My current work in progress:

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


Yarn Protocol!

My favorite lapin maigre asked a question in the comments yesterday:

I have a question re Silk Garden (and all other Noro yarns): Do you roll it into balls before knitting? Or do you knit directly from the skeins? I rarely roll into balls but I’m wondering what the Yarn Protocol with Noro should be for obtaining best knitting results.

Short answer is: I don’t. But some people do.

If I were to wind my Noro yarn into balls, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I would drive myself crazy with it. My little experiment with pulling out the ends to see where they start in the striping sequence is as far as I will go.

But that Noro dude is sneaky. I was merrily knitting along on the left front of Butterfly, having joined in the second skein thinking “Oh, this is grand! Get me: I’m more or less following the color sequence.” when I saw looming up in the strand of working yarn . . . a knot!

[Insert ominous music here]

A knot that tied in orange right after green, thereby eliminating the stripes of fuschia, black and burgundy and screwing up the striping sequence.

If I had wound the skeins into balls, I would have seen this. There is a strong possibility that there are other knots lurking unseen in other skeins, just waiting to pounce.

Of course, I did know this could happen. It’s happened before.

But that’s okay. My personal opinion is that if I am going to knit with Noro yarns, I ought to embrace the randomness of them and not sweat it. I paid little or no attention to the striping sequence of the Silk Garden for my Klaralund, and I’m quite happy with the finished sweater.

But I do know that some people have rewound Noro yarns as they knit with great results.

What do you all think?

I finished the first side and started the second side. So far, so good!


Kitty Bed Project Update

I haven’t mentioned this is a few days, but the Kitty Beds for project has really taken off! Some speedy people have already finished beds! I am not one of them. I’ve made a good start on my bed, but have a way to go before finishing. But I’ll have it finished in plenty of time.

The link to the Kitty Bed Project group is over in the sidebar — the cute little picture of Lucy in her bed.

And Now for Something Completely Different

A food discussion. One of the things I love about Erika’s blog is how she talks about food and recipes. Yum! So Erika, sweetie, this one’s for you!

Last week I was thumbing through Organic Style magazine and found an article on butternut squash. I love butternut squash. I LOVE butternut squash One of their suggestions for preparing is was to roast it with shallots and sausages and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

I felt weak just thinking about it. There was no actual recipe, so I made one up:

Spray a 9×13″ roasting pan lightly with cooking spray.

Peel a large butternut squash and cut into 2″ chunks, removing all seeds. Put the chunks in the roasting pan along with six sweet Italian sausage links (I used turkey sausage). Add a double handful of whole peeled shallots.

Drizzle 1 or 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over all. Roast, uncovered, in a 425 degree oven for approximately 1 hour, or until the squash is fork tender.

Drizzle another tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over all before serving.

I made this for dinner last Friday night and Ian and I ate every last bit of it in one sitting. Oink.

Methinks that I should winkle this into a side dish recipe (sans sausage) for Thanksgiving dinner.

My, I was a chatty gal today, eh? Have a good weekend all, and may your Noro yarn stripe in a manner that is pleasing to your eye and cleansing to your soul.

I did sew up Fern, but my internet connection was out for most of yesterday evening and then it was too late for a photo op, so pix on Monday. October contest on Monday as well, so stay tuned!



  1. Yumm! We are so trying that over the weekend. It’s turned back in to winter so something scrummy and warming is well needed.
    Love the extended entry – must be the good eats! Do you try to eat mainly organic food? It must be hard in the US?

  2. I have never thought about winding Noro into balls! Becky is a perfectionist ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am actually too lazy for this. But if even you don’t do this, I feel more confortable about it…. *lol*
    Have a nice weekend!

  3. Butternut squash was a favorite of my Grandma’s. She did the standard bake with butter, cinnamon and a pinch of sugar recipe. In the summer when her garden was really going she would fill the freezer with squash so she could have it all year long.

    The sweater is looking gorgeous!

  4. I agree that with Noro you need to go with the flow ! Even without knots there are variations in colour lengths.The randomness adds to the yarn’s rustic charm.
    Thanks for the recipe.I’ll be trying that one – it would be good with chorizo,for a bit of spice. ;-]

  5. You rock, Wendy. That’s all I need to not roll this yarn into balls. I’ll be going with the flow and knitting directly from the skeins. Wooot! [I admit! I’m a lazy ball roller. I never roll anything into balls; leaves me more time for knitting :-)]

  6. The only reason to roll Noro into balls would be the knots. There are A LOT of them. Between my Booga bags and a scarf, I found, on average, two knots in every skein. Very frustrating. Yay for butternut squash! Now if only I could convince the rest of my family.

  7. Butterfly looks loverly so far! And, yeah, I agree with you on Noro, you can’t get overly stressed about it. Let go, let Eisaku. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Wendy, it’s just past 7a and I have this bizarre hankering for BUTTERNUT SQUASH A LA WENDY…NOW! Gee, I wonder how this came to be??? Any ideas? And I predict I’ll be insufferable until I make some! Mmmmm!

    Speaking of all good eats Erika, hope a Knit N Nosh is on your calendar. Er made her scrumptious Revel Bars AND chocolate chip cookies late last night!

  9. Another Becky says:

    I’m one of those ghost readers (been reading your blog for over a year, but haven’t ever commented until now), so I must first say I Love Your Blog! My inspiration to finally write is due to your squash recipe though. Check out the October Everyday Food (if you’re not Martha-averse) – there’s a section on butternut squash, and a fantastic risotto recipe which I made and loved. Knit on!

  10. Winding Noro – wouldn’t that ruin all the fun of watching to see what comes next? I love the surprises as I knit with this yarn!

  11. I wound the Kureyon that I used for my Rosedale. It was a lot of fun seeing the colors change, I got a feel for what the yarn was like (I use a nostepinne), and this way I could plan to try to keep a knot from suddenly appearing far from a place where I could easily weave it in.

    I did this all after a hard day and ended up sitting up until two or three, just watching how the lovely colors changed. It was a great way to relax.

  12. I was obsessed with matching my stripes on Klaralund, to the point of splicing the Silk Garden when the colors didn’t flow “correctly”. Pure madness! I think going with the flow with Noro should be a new Bad Ass Knitter rule! And I will obey! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. travelita says:

    5 am here in CA. Getting up early to go in the mountains. My first thoughts were to go with the randomness of Noro but after seeing fronts and sleeves actually match up, I realize it’s a different outfit-one that I prefer. Not better, just a different look. I would prefer to control random knot and color change issue, too. Butternut is my fav squash. But I also have fun making up display bowls of bumpy, varigated, wierd squash.

  14. You go girl!! Love the Butterfly because you have the RIGHT idea about Noro. . .it’s about nature.. . your front looks exquisite!! Also enjoyed the essay yesterday (though I am a squash lover, too) and wondered if you have used Manos del Uruguay? It’s very close to tickling a lamb.

  15. wrightnour says:

    I’ve knit with quite a bit of Kureyon and you will find knots that disrupt that Zen sequence you had going…your idea to just go with the Kureyon flow will result in a happier knitter, for sure!

  16. That squash sounds awesome! I’ve only ever had it with butter and brown sugar, almost like a dessert or candied yams. I love the idea of using balsamic and sausage with it….

    First you inspire my knitting, now my kitchen… what next?!

  17. You have now made me hungry with that recipe! lol! Must find something not nearly as yummy for breakfast…. Butterfly is looking great – I’m with you on the Noro. Just go with the flow and it’ll look great is my motto!

  18. What a sweet shout-out! Please tell Ian that I’ll make sure to set aside some revel bars for him today if you’re going to be anywhere near KH this weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And what a fabulous butternut squash recipe. It’s one of my favorite things about fall too. Yum!

  19. I have been winding my Noro. Not so much to be controlling as to be prepared for the “bits of nature” and knots and such. It is easier to dig out the twigs while winding than while knitting. I’ll confess to deciding which end to start from to make for “better random.” I guess I’ve been lucky as most of my skeins (SG #82) haven’t had a single knot.

  20. My name is Ronke and I am a Kureyon addict! I only bother to wind the balls when I am feeling fussy and want the colours to follow a set pattern. Otherwise I just go with the flow! The beauty of Kureyon is that no matter what colours turn up in a skein, they always blend well.

  21. I think it is like anything with knitting, you have to do whatever makes you feel most comfortable when using Noro. If it will drive you crazy to see randomness, then wind the skeins into balls. However, if you can live with a more random-looking result, then go with the flow. Just like most aspects of knitting, there really isn’t a right and a wrong way, just different methods that make people feel more or less comfortable with their knitting. I have actually been going against my compulsive tendencies and going with the flow in using Kureyon for a top- down sweater. However, if I use it again, I think it will make me more comfortable to knit a sweater using Noro in pieces so that my stripes will actually match up better. I am too lazy to rip this one out, though, so I will have to live with it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. I have made a cap out of that same color and I loved it so much I bought enough for a sweater. I am about 2 inches in and I was wondering what it would look like as it progressed, Now I’m happy because it is beautiful!

  23. It is always a PLEASURE reading your blog – and now, not just a knitting pleasure – but a dining one as well – great recipe, can’t wait to try it (and I haven’t reallllly cooked in a long long time) – love the way Butterfly is progressing – many many thanks and have a great weekend.

    You bring so much joy into my and many other worlds. I am very grateful.

    My love to the Lovely Lucy!

  24. Mmmm, you just reminded me how I’m excited for fall and making hearty foods as the weather gets a bit chillier. My favorite thing to make with butternut squash is a fantastic soup where you combine it with tomatoes, ginger and garlic. A very simple mix of flavors that’s so incredibly delicious. Speaking of delicious, I’m loving your progress on Butterfly!

  25. Me too, me too. LOVE butternut squash. Your recipe is devine! and my dh just might eat the squash if it is mixed with sausage! Great idea, thanks for sharing. Your Butterfly is beautiful, too!

  26. Big Butternut squash fan here….and easier to peel if you puncture and put in microwave 4 or 5 minutes first…… Noro knots over shadowed by the beauty of that yarn……love the end results.Booga bags reign !

  27. Oh! How I love butterfly. Those are wild colors. She’s going to look soooo cool! As soon as I finish Smooch and Klaralund, it’s Butterfly here I come!!

  28. Ruth in Houston says:

    I’m almost finished with a Noro silk garden sweater and I found those same knots. My color was #50 and I did an entrelac sweater.. I have used 10 skeins and I need one more to finish.

    Your butterfly looks great.

  29. You know, knots in the Noros is a very random thing – you never know if they’ll be in your particular batch or not. Amazingly, I didn’t encounter a SINGLE knot in any of the 14 skeins of Silk Garden I wound for Klaralund (and I only wound ’em cause it makes the skeins more compact!).

    It’s lucky o’ the draw, but knots or no, I’m still a Noro addict!

  30. Another thing to note about Kureyon – the colors are not always consistent between skeins. I don’t mean the order, I mean the actual color of the yarn. My first project with Kureyon was a simple garter stitch scarf using 3 skeins of #102 (which I love). All were purchased at the same time, same dye lot, etc. The first two skeins were consistent in pattern and color, but the third had a major stripe in a completely different color. It looked fine and was just a scarf, but if consistency is important to you, I’d go with the balling it up method. I’ve also found that the gauge and the consistency of the yarn (in terms of being relatively uniform vs. going from very thick to very thin in the course of a skein) can vary a lot between colors.

  31. I like to ball my Noro with my ball winder because of the knots that do seem to occur and because I like the way the colors form a circular design on the top of the ball. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. My Silk Garden had one knot per ball. I remember when yarn never had knots. Is this a new thing?

  33. Butterfly!

  34. Hey Wendy, I made a post about the Kitty Bed-a-long on the yahoo knitlist as well as the knitting community. I haven’t seen any post about it on those 2 groups, so I made them- hope you don’t mind!!


  35. Butternut squash risotto! It’s delish, and one of my all-time favorites.


  36. We ate butternut squash and sausages a la Wendy last night for dinner. A delicious take on two of our favorite foods. And SO EASY to make. This won’t be the last time we try this. Thanks for the delicious recipie!