My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for May 2003

See Wendy. See Wendy Rationalize.

See Wendy rationalize buying more yarn. Rationalize, Wendy, rationalize.

This week I got official word that I was selected for a job I applied for that amounts to a big promotion for me. Effective Monday. (It’s in my same agency, working with the same people, so no serious upheaval here.)

What’s the first thing you do when you get news like that? Why, buy yarn to celebrate, of course.

Would you believe that I don’t own a copy of Poetry in Stitches? Well, I do now. Or will soon, along with the kit to make this:

Poetry Sweater

I’ve been lusting after this sweater, ever since seeing the one that Catherine S. made. If you are a member of Norgeknit, you’ve seen it too, in the group’s Photos area.

Wanna do a Knit-along?

Would any of you people who are supervised by cats like to do an Aran Catnip Mouse Knit-along? Auntie Lolly came up with this idea when she was here for MDS&W. We were discussing my adopting Lucy and she said “Oh Wendy, you have to do a catnip mouse knit-along!”

I think it’s a great idea! Anyone wanna play?

Ebony Needle Update

I called the Needlepoint Joint yesterday and ordered the last 3.25mm 32″ ebony circular needle they had in stock. Thanks to Jo from Boston for tipping me off! I may at some point be able to do something to ressurect my chipped needle and that would be nice too. Always good to have a spare!

Lucy Update

Lucy was a big help to me last night — I was baking desserts for a birthday party this weekend. Here’s her contribution:


Very little knitting last night, due to baking (see above).


Have a great weekend, everyone. Contest winner will be announced Monday!

Big Thank Yous!

In no particular order:

A huge thank you to Marit, who created my wonderful new blog button and banner, featuring the lovely Miss Lucy.

And an equally huge thank you to Catherine S., who made a donation to the Montgomery County Humane Society in Izzy’s name. I got a card from the Humane Society yesterday letting me know. I love that you have honored her memory in such a wonderful way.

Some Sock Talk

Cheryl had some toe-up sock questions in yesterday’s comments.

First, when you undo the provisional cast-on, don’t you end up with one less stitch? Or do you automatically make an extra stitch while picking up?

Yes you do end up with one less stitch. and yes, I always automatically make an extra stitch whe picking up.

Second, some people recommend using a reinforcing thread (I know some sock yarns come with this), especially for toes and heels. Do you do this, and if you do, does it make a difference with wear?

I don’t use reinforcing thread. I think the sock yarns I use all wear pretty well, because they are all approximately 20% nylon. But I give all my socks away, so I can’t give you a personal report on their wearability. Anyone care to comment on this?

Last, do you swatch when using a new sock yarn or do you go by the recommended gauge? Some toe-up patterns claim that gauge doesn’t matter because you can adjust as you knit.

I am the Queen of No Swatching. I do have a pretty good idea what my gauge will be so can easily estimate the number of stitches for a sock. If I’m unsure of the width of a recipient’s foot, I’ll do the sock in a few more stitches and do a rib pattern — that way if I’ve over-compensated, the rib will pull it in for a snug fit.

Ebony Needle Tragedy

The other night I was ready to switch to my larger needle while knitting Roscalie. Imagine my horror when I whipped out my 80cm 3.25mm (US 3) ebony needle and discovered that there is a chip out of the tip of the needle. I have absolutely no idea how this could have happened. I last used the needle for the body of Hank 8 and put it away carefully as soon as I was done with it. I tried to use it, but the chip bothered me too much, so I sadly put it away and am using a Crystal Palace bamboo instead.

What makes matters worse is that no one seems to make the ebony or rosewood needles in size 3.25mm anymore. The sizes jump from 3.0 to 3.5 mm.

I suppose I could grind down the tip of the needle and make a new point . . . assuming I had the ability to do that. I don’t think sanding it with an emery board is going to get it done in my lifetime.



Lucy’s being a big help with Roscalie.


Her fur does look lovely knitted into the pattern.

A close-up:


Speaking of Lucy, does she look like she’s settling in?


Mmmmmm . . . Steeky Goodness!

Ah, just getting into the pattern on Roscalie.


For the cardi, you knit a facing in a solid color in stockinette stitch, do a purl row for the turning, then commence the fair isle pattern.

And because this is a cardi, there’s a steek running down the front of it. And you know what that means, don’t you? You start and end the different colors in the center of the front steek. Yahoo! No tying off the ends, no weaving in the ends. Just let them bad boys hang, cuz they’ll be cut off when I cut open the front steek.

Life can be so good sometimes.

Contest Update

I’ve gotten lots of really cute entries for the “vanity plate” contest. Keep ’em coming!

Superwash Wool

A couple of questions in my comments about superwash wool, specifically Heilo (which isn’t) and Falk (which is). As a rule, I don’t like superwash wool. Most of the ones I have experienced have a slightly harsh feel to them, due undoubtedly to the chemical processing they undergo to make them able to withstand machine washing and drying.

But superwash baby wools I’ve knitted with seem to be the exception — like Dale Baby Ull. That’s a fingering weight superwash merino and it’s as nice and soft as can be.

Lucy Update


Lucy did a little happy dance when I came home from work yesterday. And she sat next to me while I knitted last night and feigned indifference.


Lucy’s Story


Some more about my new kitty friend.

(Sorry guys — not a whole heckuva lot of knit content today, but if you’ll bear with me, there’s a knitting bit at the end!)

I found Lucy online, at a local rescue shelter, through

Her original name, by the way, was Grace. I renamed her because I had a Great Aunt Grace who Would Not Have Liked Having a Cat Named After Her. Why Lucy? She’s slightly cross-eyed. Get it? Her full name is Lucy Liu. Besides, it suits her.

This poor little kitty found herself in a shelter because her previous owners had her declawed and let her outside. She was attacked by a dog and was badly bitten because she couldn’t defend herself. Her owners didn’t want to pay her vet bills after the attack, so gave her up.

(Note: I’d like to find these people and put them in a cage of hungry tigers so they could see how it feels to be defenseless against a larger animal with teeth and claws.)

I emailed Lucy’s foster mom about her, and we made arrangements for me to meet her at an adoption event at a local pet store the weekend before last. Of course I fell in love with her as soon as I laid eyes on her. The adoption was finalized Sunday night when a volunteer brought her to my home for a combination home visit/delivery.

The organization I got Lucy from is Capital Animal Care, in Arlington, Virginia. Their list of pets available for adoption is here. If you are in the Washington DC area and thinking about adopting a pet, I encourage you to check out their listings. They have beautiful cats and dogs, and some smaller furry animals too. And you couldn’t deal with a nicer group of people. Lucy’s foster mom, Barbara, was wonderful throughout the process, and her love for, commitment to, and bond with the animals is obvious.

When the volunteer brought Lucy to me, she came out of the cat carrier readily enough, did a perimeter check of the room, and climbed in a bookcase. But fifteen minutes after he left, she was in my lap, being brushed, and purring in ecstacy.

She has gotten over a lot of her timidity, though she still looks concerned if she hears a noise outside my condo. I’m pleased to report that she ate some food last night and while I was getting ready for work this morning, I saw her stroll into the kitchen and eat some more. She spent most of the night curled up at the foot of my bed. I think she’s decided she likes this place.

She has a shaved spot on her side — she went back to the vet to have her bite wound checked recently and was shaved then. I can see how badly she was bitten, the poor little thing! She is still taking some antibiotics (and she even lets me give them to her!) but the wound has healed well and should cause no further problems.

You can see that her fur is uneven where she was shaved in this photo.


Sorry the photos aren’t the best — she’s been on the move, checking out her new home!


Knitting Content Here

See? Toldja there’d be some!

I did a wee bit on the bottom facing of the Roscalie Cardigan. Lucy seems quite taken with the Hebridean 2-ply wool, rubbing her face against it happily. So said WIP is being carefully put away in a zip-top knitting bag when I’m not around. Don’t want Lucy knitting on it without me! But she doesn’t seem overly concerned with me knitting — doesn’t seem inclined to chase the yarn.


Hopefully I’ll get into the pattern by the next blog entry, but I wouldn’t count on it. Not when I have such a cute little fur-face to play with!

May Contest

Happy Monday all. May I present . . .

. . . drum roll . . .

The May Contest


Here’s what you gotta do. Using 8 characters or less, email me (see the contact me link in the sidebar) your choice for a personalized license plate. Said personalization must have to do with knitting. One entry per person, please, and I’ll draw a name after 5pm on Friday, May 16.

The Prize

The prize for this contest was generously donated by a reader who asked to remain anonymous. (But I can tell you that it is no one connected with Knitty, in case you were wondering if this was an advertising ploy. It ain’t.)


An adorable Knitty license plate frame and bumper sticker. See how the contest and the prize go together so well? Aren’t I clever?

Lunch with a Knitter

On Friday I had the good fortune to meet in person Pamela McGarvey, a knitter I previously knew only through online contact. Pamela emailed me and very kindly offered to take me out to lunch. We met on Friday and had a lovely lunch, lots of knitting talk, and I got to see her great MDS&W photos. Thanks, Pamela!

Photographic Memory . . . huh? I Forgot the Question

I mentioned last week that I easily memorize charts for arans. In my comments Friday, a question on exactly how it is I do that.

For the most part, aran designs are symmetrical around a center design, one side sometimes mirror image of the other. After I do the set-up row, I scrutinize the chart. It’s easy for me to memorize what the cable twists are and on what row they occur. Generally each pattern on an aran is divisible by the same number. For example, you might have a motif that has an 8 row repeat, one with a 12 row repeat, and one with a 24 row repeat. If the 8 row repeat has a cable twist on row 7, I put in my head that on row 7, 15, and 23 I have to do a cable twist on that 8 row motif. So I define all the motifs according to the one with the most rows. Make sense?

After one pattern repeat, I have each motif memorized (and it usually doesn’t take as long as a full repeat to do that). I just have a really good memory. I can still remember every word of the Christmas pageant my second grade class put on (and that was a million years ago).

A few years ago I won a bet with my brother — he refused to believe that I could recite all the lyrics in the Who’s rock opera Tommy. So I did.

What can I tell you? It was New Year’s Eve and we were drunk.

Oh . . . I almost forgot

I finished St. Mortiz yesterday, didn’t I?


Happy Mother’s Day To Me


Meet my new furry friend, Lucy. She’s a two-and-a-half-year-old Siamese Himalayan mix kitty. She just came to live with me at 7:00pm last night, so we are still very new friends, getting to know each other. More about her tomorrow!