it out when I got there.

The way I am knitting, it’s not possible to leave live stitches at the neck edge. It’s actually one side of the square that forms the top edge.

Actually, I prefer picking up stitches from a cast-off edge rather than using live stitches for a neckband. So much so that sometimes when a pattern directs you to leave live stitches to be knitted up into a neckband later, I go ahead and cast them off and pick up from the cast-off edge. I think having the cast-off edge adds a little more structure to the neck and will help keep it from sagging or drooping.

Adventures in Packaging

On Friday, I got this box from




Move aside the packaging, and here’s what was in the bottom of the box.


Yup, that’s all.

Adventures in Weather

Dang! We sure had some rain yesterday. And we’ve had very high winds today. Lucy actually woke me up in the wee hours this morning because the wind was howling and she was nervous.

Having Momma pet my tummy makes things so much better!


So does a snack!



My new sock is coming along very nicely.


Carol asked:
The sock yarn is lovely. You don’t think it will felt, do you?

A very good question, and it reminded me that I neglected to mention that this yarn is handwash only. So if I were to throw it in the washer, it might very well felt.

Will it felt with wear? I’m betting not. I’m actually knitting it at 9 stitches to the inch, which makes for a very firm, sturdy fabric. I think it will stand up nicely to wear.

Shirley in PA commented:
By the way, your new sock yarn is hand wash and dry. What will you do? You could always send me the socks and I will wash and dry and wear them for you. 🙂

Ain’t she thoughtful? Thanks, Shirley, I’ll keep that in mind. 😉

Another sock question, from Regenia:
I’ve been hearing good things about the Panda Cotton since it came out, but haven’t yet gotten to see (or touch) any. How would you compare it to something of similar composition such as Fixation?

Warning! Strong opinion ahead! Warning!

My only experience with Cascade Fixation is that I bought a couple of balls of it, thinking I ought to try it. I knit a swatch with it and hated it. Hated it. H-A-T-E-D it.

(Did I mention I hated it?)

I found to too thick and heavy and textured for socks. I know a lot of people like it, but it’s not for me.

The Panda Cotton, on the other hand, is much finer and to my mind, much softer. It’s not exactly the same composition because it has some bamboo in it. Perhaps that’s what adds the softness. While it was not my favorite sock yarn to knit — you do have to pay attention so you don’t split it — it was a pleasant knitting experience and I really love the socks.

The Clown Miter Sweater

I really enjoyed hearing all your views on the miter sweater and I can certainly appreciate that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Here’s the back, complete.


Little triangles form the back neck shaping.


As I said, I haven’t decided yet if it is a clown sweater. I do very much like the look of it at this point, but it’s hard for me to visualize just how busy it will be when it is complete. Only time will tell. But I am certainly enjoying the heck out of knitting it.

And now I’m obsessed with miters.

Book Giveaway

The copy of Strange Affair goes to Elaine P-P. Elaine, I’ve emailed you!

Maltese Shawl Revisited

The Maltese Shawl I completed a few weeks ago has gone to its new home.


This is my sister-in-law, Gala (married to my brother, Dave). Doesn’t she look fabulous?

Speaking of Fabulous


Lucy spends some quality time with her baby chick.

Is It Pretty? Or Is It a Clown Sweater?

(If there are any clowns reading this blog, please rest assured that I in no way mean to offend you. Clown attire is simply not my style.)


That’s the question that floats through my brain as I knit my mitered sweater. I don’t think I’ll know the answer until the sweater is complete.

Will I be upset if it turns out to be a clown sweater? I’m thinking not, because I could always take it apart and morph it into a blanket. And in the meantime, I’m having great fun knitting it.

Martha in Mobile and Dave both asked if I am knitting back backwards or turning the entire project each row.

I am turning the entire project each row. Why? Because it not once occurred to me to knit backwards instead. Doh!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’ve finished my Panda Cotton socks in the Fern colorway.


These socks are so soft. I have a feeling they are going to be fabulous for wearing in the summer.

And I’m ready to start a new pair of socks from this yummy yarn.


This is a new (well, new to me anyhow) sock yarn from Froebe Fibers. It’s a 440 yard skein of 100% Peruvian wool and it’s in the “Melon Ball” colorway. (The fact that I’ve been looking at this skein all week no doubt accounts for my craving for cantaloupe.)

It’s very very soft and lofty. The only other sock yarn I’ve knitted that reminds me of this is the Zen String BFL that I used for my “Bart & Louise” socks. This yarn looks thicker than fingering weight but it’s very softly spun. I’m betting that when I knit it at 8 sts/inch it’s going to make a lovely firm fabric that wears well. Here’s the blurb about the yarn from the Froebe Fibers website:

We have found Peruvian wool softer, and more durable than Merino, which is especially important for sock yarns. The lighter spinning gives the yarn more loft, and causes less “wear and tear” from stress on the fibers, which means your socks will last longer.

Sounds good to me!

Another Pig Story

Here’s another of My Favorite Pigs.


I bought this pig in Luxembourg, circa 1986. How I loved Luxembourg! It is the closest thing to a fairy tale place that I’ve ever seen. I was happily wandering through the streets, looking in shop windows, when I saw this set:


The pig is supposed to hold sausages, and the other two pieces are for pickles and pate.

I didn’t buy it, thinking it a somewhat frivolous purchase. That night, after I returned to the hotel, I regretted not buying it, so decided I’d go back the next day and get it. Heh. Not so easy — I’d forgotten where I saw it. It took me half the day to find it again. But find it I did, and I schlepped the little piggie set in my luggage for the rest of the trip.

I haven’t used the piggie for years (soirees where I would be inclined to serve sliced sausage with pickles and pate are rare indeed Chez WendyKnits) but every time I open the cupboard and see the piggie, I remember how incredibly beautiful a place Luxembourg was.

Here is a Google Image Search for Luxembourg. See what I mean?

Book Give-away

This week’s book is another Inspector Banks mystery by Peter Robinson: Strange Affair.

Would you like it? Send an email to blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet before noon Eastern time on Sunday April 15, and I’ll use the random number generator to pick a recipient. Anyone with a mailing address on Planet Earth is welcome to enter the drawing.

Lucy’s Box

Lucy’s box (pictured in yesterday’s blog post) contains this printer. Lucy is still waiting for me to open the box, but in the meantime, she consented to pose for an artsy picture.


One More Thing

Go read my Sister In Miters Cara’s post today — food for thought!

Miter Love

I’m still knitting along on the back of my miter sweater. But really really enjoying it.


What’s not to love when the longest row you knit is 25 stitches?

And what’s not to love when you get to change colors every 2.25 inches?

It doesn’t make for terribly exciting blogging, though.

But look at the cool little needles I’m using to knit this.


Yupperdoodles, straight needles. I have a whole set of these — Aero needles, 6 inches long. They are just perfect for knitting little squares!

I bought these eons ago at a knitting convention. While I don’t use them terribly often, they can be extremely handy at times.

Ann, This One’s For You


This sweet little porcelain piggie hangs right above my monitor in my office, so I see it every work-day. It’s about 2 inches long. I’ve had it for close to ten years, and I freely admit to stealing it from a former coworker.

I used to work for OSHA national office, and one year during the holidays the OSHA front office announced that they would be holding a holiday tree ornament contest for all the directorates in the OSHA national office. I worked in what was then the Directorate of Safety Standards and the job of creating the Safety Standards ornament was foisted upon me and another standards writer. We created a mobile that had symbols of all the industries and occupations that were covered by OSHA standards. Another coworker brought in the little pig to represent agriculture. After the holidays when the ornament was dismantled, I (cough, cough) ended up with the little piggie. Now that I think of it, I also have the little wooden ship meant to represent the maritime industries. Oops.

The ornament? It was huge and very, very tacky. A masterpiece of kitsch and crap and hot glue. And festive bows. We proudly carried it down to the Assistant Secretary’s office and hung it on the tree while everyone stood by, aghast. I think it was fully one-third the size of the tree. Even the Assistant Secretary came out of the Inner Sanctum to see it. He was speechless (a rarity for him.)

We won first prize — a very large tin of decidedly inferior cookies. The following year they instituted the door-decorating contest and I noticed I was not asked to participate.

Lucy Sez


“Momma bought me a box! I wish she’d hurry up and open it for me.”


“Yikes! She’s taking pictures of me! Quick — strike a seductive pose!”

Yet Another Blog Post Based on Questions From the Comments

We are feeling slightly less than stellar here at WendyKnits (nothing serious, though), so I am resorting to answering comments questions in lieu of actually coming up with something creative.

Susan asked:
So did the Morehouse Merino meet your expectations? I have some in my stash and have used it for small lace scarves but it seems a bit overspun – lots of twisting. Did it block as well as you expected (it looks perfect from the photos.)

It did meet my expectations! While it looks a bit overspun and twisty, it blocked out beautifully. When I unpinned it, it shrunk back only an inch or two.

I had a total of ten skeins of this wool, and I only used 4.5 of them for this lace piece. So I’ve got enough for another good-sized project.

Mary Anne asked:
Do you ever have to rip anything? I am working on a lace veil from Victorian Lace Today and I have ripped that sucker out so many times. Now I hate it. Am I the only one with this problem?

I very rarely have to rip anything, because I pay very close attention while I’m knitting. This is particularly true of lace knitting. Ripping lace can be a major headache, so I keep a close watch on it. If I’ve done something wonky, I always find it in the next row, and at that point it’s pretty easy to fix.

Lynn asked:
Okay, so how do you keep Ms. Lucy from clawing the lace? Do I remember correctly than she is declawed, at least in front? My beasties would find a way to make any knit object even more lacy than it was to begin with, given free rein and their druthers.

You are correct that Lucy was declawed when she came to live with me. She does have her hind claws, but she never seems to use them destructively. All her toys are in very good shape — she is very gentle with them.

Here she is with a new toy she got from her Auntie L-B for Easter — a baby chick that actually peeps when you press its tummy.


She is quite intrigued by it.

Peeve asked:
Oooh, I have a question I’ve been meaning to ask. I’ve knit lots of lace before, but I tend to head for fingering weight when knitting lace, because I find the tiny yarn with big needles thing difficult to deal with. Do you use big needles with small yarn or do you adjust the needle size down to suit?

The answer? It depends. 🙂 I usually follow the pattern recommendations. If I’m designing a lace piece, I’ll swatch to see how the pattern looks in various needle sizes and choose the one I like best. Generally speaking, I fin that I use a US 4 or 5 with laceweight yarns and a 5-7 for fingering weight yarns. With some variations, of course.

Deborah asked:
I have some blocking wires too. Can you describe *how* you run them through the edge stitches so as not to distort them too much? Which part of the stitch do you put the wire through?

The Alpine lace has a garter stitch edging. I ran the wires through the last stitch at each edge, running it through each stitch — sorta like you’d run a sewing needle through fabric if you are sewing a basting stitch. It’s a bit time-consuming, but it’s really worthwhile to try to thread it through each stitch to get a nice smooth edge.

Of course Lucy was helping by joyously batting at the other end of the blocking wire as I did this.

In the book (Victorian Lace Today) I noticed that the Alpine lace was blocked by pinning it out — the edging was pulled out into points. I did not like the look of that — I like the smooth edging much better for this piece.

On to mitered square questions now.


Mary asked:
Wendy, when you first showed us the mitered squares you explained that you’re alternating brown and green (with a dash of other colors) and that you’re not keeping the colors in any sort of order.

Now that the piece is larger, are you still eyeballing it or do you have a some sort of a master color plan? Also, will you have enough yarn for the whole sweater in all the colors? Do you anticipate running out of anything? And are the front and back going to match?

I am still eyeballing it. I have 16 different yarns. I put them all in a tote bag, and pull them out one by one to use. After I knit a square, I put that yarn in a second tote bag, and pull another yarn from the first tote bag to use. When I’ve emptied the first tote bag of all yarn, I then start over — put all the yarns in the “to be used” tote bag and once again randomly select yarns to knit. This way I don’t keep picking the same ball of yarn over and over. I am doing this it random, except that I’m alternating predominantly green and predominantly brown squares.

Will I have enough yarn for the entire sweater? I have 16 balls of yarn that average 350 – 450 yards each. (Some of the yarns, like the Claudia, come in smaller skeins that you need 2 for a pair of socks. In those cases, I wound 2 smaller skeins into one ball). If I multiply 350 by 16, I get 5600 yards of yarn — way more than necessary to complete this sweater. So I will not run out of yarn. And I won’t run out of any single color because I’m making sure to use each skein an equal number of times.

Are the front and back going to match? No. But I will make sure that at the side seams the colors will alternate. Same with the sleeves.

Punkin in Oregon asked:
Regarding the miters, it looks like you have waste yarn through the top of the last finished row – am I correct? I am studying it closely to learn the best way to connect the blocks. Will there be a lot of sewing when it is finished?

Looking at my photo, it does look like there is a waste yarn through the top of the squares, but no there isn’t.

I’m slipping the first stitch of each row on the squares to make a nice chained edge. And when I start a new square, I connect it to the next one by knitting up stitches in those edge chains.


I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to sew it together. It did occur to me that I could knit the thing as one huge piece and just sew up the side seams, but I don’t think I’m going to do that. I don’t relish having the entire sweater on my lap as I knit those last squares. So it will be knit in pieces. I’ve not yet decided how I will put it together. I’m toying with the idea of picking up stitches along the edges to be seamed and doing a three-needle bind-off and making a garter ridge as I bind off.

I’m knitting in the ends as I do each square — here’s a peek at the wrong side:


Meribeth asked:
I have a question since I have difficulty with “visualization” Would mitering look good with heathered yarn? A different color for each block?

I say yes. A lot depends on the yarn. It would be pretty quick to do a little swatch and see what you think.

I’ve got some lovely handpainted silk in stash (the same yarn I used for my kimono jacket, but in greens). I’m thinking about a short sleeve summer top made from mitered squares for that yarn.

Lucy Sez:


I rule by the power of my adorableness!