My current work in progress:

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


We Have Sleevage

Or at least the start of a sleeve.


Finished the back of Lucy, started on a sleeve. Just for grins. It’s coming along nicely and I’m very happy with the way it’s turning out.


My slow progress continues.


It’s sort of like when you have a box of Very Nice chocolates. You ration them out, one per day (if you have any self-control, that is). That’s how my Ingeborg knitting is going. I’m rationing it out. I may only knit a little teeny bit each day. But I may reward myself on weekends with more Inge-knitting.

And an interesting comment on my front steek in yesterday’s comments:

Your motivation for your steek technique puzzled me, because I don’t think I strain the cut threads at all when I pick up stitches at a narrow steek. My understanding of the Dale instructions was to use the crochet hook to pick up stitches using a new piece of yarn along the back. When I learned to knit in Norway, I was instructed to pick up stitches by simply twisting a bit of the yarn from each of the existing stitches near the edge. That was difficult and did strain the stitches. The new thread along the back side of the work, on the other hand, makes for a very even flat band, and is a quick process. If the instructions say what the total number to pick up should be, I count the number of rows to calculate the ratio necessary. Eg, instructions say 150 stitches need to be created, and the garment has 200 rows, so I insert my crochet hook to pick up the yarn through 3 out of 4 stitches up along the steek. But I’m tall, so I sometimes make my sweaters longer. In that case, I measure my gauge vertically and horizontally, so I know what percent of rows need to be picked up. If the placket should have 30 stitches in 10 cm, I might have about 40 rows in 10 cm on the body, so I would create a new stitch in 3 out of 4 of the rows as I work my way up. Depending on the project, that ratio might be closer to 4 out of 5 (or some other easily used ratio). When you do it this way with a new piece of yarn on the back, you have a nice even line on the back to sew the folded placket edge to, as well (with exactly the same number of stitches). If you end up with a few too many stitches (compared to your pattern repeat) you can always knit two together a few times evenly spaced up the line on the first row.

Interesting! That certainly sounds like a good way to do it. I looked at the Dale book that Ingeborg is in, along with a few other Dale books, and none of them say anything about using a new piece of yarn at the back while you pick up the stitches. They all simply tell you to use a crochet hook in a size smaller than your working needle, and use it to pick up and knit x number of stitches for every x inches. I’m not saying all Dale patterns have these same brief instructions, but all the ones I looked at last night did.

Generally these instructions are in the front of the pattern book under general instructions. Dale patterns are, I think, notorious, for the sketchiness of their finishing instructions.

Something I always find amusing in Dale finishing instructions is when they tell you to sew something “neatly.” Just once I’d like to see them tell you to sew something sloppily. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oooh! New Stuff!

Check out yesterday’s entry on the Knit Happens blog — they got in another cool summer yarn: Lana Grossa Elastico, the baby sister of Lana Grossa Point (the yarn I used for my Tina and Kristine is using for her Ta Ta Tank). I’m all excited because Kristine special-ordered the yarn for me to make the tank pictured on the Knit Happens blog, and decided to order some more colors for the shop. I’m gonna make my tank out of the copper color pictured, with the contrast in chocolate brown, which hasn’t come in yet.

My only gripe — couldn’t Lana Grossa come up with a better name for the yarn than Elastico?

Or is it just me?

Lucy in the Kitty Day Spa

Last night she was doing kitty yoga.



  1. Amanda Spielman says:

    Interesting to see how many ways people deal with steeks.

    When I do fair isle, I pick up my stitches and knit front bands before I cut my steeks, so as to ensure that there is no strain on the cut stitches (though this doesn’t work for armholes). Then I cut, trim and hem immediately before they have a chance to fray.

    Also I use what is effectively the crochet hook technique for picking up stitches, but with new yarn and a knitting needle: poke the needle through from front to back, wrap the yarn round at the back and pull the new stitch through.

    To get the right numbers of stitches, I work out my ratio like the person who commented yesterday, but I find I get the smoothest results by picking up a stitch for every row and then doing evenly spaced decreases in a following row of the background colour before starting in corrugated rib or whatever the pattern may be, This way there are none of those slight unevenesses that occur otherwise.

  2. I envy your quick knitting, Wendy. I’m nearly at the armholes on the back of the Lucy top – done tomorrow with the back I hope (as I’m off work for the next two days – yay!). Its working up very nicely.

    Took a class with Annie Modesitt in colour work and feel ready to tackle my first Fair Isle now. I can’t work with wool but thought I saw some summery (is there such a thing really?) FI designs in an older Dale book (I don’t own any Dale books but I’ve seen the covers online) – so now its time for research. *g*

  3. It never occurred to me to even try to use exisitng stitiches for picking up. I have enough trouble using the new yarn, my stithces alwlays have to be “turned” the first row I knit them. But now I think I understand the direction to “pick up and knit”. If you just pick up a previous stitch, you don’t have any live yarn when you get to the end of the picking up part.

  4. Lucy looks so serene. I should try some of that yoga. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I finished my swatch this morning for Lucy. I was a bit nervous at first about the rippling at the bottom edge, but now that I see your back and sleeve, I see it works perfectly. It will look great with the suit I’m wearing today (“knit faster” my husband said).

  5. Lucy’s yoga is priceless! My dog Bella does that too…sometimes she’ll hold the same position for 5 minutes. She has more damn stamina than me!

    Lucy the knitted item is looking marvelous as well.

  6. jocelyn says:

    Wow ingenborg is just gorgeous,i really like the lucy top i would make mine 3/4 sleeved, lucy yoga,my papillon does that too!

  7. Thanks for highlighting the steek technique, Wendy – I will link to you when I set up my cool tips links eventually. I do the same thing that Amanda does (if the pattern seems amenable) and pick up every stitch and then reduce down to the number needed by decreasing. It really does take care of any holes that might crop up. BTW, Ingeborg looks great! I may have to think up a reason to steek soon, too!

  8. Most patterns have sketchy instructions on finishing and even proper knitting. Rarely does a designer tell you the ‘best’ method of doing something. Even the cast on method is left up the knitter. This is one reason to learn as much as you can about this art. Classes, blogs (such as yours) are all great places to improve skills and think about how to do a better job than the instructions provide. There is more than one way to do almost everything in knitting.

  9. “Rationing chocolate?” I’m not sure I understand this concept…

  10. On dumb yarn names – my fave this season is Lana Grossa’s Brillo. It’s shiny, soft and smooth nylon/viscose/linen blend. The name though will make everyone in the US (and perhaps Canada) think of steel wool.

    Here’s pix of the stuff (no affiliation):

    and it’s spex in English (no reviews yet):


  11. Interesting info on steeking. Hope you do another demo at Knit Happens again. I think I am ready to get cutting.

  12. I can’t wait to see how Lucy turns out! The lace edge is really beautiful. Ingeborg is gorgeous! I’m nowhere near that type of knitting! But I hope to get there one day. That kitty yoga sure looks relaxing….maybe I need to dust off my yoga mat and do some too!

  13. I do believe that is the ‘upward facing cat’ pose that Lucy is doing.

  14. This has nothing to do with the current subject, but who are Ian and L-B?

    I used to read your blog many months ago and I just re-discovered it. Seems there’s a lot of catching up to do. I’m so sorry about Izzy. Lucy is quite quite the babe, and I’m happy she’s getting the spoiling she deserves.