My current work in progress:

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


A New Charity Project?

I got an email from Sara, the Outreach Coordinator at, excerpted here:

I am not sure how I came upon your page, but I am sure glad I did! The kitty bed gallery is adorable – and got me thinking. This November will be’s second annual Adopt a Senior Pet Month to encourage people not to forget older homeless pets when looking for a new friend. I would love to explore the possibility of getting some hand-made kitty beds for any senior cats adopted via in November.

As some of you may recall, it was through that I found Lucy. So of course I’m interested!

The question is . . . how many of you are interested too? Anyone wanna do a kitty bed charity project?

I am going to make a kitty bed using my pattern for the felted kitty bed and send it to Sara before November. L-B has volunteered to make one too.

I know time is short, so we can’t make a huge number of beds. Sara has told me that she’d love to get 10 beds for this event.

So . . . what do you think? Anyone wanna knit kitty beds to promote adoption of older cats? You have about five weeks to complete the project. If you want to make a bed but don’t have any feltable wool, I can probably send you some from my stash.

And if you want to knit a bed but don’t have the means to felt it, you could send your knitted bed to me for felting.

And of course I’ll come up with some sort of prizes. ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you guys think? If you can commit to making a bed by the beginning of November, send me an email here.

Any questions? Leave a comment!

Speaking of Charity . . .

I spent some time last week while the ankle was bothering me too much for action gearing up to start shipping the Critter Knitter prizes: making labels and coding them with the prize number, printing out the matrix that Liz sent me, and ordering shipping supplies.

So the first few prizes went out yesterday. I am emailing people as I send out prizes (if I have their email address) alerting them that a prize is on the way. They are being sent out in no particular order, and I’ll try to mail twice a week, as much as I can carry in a trip to the post office.

Fishy Fern

Okay, I’ve been perusing the Fern pattern and the directions to the armholes for the back and the fronts sure don’t seem to match to me. It’s kind of hard to figure this out, as the instructions for the fronts (with the ruffly bits) are quite detailed, but I’ve winkled out what is to be done for the side seam shaping from the morass of ruffly bits and it matches the side seam shaping for the back.

The instructions for the largest size for the back has you work 9 rows straight after the last row of shaping before you bind off for the armholes.

Yes, I am making the largest size of Fern, the size 40″. I made the smallest size of Lara, the size 32-34″. Why? I enjoy messing with your head. Heh heh heh.

Seriously, though, I want this sweater to be loose-fitting. The largest size has a finished circumference of 43″ with the fronts partially overlapped. I’ll be able to adjust the fit when I pin it closed anyhow.

Back to the puzzle at hand:

Okay, you work 9 rows straight after the last shaping for the back before the armholes.

On the fronts, you work 1 row straight after the last side seam shaping before the armholes. And the pattern informs you that the front now matches the back to the beginning of the armhole shaping. Huh? I don’t think so.

As written, you are directed to knit 92 rows to the armhole shaping for the back, and 84 rows to the armhole shaping in the front.

Unless I’ve completely lost my mind and slipped into a parallel universe where the pattern alters itself at will.

I did send an inquiry to Rowan about this and got the autoreply that pattern questions will take up to ten working days to be answered. We’ll see what they say.

What I did was to knit 84 rows to the armhole shaping in the back. Because my row gauge is slightly off (not unusual for me) the length of the piece was just right. Here it is.


There was a question yesterday about whether I thought Fern was an appropriate design for a beginner. Rowan rates it intermediate, and I tend to agree. You need to know how to do short rows and follow a lot of very detailed instructions. I think the ruffled edge would probably require some in-person explanation for a lot of beginners.

Thank you!
To Carolyn for this:


A “W” stitch marker!

Lucy is stll waiting for her Alpaca Silk catnip mouse.



We’re getting a great response to the kittybed project. I’ve created a Yahoo Group:

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If you’re interested in joining us in this project, please join the group. Thanks!


  1. interesting comments on fern. i really appreciate your specific and very helpful remedies for pattern woes as i will be knitting fern in the future. thanks!

    and cute stitch marker.

  2. I had a question about a rowan pattern also, and I went to my LYS. The owner called Rowan and put me on the phone with the Rowan pattern person and she explained it all to me. Perhaps you might try that as well? I love fern and can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

  3. hee! Your aside cracks me up! have a great Wednesday!

  4. Thank you for answering my Aran question. Your advice was very helpful to me and I’m getting ready to take the leap and design my first aran.

    I’m willing to knit a kitty bed, too! I love — found my last dog through that site. (I also have cats, but they are “authentic Amerian dumpster cats” found pre-petfinder.) I have lots of Lopi in my stash for some reason, so this should be a great way to use it up!

  5. oops–except that I see you have MORE rows in the BACK than the FRONT…weird weird weird.

  6. Interesting… I haven’t had a problem with it… I’ll have to wait and see what Rowan tells you. You’ll probably have Fern done a hell of a lot quicker than I will, lol! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hi Wendy,

    I know that Sage would be more than happy to send 10 critter knitter blankets. I’ll also make a bed for this cause.


  8. Sometimes I find that I’m making a mistake reading a pattern, and reading it the same way over and over, no matter how many times I read it. Then, after I’ve given up, or tried to compensate, or whatever, I read it *one more time* and see that it actually works perfectly, but I had missed one small detail. I did that with a Debbie Bliss pattern, as well as the pattern I tested for you. (Both of them proved to be fine once I realized what I was mis-reading.) Getting older seems to have made it worse, even though it’s made me a better and more experienced knitter!

    I can’t commit to a kitty bed right now, but I will consider it. I think that Sara will be surprised to get way more than 10 beds. (She can’t imagine the incredible power of the blog!)

  9. Diana in NJ says:

    Wendy, I also found one of my cat (finwe) through Petfinder. I would love to make them a bed. I am making one now for my other (diabetic) cat Orion and planned to make for an IMOM fundraiser we do for diabetic cats at our internation online feline diabetes support community

    I have never felted anything, so it would help if I could just send it along to you. Thanks. I bought some Kureyon to make Orion’s bed and I think I have enough left over to make another.

    Thanks for this opportunity to give back. BEst, Diana

  10. Thanks for the Fern info. Your post answered my question way before you answered my question!

  11. I’d be happy to make a kitty bed, if you’d not mind sending the supplies. I’ve been on medical disablity since Oct. 2nd, and I’m looking for new patterns/projects all the time. I’ve just sent off a box to the Cheyenne Indian Reservation, the chemo caps are nearly ready for the oncology unit at the U of Michigan, and the ongoing beanies are all ways in “production” for the front line troops. A kitty bed would be a great new project!(gotta keep learning new!)

  12. hi wendy, i’m so glad you’re blogging about fern because i’ve been wanting to make it too but a little nervous about the front, so it will be great to see someone else do it first!

    also, i had a bad moment when i saw the W stitch marker because my first thought was “W? as in… THE PRESIDENT????” and i was horrified!!!! and then i stopped and realized i’m an idiot and W is for wendy… thank the lord…


  13. Betsy Kleger says:

    Wendy, can you use some donated prizes for the Kittybed project?

  14. Joan in Reno says:

    Lovely knitting, as always. I hope your ankle is getting better and you won’t be inconvenienced for too much longer. Have you tried retail therapy yet? It works pretty well as soon as you can hobble. And a big stash helps, too. Give Lucy a pet from me.

  15. Thanks for all the notes on Fern – I love how you are keeping a couple of knits ahead of the rest of us! How do you think Fern would translate in Noro Cash Iroho – I have some skeins in deep raspberry tucked away that are starting to call me….

    Cool idea on the bed-a-long – I’m going to find out if there is a PetFinder equivalent in NZ!