My current work in progress:

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


Fern: A Dirty Little Secret

Heh heh heh. I was planning to reveal this dastardly secret to you today anyway, and yesterday got a very timely comment question from Debbi:

How does Fern *wear*? Is it one of those sweaters you have to worry
over or fiddle with, or is it comfortable and can you forget about the
asymmetrical closure? It looks gorgeous; I especially love the length and
drape of it. But the older I get, the more I am All About Comfort.

It’s a fiddle sweater. Or would that be a fiddlehead fern (hee hee!)?

It is more accurate to say that it WAS a fiddle sweater. Because on Sunday afternoon I carefully overlapped and pinned it — then sewed the fronts together. So that baby ain’t going nowhere. I didn’t see any reason not to — it’s not like I’d ever wear it open.

A Hair-Raising Tale

I appreciate all your suggestions about the evil creature that is my hair. All those suggestions have been tried in the past. Anti-frizz serum? Been there (even though my hair is not frizzy in the least). Combing it wet? Suffered through it. My hair actually comes out of the shower looking like that. Antihumectant and other conditioners and treatments? Tried ’em all. I don’t use leave-in products because they make my hair look and feel incredibly greasy (no matter how little I use) within an hour of use.

The problem is, I believe, that I have really really fine hair, but I have a whole heckuva lot of it. It takes forever to blow-dry. When I was in college I had it long — check out this photo of me from 1979. I used to let it air dry, and it was so thick it would still be damp underneath at the end of the day.

The one thing I haven’t tried is this intriguing suggeston from Judy:

One thing I have found that helps a great deal is putting conditioner on the shanks (for lack of a better word) of my hair BEFORE shampooing, then just shampooing the roots and my scalp. Then you rinse it all out and condition all over again, but rinsing for only a few seconds.

Interesting! I might just need to try that, but only the first part of it. I’ve yet to find a conditioner that doesn’t leave my hair feeling dirty, no matter how little I use or how long I rinse. And I’ve tried ’em all! So double-conditioning might lead to disaster of epic proportions.

One more thing. I am Queen of the Hair Dryers. I’ve worked my way through many a hair dryer and the CHI Ceramic Ionic Hair Dryer is by far the best one I’ve ever owned. I love it. Dries faster and causes less damage to hair, also reduces static.

Enough hair talk. Back to knitting.


I’m chugging along on the second sleeve. But I still have the back to do as well.


The sleeves match at the bottom, and that’s enough to make me happy.

A Musical Interlude

From an email from Ian yesterday:

Check out this one:

and navigate down into the first group in “Dave’s Record Archive”, and the 4th link on the right side will be “The Kathy Anderson Listen & Learn Knitting Album”. Click and a small popup window will open for Real Player and an excerpt from that album will play.

Sorry, but getting the direct link is impossible.

Blog Contest

Just so you know, if you’ve written any personal messages or asked questions in your contest entry email (see yesterday’s entry), its very likely I haven’t read it. I’ve gotten over 1,000 email entries so far and just don’t have time to open and read ’em all. (I bet Comcast just loves me.) It’s nothing personal, I’m not trying to ignore anyone! If you have a question, please ask it in the comments, or use my regular email address (the “Contact Me” link in the sidebar.) I use a random number generator, by the way, to pick the winner.

Blue Sky!

Not to be outdone by Donna, here’s a photo of the sky over D.C. yesterday.




Lucy would like you to know that she loves to be brushed. Particularly so when it’s her daddy doing the brushing!


  1. Beautiful sky! And a beautiful Butterfly that keeps calling me.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. ok that listen and learn knitting album is too funny! i thought it was just a catchy title, not actual knitting instruction. boy, that link is going to get some travel miles being passed around. butterfly is of couse beautiful and all this hair talk is pretty interesting. great pic of you gorgeous long hair. and that’s pretty wild about fern. great idea. i was wondering the same thing and i was thinking, you never do see those types of wraps open anyway. way to rid fern of the fiddle!

  3. I think I would probably do the same with Fern myself;

    A conditioner you might want to try – or line is Bumble and Bumble (I use the super rich one, but then again I bathe in eau de CL2)

  4. Having a crystal clear blue sky in Dc or Baltimore is quite a shock…don’t you think? Gotta love it!! Enjoy the next few beautiful days! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Sounds like my hair — its fine but I have to get it thinned out to do anything with it. The only thing that works for me is no hair dryer and some spray in kids de-tangler/hair conditioner!

  6. This comment is a day late but you may find it useful. I used to wash and blowdry my hair every single day until my hairdresser told me I was drying my scalp out (which accounted for the oiliness, or the scalp trying to remoisten itself) and frying my hair. Since I started skipping days my hair and scalp are back to normal again. You could try this for 2-3 weeks and see if you hair will behave just a little. It could work!

  7. Hi Wendy. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and am blown away by your prolific knitting! I haven’t made a comment up until now. I had to since I have been in the same hair situation. I had tried everything in the book but the only thing that ever worked was getting my hair relaxed (not the Japanese straightening- that is too harsh). I still have to dry my hair for it to be really straight but it totally changed the texture. It is now shiny and easy to care for. I have been very happy with it. Since it is a gentle relaxer I do need to get it done 3x a year or so, but it has been well worth it for me. Good luck! By the way, LOVE Fern.

  8. I wasn’t going to comment on the whole hair thing but it sounds like your hair is similar to mine. I have lots of fine hair that is curly, wavy or straight depending on the humidity level. It doesn’t like conditioner or styling products. My favorite hair care line is Rene Furterer. The Fioravanti clarify and shine rinse works well for me:

    I have not used this vendor I was just looking for a picture. Available at Sephora or Bloomingdale’s.

    Love the butterfly.

  9. Girls, I have to recommend a book to you called “Curly Girl” (I can’t remember the author and I just moved so it’s packed in a box somewhere). I have frizzy hair, and have hated it all my life. Doesn’t curl nicely, can’t straighten it to save my life. “Curly Girl” teaches you how to treat your hair like fiber. Sound familiar? I followed her suggestions. She divides curly hair into three different kinds of curls, and teaches you how to tame the dreaded locks. I no longer have frizzy hair. I can even say that I love my curls. The book makes some very unorthodox suggestions (like not shampooing because it’s too drying, and to shampoo with conditioner), but her tips work. I haven’t “shampooed” in almost a year. And for those hot summer months and dry, cold winter, she has solutions that are easy, inexpensive, and really work. Be free of the frizzes girls, and find yourself this book! (I was so inpsired by my new found hair that I named my blog after my locks!)

  10. My dad’s hair is (and my grandma’s was) so fine that when you touch it, you aren’t sure you’re actually feeling it. My dad used to try to get me to cut his hair with our clippers and I couldn’t do it, because it was too fine to go through the clipper’s comb. Instead it just flattened down and wouldn’t cut. It’s like baby down.

  11. Aaaww…. your kitty from back then looks almost just like my Cappuccino now! And good idea on Fern. You’re right, it’s absolutely not something to wear open, and as long as you can get into it without any trouble, stitching it up saves you a lot of annoyance. Though I suppose if one had a nice shawl pin that would work – I know I don’t have those just lying around though.

  12. dear god 1k responces? Dang girl..

    About your hair my hair is very thick and curly yet very fine. Sounds like y ours is a wee bit thicker then mine.

    I use a conditioner that doesnt make my scalp feel “sticky” or oily afterwords.. (I just try a bunch from the groccery store till I am happy) and then I put in straigtening Gel (yet I dont stratien it) and I only put that stuff on very lightly on the top and front where it frizes the most. I comb it striagh then loosen it up a bit with my fingers, then I defuse it with a defuser, I dont not hold my head upside down I just hold it under my hair and go around.

    Works for me!

  13. Tracy – Thanks for the direct link to that Late Show recording. All – Be careful and Right-Click on that link & open it in a New Window, otherwise there’s a chance it’ll crash your browser.

  14. Hi Wendy,

    After 25 years of inch-long hair, I finally let it grow out about two years ago. I had some of the same problems. Here’s what I do now:

    AFTER washing my hair and conditioning, before drying — Soytri-wheat Leave In Conditioner by healthy sexy hair and then Jojoba oil from Trader Joes (cheap)–five drops in palm and thru hair. Gets it to smooth down. I will also do this sometimes (put on hair a few hours) BEFORE washing for extra conditioner.

    I then blow dry it almost dry (NO brushing, just fingers). Then roll it up in VELCROW rollers. NOT the heated ones. Just the BIG velcrow rollers and leave them in while I put on my makeup. (remember, hair is already almost dry) TAke down whenever ready to get out the door. Usually leave in for aveage of 30 minutes. NO drying while on rollers.

    I can’t stand to try to blowdry my hair with a brush, tooooo much heat for way to long with all my hair. These rollers help calm and smooth my hair. Takes me 5 minutes to roll up my hair after blow drying hair almost dry.

    I have found I can get in, out of shower and done with ALL my hair!!! in about an hour and out the door!! You have my smypanthy on hair. It took me forever to figure out how to get it manageable. BIG clippies are good for getting it away from my face and up off my neck when it’s 110* in Vegas.

    Thanks for your great site. Kim

  15. Cheryl F. says:

    That David Letterman site is a hoot! Now I know I’ll get nothing done today, having to listen to the Motown version of the Oscar Meyer Weiner song and the German version of Bonanza.
    Love that Butterfly! Finally got my copy of Simply Noro in the mail yesterday and I’m torn between that one and the ribbed zippered jacket. I think I’d like to make Butterfly shorter if I tackled her.

  16. Regarding hair care. I too have the so-many-strands-of-fine-hair-that-none-of-it-dries-all-the-way-during-the-day hair. If I add too many products to my hair, it gets weighed down or becomes oily by the end of the day, depending on what I have added. Conditioner? Not after shampooing, but definitely works before. I use very little though or I will weigh the hair down again. Believe it or not, I use Aloe Vera gel, and sometimes Curls Up gel. If you read labels, Aloe Vera is added to many of the hair care products anyway. I don’t use much. I also use a reconditioning shampoo every few months, like T-gel from Neutrogena.

    I don’t blow dry or I would have really funky looking hair. I don’t towel dry a lot either, just blot the hair right out of the shower, finger comb my hair, rub Aloe Vera gel through my hair, comb my hair, rub with a towel, then finger comb again and let it dry naturally.

    Just some ideas on nontraditional hair care products.

  17. I shampoo my hair, then condition it, then shampoo it. It works great! I have the same sort of hair, very fine, but a ton of it.

  18. Heh – I love that mischievous look on Lucy’s face…I know when I see that at home I’d better get a cat toy out, LOL…