My current work in progress:

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


Fingerless Mitts Pattern

As promised last week, I’ve posted the pattern for the Fingerless Mitts I made — here. It’s linked to from my main knitting page, so you can always find it there.

Thank you for all your kind words about the Grape Arbor Shawl. I really appreciate all the positive feedback! In answer to a question, it took about 850 yards of the 100% silk yarn from Spirit Trail — this is about a dk weight yarn.

In answer to many questions, I’m not sure when (or if) I’ll be offering a pattern for the shawl. In its current state, the pattern consists of lots of hieroglyphics scribbled down. It’ll take quite a bit of work to transform that into a pattern that anyone who isn’t me could follow. And I’m not sure I have the energy for doing said translation. I know for a fact that I don’t have the time right now. But perhaps I will at some point.

But then again perhaps I’ll have a burst of energy (or a fit of insomnia) and write the whole blessed mess down in one sitting. After all, the shawl was conceived and born in a fit of insomnia.

But then again, again, hell might freeze over. Oh, wait. I think it already did.

Here’s what the pattern looks like right now:


About the shawl, Leigh commented:
I have not had much experience with blocking. You don’t mean you actually put the iron on the shawl, right?

Why, yes, I did, and steamed the heck out of it. Full steam ahead, as it were. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lucy Pullover

I did finally suck it up and put together the Lucy pullover that I recently knit from Rowan Calmer — here it is:


It’s a good thing it was so cold on Sunday that I did not want to venture outside. I was forced to stay indoors and work on fiberly pursuits.

Speaking of Fiberly Pursuits . . .







Three hundred yards of this wool. It was great fun to spin!

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

With the recent spell of very cold weather we’ve had, I’ve noticed that none of my gloves really cut it when it comes to keeping my fingers warm. After only a short time outdoors, my poor little fingers turn into popsicles. I figured perhaps some big thick mittens would be a good idea.

I spun up some soft black wool into a bulky weight yarn.


It looks grey, but that’s from the flash. It’s black in real life, and quite soft. I’m going to make a pair of plain mittens from this.

This one of those rare occasions when I have spun something with the finished product in mind. Most of my spinning has been done simply for the joy of spinning. I think that’s why I give so much of my handspun away. I’ve got no plans for it.

Mistakes in Spinning?

Ann asked:
Do you ever make mistakes in your spinning?

That’s an interesting question! What constitutes a mistake?

I’ve had singles break while spinning, so I guess that’s a mistake. But it’s one that’s easily fixed (even though it’s a pain to have to stop and pull the broken end back out through the orifice and get it started again). I’ve got uneven bits in my spinning and the occasional slub. But those are design elements, right?

I Still Hate Crystal Palace Needles


And this happened after one row when I pulled the commuter knitting out at lunch. So no knitting on the train ride home. Grrrrrrr.

At least it’s just a matter of glueing the wood part back in the metal bit. I’m pretty sure I’ve got some glue here that will do the trick. But still.




  1. Although I know many of your readers would love to have your shawl pattern-don’t worry about not translating it for us. There’s something very special about creating a work of art that may not ever be repeated but is just special on it’s own. You may be the only person with that beautiful shawls just as many other knitters have their own works of art. That’s what makes it so special. (But remember how happy we’ll all be if you do decide to decode it for the masses!) Jane

  2. I agree about the needles…GGGGRRRRRR. Two different Crystal Palace circulars did that to me–came apart mid-project. When I took them back to my yarn store, they were nice about it but suggested that I had mistreated the needles somehow, and had not properly “relaxed” the cord with hot water. Its good to know that it isn’t just me!

  3. Crystal Palace recently reported to retailers that their manufacturer used a new, quick-drying glue for their circulars starting from last winter (12/03 or so) until just recently, when they decided this problem was bad enough to go back to the slower-drying glue. Stores can choose to return all their needles w/bad glue (CP says how bad the problem is may depend on humidity) and you should be able to return them as well, but in any case, CP circulars shipped to retailers in April ’05 (I think that’s the right date) and later should not fall apart like this any more. You will have to check with your favorite LYS (knit happens?) or web retailer to see if they have stopped ordering the ones with the “bad” glue, though.

  4. I’m so impressed with your spinning, Wendy. You haven’t been doing it that long, and you are making some beautiful yarns!

    If you haven’t answered this before, did you learn from a class, a book, or some other way. What would you recommend a beginner spinner?

  5. Any chance of the Grape Arbor Shawl pattern turning up here one of these days? I’ve been drooling over it since you started it.

  6. All your recent pursuits are lovely, especially the shawl. If you are supposed to do a pattern, it will come to you when the energy is right. I’m beginning to wonder, however, if you don’t just wear those needles out? Are they smoking when they fall apart?

  7. Back when I used to do spinning demos at the local Renn Fest, one of the most frequently asked questions was “What happens if the yarn breaks?” My routine was to pull the yarn apart (with the hand toward the orifice holding the spun yarn tightly), cry “Ohmigod, it broke! Oh NOOOOO!!” then calmly lay the wool back over the end of the broken yarn, let it catch, and keep on spinning, without missing a treadle beat. But I was a show-off. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Mittens are a great project for handspun – and in Minnesota a person can never have enough mittens. My favorites were ones I made with liners. I used a corriedale roving for the outer mitten – knit with a really tight gauge so they’re extra strong and the wind doesn’t get through, then picked up the edge stitches and knit another mitten that got “stuffed” inside. The inner mitten was made of a blend of merino, silk and bunny. Very, very warm and extra dreamy. I’ve been thinking of making earbands the same way…

    I love the yarns you’ve been spinning! And your shawl is gorgeous, too.

  9. Please consider writing out the shawl pattern, if anything for publishing. I would pay for the pattern, it is so lovely.

  10. I had a multi-piece crochet hook fall apart on me… repeatedly. (It just pushed back together.) It took about a half hour of crocheting for it to work its way apart again. I took it back. The (crabby) lady at the store said there was no return on hooks, just exchange, and asked me to demonstrate how I crochet. After seeing I crochet normally, she told me to pick out another. So I did, and pulled it apart too. She gave me my money back… but only grudgingly. ๐Ÿ˜› I only buy one piece hooks now, even though it means ordering them online. (Yeah, I know that won’t work for circulars.)

  11. Judging from your current Grape Arbor Shawl pattern, something tells me you woulda been one heckuva code-breaker at Blechley Park. =)

  12. Hi Wendy

    I have a question I looked at the pattern for the fingerless mits and I was just curious is it possible to make a ribbed gussett so that the entire thing is 2×2 rib? I just recently made some and put them on my blog but the thumb gusset is not ribbed and I couldn’t figure out how to do that. Thanks so much….

  13. That handspun is gorgeous!!

  14. Love the yarns you’ve spun. Wish i could spin like that, but still have to practice a lot

  15. I love seeing how the roving goes from fluff to yarn. SO COOL.

  16. that lucy pullover is gorgeous! I love the bluey color of your newest yarn..beautiful, just beautiful!

  17. Hmm. I’m not sure what constitutes a spinning mistake (I don’t know how to spin). I guess I was just trying to say, that you seem to consistently produce beautiful handspun. And there didn’t seem to be much, if any, of a learning curve for you. Some other blogs seem to bemoan problems spinning, but yours… it’s just batch after batch of gorgeous yarn!
    PS. The shaping on Lucy looks very elegant.

  18. The bulky black wool would be wonderful as a pair of Lovikkas, usually they’re made up of white wool, but I think they would look great in black too. There’s nothing warmer than a pair of Lovvikavantar…

    Your blog is wonderful, I stop by daily ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. It is always a joy to ready your blog – such treasures you share with us – Lucy is tres elegant and your spinning is wonderful. I’ve learned so much from you – thank you for your generosity and graciousness.

    Re the shawl pattern – I propose that you included it in the “Wendyknits” book with your other patterns. If there can be two, count em, two Stitch and Bitch books, you deserve a book of your own. Now, I know that’s just making more work for you, so I don’t make the suggestion lightly.

    Love to Lucy!

  20. Hi Wendy,
    Not to just write and join the rant, BUT, I have also stopped buying Crystal Palace needles because it seems like the yarn never glides smoothly over the join. This drive me crazy…..Addi natura for me all the way……
    Your shawl is lovely!

  21. Thanks for the fingerless glove pattern! I’ve got a skein of Noro Silk Garden that I would love fingerless gloves for.

    Don’t worry about the shawl pattern. It’s gorgeous though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As always, love the pics of Lucy the kitty.

  22. Love the shawl, hate blocking. You have inspired me to steam iron a wool/silk blend wrap that I made last month. I’ll let you know if it straightens itself out.

    PS If your fingers get cold in your gloves, do what we do here when it gets really cold (20 below, with a wind chill in the 50 below range. Wear mittens over your gloves….. kind of bulky, but warm.


  23. Have you found that shawls made from 100% silk grow to enormous sizes when worn? I made one from a cone of Crystal Palace silk yarn and it stretched beyond belief.

  24. Just an idea… what about making a pair of thrum mittens with your homespun and roving to keep your fingers warm?