My current work in progress:

Tawney Sweater,by Jenni Barrett, knit from MadelineTosh Tosh Sock, using 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles.

Archives for December 2003

December Contest

(I’ve blatantly stolen the idea for the December contest from QueerJoe, who had a similar contest . . . last spring, I think.)

WendyKnits presents . . .

The WKAT (Wendyknits Aptitude Test).

Here’s what you gotta do. Answer 20 questions. All answers to the questions are available in one form or another in my online world. Some are easy, some are tough.

WKAT Questions are located here.

Email me (use the “Contact Me” link in my sidebar) your answers (numbered in
order, please) by 5:00pm EST this Friday, December 12.

Whaddya get for your trouble?


Ten skeins of 100% worsted weight wool — Handsome Harry’s Hanks. The color is a sort of grey tan.

The individual with the highest score wins this:

In the even of a tie, we’ll draw a name.

Wendy has a new toy!

Yesterday I bought a new camera! This.

I did mention that I got a whopping big performance bonus at work recently. 🙂

I am beside myself with joy. I own a traditional film Canon EOS Rebel SLR camera, and this digital version of it is very similar in operation. Also, the lenses from the traditional SLR camera fit the digital! So I can use my incredibly expensive zoom lens with my new toy! Woo-hoo.

I did a side-by-side comparision of my new camera with the old one.

This is the back of Fern taken with the new camera:


And this is the back of Fern taken with the old camera:


These two photos were taken in the same location, same time, same light. In my photo editing software I cropped and reduced them in size, and compressed them exactly the same amount.

The color on the top photo, taken with the new camera, is near perfect — unretouched.

The bottom photo taken with the old camera is lightened up considerably because it was so dark. The color is way off.

The photos were taken in far-from-perfect conditions, so I’ll get better results with better light.

That’s the back of Fern, by the way — I’m more than three-quarters done with it.


And of course, I took several shots of Miss Lucy.


And this:


And this.


These were taken with the flash and Lucy was moving in all three photos, grooming herself. Look Ma, no blur!

Of Hats and Cowls

Yesterday I mentioned needing to make an emergency hat to shield me from winter cold. In the comments, Peg offered an excellent idea:

I highly recommend a cowl knitted out of alpaca – they’re very light and very very warm. And I don’t get flat hat hair after wearing it. Directions: cast on 166 stitches on a circular needle and K1P1 or make up your own pattern for 17-21 inches.

Great idea, Peg! I’m not sure I have any alpaca in my stash, but I do have some cashmere . . .

The yarn I have earmarked for bucket hats is Araucania wool I bought from Elann. I got two skeins each in the colors “sable” and “fresh olive” specifically to make felted bucket hats.

Maybe I’ll make hats and a cowl both. I wish I had the month of December off from work . . .

In the Meantime

I did knit a bit on Fern.


Lucy must have been reading the comments yesterday and saw that a couple of you suggested that she must work on my knitting when I’m not around. Because when I got home yesterday, Fern was on the floor and a considerable length of yarn was pulled out from the skein. No damage was done, but when I interviewed Lucy about the crime, she feigned innocence.


Who, me?

Where Do I Buy My Yarn?

A couple of questions about this. I am an equal opportunity shopper. I buy from all over. Usually I comparison shop to see who has the lowest prices. If an item costs the same everywhere, I look to see who has the best shipping prices, or who is closest to me geographically so I’ll get my yarn asap! I bought the Big Kureyon from Carodan Farm because they are in Virginia and stuff usually only takes a day or two to reach me from them. Big Kureyon was the same price everywhere, pretty much.

We’re supposed to have a snowstorm this weekend, but right now it’s rain. I think temperatures are borderline here — it’s snowing just a few miles away from me. Location is everything. The Government is open, so off to work I go.

Happy Friday to all! The December contest will be announced on Monday, so y’all come back now, you hear?

The Knitter Who Fell from Grace With the Yarn Diet

Yes, I bought yarn yesterday.

But . . . it’s to make Lucy’s cat bed. Which is a gift. Which according to Section 11(c) of the Yarn Diet Act of 2003 is allowable.

I quote:

Sec. 11(c). Exceptions
The Yarn Dieter is allowed the following exceptions–
1. Yarn purchase in support of national security is permissible.
2. Yarn purchase to make a gift for another is permissible.
3. Yarn purchase necessary to maintain physical health of purchaser (with doctor’s certificate) is permissible.

So there you have it. It’s the Law.

I ordered Big Kureyon, in color #7, which is a mix of neutrals — similar to Kureyon #55, which is what my big Booga Bag is made from, so Lucy ought to like it.

I think the majority of commenters yesterday voiced the opinion that Lucy deserves a bed knitted from Big Kureyon. I have to agree. Nothing but the best for my little princess.

I bought some dpns and a circular needle in US size 15 (permissible! It’s a yarn diet, not a needle diet) so when they and the Big Kureyon arrive, I’ll be good to go.

As far as design goes, I think I’m going to knit from the inside out, in a circle, and when I think it’s big enough in diameter, knit straight without increasing to make shallow sides. Sort of like a giant saucer. I like the idea of knitting from the center out, so I can stop when I run out of yarn, if need be. I ordered 4 skeins of Big Kureyon (at 176 yards/skein) and I figure that ought to be enough to make a good size bed. Lucy is a big kitty so I want something large enough for her to lie on comfortably without too much of her hanging off the edges.

If I have a lot of yarn leftover, I’ll knit a blankie to go in the bed for extra padding.

I’m not too concerned with her being too picky to use her bed. When she first decided the Big Booga Bag was hers, it was lying on the chair with two other purses — a Coach shoulder bag and a large Louis Vuitton Speedy bag. Yeah, I’m a slob. I leave stuff out and lying around like that. Lucy dragged the Booga Bag over the other two purses and curled up on it. It was lumpy and bumpy with bits of Coach and Vuitton sticking out here and there and she was happy as a clam. The first time she got off the bag, I pulled out the other purses and replaced them with the folded towel. She hopped back up there and didn’t seem to mind the change, still happy as the proverbial bivalve.

So I think she’ll be happy with her new bed, once it is completed. If she seems to like it alot, I’ll make her another one for the bedroom, so perhaps she won’t curl up on the clean laundry. Yeah, I’m a slob. See above. It takes me forever to put laundry away.

When I start wielding those size 15 babies on the train, my fellow commuters will wonder what the heck I’m making now.

More likely they’ll just ignore me.


Baby, it’s cold outside. And it’s been a while since I’ve had short hair in the winter — not used to having my ears and neck exposed to the elements! I may need to set aside Fern for a little bit to make an emergency Bucket o’ Chic!

Lucy is willing to step up and work on Fern should I set it aside temporarily.


I’ve got a bit more progress to show on the scarf — see?


A Felted Kitty Bed?

Yes, I’ve decided that Lucy most definitely needs a felted kitty bed. And of course it must be made from Kureyon.

This will not necessarily make me fall off my yarn diet, as I have an unopened bag of ten balls of Kureyon color #80 for which I had no firm plans. That’s Option Number One. Option Number Two is to fall off the yarn diet and buy Big Kureyon to make her a nice thick very pricey kitty bed indeed. Hmmmmmmmm . . . I did just get a whopping big bonus at work, and I do think Lucy deserves a special gift. And I did decree that yarn purchased to make gifts is not necessarily in violation of the Code of the Yarn Diet.

Or . . . I could knit a bed using regular Kureyon held double and use the yarn I have, thereby not violating the yarn diet in any way, shape, or form.

What do you guys think?

I did an internet search for felted cat bed patterns and found the one I remembered — made from Lamb’s Pride Bulky and knitted in “pie wedges.” That’s not exactly what I want, so I think I’m going to design my own kitty bed.

I could knit it like a big ol’ bucket hat (and thanks to Bonne Marie and her Bucket o’ Chic pattern for giving me this idea) without the brim. Knit the “wall” of the bed first, then knit circularly into the center, decreasing as I go.

An alternative would be to knit it out from the center — make a flat circle (like the start of a Pi shawl) and then knit up sides.

I think I’ll start this after I finish the multidirectional scarf. If my attempt is successful, I’ll write up the pattern. I’m sorry, Bonne Marie, but in my head I’m already thinking of this as “Bucket o’ Chat.”

I promise not to call it that.


Lucy obviously likes Kureyon.


As predicted, not much knitting time last night.


But I did get a start on the back.

Electric Ball Winders

Allana asked yesterday:

A question for you about the electric ball winder — do you find that it stretches the yarn too taught in the ball? I received one as a gift and I find that it spins so quickly that the yarn is stretched and the balled yarn is much thinner looking than it was in the skein. I just wound some of the Hebridean yarn for Rosarie and am concerned that if the yarn has been permanently stretched it is going to affect gauge! I would hate to have wound the lovely springiness out of the yarn. Have you had this experience with your winder? (Mine is the one from Halcyon).

Allana, I took a quick look and saw that Halcyon carries two electric ball winders — one that will wind up to a 4 oz ball and one that will wind up to an 8 oz ball. The larger of the two has an adjustable automatic tension device, while on the smaller one you have to tension the yarn through your hand as you wind. I have the larger one.

When I first got it, I spent a fair amount of time adjusted the tension to get it just right. Once I did that, I’ve had no problems with skeins that are wound too tightly.

In the “Believe It or Not” Department . . .

Tevilla asked:

I noticed on some of your older fo that you put the date started and finished. Your recent ones only have the finished date. I love groaning over how fast you knit–and I guess being inspired by what is possible. Any chance would you include both in future fo’s?

The reason I stopped putting starting dates on my FO pages is because (and this is the truth, I swear) I was getting hate email from people who berated me for bragging about how fast I knit.

Some people are pathetic, huh? This could open up a whole discussion about internet & email etiquette, but I’ll save the tales of what some total strangers think I owe them for another time. When I’m pissed off.

Could Lucy Be Spoiled?

Look at what she has chosen for her bed.


Yes, that’s my big Booga Bag she is lying on. And has been for the past few days.

Please note also that I have folded up a towel and slipped it under the bag for extra padding for her.

Oh no, Lucy is not spoiled.

Now I have to make her a felted Kureyon cat bed, I guess.

In answer to Cat’s comment, she has gotten her winter coat! She’s definitely put on weight since I got her, but I think she’s still a bit underweight for her size. She is a big kitty!


Although I fiddled around and did a few other things, I did get some knitting done yesterday, and I finished the front of Fern. See?


Fern is surprisingly enjoyable to knit — there’s enough going on in the pattern to keep me entertained. And I love the yarn. I wound a bunch more of it into balls yesterday. I love my electric ball winder.

Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf

As promised, here is the pic:


Karen, if you happen to stop by and read this, let me congratulate you on a great pattern! And anyone reading this, if you need a quickie Christmas gift, this is it! You can knit it in fat yarn on fat needles and it goes real fast. I’m making mine in Kureyon, as you can see, on US size 8 needles. The link to Karen’s pattern is in my sidebar.

Mine is a gift, but I’m not saying who for. 🙂

Viewer Mail

Thanks for all your kind comments about Amphora. I’m wearing it to work today.

Judith asked yesterday:

What is the penalty for falling off the Yarn Diet?

Hmmmm . . . I say whatever you buy, you have to send me half, as a penalty. Hee hee hee.

Eklectika asked:

Did you make anything with your Arucania yet? I’m curious to see it as I started my Arucania scarf this weekend (in olive).

No I haven’t — but I’ve got some Arucania earmarked for felted Bucket Hats (from Bonne Marie’s most excellent pattern).

Linda M. asked:

Do you find the Hebridean yarn (VY) the same to knit with for FIs as the J&S yarns? Some people feel that the Hebridean is more “springy” and different to work with. Any thoughts?

The Hebridean 2-ply is a tad thicker than J&S jumperweight. It’s also softer than shetland and, as you said, “springy.” It’s totally yummy to knit! I loved using it for Amphora. I’ve also used it for Glenesk and Roscalie, and loved knitting with it then.

The Nebridean 3-ply is also lovely. Great stitch definition!

Okay guys. I have a late meeting today, so there won’t be much knitting progress to report tomorrow. Sigh.