My current work in progress:

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


Bloggie Blahs

Blog-wise, I’m feeling particularly boring these days. It seems like I don’t have much of interest to say. Perhaps I have some sort of “Blog Malaise?”

Fortunately, a couple of you asked some interesting questions in yesterday’s blog.

Cheryl asked: “What do you do about cat hair on your yarn and sweaters? My cats love to sit on my knitting, chase and chew the yarn and generally make nuisances of themselves. I find sweaters with cat hair incorporated into the stitches and won’t come off.”

Cheryl, the same thing happens at my house. Izzy loves wool and will sit on my WIP whenever I leave the room. Fortunately, now that she’s a dignified old lady cat (will be 17 this summer!), she no longer chases or chews yarn. But I do find that I knit a little bit of Izzy into everything I make. This doesn’t bother me, and hopefully it doesn’t bother any of the people I knit for. If I were knitting for someone with cat allergies, it would be a problem. If I were you, I’d just consider the cat hair an extra special feature that makes your knitting unique.

Here is Izzy, asleep in the absolute center of my bed.


Dennis asked: “I do enjoy seeing your progress, and you’ve given me some incentive to learn how to knit with more than one color ! I’d like to do something simple first. Whats easier for a beginner to learn, Intarsia or Fairisle ? and is the somewhere that shows how to do them?”

Ah, sucking yet another victim into two-color knitting (insert evil laughter here)!

In my not-so-humble opinion, fair isle is much easier than intarsia. But then, that might because I have very rarely met an intarsia design that I liked.

If you want to get your feet wet in two-color knitting, you might want to start with a two-color Norwegian design. That way you can get accustomed to two-color knitting but not have a lot of different colors to deal with. Start small, like with a hat. Dale of Norway has lots of hat designs in their pattern books, and I know that Bea Ellis has a bunch of really great hat kits on her site. And I’m sure there are a bunch of other places you can get small two-color projects too.

If you want to dive right in to fairisle, check out Sweaters From Camp, which is available from Schoolhouse Press. Lot’s of great designs in there, and good instructions too.

Anyone else have any ideas?


Ooooh! So close . . .


No actually, I’m just messing with you. I finished Hank last night. You get the full photo tomorrow (gotta keep you coming back somehow, right?). I did take a photo last night but the light was bad. And I’ll do a photo shoot this weekend so you can see Hank on a human body.

Oh, okay . . . here’s the not-so-hot photo:



  1. Let me be the first to say congratulations โ€“ or GRATTIS โ€“ Wendy!
    I wish you and Hank a long and happy life together. You will make the most adorable couple.

  2. Hi Wendy,

    Congratulations on the completion of Hank! It’s beautiful. And thank you for your blog. I hope your blogging blues are short-lived.

    What about your secret project? I know you can’t talk about it, but can you give us any hints?

    For Dennis: I tried making a hat and matching mittens the first time I knitted with two colors. I followed a pattern in the book Homespun Handknits and since then have knitted several pairs of mittens from another book Fox and Geese and Partridge Feet (I can’t remember the exact title). Anyway, I agree that it’s best to start with 2 colors until you get the hang of it.

  3. henry is loverly! wendy, did you forget about your own fearless fair isle? or your baby norgi? please don’t be modest! baby norgi might be easier.

  4. Henry is beautiful. Look forward to seeing it on you.

  5. Well done Wendy – Henry is beautiful. BTW thank you so much for the toe-up sock pattern. Clear and easy instructions and NO GRAFTING!

  6. Blah Blog from Wendy? Never! I hang on your every word, first thing every morning!

    Hank8 is so beautiful even in low lighting that I can only imagine how incredible it will be once documented on the weekend… I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for sunny photography weather.

  7. Dot (Australia) says:

    Do you realise what an inspiration you are?!
    Another amazing sweater!! Thanks for sharing with us all.

  8. Beautiful Henry. Casting on for St Moritz tonight?

    I have a question – when you bind off your cuffs and neckbands on a design that has corrugated ribbing, do you bind off knitwise or in rib? All the corrugated rib on my Catriona sweater is bound off knitwise and makes a nice even edge. I finished the first sleeve of St Michaels the other night and it said bind off in pattern (3×2 rib), which I did, and I don’t like how it looks and am thinking of taking it out and binding off knitwise. What does Wendy do?? (There is our knitting motto: WDWD.)

  9. I have a tradition of hoisting an Irish Coffee (Jamieson’s Whiskey) when I finish a sweater or shawl. But,Fulmar is taking so long that I’m going to have a glass in honor of your Henry VIII tonight! Well done, Wendy!

  10. Well done! I bow down to you, O Goddess of Fair Isle.

  11. He look MAAAAAAAHHHVELOUS!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to see him on you! So many projects I want to do..I hope someday I can come close to your speed so I can get them all done!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh, and for VERY future reference, do you have any good suggestions for a first lacework project? I did a lacy looking scarf but I could barely classify it as actual “lace”. I love some of the shawls I’ve seen on your site. I’m not afraid of a challenge either. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks Wendy!

  12. Blogging Blahs…how could you not get ’em Wendy when you post consistently 5 days a week? There’s only a hand full of you who post everyday and I tip my hat to your ability to do that and keep us coming back!

    Hank looks like a museum piece. Beautiful.

  13. Loving that picture of Miss Izzy!
    About fair isle vs intarsia: I agree with Wendy that fair isle is much “easier’. Intarsia is a pain to do in the round, and lord knows anything is a pain to do back and forth! The only intarsia I have ever enjoyed is one by Kaffe Fasset called Little Squares. It’s easy enough and has bit of a rhythym to it, and can be really beautiful, especially in a long run variegated wool like Noro Kureyon. As far as a first Fair Isle project? I think a hat with one solid and one variegated, done in the round, is a great small project that will give you the feel of working with two colours, and stranding without a big committment. I also adapted a Starmore design into a pillow which turned out really great. Again, not a big commitment, done fairly quickly, and gave the feel of working with charts, lots of colours, and stranding without the shaping, steeking, and all that. BUT, you will soon be hooked, and eager to tackle the whole shebang! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. The speed and beauty of your knitting is superb!!! Congrats to finishing in record time and for sharing with us.

  15. Hank is a gorgeous man, Wendy. Simply glorious.

    You have the same opinion of cat hair that I do… every single thing I’ve ever made has at least 400 cat hairs in it. They used to bug the beejeezus out of me, but I learned to appreciate the … uh… uniqueness of a garment made with 10% cat.

    I checked out your Fearless Fairisle design… very nice! I’ve just designed a fairisle of my own, and thanks to you, I have the courage to try it out. Boring? Bah!

  16. Stephanie says:

    Wendy, I couldn’t be happier that you have finished Henry. The last time that you were trying to decide what to knit, I saw St. Moritz on your site, and was instantly smitten. Made for each other, St. Moritz and I. I’ve been gathering up all I need for it, and the last two balls of Heilo arrived yesterday. Now there is nothing left to do but boldly go where this knitter has not been before. Luckily, I get the help of watching you do it the day before! (Do you have any idea how devastated I’ll be if you knit something else?)


  17. Wendy, Henry VIII is beautiful! Teresa said it best, I think — museum piece!

    My work all has cat hair knitted into it, too. And I learned (the hard way) that my cats have not yet outgrown playing with yarn – they nailed my sock-swatching off the dining room table and pulled the ball apart (you could just tell they were doing that “rabbit-kick” thing with it). Didn’t pull out a single needle, though!

  18. First of all: the blog has been fine! I don’t think it’s suffering at all. It’s my first read of the day ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m particularly enjoying the Q&A each day.

    Now, about Hank…

    What superlatives can I use that haven’t been said before? Trรจs magnifique! Gorgeous! Che bello! Marvelous! Bildschรถn! Vakker! Skรถn!

    What a masterpiece! You are going to be stopped in the street every few minutes when you wear it. It’s utterly fantastic ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Traci Mondoro says:

    Wendy, the sweater is absolutely gorgeous. You might want to check out the jewelry they sell from the Colonial Willamsburg catalog. I saw a bangle in there that has pretty much the same motif as the one that runs on either side of the center of Hank. The gold one was on sale for a mere $600, but the silver one was more reasonably priced. A matching bracelet would make a lovely ensemble!

  20. I’ve just begun fair isle knitting and your blog has been both inspiration and education. Thanks so much for going to so much trouble – I think all the comments show it’s been really worthwhile. Your work is beautiful.

    I agree with you about Sweaters from Camp. I’m knitting Joyce Williams’ pullover and was thinking yesterday what a good first project it is. The background color mostly stays the same, but the patterns change often, and there are no long floats. The book is really helpful, and the yarn is inexpensive and readily available.

    Now I’m contemplating a Dale and some of the charts show three colors in a row. How do you handle that? What happens to the yarn on the back?

    Again, thank you!

  21. I haven’t done Fair Isle yet myself and am starting with intarsia because I need Argyle socks (pretty odd to NEED Argyle socks but that is another story). Anyway…. from what I’ve read the technique is different. From the way these Argyles are going I can say it’s easier to keep the tension straight with intarsia because there are large blocks of the same colour. (This has always been my problem with multicoloured knitting). So for that reason intersia MAY be easier for starting out. When I started multicolour knitting I made some of those sweaters with the little “snowflakes” like in Maine Woods Woolies. That is probably easier than Fair Isle or intarsia because there is less yarn to get tangled up.

  22. Wendy, I’ll add my superlatives to Henry. He is gorgeous! I’ll be watching your progress on St. Moritz and taking any comments to heart as I contemplate making it myself.

    CarolineF, could you email me at I have another question on your sock, but don’t want to clutter up Wendy’s comment board…. Thanks!


  23. Oh our wonderful Wendy…. You are so not boring! I just love your blogs and all of the wonderful things you knit!!! Congrats on the completion on Hank! Plus, being an insane catwoman, I love looking at the grand dame (17!!!)Izzy as she looks just like my buddy Sam (he and his sis Maggie are 4). And as for cat hair… I don’t really have any problems, except for Maggie chewing on an occasional bamboo needle and Sam batting a strand of yarn when he’s on my lap, I keep my knitting in a tote.

    So…. Being the insane catwoman, I am actually keeping the fur I brush everyday and will spin it into yarn! It’s my homage to my cats…

  24. Hank is gorgeous. Can’t wait to see you modeling him.

    I am waiting for new needles to arrive today or tomorrow. I then plan to start Baby Norgi by the weekend.

  25. Hank is incredibly beautiful, Wendy. I’m a week-old knitter, but ever since seeing Hank I’ve planned on knitting one for Himself, as it’s the perfect sweater for him, and I’ve been looking for that for years!

    Even with two cats, I don’t have trouble with cat hair in my knitting yet, but Himself and I both have very long hair, and I’ve found myself knitting our hair into the blanket I’ve been doing!

    I hope you get over you blog-blahs soon, as I am enjoying reading you immensely.


  26. Wendy,
    Thanks for the tip and the link to
    I do like the “Norsk Strikkedesign” and the Norwegian Headband designs, as well as the “Moose and Reindeer” hats.
    A big congratulations on the completion of the “Museum” piece, I think it beautiful too !

  27. Wendy,
    Your blog – blah – never! It was been such an incredible pleasure to read your Blog every day, see your progress on Henry, see your beautiful knitting work and view the final magnificent sweater – my nickname for Hank is “El Magnifico”!!

    In this time of war when even reading the newspaper or watching the news is too horrible to bear, it’s been wonderful to turn to your blog for reason, sanity and beauty. As others have said better than I can, you are truly an inspiration and a real community builder – look at all the knitters who now turn to your blog every day as a resource. Many many thanks from a very grateful admirer.

    And keep those photos of Izzy at 17 coming!

    I also like Fair Isle rather than Intarsia- I’m a beginner trying to work my way through one of the patterns in Sweaters from Camp – it’s a celtic knot raglin which I’m turning into a tunic. I love that book.

  28. oh.



    Just… wow. Looks like tapistry, to me (and I can hear you going “duh, that’s the point) and it is so very, very pretty. I hope someday to be able to CONCIVE of doing anything that beautiful.

    Cat hair: Try MY hair! i’ve got long red ones, and they end up in my knitting. Um… I think of it as DNA signing; if the hanna Barbara guy can have a pen that signs things with a strand of DNA, I can mark mine with a bit of hair.

    and for two color? I’m just starting off, too, but I agree; while I like the concept of inartisia, most of the patterns are really… um… tacky? is that too harsh?

  29. This sweater is absolutely GORGEOUS. I wish I had you to teach me to make a sweater like that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great job!

  30. I share the lack of concern about cat hair. In my case it’s dog hair. A few certainly won’t hurt. In any case, since I only knit for myself or for people I love I always deliberately knit in one or two of my own hairs to bring the recipient luck. Superstitious, no?

  31. Hank is absolutely stunning! wow! beautiful job as always Wendy!!
    Loved the tip about starting with two-color knitting … I think I’ll be heading there myself once I get through St. Brigid ๐Ÿ™‚ There is a Starmore fair isle in Fishermen’s knits that is black and white that looks like it’s calling to me ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh and you’re blog is not boring lady! it’s anything but!!! answering questions is awesome when you don’t have much else to say!

  32. Wendy–
    It’s so beautiful! Thanks for sharing Hank with us–I’m trying to work up the courage to learn color stranding, and nothing is more powerful inspiration than seeing your artwork!
    Thank you also for the terrific toe-up sock pattern (I made the mistake of explaining it to my husband, and now he teases me and calls them my “ball-up” socks . . . he’d better watch out or he won’t get any!). I absolutely love it.
    Take care–

  33. Wendy, the Blognoscenti declares you interesting and inspiring. So there. Congratulations on your fait henri!

  34. Grr!!! another project completed & I’m still not finished my ganseys. Hope you get a little wearing weather before next winter. I, too, incorporate pet (dog & cat) hair into my knitting. It’s their way of saying I love being next you, now give me some serious attention. grin