My current work in progress:

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


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.


  1. Oh my god. Electric? I love it. I didn’t even know they made one. And I didn’t NEED to know, thanks very much. Just add it to my Christmas wish list…..

  2. …and just where does one *find* one of those electric babies?

    As for J&S, I’m not sure I like the new balls. I, know, I know, it’s the same yarn, but for some reason, shetland yarn = hanks to me.

    Mind you, I don’t *mind* winding balls. And I might mind it even less with an electric ball winder…

  3. I know what you mean, Katherine. Shetland is *supposed* to be in hanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    If you Google for “electric ball winder” you’ll find lots of mail order sources. As near as I can tell, the only company that makes them is Schacht Spindle Co. There are two sizes — to wind a 4 oz. or an 8 oz ball. The 4 oz winder you have to tnesion manually, but the 8 oz. winder has an adjustable tension guide, which is why7 I bought that one.

    They are both way too expensive. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. you just have to be careful with the new j&s balls, cause they have less yardage than the old 1 oz. hank, the balls are 25 grams (i think, still waking up.) i always order an extra just in case ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. You are correct, Vanessa, which is why I always order amounts given for the larger size and make the smaller size.

  6. Karen in Denmark says:

    Beautiful colors, Wendy.

    Just a naive question — if one doesn’t have an electric ball winder – what’s the best way to wind yarn that is hanked into balls? Are there any tricks to speed the process? I put the hank around the back of my rocking chair and then start winding — by hand. I guess that’s why they invented electric ball winders?

  7. 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.

  8. I recognized that bright blue bag right off, but thought some other J&S fan just used it for mice (well until I read further.) Can’t wait to see what you use all that gorgeous yarn for!

  9. In answer to Karen, I am one of the unlucky ones who still winds by hand, but I don’t mind it too much. I learned a great trick that allows you to pull you yarn from the center of the ball and produces a ball that resembles the type of ball you get from a ball winder and swift. Wind the yarn loosely around your thumb for awhile (making sure you leave a 6-8 inch tail hanging down your thumb since this will be the end from which you pull the yarn when you start knitting). Once you have wound a good amount of yarn around your thumb, take it off of you thumb and just place it right at the tip of your thumb, holding it in place with your forefinger. You can know wind the yarn around it as you would when normally winding a ball of yarn. Be sure to keep your tension loose, though, so you don’t stretch the yarn. You should also be careful not to cover the hole in the center where the tail is hanging since this will be your center pull. You will end up with a “ball” that has a flat bottom and will sit nicely for you, one that won’t roll around all over the place.

    As much as I covet a ball winder and swift, I have been happy enough with this method so far to keep me from splurging and ordering them.

  10. Thanks, Wendy, for the ball-winder information. More important, actually than the source :-). I’m going to do some searching and see if I can convince myself I *need* one of these.

    And my rule of thumb is that anything you really want will always be Too Expensive ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. 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!
    Marina looks wonderful, very sporty.

  12. (thud!) oh, my, I think I must have the vapors! An ELECTRIC ball winder! So, should I send my skeins right over? I like a spit join, please.
    Lucy looks beautiful – she’s filled out so nicely and her coat is gorgeous. Yes, (refering to your email of many moons ago) Portia is also filling out nicely and getting richer, deeper colors. Not the cute, scrawny, little kitten she was a year ago.

    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?

  13. Of course I know what that is…Now, WHERE’S MINE???!!!!! #;{

  14. I ordered mine long before you ordered yours, sweetie!

  15. Wendy, I am going to order the yarn for Rona (ITH) and when I was looking on a site at the conversions, on a couple they had the same color numbers listed for completely different colors. If I ask J&S for a certain color but can’t give them the number, do they figure it out? Or do I just really need to dig up the right ones? ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t believe how great their prices are.

  16. WOW!! Loot at all those knitting goodies! I am so envious.

    You have inspired me to try a fair isle. I’ve done lots of Dales, so I can do colorwork and steeks, but I’ve never knitted an actual fair isle. Anyway, could you let me know the Jamiesons’ address or website where you made these wonderful yarn purchases? I’d be ever so grateful!

  17. That is a funky looking gizmo! I thought it was a lamp — and couldn’t exactly understand why the base of the lamp was a red toaster.

    Sounds very cool!

  18. It’s not the postal service you should be worried about, it’s the Feds. They probably think you are doing contraband or drug deals in your condo.
    Like Geane, I know what that sweater combo is but promise not to tell. hehe
    I lack a swift & use a hat stand instead. I would snap the yarn if I had an electric winder. However, after all the ball winding you have done over the years, I reckon u deserve an electric one.

  19. Test

  20. An electric ball winder… ::shakes:: I want ooooooooone!

  21. Wendy, I’m planning my first Starmore–Tara–and just finished studying the pics of yours. I haven’t started swatching yet, but I’d like to do the sweater in something that will give me gauge using one strand, rather than the two strands called for in the pattern. I was wondering if you worked the pattern with a singe or double strand of yarn and if you think it will make any difference in the outcome. Any suggested yarns?

  22. Wendy, in your gallery pages I noticed that most of your Dale sweaters have a small patch on the sleeve. Where do you get those. I am considering the Sirdal or the Baby St Anton, as my first project. I would love to be able to do “Marina” some day. Your work is lovely!

  23. I would like to “knit along” on a project with you. Would you consider telling us your next project before you order the wool? I could then order and receive my wool in the same time frame, and (hopefully) progress as you do.
    Your work is inspiring.

  24. Shirley, in PA says:

    Wendy, I’m also knitting the leaf cardigan from Poetry in Stitches – up to the third color band, and I know you’ll finish before me. But you changed it to a pullover? Didn’t you buy those special, gorgeous pricey buttons for the cardigan? Why the change.