My current work in progress:

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


Archives for September 2003

Feeling Needled?

Donna asked:

How did you acquire your needles (by project, or did you buy a set or two?), and which ones do you use most frequently? If you use circs, what length are they – 29″?

Good question!

When I first learned how to knit, as a tiny tot, I used my mother’s needles. All 14″ straight needles. When I was maybe 14 or 15 years old, my mother bought me my own needles. We were a military family, and one day when she was shopping at the PX, she saw they had just gotten in knitting needles, so she bought me four or five pairs (and they were all 14″ straights, aluminum, and made by Boye, I believe). I used these needles for years, augmenting them when I made something that required a size I didn’t have.

It was well into the 80s before I started using circular needles for everything, then I bought Susan Bates circs as I needed them. Eventually I replaced all those with Addi Turbo circs, little by little. I used to ask for Addi Turbos for Christmas from my mom. I know have sizes 0 through 11 in varying lengths — 12″, 16″, 24″, 32″, 40″. Not all sizes in all lengths, but pretty darn close.

For sweaters in pieces, like arans, I use a 24″ length. For sweaters in the round, like fair isles, I used a 32″ length. I bought some 40″ length needles for shawls.

Then I discovered wooden needles, which I prefer for fair isles. So I’ve got birch, bamboo, rosewood, and ebony circulars in various sizes and lengths.

Then of course there are dpns . . .

Speaking of DPNs


Here’s my current sock-in-progress, on some 5-inch Brittany Birch dpns in size 0 (2.0mm) I’m finding I like these little needles . . . once I got over their resemblance to toothpicks! The yarn is a lot more olive than pictured.


Here is Joanne’s Zeke, demonstrating that all that mousie goodness might not just be for the kitties!


And here’s my mail delivery from yesterday:


Yow! Mousies from Geane in Charleston, WV, Margaret in Chicago, IL, Joanna in Austin, TX, Renee in Saint Paul, MN, Melissa in Shoreview, MN, Jennifer in Great Falls, MT, Kala in Santa Fe, NM, Michelle in Los Angeles, CA, Anne in Hudson, MA, Maureen in San Francisco, CA, Cathy in Aurora, CO, Tina in Gainesville, FL (and thanks so much for the lavender soap, Tina), Katrina in (no address on ticket, but you probably know who you are, eh?), Iona in Seattle, WA, Glynis in Round Rock, TX, Ginny in Hanover, Canada, Orochi in Tokyo, Japan, Yumi in Japan, Tiffany in Richmond, Canada. Ayako in Japan, — these international mice stuffed and forwarded by Rose — Pamela in Dauners Grove, IL, Karen in Bel Air, MD, and Ruth in New York, NY.

To quote — well, my regular readers know who I’m quoting: “Wow! Wowie, wow, wow, wow!” Thank you all. And Lucy thanks you for all the tidbits you tucked in your packages for her.

I think Capital Animal Care is going to sell some mice this weekend at an event they’re sponsoring, btw. This will be the mousie debut. ๐Ÿ™‚

I Haven’t Forgotten Marina

I’m just a cuff away!


If I Were Giving a Prize . . .

. . . for the most unusual pet photo sent to me during the Mouse-a-thon, Danielle would win.


There are her hermit crabs, Neptune and Ephyra, posing as Mouse-a-thon spokesmodels.

And in the running for the Izzy Look-a-like Prize?


This is Spicey, Jan’s kitty.

Adorable doggie photo?


This is Renee’s Homer, who emailed me over the weekend to plead with me to give his mommy the address for mouse submissions, as he was under attack!

Stop the Presses!

Because we have another mouse-a-thon prize!


This is the Times Cable Swingcoat, generously donated by Melissa Gaul. Thank you Melissa!

The Head Mouse Bagger worked overtime this weekend.


We took a shopping bag full of mousies to Barbara, the director of Capital Animal Care, on Saturday. I wish you guys could have seen how delighted she was. You all have made her very happy. We’re going to bring her a couple more bags next Saturday.

And speaking of rodents, over the weekend I received mousies from Andrea in Kensington, MD, Krista in Cambridge, MA, Mary in Glendale, NY, Margaret in Oregon, WI, Janet in Riverside, CA, Michelle in Takoma Park, MD, Alison in Brookline, MA, and Silvia in Petaluma, CA. Many thanks to all of you. You can see how close to 1000 we are now!

As I mentioned last week, we’re going to wait until I’m relatively certain I have everyone’s entries before doing the raffle. So if you’ve not yet mailed your mousies and think you’re too late . . . you’re not! Just send them in asap, please, and you’ll still be in time for the drawing.

I Haven’t Forgotten About Marina

Friday evening was all about mouse bagging, but I did do some work on Marina.


And a close-up.


So I’ll be finishing her by the end of the week, assuming work doesn’t interfere too much.

And I started a new sock. Pix of that tomorrow.


You didn’t think you’d get away without a look at Lucy, did you?


Okay. I knitted the Oregon Cardi earlier this year. Shortly thereafter, a new redesigned Oregon cardi appeared for sale at

Then I knitted Henry VIII. Shortly thereafter a new redesigned Henry VIII appeared for sale at

I’m knitting Marina now and am near the end. Anyone wanna guess what showed up on the Virtualyarns website the other day?

Freaky coincidences!!!!!

If I’m feeling extremely self-important, I conjecture that the Starmores read my blog. When I start knitting one of their designs, they hurry to get it up on their website asap so people who have seen mine will be able to order and knit it.

No, I don’t really think that’s what’s going on. But it would be really cool if it was, huh? HUH?

What? The world doesn’t revolve around me?

EX-treme Knitting Update!

The knitting of the Extreme Hedonism is done.


I knitted my end flap (which will be secured with velcro) in garter stitch, because I figured it wouldn’t roll. I’ll need to create the filling and stuff it, but I’ll do that after the Mouse-a-thon is over.

And probably after the current insanity at work is done with.

(At work, we are very soon going to kick off a huge project, which spawns a huge amount of work for us — posting details, explanations, FAQs, etc. on our website, setting up a List-SERV for updates about what all this entails, writing scripts for a Call Center, training our staff about what’s going, and conducting outreach for anyone who wants it. So I am in crunch mode.)

More than you wanted to know. But if you email me and I don’t respond in what you consider to be a timely fashion, all of the above is my excuse!

Even More Q&A

Joanne asked:

It’s fun to watch your sweaters-in-progress, which brought a question to mind. Do you keep any kind of knitting journal? If so, what is it like… detailed? just pictures? labels and yarn samples included? etc.

Do I keep a knitting journal? You’re reading it now.


Linda asked:

Wendy, when you order from J&S do you tell them the name of the design you are ordering for, or do you just prepare the list of colors and order the right number per color, or both? thanks!

I just give them the list of colors, using their color numbers, and of course how many skeins I want of each color.

Marta asked:

It’s my birthday this weekend and HRB has granted permission for a Dale kit (huh? what’s a dollie? you’re moving something?) purchase – any suggestions for a first timer?

A beautiful but easy Dale is the Sirdal pullover — you can check mine out in my knitting gallery.

And Let Us Not Forget . . .


Progress on the secnd sleeve is slow because I seem to be working late every day.



Lucy Sez . . .


Come! Join me in the happy mouse-a-thon dance!

For we have received mousies from Brynne in Boulder, CO, Laura in San Francisco, CA, and Jan in Glenshaw, PA. Thank you!!!

Ooh! Look at the total! we’re gonna break 1000 fer shure!

The deadline is September 30, but if you have mousies to send, send ’em in now! We won’t be conducting the raffle until I’m reasonably sure I’ve got all the mice that y’all have sent.

Happy weekend, all!

Whazzat? It’s Thursday Already?

Not sure how it got to be Thursday, but here we are . . .

More Q&A!

Lisa asked:

I see that in the Tuesday Marina photo, you’re doing the cuffs on circulars. Are they 12″? Do you do all your cuffs on circs? Curious. Thanks!!

I use 12″ circulars if I can. Most of the fair isles I’ve done have been successfully navigated with 12″ circs. Every now and then I make something with a tighter cuff that requires dpns. But for colorwork, I find it much easier to use a circular than dpns so I do so whenever I possible can.

Caroline asked:

Sock question: to make a sock that fits nicely all the way down despite standard variations in the general leg shape, would you use a 2×2 ribbing for the whole thing? or 3×1? What do you think would give the best fit? Thanks!!

I try to do a ribbing that pulls the sock in as much as possible, so I’d use a 2×2 over a 3×1. Depending on what the total number of stitches is divisible by, sometimes I do a k3 p2 ribbing.

Yes, I am a wild woman.

Mail Call!


I am sure my mail carrier hates me by now.

Mouse mail! I got mouse mail!

Mousies from Karen in Huntington Beach, CA, Rachael in Oakland, CA, Tiffany in Marietta, GA, Samantha in Austin, TX, Julie in San Mateo, CA, and Allana in New York, NY. Thanks to all!

And Lucy says thank you to Karen for the treats and to Allana for the fuzzy catnip balls!


By the Way . . .

Not all those packages were mousies, nosireebob! I betcha at least a couple of you recognize the big blue bag. I know Geane does, don’tcha? Huh?

Because the big blue bag is from Jamieson & Smith and was filled with this!


Two bags full. Here’s the flip side of those bags:


Look at that! Some of the yarn is in balls with ball bands.

(Hello to Joyce and Lesley at J&S and thanks very much!)

Anyone want to hazard a guess what two projects I’ll be knitting with this wool?

And that’s not all . . .

I got this:


It’s an electric ball winder, capable of winding up to an 8 oz. skein.

Be still, my heart.

I Gotcha FAQs Right Here, Baby

My world is full of FAQs right now, as I’m making up stuff (er, drafting useful information) for our website at work.

So the knitting FAQs come naturally right now.

Gwen asked:

Now that I’ve got an excuse to comment, I’ve been meaning to ask you, have you ever adopted a women’s sweater pattern for a man? I’m knitting Cromarty (from Aran Knitting) for a friend of a friend, and I know I’m going to have to lengthen both body and sleeves. So I don’t screw up the pattern repeat on the body, I’m thinking of doing a separate cabled panel that will run horizontally (like the neckband, but at the waist and about 4 inches wide) and either sewing it on after or picking up hem stitches as I go. I’m guessing that the sleeves will be less problematic, but I’d love a word of advice from the most seasoned aran knitter I know.


I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never converted a woman’s sweater for a man. The arans I’ve knit are mostly unisex — tending toward being more flattering for men than women anyway. Does anyone else have any input on this subject?

And from Andrea:

I got my Woolcraft book in the mail yesterday, and I see that they have Marina as a cardigan. Does Scottish Collection have it as a pullover or did you alter the pattern?

The Scottish Collection does have a pattern for the pullover version of Marina, so I expended no extra brain power on this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

However, my next knitting project, I think, will involve converting a cardi to a pullover, so stay tuned!

And speaking of Marina (well we were, weren’t we?) here she is.


Excuse me for one moment.

Okay, here she is:


Hmmmmm . . . it seems to be missing something. Oh, right. I have to knit the second sleeve. I did cut open the second steek and start it last night.

Ooh! Ooh! Lookie here!


I totally blame Mary for this purchase. Because didn’t she blog about some yummy handpainted sock yarn she had a week or so ago? And conveniently put in a link to the seller, Over the Rainbow Yarns?

This is handpainted sock yarn in a color called coffeecup. How could I possibly resist??

Mouse Alert!

Another passle o’ mousies arrived last night! Mousies from Cherilyn in Toronto, April in Los Angeles, CA, and a big package from Germany that contained mousies from Beate, Melanie, Ursula, Katrin, and Iris. Included with the mousies was a dear little tiny sock that looks like it’s knitted from Opal Royal, if I’m not mistaken.


And a present for Lucy — a little fuzzy ball that rattles that she is now besotted with!

Thank you all, from Lucy and me!


By the way, the sound file you hear when you load my blog is Howard from “Last of the Summer Wine” murmuring “Oh Marina!” followed by a sheep bleating. Classy, huh?

I’ll be at a conference all day today, so you guys carry on without me, ‘k?