My current work in progress:

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


It’s Friday and . . .

I’m not going to work! Yay!

Took the day off, and rightly so, I think, after several weeks of nonstop work at an insane pace.

Today I shall be making a cake and a gourmet dinner for someone who is having a birthday this weekend.

Lucy is primping for the birthday party.


Holding Yarns for Fair Isle

Some discussion of this in yesterday’s comments. And requests for photos of how I hold my yarn.

I’d rather not, because I don’t really think my method is a good one for anyone to emulate. Yes, I hold both colors in my left hand and throw with my left hand. And I consistently do the background color on top and the foreground color on the bottom. But sometimes I thrown the bottom color with my middle finger and sometimes I drop both colors and pick them up. I’m the poster child for how not to hold your colors. But it does seem to work for me, my tension is fine, and doesn’t slow me down, so there you have it.

My colors never get tangled because I float — never strand.

More Q&A

Priscilla asked:

I am wondering what kind of knitting bags you recommended, for taking with you during a long commute (I go from Philadelphia to NYC every day).

I always tend to lean toward more compact and portable than large and all-encompassing. I have a lot of different knitting bags, and which one I take depends on the size of my project.

Right now my commuter knitting — my Booga Bag — is in a small paper shopping bag (about 8 x 10″). That’s perfect for it!

Sammi asked (and others of you have asked in the past):

This is completely the wrong season for the project, but I was wondering if you ever completed the Watercolor Camisole I saw you started a while back? I remember you commenting that the cotton was a pain on the hands to work with, but I didn’t know if you finished it up anyhow ๐Ÿ™‚

Nope. didn’t finish it. It’s not worth hurting my hands and wrists for it. As far as I’m concerned. ๐Ÿ™‚

And to close, a photo of my latest Booga Bag in progress.


Have a good weekend, all!


  1. I have knit a few fair isle sweaters, but I don’t know the difference between floating and stranding. Will you explain?

  2. Wendy,

    Your Booga bag looks awesome. I started mine this week and have about 20 rounds to go. It looks tiny though. Do you mind sharing your gauge? The pattern does not mention gauge.

    Thanks for the inspiring knitting!

  3. Love the booga bag–I think that’s going to be my cottage project this weekend.

    And I too would like to hear the difference between stranding and floating. I’m not sure what I do. I used to weave a la Philosopher’s Wool method, but found it took too many extra movements. Now I follow the idea (I still knit 2 handed) but only after every 5 or so stitches in one colour.

    Have a great day off and weekend.

  4. You definitely deserve a day off, Wendy! I hope you get to knit while the cake is in the oven. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be *ordering* a birthday cake today for my 4 year old son (no way could I do a Spider Man or Star Wars icing decoration myself!), so maybe I’ll knit while I’m waiting in line at Giant! Have a great weekend!

  5. Hi Wendy:

    Your booga bag has a beautiful color blend. Can’t wait to see it felted.

    Feels good to sleep in, doesn’t it? Say happy birthday to your special someone.

  6. When I notice questions being asked of you that have been asked numerous times before – espeically the ones I’ve asked previously – I wonder if it would help you to have a “Frequently Asked Questions” section in your blog. You could have us every-day readers do the work for you – come up with a list of those questions? Could even be combined with a contest???

  7. Oooh! I like Roi’s idea of a contest for FAQ’s. So how would you do it? Whoever asks the dumbest question gets the prize? ๐Ÿ™‚

    I too would like to know the difference between floating & stranding. Maybe the answer *is* in past Wendy-blogs, but I get to read this at work & don’t have the time to read up on all previous editions.

  8. Floating vs stranding (I’m not Wendy but I’ll attempt an answer)

    Floating is carrying the unused color behind your work (or in front if purling) until needed it to knit again, whether it be one stitch or many.

    Stranding is similar, but in this case, if you have more than stitches of the same color in a row to knit, at about the fifth stitch you would “catch” the unused yarn in your knit stitch so the float portion would be 5 stitches (or wherever you catch it). I believe this concept is used commonly in Norwegian knitting, for instance Dale of Norway sweaters, since they may have large color blocks. Fair Isles don’t have such long color blocks from what I’ve observed.

    This is my observation on the difference. I hope this helps!


  9. Sentence clarification — … if you have more than five stitches of the same color …

  10. I am extremely new at two-color knitting, so this may be a dumb question; bear with me. Given Karen’s excellent definition of floating vs. stranding, I am wondering how you, Wendy, are able to never strand. What do you do if you have more than 5 sts. in a row of the same color? Also, is five some sort of accepted number? I am having a hard time knowing how many is acceptable in a row since I have read up to eleven in one of the books, which seems like an awful lot, and have heard as low as three. Again, I am sure Wendy discussed this somewhere, but can anyone add anything more to this discussion to enlighten me?


  11. I did a search in my blog archives, and here’s what I said last February about floats:

    To Float or To Weave?

    That is the question. I used to weave. But no longer. Now I float, always. Even for long stretches, like ten stitches. As long as I make sure I’ve got my stitches spread out well on the needle while I knit, I have no problem with tension. I find that weaving sometimes shows on the right side. At least it does when I do it. When working with shetland wool, floats adhere to the back side of the work with no problem, so you don’t have a bunch of messy loops like you might think.

    BTW, any of you can search my archives — there’s a search box in the sidebar just for that purpose.

  12. Ruth D, in Houston says:

    I didn’t know the diff between floats and strands until Karen answered. But I still have a question.

    I knitted my F.I. using the 2 handed method from Philosophers Wool… It is sort of a float but I think it is more weaving because you catch the yarn on every other stitch…sometimes I would do it every 2 stitches. I like the look of the back of the work. I think it may use a little more yarn though.

  13. Ruth D, in Houston says:

    Oh and my question would be am I floating or weaving and now Wendy has answered it.

  14. Ruth D, in Houston says:

    It is true that weaving will let the other yarn color show through. But the 2 handed method has you put the main color in the right and the the contrast color in the left. When I would change the colors around I would see a “peaking through”
    of the other yarn.

  15. Here’s to days off and more time to kick back with the knitting!

    I think I’m going to have to make a run to my LYS and get more Kureyon. I used 2 of the 3 balls I had to make a pair of Fuzzy Feet, and now I desperately want to make a Booga Bag, they just look so fun and fuzzy and useful… Maybe I could get away with using my Cascade 220. *plots and schemes*

  16. Happy birthday Ian!! I know Wendy has a great present in store for you…..

  17. I have never had a bad experience with floats, which is what I prefer. I did strand the sleeves for a baby cardigan I just made for an infant as I made it in Baby Ull instead of shetland, which is “slicker”. (Wendy is right about shetland sticking together.) I wanted to make sure those little fingers didn’t get caught in the wool.

    Wendy dahlink, you kick back, relax and have a great little party! Give Lucy a little rub for me!
    (No need to groom… You’re gorgeous dahlink!)

    My Booga bag in color 40 broke my washer (it was god-knows-how old and on it’s last leg….), I call it the $1600.00 bag now…. So, I won’t be able to felt my color 89 till Saturday… ๐Ÿ™

    But I have a new washer and dryer!! WOO HOO!

  18. troiscoquettes says:

    Rose, there’s a trick to make sure the baby ‘starfish fingers’ don’t get caught in the sleeve floats or lace holes while trying to wangle on something with sleeves:

    Stick your finger up into the sleeve. Then let the little baby starfish fingers grasp it (it’s pretty instinctive), then pull your finger (with the deathgrip starfish fingers grasping securely around your finger) back thru the sleeve.


    Wish I could take credit, but I read it somewhere ages ago — it’s a really great tip for dressing a baby… in a hand-knit or in general!

    -3c (Catherine)

  19. Okay- I discovered knitting blogs two days ago… evil stuff. I have 8 zillion beautiful but unfinished projects, and cast them all aside because I just *had* to knit a cat toy… and I don’t even have a cat! Even worse, I ignored my houseful of leftover yarn, and took scrap yarn from SOMEONE ELSE to do it… so that I could make it in orange, to match my friend’s cat… I’m such a joiner… how do I start a blog???

  20. Kathy – Thanks very much! Yes, I DID get that very special present from Wendy. “Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more…”