My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


And Now For Something Completely Different

I Am Gobsmacked. For a Change.

And you can probably guess why. The Gift Fairy paid me another visit!

This time, it was a gift from Caroline F., another faithful visitor to my blog, and knitter of wonderful arans and fair isles.

The book KnitLit!


This book is a little gem. Filled with essays of varying length about knitting and life, its a great read. I took it to Dreamweaver class with me yesterday and read some of it during breaks and lunch. And enjoyed it thoroughly.

Caroline . . . thank you!

Traditional Scottish Knitting — mini-review

For Sabine, who asked so nicely, a mini-review of the little book Lindsey-Brooke gave me yesterday. It’s Traditional Scottish Knitting by Rowan Reid and is subtitled “Sanquhar Pattern Gloves History and Knitting Pattern.” It was published by The Galloway Tryst in Scotland in 1998.

And it’s just what the subtitle says. It’s 20 pages long, the first 11 being a brief history of the Scottish Sanquhar pattern, complete with wonderful old photos. The rest of the book is taken up by the pattern for “The Duke Pattern” — traditional two-color gloves. Upon reading through the pattern, it looks very detailed and easy to follow.

Virgin Sweater

Here, as promised, the update photo:

Virgin Sweater

In this photo, I’m at the point where I’m knitting the text. The pattern gives you the alternative to knit it in Norwegian or English. I’m knitting mine in Norwegian. It comes out pretty clear — Theresa ought to be able to read it (smile).

Sock Update

Here is proof that I’ve got good knitting karma these days: my Opal socks match!

Opal Socks


  1. If that isn’t Karma, I don’t know what is…… I have never even attempted to get my socks to match. And the sweater is beautiful.

  2. I always attempt it, but they never seem to match perfectly. These socks do! Yippee!

  3. Caroline F says:

    I’m curious what size needles the Sanquhar glove pattern calls for – I found a pattern online that was made up by examining an existing glove in a museum, and calls for 1.5mm and lace weight yarn – eeks! I may try to modify it if I ever get ambitious!

  4. I’ll check the needle size tonight and let you know. I think the Dales gloves I knitted (which resemble this pattern) were on a size 0.

  5. Knitlit is a great book! Be sure to look for the page where the author is looking for submissions for the “sequel”. It would be a real kick to see Wendy Johnson in the index!!!! Virgins are looking much happier with their heads—are we to determine which are the wise and which are the foolish? ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I am thinking about submitting something for KnitLit 2 ๐Ÿ™‚

    The ones on the bottom of the sweater are the Foolish Virgins — they all have dorky expressions on their faces and the hems of their skirts are ragged. The wise virgins look much more serene and their dresses are neater.

  7. Caroline F says:

    LOL! So, in order to convey the impression that we are wise, we need to wear serene non-dorky expressions on our faces and keep our hems tidy? Sounds easy to me! ROTFL!

  8. Okay,Wendy,when you finish the sweater, you’ll have to take 2 pics—one with a serene look on your face and another one looking dorky! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. The dorky photo won’t be a problem — the serene one will take some doing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. You musn’t speak that way about our knitting goddess! Have some respect!

  11. I love the matching socks. I finished KnitLit a few weeks ago, read a few every day. I wanted to enjoy it and spread it out otherwise I probably would have read it in one sitting. I can’t wait for KnitLit2 to come out. The Virgin Sweater is coming out beautiful.

  12. Thanks Suzanne. I’m trying to save KnitLit and read it a little at a time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    L-B, sorry, but sometimes I can’t help myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Geane Helfrich says:

    Wendy, your sweater is looking terrific! The pattern is striking and it looks so fun to knit! As to their continued virgin status; I recommend the Wonder Bra, judicious tweezing and smiles all around. ๐Ÿ™‚ (these are the yolks,folks)
    Glad your new socks are matching up so well, revel in the little miracles of life! We seem to have lost a tiger sock at our house…

  14. You must have good knitting karma: matching socks and all your awesome birthday knit-gifties! I’m glad that you’re reaping the rewards of putting together such an enjoyable and informative website.

  15. Those are some gosh darn lovely virgins, by the way!

  16. The socks AND the sweater are just gorgeous!!!!! Do you have a link to the “finished” design of the sweater? (i.e., the pattern you’re using?)

  17. Caroline: I’d love to see the link for the sanquhar pattern that you found…I’ve been planning to make a sanquar check vest from a pattern that I got from Blackberry Ridge & today was going through my old Knitters & found an article (I’ll have to get the issue # another time if anyone’s interested, but it was an early Knitters, 26 or 35 or somthing) by Lily Chin about different textile patterns & it had a mention of the Sanquar pattern & showed 2 versions of it in slip stitch…

  18. How do you do, Wendy! I’m a Japanese Knitter and Crocheter.
    (Sorry I’m not good at English.)
    I’ve read your blog for about a month.
    (Ms.Orochi, my friend taught me here, she is also a Japanese Knitter too)
    Izzy is so cute! I can’t believe she is an old lady of 16-17.

    I’m interested in both the Sanquhar Pattern Gloves and the Dales gloves.
    The Dales gloves which you knitted, I think the same kit(you bought from Schoolhouse Press) had been put on the market in Japan.

    In 1992, NIHON VOGUE-SHA sold them as “MARY ALLEN’S GLOVES”, and the kit is made up by Sue Leighton-White.
    Unfortunately,I was too young to buy at that time.

    Jessica:I think The Web site(you’d love to see the link) is as follows:

    “Sanquhar Pattern Gloves History and Knitting Pattern”, My friend also has it.
    Her Web site is as follows:

    She has seen the tata-tatao’s Web site, and Knitted two pair of the Sanquhar Pattern gloves.
    (you can see there on her Web site, but Japanese only)

    She also loves the Sanquhar Pattern Gloves, The Dales gloves which you knitted, Izzy, and your Web site.
    She is so enthusiastic that all of her blog readers know both The Dales gloves which you knitted and your Web site.

    I am looking forward to your blog from now on.
    Thank you.

  19. Hi J-Rose! Thanks for all the information about the gloves. And thanks for visiting my blog!

  20. Hi Wendy!

    Love your blog! And of course the presence of Izzy makes it even more charming to me. I have two cats myself, who love “helping” me with my knitting. I’m impressed that you can read the pattern in Norwegian! I’m quite fed up with all those traditional patterns. I used to knit a lot of them when I was younger. My mother used to knit “kofter” for people many years ago. Know what that is? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    To all you Dale fans out there. I might be able to get you Dale yarn cheaper by sending it from here. Just let me know if I can help. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Hi Marit! I’m glad you enjoy my blog and Izzy! To clarify, the pattern I’m working from is written in English. I was talking about a phrase that’s knitted into the sweater that is in Norwegian.

    Thanks for your offer of helping to procure Dale yarns! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Caroline F says:

    Yes it was on that tata-tatao site, this is the page I was looking at. But the gauge on the patter in Wendy’s booklet sounds more my speed I think so I may have to get one from Lucy Neatby.

  23. Hiya

    I hit your site from a Google search on “traditional scottish knitting” – no quotes in search and you’ll be pleased to know you were second from the top – because I know nothing about knitting but am trying to write a children’s story in which I want to feature the names of three traditional types of jumpers. Provisionally I’m using “Big Aran Jumpers”, “Big Fair Isle Jumpers” and “Big Shetland Wool Jumpers” but I wondered if there were any others, especially ones which are in danger of dying out because the traditional skills are being lost.

    I’ve now seen from the top of this page that “Arans” and “Fair Isles” seem to be the correct terms even among the cogniscenti like yourself so your pages have been helpful already.

    If you have a spare minute for a non-knitter are there any others I really ought to know about.

    Best regards