My current work in progress:

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


Freezing Drizzle

Is that not an unpleasant phrase? Freezing drizzle? Yuck!


That’s the view from my window yesterday afternoon. Before the freezing drizzle that went on all night.

It’s another day of unscheduled leave for the federal government, but my street has been plowed and it looks like it’s been treated for ice, so I’m venturing out. Too much to do to stay home another day.

Oh, and we’re supposed to get more snow tonight.


Got a bit done on Abalone — I finished the body (Sunday night, actually) and yesterday completed the neckband.


A close-up of the back neck:


Then I picked up the stitches on one of the front bands. Picky, painstaking work!


But, work beckoned — I got the files I was expecting from the office and went to work on those. Lucy helped!


In answer to a comments question, I believe sweet temperament is a Ragdoll trait. Lucy certainly has it in abundance. She’s a very cuddly kitty — loves to be held and petted. But she does have a devilish streak and is very playful too.


Questions about my new ebony needles. Cheryl asked:

I noticed the circs are Holz and Stein. Do you find a big difference between the HS and Suzanne’s needles? I tried the Suzanne’s ebonies for the Maidenhair shawl in Classic Elite Devon (silk/wool) and I found them a pain to use. The yarn tended to catch at the joins and they were very “sticky”. I had to switch back to the Inox greys.
I’d like to give the HS a try if they are better, but don’t want to waste my $$ if there’s no difference.

I have both Holz and Stein and Suzanne ebonies, and I do prefer the Holz and Stein. The join is much better on them so they are much easier to use. I also have a Holz and Stein rosewood that is nice, but I prefer the ebony — I just like the feel of it better.

I prefer wooden needles for fair isles because of the slight stickiness of the wood, which helps you spread your stitches out evenly.

What do y’all think?


  1. Well, the Susanne’s are definitively BAD and EVIL! I dont know why anyone would want to carry them in stock because every time I have tried to knit with them they showed that they hate me and I hate them!

    The H&S are definitively better, like a 100 classes above the susanne’s.


  2. I use the Susanne’s because I can get them in the U.K. !
    H&S are lovely needles,and are much better quality.Nicer tip to the needle and feel smoother – I have a couple of sets of DPs.
    What I need to know is where in Germany Susan bought these – privately if needs be.I can only get the Susanne’s in 3.5mm,and would ,as would a lot of people,really,really like to get some 3.25mm.

  3. My Jacob is a Ragdoll too (with Snowshoe paws) and is a real sweetie too! Just a great big cuddlebug. Stays indoors 100% of the time but puts on an “added layer” each winter – so he’s like a cuddly little bear. Aren’t they the greatest!!

  4. I also have a pair of Susanne’s and the join is not good, but the join on the Susanne circulars are not as bad as the joins in the new Pony Pearl circulars, which start at US 5. I only have one pair of those and unless there’s a way to fix the join by sending or shaving, I just hope they come up with a better join cuz the points are wonderful… but the circ is useless because you have to play tug of war to get the stitches past the join (and I’m a loose knitter)…

  5. I haven’t had the privelege of trying rosewood or ebony H&S needles yet. I’m trying to find them in the 3.25mm size and I haven’t had any luck. I second the request above for the H&S supplier in Germany. I’d *love* to contact the company where the needles were purchased and buy a few pairs.

    I have tried rosewood needles but they had a terrible cable. I have absolutely no idea what brand they were since I was given a big box a needles by one of my grandmother’s friends who quit knitting due to arthritis. The rosewoods were beautiful and I remember her saying “yeah, they look pretty but they don’t work pretty!” LOL

    I’m just loving the colors in Abalone, Wendy. It looks terrific!

  6. This ya’ll thinks that picture of the outdoors looks flippin cold! The inside of my freezer doesn’t even look that cold. I don’t know how you people do it who live in that. I’m afraid I’d never come out of the house until Spring.

    I also thinks that that Abalone is gorgeous, just as it has been from the start. It looks to me like you have a zipper in the front and if so, I’m wondering what techinique you use for that…and I’m a little hesitant to ask, what exactly is “steeking”…I’ve never been exposed to this technique in neither real life or in books. Does A.Starmore have a book that teaches the colorwork and the steeking techniques? All of this intrigues me, and someday I may get brave enough to try this sort of challenge.

  7. Thnaks to all of you for the comments on these needles…I’ll be getting some from H&S for my first fair-isle. I found 2 shops in Germany which could send them to me, and if some of you are interrested, i can give you the links i found.
    Lucy is sooo cute, your pictures of her, and getting almost to feel her fur help me in my separation from my pet, who is at the moment at my parents. Thanks Wendy!

  8. There is nothing that beats Holtz and Stein needles. I’ve got Suzanne’s as well and do use them, but I ditto everyone else: the joins are not great and the wood is not as finely finished. If I could find the German distributer, I’d order, order, order!

    Abalone is looking beautiful. There is nothing like FI.

  9. Wendy, my guy is stuck there in DC. We were talking yesterday and he said it was miserable. I live in Colorado and while cold, at least it’s dry and not so bitter.
    I’m glad he went there with his wool sweaters and socks!
    I do not care for my Susanne needles, but I agree that using wood needles with slippery yarns is the way to go. I haven’t done enough colorwork to have an opinion on fairisle knitting. I just live vicariously through you. Maybe someday.

  10. Having never used H & S, I have been happily knitting away on my Suzanne’s rosewoods and enjoying them a lot. I am excited to hear that there is something even better out there for me to indulge myself in! I would love to get the link for the company that was mentioned in one comment. By the way, the name has nothing to do with why I enjoy my Suzanne’s rosewoods. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Felted kitty bed question:
    Does practically any fun fur type yarn work with the felted kitty bed – that is, is it a safe bet to put any fun fur yarn with the bulky yarn and felt the project? Are there fun fur yarns I should stay away from when I felt?

    I’m almost finished with my first bed.

  12. One source of the H&S wooden needles is (NAYY).

    Wendy, do you use machine sewing for all your steeks, or do you sometimes just cut them and tack down loose ends afterwards?

  13. Wendy in FL says:

    1. I love your kitty. She is beautiful.

    2. Your abalone is gorgeous.

    3. I have enjoyed reading your site. Very entertaining and informative.

    W. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Hi,

    I bought the needles at the adress Debbie already has linked. Here’s the complete link to the needles.

    But you have to send an email to order them. You could ask for other sizes and length. I bought a 100 cm needle for myself there that is not announced on the side.


  15. margene in SLC says:

    Have finished one Fair Isle and the second is on the needles. After fighting with bamboo (my usual choice for knitting) the change to Addi’s made stranding much more enjoyable. It might be the tight gauge that I knit but having the stitches glide made for effortless knitting. FI knitting is exquisite knitting as it is ‘just’ knitting, little finishing (and what there is is easy) and you don’t need to machine stitch the steeks as the wool is so sticky. Is there a reason you do the front band before the sleeves? Having the full sweater flopping around makes me crazy so I did the sleeves before cutting the front.
    Wendy, your site is inspirational with all your knitting and creativity. Thanks for bringing your daily knitting to us.

  16. Brr! What a cold view!

    I like wooden needles, too, though one much-used pair is beginning to splinter at the end. ๐Ÿ™ I can’t offer advice about the cable-needles, though; I pretty much stick to dps (which, if they’re wood, don’t slide out as much as you might think).

    Steeks scare me, though I hope to get over that someday and trying doing some.

    Lucy is so sweet! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Hey Wendy, I just got some ebony needles for christmas as a gift, I havent had a chance to use them yet, but I’m wondering, besides being lovely, what advantages do they have over other types of needles?

  18. Glad to see one thumbs-up for the Suzanne rosewoods– I just ordered a pair this morning. I’ll be crossing my fingers. Just goes to show I should always read Wendy first thing in the a.m. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. the colors in abalone are so stunning and I just love all the progress photos you’ve sent our way.
    brrr…it looks freezing whereever you are. I know I wouldn’t survive!

  20. Don’t worry Rene. I still use the Suzanne’s and am grateful for them! The H & S are just the cadillacs of wooden needles that’s all.