My current work in progress:

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


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!



  1. I found a size 8 32 inch Susan Bates circ at the thrift store (for $2.99!) that I’m in love with. It’s shiny metal and just the perfect weight. The join’s even rather smooth. They just don’t make them like that anymore!

    My Lola proved to me that big dogs like the mice, too. She waited a little while for the cats to get tired of Mr. Mouse, and then she went in for the kill. It wasn’t long until he was turned into yarny carnage.

  2. Wendy, when you knit a Dale of Norway, do you go down a needle size when you are knitting the plain as opposed to the patterned part of the sweater? Do you block your Dales? I have trouble keeping my tension even when I switch from patterned to plain knitting.

  3. Wendy, I’ve been wondering on what day the total would go over a thousand. Here we are! WOW indeed! Nice to be a part of such a group.

    An unexpected bonus. My daughter saw your site when my handsome kitty Maxwell was the “featured pet of the day” and she asked if I thought she could learn how to knit these (her BF has 2 kitties). So when she visited a couple of weeks ago, I taught her how and she made and stuffed 2 of them. The day after she gave them to her BF’s kitties, she asked if I thought that knitting a scarf would be easier or harder. Ah, life is good. Happy day, all.

  4. Jan, I do go down a needle size for the plain parts of a Dale.

    Mrs. C, that’s great news about your daughter. You’ve brought another knitter into the fold! Yay!

    Speaking of great news, I’ll have some to announce in tomorrow’s blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wow, 1100 mice! That’s pretty spectacular – especially when I try to imagine what they look like all piled up in one place!

  6. I’m so lucky when it comes to needle purchasing. I’m way too poor to buy many at a time but, since I get paid for my knitting and don’t have to buy the yarn for my projects, I can afford to buy decent needles as needed every time I begin something new. Maybe one day, like you, all of my SB circs will be replaced with Addis and bamboo. Of course, I need lots since I do 2 circs rather than dpns – such a good way to excuse myself for buying doubles! Now I just have to see if I can get any $$ for my 40 or so pairs of 14″ aluminum straights off ebay…. I can’t even recall the last time I used them.

  7. Me thinks you need to tip your mail carrier…maybe a handknit pair of mittens or a scarf?

  8. Having spent last evening in frustration, I now have a question for debate…when the pattern for a cardigan says “pick up x number of stitches for the front bands”, do you pick up x number of stitches or just something mathematically close? I’m doing the finishing work on AS’s “Rosemarkie” vest, and the bands are 406 stitches, with 98 to the first marker, then 80 to the back stitches, do the back, then 80 and 98 again. I ripped out at least four times before I hit on a pattern that would allow me to get 98 to the front marker, and a different pattern for the 80. YUCK!!! So, how do you deal with this task? (Sorry to be so long-winded)

  9. Off topic for today’s post, but that sound clip is spooky! At least on my tiny little speakers, it’s spooky.

  10. Wowie wow wow is right! I can’t believe how many mousies you’ve gotten already!!! But then again, I do believe it as you are da bomb girlfriend! You have helped and inspired so many people! Why not make mousies for you?!? BTW, do you think you’ll get more than 1500? I will have more coming as I am waiting for at least two more packages from people!!!

    I am getting excited about the mouses debut…. I hope it’s a hit!

    As for needles… Oye! I have so many wooden and metal circs and dpns…. (How did I get 7 size 1’s???) But hey, as long as I use them right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. In response to Deb’s question about front bands, I never end up picking up what the pattern says, because it’s always too many or two few. I used to just guestimate, but then I read a method to pick up say 2 stitches to every three rows, or 3 to every 4. Meaning, insert needle into each horizontal row to pick up a stitch for 3 consecutive rows, then skip the next one, then start again. I have found this to work really well and give me a smooth flat band.

    we’ll see what wendy thinks…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    congrats on all the mousies. my kitties are jealous.

  12. Hi Wendy ๐Ÿ™‚
    I looked at the Starmores new versions of Marina and I must say, yours is the most beautiful of all. The colours just glow. It is the epitome of what fair isle should be to me! Can’t wait to see it on you ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Wendy, now that you are almost done with the sleeves I have a question for you. Do you have a million ends to weave in or do you weave in the colors as you go?

    I am so impressed you are well over 1000 mousies! How cool is that?


  14. SO: What’s next after Marina???

  15. Hi.
    Wendy do you know which Alice Starmore book has the instructions for making a Wool Board to dry sweaters on? Thanks.


  16. I like the new sock! Cool colors. Which Regia number is that one??

  17. ackkk… my mice are coming, but i don’t want to be entered in the contest so no worries there. i hope to have them to you by end of week. sorry for the delay but i got flighty with moving and stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Mandy, (if I’m not stepping on your toes Wendy!) there are online instructions at

    These are the full step by step instructions on how to make your own Wooly Board.

    Hope this helps!