My current work in progress:

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


My New Knitter

My new knitter is ordering yarn for her first “real” project — Plymouth Encore, to knit a baby blanket for a pregnant friend.

I found a pattern online for a basketweave baby blanket. It has a knitted-on lace edging that I think is a bit advanced for her, so I’m rewriting the pattern with a garter stitch border.

We’re very excited!

Steeks Again!

Suzanne asked:

You said you didn’t trim your steeks or stitch them down, so why don’t I see any yarn ends? I’m having trouble understanding how it looks so nice and neat without weaving in ends or stitching them down as someone mentioned. I really and truly don’t see a single yarn end in the photo above. Maybe I am misundertanding what you mean by “trim the steeks” since I have never knitted a fair isle. I really want to some day soon, though.

A fair question.

Yesterday’s photo showed the inside of the front bands flanked by my untrimmed steeks. The yarn ends were in the center of the front steek. When I cut the steek down the middle, I cut off all the ends. No weaving in, no tying off, just trim them off.

But the steeks themselves are not trimmed. Most steeks are 8-10 stitches wide. You cut down the center and that’s 4-5 stitches per side. Then most directions tell you to trim the steeks to a two-stitch width after you have picked up your stitches and completed your knitting. That’s what I didn’t do — trim them to a two-stitch width. I never do.


Here she is:


So far, way fun to knit!

Though Lucy apparently has other things on her mind.



  1. maybe lucy misses abalone ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Lucy is so pretty. Your start on Frida is interesting.

  3. Karen in DK says:

    Lucy’s tail is as pretty as ever.

    Will you post or link to the baby blanket pattern your new knitter is using?

  4. Hey, where didja get the cool Wallace and Gromit clock? Did you have to pledge to PBS or is there a Wallace and Gromit store I am unaware of? Oh, and in order to have some knitting content in this question: I have noticed when you are making something with a large gauge (say a booga bag, bucket hat, or the multi-directional scarf) it seems to take much longer than your gorgeous multi-color, teeny-needle sweaters. Is it because you don’t work on the large gauge item as much or do large needles truly slow you down?

  5. just … wow. I’m still working on the same sleeve of Banff I started on Friday.

  6. Lucy’s probably thinking: “WHEN is she EVER gonna leave so that foxy Marley Helfrich can come over??” ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. I’m always amazed at how much prettier the yarn looks when you’re knitting it than it looks in the picture in the book. Maybe this is what makes so many people want to knit whatever you’re knitting? I’m intrigued by this color scheme (Frida’s).

  8. Frida looks great, Wendy. From whence did all your knowledge of steek-i-ness come from? The part about 4 or 5 stitches per side still eludes me- they’re not formally part of the color pattern, are they?

  9. Glad I’m not the only one — the colors of your Frida look very different to me than the picture — much brighter. Perhaps it’s subs, perhaps it’s just the difference between a close-up of a small part and a wide shot of the whole garment. We’ll see when it’s done, eh? Enjoy!

  10. Lisa in Oregon says:

    Just a few rows into my first Fair Isle (Rosemarkie from The Celtic Collection) inspired largely due to your incredible knitting and your blog! I am feeling a little stressed out because my steek stitches don’t appear to be as tight as yours look in your tutorials. I am trying to reassure myself that I am still only 3 or 4 rows in and not to freak out…..but should I be concerned about this? Thanks so much, Lisa in Oregon

  11. Um. I’m standing here with the other peeps who still don’t understand what you’ve done with the tangly mess o’ yarn that should be hanging around your front band of steeks where you make your color changes. All I can see are very neat floats followed by a very neat steek patch followed by another bunch of very neat floats.

    Lolly (scratching head thinking “no really, where are the yarn ends?!”)

  12. Hi Wendy–
    I have an “over and under” question for you. ๐Ÿ™‚ When I started doing fair isle, I recall seeing a lot of instructions stressing the importance of always having the lighter color come underneath the darker, or vice versa, but I’m not sure what the point of this is. I can see in intarsia where it would be important, to prevent your motifs from becoming separate little potholders.
    But in fair isle, it doesn’t seem to make any difference that I can see. Which color is over or under in any given row for me depends on where that ball of yarn is in my organizing box. Do you know why this over/under business is important in fair isle?
    Thanks in advance for your sage thoughts!
    P.S. I googled before I asked, I promise!

  13. Hi Wendy,

    A further question to your steek response:

    When you are knitting a pullover, how do you handle the ends BEFORE you get to the steek portion of the armholes and what do you do with all the ends on the sleeves?

    I know you mentioned that you knot instead of weave. If you’re using Shetland wool, do you just knot and cut the ends or do you still weave them in after knotting? I’ve been knotting on Luskentyre, but I’ve held off of doing anything with the ends.

    Your sweaters always look so neat & perfect so I’d be interested to know what YOU do with non-steeked ends.

    Abalone is simply stunning! I love the colors and your purple turtleneck is a perfect match ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Hey, good question Kristin…

    I’m dying to know if Wendy has any great tips for weaving in loose ends!

    BTW, my dear daughters have picked out some lovely kitty pictures for you in the hopes of winning the gorgeous pink yarn. (planning next year’s valentines outfits, if you can imagine)

  15. Steek Question People would do well to check out the book Wendy steered me to last year when I kept bugging her about stranded knitting techniques: Meg Swansen’s “Sweaters from Camp”. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure she’ll get back to you guys, but in the meantime you might want to use the search function & check back entries, since I’m pretty sure she’s answered a lot of these questions in the past.