My current work in progress:

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


Surprise du Jour!

Not a visitation from the Gift Fairy, who is undoubtedly exhausted from all the recent activity on my behalf, but a blast from my past!

A friend from long ago, Alice, was searching online for a toe-up sock pattern and found the one on my website. After wading through my site a bit, she realized I was the same girl she knew from a summer job we shared when we were in high school and the summer before college. All those many years ago.

I was . . . wait for it . . . gobsmacked when she posted a message on my tag-board. A few messages, one email, and a phone conversation later, we were back in contact.

So welcome to my online world of knitting insanity, Alice. It’s great to have you back!

You Gots de Questions? I Gots de Answers!

Caroline F. asked what size needles and gauge the Sanquhar Duke glove pattern calls for. It’s fingering or sock wool and suggested needle is 2.25mm. This is for a medium sized hand. The pattern advises you to go up or down in needle size to adjust for gloves for larger or smaller hands.

Theresa asked what the text on the Virgin sweater is. Here’s the photo:


Kinda hard to read while it’s all smooshed up on the needle, eh? “Smooshed up” is a technical term, by the way.

It’s: “fem kloke og fem daarlige jomfruer”

Translated: “five wise and foolish virgins”

And, just to show you how dorky the foolish virgins look, a close-up of one of their dorky faces:


Tell me this chick doesn’t need a nose-job.

(Yikes! When I first wrote that I typed “blow-job” instead of “nose-job.”)

And here is a photo of what the sweater would like like if I was knitting it as a cardi, rather than bastardizing it into a tunic. Link is to Bea Ellis Knitwear, where you can purchase kits for the Norsk Strikkedesign book, and the book itself. You can buy them elsewhere, but I highly recommend Bea. I’ve had nothing but excellent service from her shop over the years.

A Question for You Guys

One of my coworkers is expressing interest in learning how to knit. And I didn’t even have to nag her! Do you guys have a specific sweater pattern you’d like to suggest for a first project after she learns the basics? Something very simple that can be made in a totally yummy yarn. Let me know what you think!

Y’all have a good weekend! See ya Monday!



  1. Oh no! I commented on the wrong date… So… Those of you who like Dale, have a look there… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. And now for something completely… the same… It’s so time for weekend! I meant the comments for the previous entry….


  3. Hey Wendy,
    When I teach knitting classes for beginners who are ready for sometthing other than a scarf or hat, I start them with a top down raglan. They learn a lot about circular knitting, increasng, decreasing, two colour knitting (i have them out a fair isle band around the bottom and the cuffs) and there is minimal finishing for theri first attempt at a sweater. Plus, done on a worsted weight yarn it moves along really quickly, and if the gauge is correct they almost always fit right. It has worked well for me… and top down sweaters look great in yummy handdyed wools!

  4. For a first sweater… maybe the Wonderful Wallaby? I like the “conversational style” of her directions.

  5. Thanks Kateri and Caroline — both excellent suggestions!

  6. The sweaters in the “Yarn Girls Guide to Simple Knits” are all good beginner patterns, I think. They’re a fairly large gauge and pretty basic, but with some good beginner increasing and decreasing. Though the top-down raglan is a good idea too, and might be a little more flattering. (The one sweater I made from the Yarn Girls book was really fun to knit, but didn’t end up being that flattering, since it was so bulky — I did pick one of the bulkiest ones though.)

  7. Julie, thanks for the book recommendation — I’ll check it out.

  8. Blow-job instead of nose job? What was that designation you owned earlier in the week? Fiber Hussy? Keep posting lines like that and you may have to change the name of your blog!

    Love the Virgins. I ordered the Norsk Strikkedesign book this week as one of my choices when joining Crafter’s Choice. I’ve been avoiding joining but when I saw that had this book and The Folkwear Book of Ethnic Clothing for $1 I couldn’t resist.

    Have a great week-end!

  9. Yep, I’ll admit it. I’m a fiber hussy! I can’t wait to hear what you think of Norsk Strikkedesign. You have a good weekend too!

  10. Another idea for simple beginner projects is Vogue Knitting’s Very Easy Very Vogue patterns. Every issue has a few of them, and I think Vogue put out a book of just VEVV patterns. I also just got VK’s “Quick Knits” book from Crafter’s Choice (like Teresa, I couldn’t resist when they offered me things like Knitter’s Stash for almost nothing!), and I’m sure there are some pretty easy things in it, all in large gauges.

    Have a nice weekend!


  11. Hi, Wendy. I looked at the picture of the Foolish Virgins cardigan. I didn’t see any text in that sweater. Are you adding that yourself? It looks like it’s going to be such a fun sweater when finished. Debbi

  12. Now you’ve got my hubby Rudy following your progress on the Foolish Virgins every day. He’s very impressed : )

  13. I learned to knit in classes at my LYS about 3.5 years ago. They started us on simple mittens (just a tube with a thumb, basically) and then I moved onto socks because that was the next class that fit my schedule. I’m glad I learned that way because now double points are really easy for me. I also think knitting in the round is a good way to start. When I did do a sweater, I did some of the patterns from the store (Lambspun of Colorado, which I think has a web presence) which were simple and which used the handspun yarn from the store, as well as a Cottage Creation Babies & Bears for my nephew. It was a good progression! I like having those mittens so quick when I started, even though I don’t really wear mittens. After those, I’ve picked up more advanced skills from books & from places like this on the internet. I just finished a gansey that I designed myself and I’m SOOOO proud when I wear it!

  14. Debbi, the text is on the back of the sweater only in the cardi. Because I’m making the tunic and using the back pattern for both the back and front, I’m putting the text on bot hthe back and front.

  15. Wow! Cool “virgins” Wendy!! I like the “Knitting Pure and Simple” patterns. They have several easy top-down raglans. Leisure arts has a couple of multi-sized booklets of the same variety that are easy and nearly fool-proof.

  16. The first sweater I ever made (after several not-so-memorable lessons at a local high school) was a seamless Lopi sweater knit on circular needles – before I ever knew anything about Elizabeth Zimmermann’s EPS. I honestly think if I had tried something with side seams, it would still be sitting in pieces in a trunk somewhere. I still have my “giant” blue plastic 6 mm dpn’s from those days.

    The Virgins sweater is beautiful, I simply could not read or use the charts from that book, so I sent it back.

  17. Hi! Thanks for posting the link to the pattern – it’s just beautiful!

  18. J-Rose in NH says:

    Thanks Wendy and Caroline F — both Comments on January 10!

    Caroline F: I think so too. The gauge on Tata&Tatao Web site is so high.
    However, because of its high gauge, the gloves are more charming.
    I’ll try to knit it if I ever get ambitious, too!

    Thank you.

  19. In case anyone else is book shopping, I just found a bunch of the books mentioned here on the discount book site. KnitLit, VK’s Easy Knits, and Yarn Girls’ Simple Knits were all there, cheap. Sorry, no Norsk.


  20. anyone who checks the site that Andrea mentioned needs to make sure they type it as: edward *r* hamilton… I left that out the first time & checked here for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wendy: the virgin sweater is coming out wonderful! You’ll have a fun story to tell about it…

  21. Oh,Boy! The serene virgins will be arriving next week! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your “faux pas” had me literally LOL ,but I can’t tell you what I thought for fear of damaging my demure reputation!

  22. I laughed so hard when I read your comments on the “five foolish virgins”!! My husband is certain that there are no other knitters out there with my humor, OR that there are no knitters out there who swear! Is he right?? I doubt it! He needs to visit your site…..


  23. Kieran, thanks for visiting! I think most of us knitbloggers have a sense of humor. ๐Ÿ™‚