My current work in progress:

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


My Opinion Has Not Changed

I still do not like knitting with cotton.

So there.

But I am enjoying working on the Watercolor Camisole, simply because the colors are so great, and the construction is so clever. It doesn’t take long to finish a diamond, and you are constantly changing colors and decreasing so there’s always something interesting going on.

But I hate the cotton itself, even if the colors are great. It’s Ironstone Flake Cotton, a thick & thin 100% cotton sportweight yarn. Held double. I feel like I’m knitting with nasty string. Ew, ew, ew. Not that there’s anything wrong with the yarn — I simply have an aversion to knitting with cotton.

But it sure looks purty.


I am making the 34″ size. That allows for very little ease, but I’m guessing that this puppy will stretch a bit, as is my experience with most 100% cotton yarn. And if it doesn’t, well, I’ll just look like a sexpot wearing it, right?

And While I’m Being Cranky

Could someone possibly invent a row counter that is both portable and works?

Maybe I’m being too picky, but I find that these type of row counters are very poorly made.


They sometimes take a lot of force to turn them, and I’ve had a number of them self-destruct after very little use.

I do have a couple of them that came with a knitting needle kit I bought ages ago in London. Straight needles, so I never use them anymore. It was made by Aero and came with two row counters, one large, one small. They were very nicely made, but over time became too easy to turn and would do so on their own.

It makes it kinda hard to keep track of what row you are on when your row counter turns whenever the hell it feels like it!

So I just bought one of these:


(From Elann, with my Smoochie yarn order, for those of you who are keeping score). More reliable, I think, but not something I can hang off my needle or pin to my work.


Speaking of Smooch, I got the pattern book in the mail yesterday. It was wrapped in this:


Purple tissue paper! Lucy is in ecstacy!

(By the way, in answer to a question in the comments, click on the Smooch button in my sidebar to find your way back to Alison’s blog, where I found out about the Smooch-Along.)

So if I can restrain myself until then, I’ll start the Smooch next week. It ought to be more fun to knit — the yarn has some acrylic content that’ll make it more pleasant to knit with.


  1. Glad that you’re looking forward to Smooch, despite the cotton! Your other camisole is indeed very cleverly constructed. But it looks like it will require a lot of seaming (not my favorite activity). I keep eyeing a sweater constructed out of diamonds from an recent Interweave Knits because the technique of making a sweater like that really intrigues me. I’m looking forward to seeing how your little camisole comes out!

  2. Alison, there’s not as much seaming as you might think — after you knit the initial six diamonds that make the circuference of the sweater, you pick up stitches along the edges of existing diamonds to knit the ones above it. Very cool!

  3. Christiane says:

    I made the Watercolor Camisole last year. I hated the Ironstone yarn, so I did it in one strand of a variegated Berrocco Glace ribbon. It came out fabulously. It didn’t have the extreme color variagations, but it looked fabulous. And it was much better to knit with!! =)

  4. Wendy: I use tick marks to keep track of decreases when I’m knitting, and will use it for keeping track of rows when I don’t have to go by inch measurements & such… maybe you can use a marker & piece of cotton fabric & pin it to the knitting when you’re not working on it…

    I know what you mean about cotton yarn… some of them feel hard & unforgiving to the touch…I have a softer cotton that I’m using for my Cabin Fever tank top…no complaints there..wish I knew what brand it was, I THINK it may be fox fiber cotton, I’m not sure..the label is lost… but it’s definitely softer than the yarn you’re using (I think I have some cotton flake in my stash)…

  5. I love the construction of the Watercolor Camisole, really looking forward to following your progress. But I agree, I’ve never met a cotton yarn I like to work with.

    The Smooch pattern is loverly…. do you know whether it is offered as a single pattern or must I purchase the entire book? :-\

    Hugs to Lucy. She looks so content in her new home.

  6. Hi Wendy – I feel like I’ve missed a lot, even though I’ve been reading almost every day. (My 3 yo son had his appendix out last Friday, so I haven’t been online very much.) I took a class on a diamond construction technique like your tank, but they had us do all the bottom diamonds on one long cast-on, so there wasn’t even any seaming at the bottom. (I *think* Nancie (y?) Wiseman was the teacher, but it was a few years ago.) Sorry you’re not enjoying the yarn; I do love the jungle cat colors, though!

    And who says cats are color-blind? Lucy appears to have impeccable taste!

  7. Jen, I’ve only ever seen the pattern in the Rowan bok, not as a single.

    Andrea – hope your son is doing okay! About the camisole construction — while you knit the 6 bottom diamonds separately, there’s no seaming on the bottom — you are picking up stitches on the top sides of them to make the next row of diamonds and that’s what fastens them together — kinda hard to explain, but you’ll see as I do it . . .

  8. I’m with you on the whole cotton thing. It always feels like string to me. Wool is so much nicer ๐Ÿ™‚ But your top will be lovely of course!

  9. I’m with you on those little counter thingies. Have you seen the ones that look pretty much like the ones you slide onto your needle, but come with a little hanger? It’s a marker that you slip on your needle, and then the counter dangles down from that. I am much happier with that one. Because it doesn’t have to have the needle pushed through it all the time, the inner workings of the counter itself seem more stable.

    Worth a try, anyway, and I never hesitate to purchase more knitting gadgets! You never know when you’ll find one you don’t know how you lived without ;^).

  10. Hi Shelda! I have two of the little hangy-down thingie counters. I don’t like them because the loop that you slip over the needle seems too thick to me (possibly because most of my knitting is at a pretty fine gauge) — I don’t like having it stuck between two stitches in my knitting because it makes a gap and I consciously have to tighten up when I knit the stitches on either side of it.

    I suppose I coould just pin it to my work and shut up, though . . .

  11. Karen Berglund says:

    Mornin’ Wendy! How did you do the scrolling blog tag links? It’s funky!

    And I joined the Knitting Garden mailing list…got an email this morning that I get 10% off my first order. I’ll be ordering the Rowan book, I like Smooch but I think Mango is cute too.

  12. Wendy, I am knitting Chicknits Ucan2shell right now (which I love) but I, too, say EW, EW, EWWWW to working cotton. I am using Rowan All Seasons, and it does have acrylic in it, but…for some reason it feels um.. I don’t know, dirty? I can’t place it, but it just feels gross. I love the way it looks though. Weird huh? Love the colors in the camisole. What a photo shoot that will be, eh?

  13. Mystery solved! I can’t see your blog button or the Smooch button (among others) because of the new security we installed after switching to a cable modem. When I turn it off, I can see them. Weird. Now I have to figure out what it doesn’t like so I can tweak the settings…is there some naughty subliminal message in your flashing button? Just kidding!

  14. Out of Lurkdom– Personally I use coiless pins every ten rows or so to keep track but for your gadget… Can you not run a strand of ewww cotton through the top and tie a knot with both ends forming a loop? And then use the loop as beginning of round marker? Or put somewhere in middle of row so you don’t forget to click it when you reach it? I always forgot if I used a barrel type on end of straits so put mine in middle of row using the string method…. Catcha Later… couldn’t resist ;^)

  15. I too use one of those ticker things like the one you bought. Be careful with them because I once dropped mine on the floor and it moved itself forward a row!

  16. Here’s an easy way to construct your own hanging barrel row counter:


    1 plastic ring stitch marker (size – appropriate for the intended knitting needle)
    1 12” strand of light weight yarn
    1 barrel row counter
    1 straw (normal size)
    1 button a little larger than the circumference of the stitch marker, with large holes
    1 metal yarn/darning needle

    Fold the yarn in half and using a half-hitch or a knot attach it the stitch marker.

    Push the straw through the hole in the row counter. Cut off excess length on the top leaving about 1/4” on each end.

    Determine which way you want the numbers of the row counter to face when dangling sideways. Thread the needle with the yarn (if the yarn is too thick, do this one strand at a time).. Starting from the top of the row counter push the yarn through the straw.

    Again using the needle, push one strand of yarn, through each hole of a 2-hole button (if using a 4-hole button, push through 2-holes diagonally). Knot the yarn at the bottom.

    Grab your knitting needle and put the ring marker on it. Determine how long you want it to dangle then knot it at the appropriate place.


  17. Oh,boy! My Wendyknits mug and tote just arrived! Coffee with Lucy tomorrow morning! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I have a hanging barrel counter, but I don’t really use it that much. It IS good for plopping at the start of a round, so you have that marked and an incentive to do the counting. But, like you said, the things are usually either too hard to turn or else they turn by themselves.

    I have two things that I like. One is your new toy – the kacha kacha counter! It’s such fun. The other is this weird, not-very-portable pegboard from Susan Bates that’s meant for keeping precise track of complicated patterns, so not only can you mark what row you’re on, you can also mark which of the 8 decrease rows you’ve just done and how many more rows you have to knit even until the next decrease row. but it’s so complicated that it comes with its own instruction book.

    as far as cotton – try Muench String of Pearls. It’s nice to knit with and has a slight (10%?) synthetic content, in the form of a shiny stitch running down the middle. It’s cool to the touch and smooth to work with. You can see a swatch over at my blog, since I recently pulled something out that was made of it and am working on something else.

    I can’t do the knitalong thing, though. Maybe I should attempt to initiate one one of these days so that everyone is actually making something I would wear. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Actually I would wear “Pagan”, and “Essence” that I’m working on is a lot like it, but still. It’s kinda depressing when everyone else is doing an project that just won’t work for you.)

  19. I’m currently trying out a beaded bracelet. I got the idea from someone at a workshop who was a beader, and was wearing one she made to keep track of Weight Watcher points. Here’s a link I found that shows one much like the ones I made:

    Very easy to make; stretchy beading cord and a bunch of beads. The charms are on lobster claw clasps and get moved. I’m only using one charm, so mine only counts to twenty. But I suppose you could use two charms; one to count tens (or twenties) and one to count ones.

    And it’s attached to me, thus being protected from cats who always bat pencils, etc. onto the floor.

  20. I would just like to mention that Lucy looks stunning next to that color! It doesn’t hurt that she is such a beautiful cat to begin with. MEOW!

  21. Have you ever used the Clover brand row counters,Wendy? Unlike the Bates counters, there’s actually resistance when you turn the dial, so you don’t have to worry about the row # changing inadvertently. If I have to use it, I put it on a piece of yarn and hang it around my neck, so I just have to glance down to see the row I’m on. Give Miss Lucy a hug for me; she is beeeeutiful ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Yes, I’ve got a couple of Clover brand counters. You’re right that they are harder to turn. I also find that they self-destruct faster than the Bates ones!

    Lucy sez “Meow!”

  23. I hated all of the normal row counters, too, so I bought this little abacus-type that you pin to your knitting. It’s handmade by this woman out of silver and beads (you get to pick the bead colors!) and keeps track of 20 rows at a time. sliding beads is less of an interruption than picking up a counter, and having it pinned to the work (or, you can dangle it from your needle) is convenient (for me, at least). I hate having to break the flow of what I’m doing–even my desktop computer has a touchpad instead of a mouse, because I think reaching is a waste of time ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t find the web address at the moment, but if you’re interested, email me & I’ll look it up for you. (These things are also very pretty, and much nicer to look at than that other stuff.)