My current work in progress:

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


Non-Knitters Don’t Get It

Last Friday I took my newly-completed Frogner to work to me to show to a couple of co-workers who saw it in progress.

While I was playing show-and-tell, another woman came in and saw it. She gasped in admiration. “You made that?! You could sell that!”

So just for fun I said “How much do think I could sell this for?”

She thought a minute and said “Sixty-five dollars!” Big smile on her face.

Non-knitters just don’t get it.

Bobble-Haters of the World Unite!

It was gratifiying to see so many bobble-haters check in yesterday in my comments. And thanks for your comments on my Fern yarn. I know, I know . . . I need to swatch to see how the Devon will look. And I do really need to swatch it because it’s a fairly soft yarn because of the silk content. But I’m thinking what a totally yummy sweater that would make.

I once knitted an aran out of 100% silk yarn. I bought this drop-dead gorgeous handpainted turquoise silk worsted weight yarn at the market at a TKGA convention ages ago. At the convention I had taken the class on knitting arans from the neck down that was given by Dixie Falls. (Any of you guys remember her? Is she still around?) On the plain going home, I started knitting my silk and designing my aran on the fly. I made a cute little short-sleeved top with cables and seed stitch and I wore it a heckuva lot. It looked dynamite under a plain black suit.

Hmmmmmm . . . where is that sweater?


Turned the heel. Ooh!


Mouse-a-thon Update

Received a whole bunch of adorable mousies from Mary in Brecksville, OH, Claudia in Woburn, MA, and Kay in Levittown, PA. Thank you so much!

Kay thoughtfully tucked a piece of tissue paper in with her mice for Lucy.

Here is a photo of Lucy lying on what remains of that tissue paper.


Lucy wants you to know that catnip-scented tissue paper is the best!

Wanna see something cool? My sock pattern translated into Japanese! Thanks, Orochi!

To all of you still affected by the black-out — I hope your power is back on soon!


  1. Hey, don’t sell yourself short. I bet you could get $75 for Frogner. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Wasn’t that the weirdest thing? I was on my way home and went through an area of town here in central Michigan and the power was out. Then I heard the one radio station I could still get in say that power was out over the entire Eastern US..I freaked at first until they said it wasn’t terror related. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am loving your Silja sock. I have 4 skeins of that colorway that I hadn’t knit up yet so I’m really enjoying seeing how it turns out! I’m also gathering more yarn for mousies. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m also a bobble-hater. Any sweater I’ve ever had with bobbles managed to place them directly over the woo-has and looked like big nipples. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. When people ask how much I’d charge to make them something, it’s either cost of the yarn, or a sum so exorbitant that it makes them blink. Has the desired effect of nobody asking for anything.

    $65. That’s appalling.

  4. 65 dollars? How much did the yarn cost? More, I suppose … Non-knitters _really_ don’t get it.

    Mousie update: 6 and counting.

    Have a good weekend!

  5. I don’t remember how much the yarn cost, but I’m sure it was more than $65. The girl who made the comment is as nice as she can be, but just has no idea how much yarn costs! And of course the time that goes into knitting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I’ll have to take a photo of my Bridget or Paddy doll in progress: it uses a bobble technique for eyes, but other than that, I don’t think I’d care to use bobbles in a garment…they sure work for the eyes though! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Some people just aren’t aware of the price of yarn when they want someone to make them something… you could probably make a sweater with Wal-mart acrylic for about $10 or $12 in yarn for the super saver that’s 6 or 8 ounces a skein… not sure if I’d want to use that yarn for something that I spend so many hours working on… how many hours DO y’all think go into a sweater anyway? I figure that I spent about 4 or 5 months at 2 or 3 hours a week of evening TV making a VEST… (this was in slip stitch which takes a little longer since you sorta knit 2 rows to make 1)…

  7. Well, just as I was re-teaching myself to knit a few months ago, I bought a short-sleeved cabled pullover at TJ Maxx…for $10. Now that I know what it would take to make something like that (I looked at the cables when I put it on yesterday and said “hey, these are just like the mouse cable”), that boring sweater itself would easily be $100 handknit, $150 if I were a yarn snob. There’s no turning back for me, is there?

  8. Hi Wendy…what yarn did you use for your Dad’s socks. Really nice blend of fall colors….$165 wouldn’t touch the Frogner if I knit something that beautiful :^)..won’t happen in my lifetime!


  9. I don’t think people are being insulting. They just plain “don’t know.” The world of knitting has changed so much fairly recently. My friends are appalled at the amount of money a hand-knit sweater out of “good” yarn costs; but, once you cross over that threshold (and I did thanks to Wendy and L-B, the Great Enablers), there’s just no going back!

    I just started Baby Norgi and my first adventure into the world of steeking!

  10. Hi Sylvia — info on my current WIPs is always available on my sidebar under the heading . . . uh . . . My current WIPs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    In case you can’t get to the sidebar because of browser issues, here’s the info on the socks:

    Toe-up socks knitted in Silja sock yarn, color 329 on size 2.75 mm needles.

  11. Alright,alright, I’ll go on record as liking bobbles! But, only small,well-behaved (and, yes,Daphne) well-placed bobbles! I don’t knit mine as written-I have a method that makes them tight and perky. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I can hear you now,Wendy)

  12. Oh, L-B! there are so many things I could say about being tight and perky — but they all sound obscene! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. I dislike bobbles severely myself… tried to make them and they were just way more trouble than they were worth..

    You know, it’s funny, I whipped up a hat that looked at lot like the Phat Hat from whatever that book was that was so popular… Hip to Knit I think. I just couldn’t see buying a book to tell me how to make a rectangle with a couple cables down it, so I just made one, and EVERYONE at my theatre wanted one. I tried to explain to them that even if it only took 2 hours, that was two hours of handcrafter *skill*, not just something anyone can pick up and make, plus the price of the yarn, plus any kind of profit… they very quickly realized why I choose to make gifts rather than works to sell ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Yeah, that did sound like a screaming headline on a fitness magazine, didn’t it?

  15. That is hilarious that she said you could get $65 for that sweater. What a riot!

  16. That’s sad Wendy. Both of us ran into non-knitters that undervalued our work this week. LoL Finally I’ve got something in common with Wendy…because I surely don’t knit fast, and a certainly won’t do fair isle. LoL

  17. I’m with the folks who quote an exorbitant price. Then I tell them, “I sell soap, not knitting. Knitting is something I do for love, friends and family and me.” That usually shuts them down.

    Mousies count: was 2, but Bella the cat wanted one, so 1. will make more on this road-trip weekend.

    Frogner is gorgeous. I bow to the knitting Goddess!

  18. Barb Edison says:

    I have been silently watching your website for quite a while. The frogner sweater is “priceless” and so is your talent.

    Non-knitters “really” don’t get it.

  19. Kathy Merrick says:

    My most favorite knitting value incident happened a few years ago, when I was still at Simply Knit.
    A woman in leather pants comes in and picks up one of the model sweaters. “How much does it cost for you to knit this for me?” “We don’t knit them for you, you knit them for yourself.”
    Withering, disdainful look.
    “I don’t knit; I’m an ATTORNEY. So how much would it cost?”
    I’m skipping steps here.
    Picture the unpleasantness’ escalating.
    “HOW DARE you speak to me like that!!!”

  20. Not that I’m insulted or anything, but some attorneys DO knit. I’m one, and we even used to have a whole group at work who would get together occasionally on a Saturday to have brunch, knit (including teaching newbies), and talk about work. (Yes, a true Stitch and Bitch.) I knit at work whenever I’m doing something where I can get away with it — staff meeting, conference call, etc. With two kids at home, it’s the only way I can ever make any progress on projects!

    Wendy, why don’t you tell that lady that for $65 you’ll teach her how to knit — then she can make her own Frogner? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. What I hate is: “You haven’t made anything for ME yet. You’re always working on things for yourself, why can’t you give me a sweater sometime? Or a shawl, can’t you just whip that out? I’d even pay you!” I’m a fast knitter, and yep, I could probably whip one out, but now that you’ve said that, I WON’T! Kathy, that attorney story is priceless (so to speak).

  22. Right on, Andrea. I once had a friend who, seeing me knitting, said, “You know, they have machines that can do that.” ;o)

  23. $65?? ROFL You’d be lucky to find anything decent in a dept. store for that. For a luscious handmade item like Frogner? Insulting. $65 might pay for HALF the yarn.

    I love that attorney story. That attitude certainly is not limited to lawyers, though. Some people seem to have the attitude that knitting is something that menial people in third world countries do and if you are educated and gainfully employed you would OBVIOUSLY not be bothered to do THAT. SNORT! I’m sure that most of you here disprove that silly idea. Since I’m a stay-at-home mom I get this attitude of “Well, obviously YOU do that, you have nothing better to do whereas *I* have a LIFE.” (eyes rolling) I’m sure that Julia Roberts would have something to say about the idea that knitting is “low class”. LOL

  24. You could let her know that Frogner is available ready-made for $187 – and that’s the machine knit version – the Dale Handknits are usually ~350.00

    Glad the mousies got there safe and sound.

  25. Give a girl a sweater, she has a sweater. Teach a girl to knit, she has a wardrobe for a lifetime. Also a yarn habit. And a huge stash. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. You know, this is going to sound like a random story, but bear with me.

    My dad used to be a shipwright. His yard made classic wooden sailcraft. A good wooden boat has a stunningly smooth, seamless hull.

    He would get people in who would say, “Wow! That’s so smooth, I thought it was fiberglass!” And who couldn’t understand why he’d make hulls out of wood when a fiberglass hull was so much cheaper.

    My point being, a lot of people just don’t appreciate “craft” as a concept or a life experience.

    Also — I’m starting to get longwinded here — the fact that so many “commercial” handknit items are made by third-world production knitters only serves to divorce us further from a personal sense of how much labor and skill goes into something that’s truely handcrafted.

    And then there’s our short attention spans, where people just can’t imagine putting in all that time and energy on ONE project.

  27. Wendy,
    Any Disney addict could tell you that a Dale sweater is worth MUCH more than $65. Last summer at Epcot, i drooled over the sweaters in Norway, and machine knit they were over $200 apiece. When I first got out of college I worked on the side making custom curtains. I met my share of people who loved the photos of things I did, but when they asked how much, they were taken aback at the cost, and even more when I told them that was labor and they had to buy the fabric! “But why would I spend that when I can get them for x dollars at Sears?” After a while I stopped because the only people who appreciated it were my family, and I would’nt let them pay me for it.

    Frogner is beautiful, and Priceless! I cant wait to see more pics of Maximillian!

  28. I am so with Tam…. I am a stay-at-home mom and I get that attitude from people all the time, like knitting is a third world thing. But then again, I get attitude from people like being a SAH mom is a third world thing. People just don’t get it…. I left a high paying, high position banking career to care for my child because I thought paying someone else to care for my infant was insane and my DH and I are financially secure that I never have to work. I took up fiber arts for the creative and artistic aspect (and I get to play with soft and wooly things). Plus, I hate store bought children’s sweaters that scream cutesy, cutesy…. Give me funky and fabulous or classic and luxurious! (Okay, I’m off the soapbox!!!)

    BTW, I had someone at the bookstore ask if I could make her a felted tote like the one I was carrying. (She was serious too!) I told her about $350 (and that’s at a measly $10 an hour labour). She gasped and asked why so much. I told her I hand spun, hand dyed, hand knitted, pieced and sewed it together and felted it…. that is a bargain for what I put into it. I told her there is a craft section upstairs and perhaps she should LEARN to make one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. Cheryl F. says:

    About Fern and Devon. I’m currently working on the Maidenhair shawl in Devon yarn (Ivybridge-a gorgeous deep green), and the bobbles show up well, as well as the twisted stitches. The only thing that was bugging me was that the ebony needles I bought just seemed to DRAG with that yarn. Ended up switching to the Inox greys and am much happier. Of course, not having your speed, I’m on row 88 with only 4oo+ more to go!!

  30. I loved Rene’s “Give a girl a sweater” comment! Especially that part about a huge stash. ๐Ÿ˜‰ See what a bargain we knitters get! All that and stress reduction therapy, too. Our habit is truly priceless, although not inexpensive.

  31. I was recently in Boston, and went into a pretty chi-chi store because they had a sign out front advertising handknit Aran sweaters. 400$. Doing the mental calculations, my mom and I decided that the knitters (wherever they were from) were definitely getting stiffed.

    65 dollars… yeesh. I bet if you’d asked her how long she thought the sweater took to make, and THEN asked how much it’d be worth, she’d rethink the number.

  32. Hey fellow bobble-hater…glad the meese landed safe. I need to make two more so that Igor and Kimba can each have one. Kimba socked Igor in the nose for the right to taste test a mouse before the big send-off.

    And when folks ask me to knit stuff, quoting my hourly rate (as a lawyer) to them sets ’em straight every time!

  33. Cheryl H. says:

    I remember someone (Marilyn aka Knitting Curmudgeon, perhaps?) replied to the “Why don’t you knit something for me?” question with, “I only knit for people I love, and you’re not one of them.” True enough.

    It’s not just knitting that is undervalued because of ultra-low-cost imports. Quilters have been complaining about it for years. People are sucked in by the “hand-made” label, and don’t notice the difference in quality between cheap mass-produced hand-made and carefully thought out hand-made.

  34. You asked about Dixie Falls today (though I don’t know if anyone will see this reply, since I seem to be the only night owl around here… ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    She wrote a book called “Arans From the Neck Down” which we used to carry at Knitting Traditions. It was still available from her when we closed in 2001, so I imagine she’s still doing things. What, I’m not sure…

  35. I remember reading (in the 80’s) that Bill Cosby’s designer sweaters cost $200 – $300 and up apiece. I wasn’t a knitter then but I was a poor college student. It must have had an effect on me as I never forgot that fact. So that would be worth how much now??