My current work in progress:

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


Good Question!

A reader asks:

“This may sound like a dumb question but do fair isle sweaters like Hank 8 only consist of various permutations of only 2 colors/row or do some rows have 3, 4, etc colors in them? I’ve only just started knitting again and I’ve never done anything where I’ve done more than 1 color per row. I think Hank 8 is beautiful, but looks far too complicated for my fingers, but I wanted to ask that question, because I can’t really tell from the pictures. I think some of the colorways are “tweedy” or multi-colored and that might be throwing my eye off.”

Not a dumb question at all, actually a very good one.

Hank is only 2 colors per round. There’s a total of 12 colors and some are heathered and/or tweedy. There’s something about fair isle that deceives you into thinking the patterning is more difficult than it is. Traditional fair isle never has more than 2 colors per round, though I know there are some “fair isle” patterns out there that have 3 or more — like in a recent Jamiesons book. You will never find an Alice Starmore fair isle design with more than 2 colors per round. Correct me if I’m wrong.

And of the fair isles I’ve knitted, this one is not among the more difficult, in my opinion. It consists of a number of vertical charts, each one symmetrical in nature, so they are easy to keep track of — at least I think so! I know at least one of my knitbuds who sez that those vertical scrolly charts make her go wiggy!

What do you all think?

Shelter in Place Emergency Kit

To those of you who wondered, rest assured that there is sock yarn in my “SIP Emergency Kit.”

Yesterday at work we got email with information about SIP. In the unlikely event this comes to pass, we will all be given a kit of emergency supplies in our shelter location, but everyone was advised to make up their own small kit as well — containing any medications they need, phone lists, etc. So I’m ahead of the curve here.

And oh yeah — I’ve also got a paperback book in mine.

Could They Be Any More Identical?


Well, yeah, they could. But they are pretty darn close!

Izzy’s worn out from a tough week of lying around the house.


Me too. But not from lying around the house. I knitted exactly two rounds on Henry last night. Sigh.

Have a good weekend everyone!


  1. Wendy, I SO feel for you. And especially because us govt. workers always get crap about being slackers..yeah..I’d like those people to spend a day in my office. And how AWESOME that your socks are so identical!! Have a good weekend and try to relax..I know though..easier said than done. 🙂

  2. Well the government is just like any other large organization — you’ve got people who work, and people who don’t. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to be one of the people who don’t . . . and get away with it!

  3. Wendy, I think the only thing I might add about Henry is that I needed to make sure I thought things through a little more in advance — only because I’d not worked a fair-isle in panels before. I was concerned that I might not be able to keep track, so copied all the charts (as many times as I needed), and pasted them on cardboard. I have four cards, each one with two charts (The motifs plus the one with the boxes that goes between each of them). Then I used a highlighter to highlight every five rows, to help me follow along.

    But if someone can knit with two colours in a row, they can knit Henry. I think the number of colours and the interplay of the tones and colours makes this look more complicated to knit than it is. And it’s actually fairly easy to see if you make a mistake, because each of the motifs individually is fairly easy to follow. I’m actually working faster now, because I’m finding that I only have to glance at the chart and then knit, which surprises me in working panels.

    BTW, I’ve got the steeks set, and probably will finish the body next week (fingers crossed). I have to say I’m pleased with this like nothing else I’ve ever knit. And only yesterday, my husband suggested that it’s been a while since I made him something, a new sweater would be nice, so I’m extra-motivated to finish Henry for him!

  4. Hi Katherine — thanks for the comments. Steeks set, huh? Great! I will hopefully get to my steeks this wekeend as I’m only 8 rounds away at this point.

  5. I’ve been reading your site for a few weeks. You have some wonderful work. I’ve just ordered my first Starmore books; I can’t wait for them to arrive!

    I hear you on the whole SIP thing–my husband was in the World Trade Center. It’s all very unsettling. His company has had bomb-sniffing dogs roaming the halls since then (I have to say they are very cute–though it’s very unsettling to see one suddenly take off at full sprint).

    Have a great weekend.

  6. As far as I know, any AS fair isle design that seems to have more than 2 colors in a row, in fact doesn’t and there has been a misprint. So if you ever think you’ve found one, look around online for pattern error postings!

  7. Wendy, Is the Metro packed with the World Figure Skating Championships going on there? Have a restful weekend!

  8. It’s packed with tourists — probably because of the ongoing Cherry Blossom Festival.

    What I wanna know is where are these people from where they don’t know how to use an escalator or get on and off trains? It ain’t rocket science.

    Grrrrrrrrr . . .

  9. I love Hank… I think he is simply the most beautiful piece of knitting I have ever seen. I will have to poke through the archives here to find out what book you’re using, so maybe I can get myself one. You have given me faith to try Fair Isle again. The last one I attempted had 5 colours per row in most places, and the sweater is now a part of my scray yarn afghan.

    Can’t wait to see the old boy finished!

  10. Apologies Wendy… I just noticed that you have the title of the book on the side of your page. Geez… shouldn’t try to comment before 9am!

    BTW, I meant “scrap”, not “scray.” “…zzz…zzz”

  11. Wendy,
    We’ve developed SIP plans at work too. It’s rough to think about it but, better to prepare. Your blog continues to be a source of comfort and support in these difficult times. Thank you so much.

    BTW, I’m not getting your list of links on the left side of your blog. Maybe it’s the server here at work…

    It’s thrilling to see Hank come to life. Have a great and restful weekend.

  12. Wendy,

    I agree with the tourists not knowing proper Metro etiquette. I didn’t understand when a friend of mine would yell at people for standing on the left side of the escalator until I moved to DC.

    I still need to get my “shelter in place” in the office. I might just leave it in my husband’s office, since that’s where they’re putting all the good stuff(bottled water, flashlights, food!).

    I think with the government workers, the higher up in the building you are, the less work you get. I’m on the 4th floor and am just trying to get myself out of a huge massive pile of work. My husband is on the 7th, and he’s bored out of his mind.

    Love Hank. I might try some Fair Isle knitting somewhere down the road. Just got to get a few other projects out of the way first.


  13. Hi Wendy,

    I have a question about Fulmar (BTW, Hank is GORGEOUS!). When you made Fulmar you knitted the straps onto the front and back instead of knitting the straps one at a time on the sleeve.

    I’m up to the strap part of St. Enda and I’d like to try your method of knitting the straps right on to the front and back. Please let me know if I’ve got the right idea about this:

    When I get to the edge stitch of the strap (a purl stitch on RS/k on WS) do I simply purl/knit it together with the corresponding bound-off shoulder stitch?

    Thanks for your help, Wendy 🙂

  14. My theory about the people on the escalators: they have probably just got off the plane from Stockholm – where they have been standing all over the place, too!
    Cherry Blossom Festival sounds lovely BTW (just figured out what it stands for & had to use it).

    A comment on yesterday´s comments on ribbing; I don´t find it any harder than doing stocking stitches – ouch don´t hit me!
    Maybe we knit in a different manner here, which makes it easier to do ribbing? Do you guys knit the same way as they do in England? Just curious.

  15. Oh, clueless tourists at the Metro . . . had almost forgotten them. Sigh . . . I’m starting to notice a few of them – yesterday there were a few people just standing there at Metro Center trying to figure out which escalator to the red line to take. And there were some people running full speed ahead and I almost got knocked down – what’s the rush? The next train will be there in a few minutes.

  16. Wendy – you’re lucky that your agency is giving you emergency supplies (if it actually happens). We are on our own! I’m so with you on the tourist issue. I’m secretly glad that the cherry blossoms won’t bloom for the festival this year — maybe there will be fewer people?

    Odie’s socks are great – I’m sure she’ll love them.

    Have a nice weekend!

  17. Hello Wendy,

    I was studying your Norwegann Technique Steeks I and I noticed your steeks for the Rosenthal. How many steeks did you use 4 o 6. I know the pattern always say 4 but yours seem like 6, which is what I would feel more comfortable doing.

    Your Henry is looking beautiful as always.
    Have a nice weekend.

  18. Wendy, on Fulmar, you said you were right on gauge, but was the finished width on target? My pattern stitch gauge is spot on, but the overall width is a bit larger. I like my sweaters loose, so it’s not a problem in the body, but I’m thinking I might have to adjust something when I get to the sleeves. Thanks! L-B

  19. Oh, the Sydney Olympics & the tourists. Glad to see it was just poor form & not something we exclusively do here. Our biggest problem are the giggly Korean girls. They seem to fill the footpath & walk soooo slowly. Most infuriating when the bus is drawing up to the stop & you miss it & have to wait the 1/2 hr for the next one. Why isn’t there a terrorist when you need one??