My current work in progress:

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


KIPping Yarns

Sitting on the crowded train yesterday afternoon, merrily KIPping away on my sock. A man gets on, sits next to me, says “knit one purl two?”, and bursts into laughter.

Why do people think saying “knit one purl two” is so funny?

Actually, the guy turned out to be fairly pleasant. Fresh from Florida, here for an extended period of time on business, he was doing a test run of his commute from his hotel to his office. I was able to answer a bunch of questions he asked about fare cards, train schedules, and subway-accessible shopping areas.

My good deed du jour.

And here’s the progress on the sock.


I think the yarn is very pretty. Very autumnal colors, which are good for my Dad, who has the same coloring as me and likes the same colors that I like.


I figured it was high time I showed you my mouse bag stuffing progress. True, putting together mouse packages does cut into my knitting time, but it’s a lot of fun.


Lucy feigned indifference.


Andrea very kindly offered to help with the packaging process. If there’s a sudden deluge of mice (and I hope there is!) I’ll take her up on it! As we work close to each other, I was envisioning a lunchtime mouse-stuffing party. We could call it “Mousies on the Mall,” invite any and all our DC blog buddies, and hold it in front of the U.S. Capitol.

Or something like that. The Capitol Police might take a dim view of my choice of venue.

Tales from the Stash

I went into the stash today because something’s been fermenting in my brain for a while. (Scary, huh?)

Lookie here:


The one on the left, Classic Elite Evergreen, is wool/recycled fiber blend. The one on the right, Classic Elite Devon, is wool/silk blend.

I’ve been thinking that one of those two would be lovely knitted up as AS Fern (from her book Stillwater).

The color of the Evergreen would really suit the design — it would show the texture pattern beautifully. But I adore the Devon yarn. But I wonder if the Devon is too dark a color to really show off the pattern. The Evergreen is crisper than the Devon, which might also be an advantage, but the Devon feels so sinfully yummy!

Just in case you wondered, I would be making Fern sans bobbles, like Auntie Lolly did. I saw her Fern in person last May and it is totally gorgeous!

Lolly, if you’re reading this — what yarn did you use for your Fern and how do you like it?

Any other Fern knitters, feel free to jump in!


  1. Wendy–I never emailed you back (so bad with email lately), but I do work on the Hill, and I would love to help you out at a “Mousies on the Mall” stuffing party. Just let me know!

  2. Oooh, tough choice? Dare I mention the dreaded s-word (swatch)? I think the Devon might be a tad too dark but you never know. I might actually look gorgeous. I’d do a small swatch of each and compare.

    The Devon seems to be a colour that would suit you better. Is it about the same shade of green as your Fulmar in Frangiapani? If so, Fulmar looked great and you could see the pattern clearly. I know they’re different weight yarns but still, if you *really* like Devon over Evergreen, then go for it.

  3. DUH, my morning caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet. That line should read IT might look gorgeous (not I)…LOL!

  4. Shannon, that would be great!

    I’m hoping to be swamped with mice at some point next month so hopefully we can arrange the Mousies on the Mall event then. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kristin — you said the “s” word! Arrgggh! But of course yu are right and I was thinking that while I was writing the blog entry. The Devon is a different shade than the green in Fulmar. Fulmar is more olive, Deven is more forest.

  5. Fern has always been a favorite. It would be a shame to lose that patterning with a really dark choice. Go light.

  6. I absolutely agree – NO bobbles! I also think the dark green might be too dark – I love my dark cabled sweaters but it’s harder to see the pattern.

  7. Ah, love love love that Fern! I think the Devon would be stunning–but I favor dark colors and I might be more than a little influenced by Starmore’s earthy color choices for this sweater. (It so happens I’m waiting for an order of yarn for this sweater.)

  8. Yikes! I see mice with cute little ears and noses. Do they all have these extra features?
    ‘Cause my meeses ain’t got no cute ears and noses. I have 8 blind mice.

  9. I did get a bag of meeces with little embroidered features and they are awfully cute, aren’t they?

    If you have the time and inclination to put faces on your meeces, ytou are encouraged to do so. Otherwise blind mice (and the majority of mice I’ve received are blind) are great!

  10. “knit one purl two” has an equivalence in German with the same reaction of the speaker believing he or she made the joke of the week. They say “knit two, purl two, let one drop” bruhahahaha.

    Fern also is on my project list and you are absolutely right: no bobbles.
    I once had a cardigan with bobbles and I often stuck against something and tore thr bobbles out(what probably was not the fault of the bobbles)

    Mousies are in progress. Fortunately I hadn’t bought the catnip yet, Cleo and Clara, my cats ethusiasticly combed already the woolen fleece I intend to stuff into the mousies together with the catnip.
    My kitties love the scent of new wool and you can imagine that I keep my treasuries very well hidden.

    Greetings from the Black forest, Germany

  11. Wendy, I suppose this is a question for any of your commenters as well – please advise on the best face-making method (so tempted to sat “stick tounge out at mouse”). I could easily imagine using duplicate stich for the eyes; would the ears be “pick up two, knit two, turn, k2tog?” Just a guess.

  12. Howdy Wendy! Not a lot to say but “Hey!”

    Personally, I wouldn’t be able to resist the Devon…the color is DEE- VINE!

  13. Anyone want to offer advice on mouse faces? I’ve never put faces on any of mine.

    The ones I received are embroidered (ears are embroidered too) with a finer yarn or embroidery floss.

    Teresa — I love the Devon color too! ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. I’m glad I’m not the only anti-bobble person. I just don’t understand the fascination with bobbles and don’t like knitting them! I’d say if you like the Devon, go with the Devon. I did grapevine from the Stillwater in a deep Teal (Lamb’s Pride) and there’s no problem seeing the texture. And the Little Rivers sweater in the book is done in a very dark color on the foreleaf of the book and you can see the texture in the picture.

  15. Fern is a gorgeous pattern. I just went to the Virtual Yarns web site to see if it was available, and it is. I have too many WIPs to join in, but I sure am tempted. I’ll just watch you knit it and drool on my keyboard. I have to go along with those who vote for light (Evergreen). No bobbles.

  16. Hello there…first time commenter on the Wendy Knits site introducing myself. “Hi, my name’s Jen and I’m a knitter.”

    Now that that’s out of the way, and since we’re on the topic of bobbles (sort of), I’m thinking about a bobble-free version of Aranmor. Anyone ever done this? How’d it look? I’m just hoping it won’t look like there’s something missing, ’cause I’m just not a fan of bobbles…

  17. Glad to hear that a) someone else hates bobbles and b) someone else gets peeved at the knit one, purl two thing. Whenever anyone says that (and its usually a guy), I say, “No, actually, that’s ribbing… I’m doing (whatever my pattern is)” They usually shut up and look at me blankly.

    I like both colors but am biased towards silk for what its worth. Either way, I’m sure it will be gorgeous!

  18. I like both yarns (I’m a fan of green in general), but after studying pictures of the sweater I think the lighter color will show the stitches better. This doesn’t mean the darker one won’t show up — my only true “aran” to date was done in a dark rust/brown (for my son) and I daresay it looks mah-velous.

    We might want to do Mousies off the Capitol grounds to avoid those pesky CP. There’s lots more Mall to go around! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. We could always do Mousies at Union Station — easily accessible via metro!

  20. I think it will look great in the dark color. The color used on the virtualyarn website looks pretty dark to me and it looks wonderful. I agree about bobbles- I hate them. I think they look cheesy and add a cheapness to whatever they are on. Your fern will look better IMO if you just leave them off. I don’t think they add ANYTHING to the design.

    I am sitting here with my Starmore Children’s Collection book wishing you would do “Sand Dollar”. The book says it was originally a woman’s size design that she scaled down for this book. It is billed as a “challenge for advanced knitters” so it might actually keep you awake! Are you familiar with this design? It’s almost a dress. It is beyond gorgeous and far above my ability but I think it would look great on your small frame, especially in the color they used.

  21. Tam in most cases flattery will get you everywhere — but I don’t like Sand Dollar. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The adult version of it is in Pacific Coast Highway.

  22. Am I reading this? Heh. Only first thing every morning ๐Ÿ™‚ I used Cleckheaton 8-ply Country Heathers for my Fern and I loved the way it turned out. The Heathers have been discontinued (as I found out when I ran one ball short and had to scour the internet for that one precious ball!) but I think the regular 8-ply is still available. I know the folks over on KBTH have been debating the Starmoreworthiness of superwash, but I haven’t had any trouble with “growing” or pilling. I think Fern would look *fabulous* in the darker green Wendy. C’mon! Keep you’re eyes on the dangling mousie and repeat after me: “I’m getting sleepy. I want to knit Fern in Classic Elite Devon…”

  23. Oh, well. Can’t blame a girl for trying. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I guess I’ll just have to practice up and do it for one of my daughters.

  24. Maureen Miller says:

    I knit Fern in a rather weird choice of yarns, Noro Cash Iroha. Of course, it is a very different sweater than Laurel’s beautiful Fern becase it is a bit drapier and very, very soft. I personally love the bobbles, go figure. I wear that sweater all the time. Now I wish that I could shrink the thing because my body has shrunk due to a big diet. I’m afraid to wash it because I am afraid it will grow.

    Maureen Miller – bobble fan

  25. I’ve heard there’s a new lipstick shade out called “knit one, purl two” but I kind of doubt that’s what he was thinking of.

    More likely, he remembers the Flintstones. Anytime they showed Wilma knitting on the show, she would be reciting “knit one, purl two…”

    *shrug* I don’t know why it was so funny to him. I probably would have given him one of my should-be-patented blank looks when he burst out laughing.

  26. Ah, I did not know that about the Flintstones. We were not allowed to watch tv as children and my grasp of popular culture has suffered enourmously as a result.

    What he got was my patented eye-roll plus sigh of weariness

  27. Fern: my vote is the Devon. I made a sweater using a pretty brown shade of Devon and loved the yarn!

    Mice faces: Sadly, my little mice have no faces. However, I saw a cute catnip mouse pattern on line that made bobbles for ears. (Perhaps one can overlook their contempt for bobbles if they are cute litte mice ears.) Of course, as it stated in that pattern, the cats won’t care if the mice have faces.

    Oh, Oh! I wanted to pass along something I learned from knitting my mice. I almost always cast on with the long-tail method, but hate the purl bumps that show on the first row. So, I taught myself to cast on left-handed. Then, when I change hands to begin knitting, the right side is facing. An epifany of sorts for me — you all probably figured this out long ago.

  28. If I had a nickel for everytime someone said “K1, P2” HAHAHAHAHAhahahahaaa… to me on the #66, I could fly you all to Shetland and have a Knit-In!

    If I had a dime for everytime that person was substance enhanced, we could go to Shetland AND Scotland for a helping of St**m*re LIVE…

    Now there’s a concept – a reality TV show based on the life and antics of A & J with a camera following them around 24/7. WHY, I’d call it AJ: 24/7. Sounds like a discontinued color of Scottish Fl**t. I’d especially like to see them read KBTH together…

    BTW I adore the Devon yarn as well. I have a dark Teal I’m going to aran into something this winter. I think the Evergreen is too BRIGHT. Its color would just suck all the detail out of the intricate patterns. The darker teal is not too dark – it would be subtle and elegant in its architectural mystery ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Hi Wendy,

    I’ve been reading you for a few months, and am a new knitter. You’ve inspired me to try the Dale sweater #10903 for my mom for Christmas (yes, I’m crazy to try it as my first fair isle, no I don’t care ;).

    I’ve promised myself no yarn for a bit and since I started in May I don’t have any wool (excepting the Dale sweater)to make mousies yet…but I will get some next time I let my wallet open, but…I wanted to say I’d love to help stuff mousies if you need it some weekend or evening-I’m in Arlington.

  30. I hate to knit bobbles, they make my hands hurt. Nothing needs bobbles that bad! :^P You’ll be wearing your sweater so pick the yarn that feels good. Anyway, I like dark greens.

  31. Union Station is a fine choice as well. Whatever is decided about the Mousie Party, I’ll be there!

    Speaking of bobbles, and mousie faces–I did small, sorta triangular bobbles for ears on mine. It was my first time making bobbles. I don’t love them, and really can’t see putting them on anything wearable, but on Mr. Mousie, they were fine.

  32. Mousie Face Idea (I thought about doing this, but ended up sending blank-faced mousies): Make a simple little pair of eyes by threading a piece of contrasting yarn on a large needle. Tie an eyeball sized knot in one end. Pull the yarn through the mouse’s head at eyeball level. Pull the knotted end up tight against the mousies head, smoosh the mousies head while tying a knot in the free end. Leave just enough yarn between the two knots to span the inside of the mousies head. Trim the ends, so that the knots make a cute little pair of eyeballs.

  33. Along the lines of the Knit One Purl Two comments from passing strangers…I was knitting at the doctor while waiting for my daughter. In comes a woman with three children, one small boy, one small girl and a teen girl. The teen girl goes in and the little girl watches me for a while. She asks her mother what I am doing and the woman say’s…”Oh she’s crocheting.” I smile and tell her that actually it is knitting. I think she must have been upset that I corrected her in front of her daughter because she got very huffy and said, “Well they’re the same.” I decided not to say anything else but thought it was a rather odd reaction.

  34. I think I’d smile really nice at the guy and say “Yeah… exactly! How did you know? Wanna try?” Mess with his head a little. He was probably just looking for someone friendly up in Yankee land.