My current work in progress:

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



And I’m happily knitting along on Frida.


Meanwhile, Lucy is helping with the laundry.


Yes! More Q&A!

Karen asked:

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

The pattern is here. But as I said, I’m eliminating the knitted on lace border and rewriting it to add a garter stitch border all around.

Angie asked:

Hey, where didja get the cool Wallace and Gromit clock?

I got it off eBay a few years back, I think from a seller in the UK. It’s battery run, and the alarm plays the Wallace & Gromit theme song, and the figures move. Shaun even goes “baaaaa!”

I’m such a child.

Ahem. The second part of Angie’s 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?

All those projects are done only on the train going to work (and sometimes a bit at lunchtime if I have a chance) so I spend far less time on them. Hence the longer time to complete.

Aubergine asked:

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?

My steek knowledge? I picked it up in the streets. No, seriously, it’s just stuff I picked up along the way, from all the fair isle patterns I’ve done. The Alice Starmore fair isle book (now out-of-print) has great steek explanations, as I recall.

A “whole” steek is usually about 10 stitches — 1 edge stitch which is always worked in the background color, 8 steek stitches, which are worked alternating the two colors, and 1 edge stitch in the background color. When you cut the steek down the center, you have 5 stitches each side of the cut edge. You pick up your stitches for the sleeve (or the collar, or the front band, depending on which steek you are working with) between the edge stitch and the first pattern stitch.

Another steek question from Lisa:

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?

No, no, don’t freak out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you getting the gauge called for in the pattern? Yes? Then worry not. Photographs can be deceiving anyhow. If your gauge is correct and everything else looks good, you’re okay. And besides, the first couple of rows of a steek always look a bit smarmy, I think.

Yet another steek question, from Kristin:

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.

At the beginning/ending of the round, I knot them, using a square knot. And trim them. No fuss, no muss!

And Chandra asked:

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?

I always carry my background color on top and my foreground color on the bottom. Always always always. The way you hold your yarns affects the way the pattern “pops out” so you always want to be consistent. The difference is very subtle, but there is a difference, so you wanna be consistent in what you do.

New Haircut Girl!

My trip to the ritzy salon was a success!



  1. love the new do ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Nice hair cut ! It really suits you – you look lovely. :0)

  3. When I am knitting a fair isle pullover, I spit splice my ends. It takes more time, but avoids the thicker area when one weaves in.

  4. Must be the week for haircuts, I’m headed to my barber tonight. What a glamour shot! You must include a picture of you on Lucy’s calendar, maybe with the caption ‘photos by WDJ’. Frida is coming along great.

  5. woo-hoo!! great haircut – you look fabulous!

  6. You’re a vision in your new coif! And who new you had such great skin?

    I hope you were all dressed & bijoux’d up for a romantic dinner out, rather than for doing the laundry with Lucy.

  7. Wow – that’s my favorite hair on you I’ve seen so far! Looking good (though, that’s ‘as usual’)!

  8. Thanks for the compliments, guys!

    Cat, I did spend the evening doing laundry with Lucy. I took the photo as soon as I came home from work — before removing jewellry. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Great hair cut!!!! I love it!!!

    nice knitting too…

  10. blue earth knitter says:

    Great haircut! I hope you have a hot date for Valentine’s Day to show it off!

  11. Dang! That’s a great haircut, and your hair is so shiny!

  12. Your hair cut is beautiful–so becoming! And your hair COLOR is stunning–I covet beautiful red/auburn hair. Just gorgeous!


  13. The ritzy salon is so worth it! Your hair looks fabulous! Two snaps from me; woofs from the pups.

    I’ve got “Frida” in kit form too; I’m liking yours very much. I’m beginning to be eager for the TX a/c knitting season to start, so I can work my Dale kits.

  14. Wow! Frida’s coming along beautifully, Lucy looks lovely and you have a new gorgeous “do”! Wendyknits doesn’t get much better than that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Nice haircut!

    About the way you hold the colors in fair-isle:
    this site has a good explanation with pictures.

  16. Love the new cut, Wendy. Love your Q&A, you’re always so generous with your time and your knitting knowledge.

    Thank you O Oracle of Knitting!!

    Cheryl in AL

  17. Wowsa! America’s Next Top Model. And she knits too!

    IMHO, Meg Swansen’s “Sweaters from Camp” has a lot of helpful info on steeking – not just in the ‘Techniques’ section, but also in reading the individual designs. I learned how to ‘Speed Swatch’ and tried 3 different neck steek methods before knitting the neck on my second baby Dale.

    When I first started knitting, I hated to take the time to swatch, but now its become a part of the process and I highly recommend it to other new knitters, especially for something like your first steek. What’s the old saying, practice makes perfect?

  18. Wow– terrific do!!! Love your color!!!! Thanks for answering questions– always learn something!

  19. Wow, your haircut looks incredible. Seeing it has inspired me to want to spend the extra money and go to a first class salon! The color is wonderful, too.

    Thanks, too, for all the time you spend answering our questions about knitting. It is very helpful, especially the way you share your expertise on fair isle knitting. I can’t wait to put all of your advise to practice.

  20. At the risk of giving you (ahem!) a big head – I will echo everyone else and say great haircut. I’m jealous that you can wear your hair short. I look horrible in short hair, but envy the ease of maintenance. I am also jealous that Lucy helps with laundry – my dog absolutely refuses! Thanks for posting the baby blanket pattern. After fielding multiple requests for socks from my co-workers (I told them you have to be related to me by blood, married to my child or sign my paycheck to get socks from me), I am starting a whole class of about 7 beginning knitters. This will be a great project for them. Keep us posted on your beginning knitter – I love picking your brain!

  21. Nice cut, Wendy! Very snazzy!

    Give Lucy a scritch on that fuzzy belly!

  22. You’re too sexy for your blog, too sexy for your blog, too sexy…

    Cute haircut! Very cute!

  23. Oooh La La – let me echo everyone else here – you look absolutely gorgeous – modern, fresh and very pretty!!! Sweater and Lucy look good too – but today you are front and center!!!

  24. The swanky salon did a great job. Muy muy nice!

  25. Great do on you, Wendy and you have a beautiful smile!Love your blog and your generosity.
    Thanks so much.

  26. Ohhhhh! I get it. So those 4 extra stitches on either side are so that when the steek rolls inward you can pick up at the start of a pattern. Ohhhhhh! I get it! Thanks for that over/under comment too. I’ve noticed that as well.. that the colors pop differently…

    Love the new-do. Tres chic!

  27. Hi, Wendy!

    I love the haircut!!!

    On Freda, I see the long stretches of white between the dark green. Did you leave a long loose float or did you catch the float every few stitches?

    The more I see of yours, the more I want to get started on mine but I need to finish Hovedoen first. I just wish I was as fast a knitter as you are!

    Also, as you are knitting your Freda, could you please let me know if the pattern will be easy to shorten a bit? I am only 4′ 11.5″ and usually have tops that are around 22″-24″ in length at the most.

  28. Doesn’t a terrific haircut and color make you feel like you could tackle anything?

    Your hair is very becoming. Shorter hair brings out your features. Very lovely.

    You have a nice smile, too.

  29. Fabulous haircut!!! Makes be wanna cut mine. Very flattering and worth every penny paid. P

  30. Thanks for the link, Saartje. I really noticed the foreground/background thing when knitting just one stitch on a background of the alternate color (a polka-dotted effect, like many of the Dale ski sweaters have in the body of the sweater). If the colors aren’t held correctly, these stitches are very hard to see! It was pretty apparent when I did it the wrong way around.

  31. A nice haircut is such a fabulous gift to give yourself! And as it grows it’ll keep its shape. One of the best investments you can make. Besides yarn, a’course!

  32. Just to hammer home the importance of how colors are held, I just took my first ever class in Fair Isle. The instructor showed us two small sweaters, both knit in red & black, with black as the background color; identical patterns. On one, black was held in the left hand, on the other sweater, red was held in the left hand (think upper/lower yarn if holding both yarns in one hand). Result: one sweater was a predominantly red sweater with black stitches, the other was clearly a black sweater with red stitches. And the only difference was in how the yarn was held. Just imagine what would happen if you changed the way you held the yarn mistream in a project – Yikes! Made a believer out of me…

  33. Wendy, you look FABULOUS with your new ‘do! I love it ๐Ÿ™‚ Very becoming.

    Thank you so much for answering my knot question. I love the answer even more. I’m trimming the ends on my knots today…woo hoo! I hate weaving in ends.

    I really appreciate all the advice.

  34. WOW! Your hair looks absolutely beautiful. It suits you perfectly in a sexy yet sophisticated way. Worth every penny!

  35. Definitely the BEST haircut I’ve ever seen on you. You look terrific!

    About Frida (whose name I love) The colors look really bright and high contrast in your pictures. Is this the case? The original model photo looks more muted and lower contrast. I plan to do this one (if I can ever get ahold of the pattern) and I want something more subtle. I guess my question is: are the colors in your WIP photos pretty accurate or do they look extra bright/contrasty?

  36. Wow,
    Breaking the “knitter” stereotype. You should keep the photo on the blog page permanently (on the header).

  37. Okay, my question about Frida:

    I started this sweater a while back, and finished the flowers, but hated the tension, because of the extra large spaces between motifs. It’s now sitting in my closet in disgrace. ๐Ÿ™

    I know you’re floating your strands the whole way–that’s what I did, too. How are you keeping your stockinette tension even with your stranded tension?

  38. Back to Lotus. You inspired a look back through my Dale books. Found Lotus in the Woodberry color way and fell in love with it. Now to the LYS to buy it for the stash. It will be my first Dale sweater eventho I’ve bought many of the books.
    Frida looks wonderful and so do you! What a great ‘do’!

  39. Thanks, Wendy. I’ll be more consistent about how I hold my two colors in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And the haircut looks great! Worth every penny.

    Take care.

  40. superfancyhair! pertty, lady. ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. I add my vote: Beautiful Haircut for a Beautiful Knitting Goddess!

  42. We’re going old school Garth and Wayne – Babe-a-licious!

  43. For the 1,000,000 time – super do!

    I wanted to comment on the way the colors are carried. You said the difference is subtle — sometimes, but certainly not always. In some cases, it looks as if you knit two different patterns. My vote is for consistency. JO

  44. Fabulous haircut…you look great Wendy!

  45. You’re “headlining” your own blog now! Very cool,Wendy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  46. The new haircut looks fantastic! Very flattering indeed.

  47. Great hair cut Wendy! I have a picture for your February contest, but I can only view one side of your blog. The other side is empty. I need an address to forward the picture to you. Thanks. Nancy S.

  48. Cute haircut!

    (Sorry I couldn’t come up with anything more original. ;P )

  49. Heavens womanm, you have stunning coloring! That do looks lovely!

  50. Gorgeous! Babe!
    Love the haircut!

  51. Hi Wendy;

    Your haircut came out great, and I noticed you change your blog around a little too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. You look MAAAHvelous!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  53. GREAT new do Wendy!! But I miss Izzy’s cute lil smile ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. Sorry I am late….new ‘do looks great! I love it on you!

    How sad that I need to wait til late Friday night to catch up on blog reading!

  55. Martha Frey says:

    Love it, love it, love it. Now you can see those big pretty
    blue eyes, and great smile. Your best haircut yet!

    You will be amazed at how easy it is to “do the do”.