My current work in progress:

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


Feeling Needled?

Good discussion on dpns in yesterday’s comments, and the merits of the different types.

Pretty much the only thing I use dpns for is socks. For cuffs and collarbands and everything else in a small circumference, I try my level best to use a small circular. Sometimes a cuff is too small for my 12″ circular, and I have to whip out the dpns, but most of the time I get by without.

So, as I said, my dpns are for socks only. and most of the time I’m knitting socks, I’m using fingering weight yarn, and my needle size of choice is a US 0, or 2.0mm. And that, sadly, narrows the playing field for sock needles, cuz not all needles come that small.

(Isn’t this pitiful? Are the tears welling up yet?)

My “dream” sock needles would be ebony dpns in size 2.0mm, 5.5″ inches long.

(Wait! That reminds of a song lyric:

“Zoot suit
White jacket with side vents, 5 inches long”

Extra credit to whoever can identify the song and artist!)

Boy, that brings back memories of my misspent youth.

Sorry — back to the subject.

I suppose there’s a reason that they don’t make 2.0mm needles. Like maybe they’re too fragile? I dunno.

Speaking of Music . . .

I was saddened to hear of Warren Zevon’s death the other day. Last time I saw him in concert was . . . oh . . . maybe ten years ago, at a small club in DC (The Bayou in Georgetown). Warren was always my Number One choice for “Sexiest Male Singing Voice.”

Speaking of Ebony . . .

Ooh! Ooh! Lookie what I got!


This little gem is an ebony fountain pen, beautfully handcrafted by the lovely and talented Caroline Morse — she of Fiber Arts and Furry Critters and A Twist on Wood.

Is it not fabulous?

Yes, I am a pen geek.


I smoothed Marina out prettily and didn’t compress this photo as much as the last one:


Mousies on Parade!

Mousies received from Lydia, in Charlottesville, VA, Rose in Seattle, WA, and Susan in Wanaka, New Zealand. Susan’s mice came via Rose, who in addition to contributing rodents of her own, is one of the official mouse-stuffers for international mice!

Rose also kindly enclosed some toys for the very pampered very spoiled Lucy.

Some action shots:



  1. It’s the Who, “Cut My Hair”…

    and apparently I’m the only other person who gets up this early!

  2. Yes, and now the song is going to be running through my head all day. Mebbe I’ll take the CD to work with me.

  3. i’m up early, i just didn’t know the answer ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. mmmmmm fountain pen… nib… I’m not so much a pen geek as a pen snob, and I would take a fountain pen over anything any time (almost) ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Zoot Suit Riot by I believe…the Squirrell Nut Zippers?!?

  6. I know Lucy is quite pamped as it is, but do give her my “oohs and aahs” — she’s so cute when she’s posing for her web photos! ;^)

  7. Yum yum, wooden dpns *and* fountain pens (have to have fine nibs though)- 2 of my favourite needs. Fortunately you haven’t mentioned spinning wheels and roving so craving crisis averted.

  8. Beautiful pen. I’m a pen geek too especially Parker so I’ll have to be visiting Caroline’s site…

  9. Who was obviously too sleepy to read the comments in order….silly me, sorry for the wasted space!

  10. gabba gabba hey. (don’t worry jenny, SNZ did “Hell”, not “Zoot Suit Riot” anyway. “ZSR” was by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.)

    My cats have catnip pillows similar to Lucy’s current drug buddy here. They LOVE them best of all, better even than the silly Dr. Seuss-like long-fingered glove I wear for them sometimes, better than the laser pointer I use to mess with their heads, better than a feather attached to a string attached to a stick, better even than little animals that have not only catnip but also crinkly plastic in them. The small fabric pillows with other animals printed on them are the only catnip toys I’ve ever had to replace – because Nicky actively rips holes in his (Boo tends to mostly just sit on them possessively).

  11. Oh, now you’ve BOTH got the Who stuck in my head! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Wendy, that’s such a shame about Warren Zevon, I hadn’t heard that bit of news.

  12. A resounding “me too” on the pen-geekery. It started with an old Parker 51 that was my grandfather’s… then a couple of Vacumatics on eBay… and you know how it goes from there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ In class, I usually take notes with a Waterman Phileas. Not too expensive or fancy, but a pretty nice pen for the price.

    Marina’s probably one of your prettiest Fair Isles yet! Or was that Oregon? It’s hard to choose!

  13. What I find surprising is how different cats react to catnip and catnip toys. Frazier, bless his dearly departed soul, needed to get his hind feet into the action. So before I knitted, I would just stuff an old wool sock full and sew up the end. Niles just eats catnip and doesn’t play with toys – unless they are dragged around on a string. Our neighbor kitty, Skipper, comes to visit every a.m. for a whole body roll and snort. I feel kinda sorry for Niles being sensory deprived or something?

  14. I’ve been fascinated by mahogoney needles of late (though I haven’t tried the double points yet). I’ve started making my own with decorative tops (can’t blog about it yet though as the first set are a surprise gift for my soon-to-be 13 year old). I think I’ll try a set of double points while I’m at it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Speaking of DPN’s, I don’t think anyone mentioned the bamboos that Plymouth makes. They come in a 6″ size which I like better than the Brittany 5″ (those tend to stick into my palm), and they’re just pointy enough. I don’t know if anyone else has had this problem with the Pony Pearls, but mine developed chips at the points–very annoying.
    I have a terrible time working with the 12″ circs, though. I think the needle length is too short and my hands tend to cramp up–even the 16″ Addi’s that I’ve been using to knit the mousies starts getting to me after a while.
    Pens–you obviously mean GOOD pens, I have bucketloads of tasteless and useless (i.e. pen with inhaler head and arms who has boxing gloves on) specimens donated by the drug companies. I love the 4-way pens (3 pens, 1 pencil) that the Franklin store carries. High quality and very functional.
    Mr. B sends regards to Lucy!

  16. I’ll miss Warren, too. Not sure I’d put him #1 in the sexy male voice category — Bryan Ferry and Chris Isaak are definitely competitive!

    Happy Hump Day to you and Lucy!

  17. Starting a sock class tomorrow, so all these DPN thoughts are a great intro — soon will learn what I like. Question for pen geeks, if I may: I have a vintage Parker Vacumatic that’s lost it’s decorative blue endpiece on the cap. Any source suggestions for replacement? Thanks! Now I’m off to see what wooden one I can get from Caroline.

  18. I just heard about Warren Zevon too. Well, monday I think. He lived something like 9 months longer than expected though. He was diagnosed with lung cancer around this time last year, and given three months to live, I believe. I remember a quote from him about wanting to live long enough to see the “new” james bond, which I think came out around the holidays last year.

    He’s been running on my CD player since I got up this morning.

    “Sexiest Male Singing Voice.” – well, he’s up there, but I think I’d probably put Leonard Cohen higher on my list.

    Now I’m off to read the dpn discussion from your comments yesterday.

  19. Ooooh, ooooh, fair isles, AND fountain pens?!?! All my favorites in one place!!! I bought some antique pens on eBay, then learned how to do simple repairs, then got into various colors of inks….sort of like Fair Isles….hmmm, I think I’m getting some insights here….

  20. For all you pen geeks out there . . .

    Sitting on my desk right now are my new fountain pen from Caroline, filled with green ink, a Mont Blanc Meisterstuck ballpoint pen (black ink), and a green marbled Waterman (don’t remember the syle name but it’s a higher end one) balpoint pen with green ink.

    I’ve had coworkers point and giggle when I take my 4-pen pen case out of my purse.

  21. Do all of you pen lovers know about Levengers? ( They are based here in Palm Beach County and have an outlet store in Delray Beach where the sale and discontinued pens are available (yes I’m enabling you all to come down here during your winter vacations). I have used the same Montblanc Meisterstruck ball point through two graduate degrees. I’d be heart-broken if I lost it.

    Warren Zevon was one of the voices of my mis-spent youth. I will miss his presence on the music scene. I’m glad he lived long enough to finish his last album and see his grand-children born.

  22. Warren Zevon’s passing was very sad. His sardonic/ironic take on life was refreshing during the uber-pop ’80s.

    Ooh! I love pens, too! I still use my Rapidograph set from college — can’t beat it for crisp, clean lines. Then there’s the whole “ceremony” of cleaning and priming the ink bladder — sublime!

  23. I love Levengers!!! I want their Newton pen in the worst possible way. Have you discovered Private Reserve Ink yet? Great colors, for those of us who like to live our lives in Technocolor. Not available in cartridges, though, but I prefer filling the converter anyway.

  24. Marina is a gorgeous girl!

    I use Plymouth Bamboo dpns and like them. My first set of dpns were Brittany birch (US 2), but I broke one within a week. The LYS didn’t have anymore in that size, so I ended up with Plymouth and like them very much.

    I love Parker pens too. My husband has one that I gave him as an anniverary gift twenty three years ago. Parker repaired it for him several years ago, so Maggi, you might see if they can’t replace the decorative piece on your pen cap.

  25. Wendy, I didn’t mean to taunt you and your contest on my blog. I liked your contest, it made me test my Google skills.

    After the “easy” comment, I hope I at least got the answer right. Now THAT would be embarrassing.

    I also have to admit to being a pen geek. I only own two, but I love them dearly and envy yours.

  26. Joe, I’m pleased anyway that I dragged you over here so you had to see Marina again. And hopefully be tempted to knit another fair isle soon.

    In other words:

    “Made ya look! Made ya look!”

    (Yes, your entry in my contest was corret.)

  27. But my typing sucks. That would be “correct.”

  28. Hurray! My package got there! I am so glad precious Lucy likes her kitty pillow, she looks like she is having fun with it… It is Maggie’s favorite toy (since Sam has shanghai’d every other toy for himself), and I find her in her cat bed sleeping with it all the time. I hope she like her other toys!

    I am a pen geek too! I have been collecting Mont Blancs and Watermans since college. I tell my hubby that they are cheaper than buying very fine jewelry, but precious enough to be collected. Plus, I must admit, I like to snail mail my letters to people. (I currently have lime green stationery from France that I use a Waterman in ocean blue ink.)

    As for my dpns, I have a set of Suzanne’s ebony in 2.5mm… I would like some 2.0mm but I think we are asking for trouble with that size!

    Marina is definitely on my to do list! I am just loving those colors!!!

  29. Rose, Lucy adores her little pillow. I’m saving the little balls to give her at a later time — don’t want her to expect to receive multiple new toys every day!

    Pen geeks of the world, unite!

  30. “Zoot Suit” by the Who. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love your blog!

  31. Close! If you had said “Cut My Hair” by the Who or “Zoot Suit” by the High Numbers, either would be correct, as that line is in both songs.

    And The Who were called The High Numbers when they recorded “Zoot Suit”

    I’m a geek. I know. Wouldja believe I have a 45 of “Zoot Suit”?

  32. Guess we all love hi tech and low tech tools. My love of pens began with the fountain pen that my Mother used everyday. Finally, when I was in high school, my parents gave me a Parker pen and pencil set.

    I have added a Montblanc and Waterman pens and strayed a little with a filigee sterling silver pencil.

    BTW, when I was in early grade school part of the curriculum was learning how to fill and use a fountain pen (and I am not 60 – yet).


  33. QueerJoe said “it made me test my Google skills”

    I did Edit, Find (IE) for mid-summer 2002. (Wendy had mentioned that was when she’d received yarn.) Would googling be faster?

  34. AJ, I used “ask jeeves” ( That is my search engine of choice because I ALWAYS find what I want on it. I tried “search this site” but it didn’t go back far enough. I found that same reference you did so I just went back and read that whole season until I got to the right entry. Fun contest. A challenge but not too much so.

  35. I guess I am unusual in that I’ve been using the Regia DPNs(with the cute different colored sock point protectors) for my socks when I haven’t been using the two-circ method. Sounds like everyone else is using wood or pony pearl? Well, I have had problems with my 0, 1 & 2 sizes of birch needles snapping in the middle of socks, which I find annoying, and the Regia needles are strong. I don’t have any of the bamboo needles in the super small sizes, but since I’m here in Japan, I will probably be picking some up soon!

  36. Wendy,
    I am currently knitting a raglan, very simple, no thought process needed. But I’d like to make a fair isle for my mom for christmas, yet I don’t know where to even begin to look. I thought since you are the goddess of fair isles that you could help. I’d really like to knit a Dale, yet it too flashy for dear ole mom, so, do you have any suggestions as to where I should look, or …. anything at all?!?!?!?
    Second of all, I like the wooden dpts.. but my all time favorites are the addi turbos. I found it surprising to find out that you can get them in dpts. Anyways, happy knitting on Marina…