My current work in progress:

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



And it’s supposed to get a bit cooler today. But not by much. It’s 5:00 a.m. and 71 degrees.

Lucy is waiting patiently.


Those of you with snow who offered to send me some? Bring it on! Lucy would appreciate it.

Booga Bag Update


I’ve finished the bottom of my bag and started the sides. As you’ll recall from yesterday, I cast on 60 stitches and did 40 rows. I picked up 19 stitches on each of the short sides, and 60 stitches on the cast on side. That gives us a total of 158 stitches around, for those of you keeping score.

In my comments yesterday, Vanessa suggested doing an i-cord loop for a button to use as a closure. Pure brilliance! I haven’t done an i-cord finish on my previous bags, but I will on this one, and incorporate her great suggestion.

(And Janet, yes, I am using size 10.5 needles. Check my sidebar for my current works in progress and you’ll see that I always list the needle size I’m using.)

Teaching Knitters

In yesterday’s comments, speaking about teaching new knitters, Purl said:

I find that the biggest challenge is how to get them over the hurdle of their first dropped stitch(es). Any ideas?

What I’ve done in the past when teaching coworkers to knit is to tell them to practice on their own, and if they drop a stitch or something looks not quite right to stop there and bring it to me the next day. Then I can scrutinize the work and tell them what happened, and show them how to fix it.

This works very well when you are teaching someone you see every day. And it’s not long before they start figuring out and fixing their own errors.


Dorothy asked:

What gauge does the Hebridean knit to? Could you substitute it for the 2-ply jumper weight that Starmore uses in many of her patterns? I love the colors in the Smith & Jamieson Shetland, but it is rather coarse – is the Hebredian softer?

The Hebridean is slightly heavier than jumperwieght shetland, so some modification is needed. Not a whole lot — it might just be a matter of knitting one size smaller with Hebridean than with jumperweight and adjusting the length slightly. My gauge with the 2-ply Hebridean is 7 st/inch on a 3.25mm needle. My gauge for shetland jumpweight is closer to 8 st/inch on a 3.25mm needle.

And it is softer than shetland — significantly so. If feels lovely to work with and to wear.

Time to head off to work . . .


  1. I agree with your approach to teaching newbies how to deal with dropped stitches. (This is truly part of the learning process). I can visualize teacher and student “scrutinizing” the knitted piece and figuring out how to pick up that nasty, wayward stitch.

    I truly believe that there are levels to knitting mastery. A knitter leaves the beginner stage when not only he/she can knit and purl, increase and decrease, but when she starts being able to “read” her fabric and be willing to try some fix-up strategies when appropriate.

  2. I agree. Once the fear factor has been dealt with, it’s easier to move on & challenge yourself. My “star pupil” at work has been so diligent about learning from her mistakes. She’s now spotting mistakes and correcting them herself. She’s on the way to becoming a great knitter. The ones that don’t try to learn on their own and always come to me to “fix it” are the ones that will won’t advance their skills.

    Poor Lucy, she grew that gorgeous winter coat only to have a heat wave come through! Sidney & Bobby say “meow”.

  3. I agree – when I first started knitting, I didn’t believe EZ’s advice that “you’ll know what to do to fix a dropped stitch, and if it doesn’t look right, let it down and try again”. Now that I’ve had it work for me, I feel like I’m on the way to “being the boss of my knitting”. But it does take time…

  4. When I was learning how to knit, I didn’t even worry about dropped stitches–I just kept on knitting. I think my personal philosophy was “This is a first swatch and I’ll just knit through the mistakes until I get the hang of the stitch.” The end result being that I rarely drop stitches. I did learn how to fix them once I’d gotten the hang of things.

    I guess what I’m driving at is that when I teach newbies, I try to minimize the stress that they may feel. Some folks (like former crocheters) are much more comfortable than the total yarn virgin. But overall, I try to get them to focus on making the stitch correctly in swatching so that they feel confident in that.

    I’m going to be teaching a workmate soon, though, and I’ll probably do the drop stitch lesson in her second “class.”

  5. Hi Wendy,
    I was at SOAR last week and on my way home I stopped at the famous bakery and knit shop near Traverse City Mi. and bought some kureyon 91 to knit a booga bag. question—Does your other bags take most of three skeins? Three is what I bought and I would like to make my bag larger also.

  6. I suppose if I made all those fabulous fairisles, I’d want snow, too. So I will forgive your evil tempting of the snow gods!! I love your booga bags. I really wish I had a washing machine so I could play felt!

  7. I’m buying shares in Noro if this pace is maintained! Yet another gorgeous bag, and the i-cord detail will provide the perfect opportunity to shop for buttons! I also noticed the fabric store selling the “tortoise shell” handles that beaded vintage bags used. Have you thought of trying to make a bag using those handles or the bamboo hoops? Could be fun…

  8. Your bags are looking fabulous! I have big heart for Noro. I finished a felted bag recently and used i-cord for both the loop and the button for the closure — love it!

  9. Hi Wendy,

    I’m so glad you’re doing a bigger Booga bag. I want to attempt a larger one too but have only 4 skeins of Kureyon. Think that’s enough for the size you’re making?

  10. Thanks to Wendy for putting me on to the booga bag too.

    For Janice: mine took two skeins for the bag and a half skein for the cord. So by my arithmetic (adding up the total number of stitches in the bag and scaling up from two to two and a half skeins) you could increase the bag by 10% or just over each way: say 40 stitches and rows for the base, pick up 19 stitches at the short ends as well as 40 on the other long side, and knit 70 rows on the 118-stitch round. In fact having done the sums, I think I’ll try it for my next one.

    You could also knit your cord first and then let yourself knit round the top of the bag until your wool is used up.