My current work in progress:

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


Just So You Know . . .

The February 16 blog entry with Waddle the Penguin is not the hint to which I referred in my KnitCast interview. Actually, the interview was recorded before then, and the hint was posted a while back.

Those of you who didn’t listen to the interview will not know what I’m talking about. More about that later.

But first . . .

Some Kinsale Musings

Yesterday I picked up stitches for a sleeve and started knitting down from the top. I’m glad I did. I like the way the sleeve/body “seam” looks this way.


It’s easy to adjust your pattern to accommodate this for a drop shoulder sweater. My pattern calls for me to make a sleeve that’s 17.5″ long. I measured 17.5″ up the back of the sweater, and discovered that it comes to ten of the diamond patterns exactly, along with the bottom band. Each diamond pattern is 16 rows, so that’s 160 rows of the pattern.

Then I checked out the increases on the pattern as written. I need to increase 2 stitches every 4 rows x number of times (I don’t have the pattern in front of me, hence the x). I figure that into the number of rows I need to knit, so that I know how far down on the sleeve I need to start decreasing, every 4 rows.

Something I didn’t like in the pattern. It directs you to center the ladder portion of the pattern on the sleeve, while the front and the back have the diamond pattern centered. I though that looked a bit odd, so I started my sleeve centering the diamond instead.

I’m doing my decreases two stitches in, so I’ll have a stockinette seam line on the sleeve. That’ll make it easier to sew together, I think, and make it look neater.


I did drag this whole thing with me to work, just because I want to finish it as quickly as possible and move on to greener pastures. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do so. I think I need a bigger bag!

Cable Hijinks!

I taught a class this evening at Knit Happens, an introduction to knitting cables. Great fun! I hope the students enjoyed it as much as I did.

Lucy was peeved that I got home hours later than usual, but forgave me when her Fancy Feast appeared.


My News

In case you haven’t figured out from the comments in response to the Knitcast interview, my news is that I’ve got a knitting book in the works that will be published by Penguin late this fall. It’s a combination of prose and patterns.

I could pinch myself until I’m black and blue, but I’d still have a hard time believing this is really happening. Thank you for all your good wishes and kind words!

And I said that the first person who could point out the subtle hint about this that I posted in my blog would win a prize. Hence the discussion about Waddle at the top of this entry. He ain’t it. He ain’t subtle, either.

I do have one correct answer, but it was a second guess, so I’m holding off awarding the prize in case someone comes up with it on the first try.

Several people asked about the mechanics of the Knitcast interview. We did it over the internet, using Skype software — it’s a free communications program — just download it from their website (betcha can’t guess the URL for that), install it, and create a username. You need, of course, microphone and speakers for your pc. I simply used a microphone I yanked off a dead desktop computer and it worked just fine.

As for the interview itself — you can tell Marie is a professional, can’t you? And hasn’t she got a lovely accent! We did two audio chats before the interview so I was very comfortable speaking with her. For the record, I don’t do a lot of public speaking and I also don’t enjoy public speaking, so I was surprised the interview went as well as it did. We didn’t really discuss the questions ahead of time, so it was all very spontaneous.

Lucy was sitting in my lap for the whole interview, but declined to comment. She was purring, but I had the great good sense not to shove the microphone in her face.

I’m just pleased I didn’t come off as an even bigger idiot than I actually am.


  1. the “i’ll tell you later” when someone asked what sparked the knitting of Kinsale?

  2. Back on jan 24th you made a comment about maybe finding the time and energy to write out the grape arbor shawl pattern. that’s probably not the hint, but its my guess.

  3. Wow! I can’t wait until your book comes out. It’s going to be so incredible!

  4. It always makes me so happy to see good things happening to good people. That’s the karmic way of the world. Yay! Congratulations on all the wonderful events happening in your life. You deserve every bit of it!

  5. I’m not one for the subtle things these days…but wanted to say congrats once more!

  6. i’m such a sucker for contests. This quote from 1/24/05: I know for a fact that I don’t have the time right now. But perhaps I will at some point.

    Can’t wait to see the book!

    PS Nice shawl. [Grape Arbor]

  7. Was this the hint, from January 24th?

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

    Referring to writing out the shawl pattern?

    Just had to take a guess….Congratulations! I’ll be buying your book and I can’t wait!

  8. Contest entry: from Nov 28th, 2004 “The pattern will be available at some point in the future.”

    The penguin photo montage was a hoot!

  9. That is simply wonderful, and overdue. I love to see “real knitters” like yourself do patterns and books. Congratulations!

  10. Good for you!!!
    I can’t wait to buy your book!
    You are an amazing knitter and a fun to be around person!


  11. Congrats on your book, count me in as a buyer! I enjoyed your Knitcast interview, and any discomfort with public speaking didn’t show at all. Speaking informally on topics I’m passionate about (like dyeing, spinning and knitting) helped me to overcome my fear of public speaking.

    You’re right about the sleeve design placement on Kinsale. I think the most eye-catching elements should be at the center.

  12. Can’t wait to see your book!!

  13. Congrats! I will be first in line to buy your book.

    Also, thanks for reminding me about KnitCast. I downloaded the first one, and can’t wait to hear yours!

  14. You are amazing!! I don’t know how you find the time to spin, knit, blog, write a book, and, oh yeah that day-job thing you have (and play with and photograph lovely Lucy). You inspire me!

    Your knitcast comment about knitting continental would explain the “fast” knitting, at least.

    I have to say I think Waddle was a hint; after all he is a PENGUIN and you’re using Penguin publishers, but not a real hint about a book. BTW I still laugh when I picture Waddle looking at and then feeling the yarn … just cracks me up!!!

  15. Say . . . are you going to have a book signing? I want to make sure I show up with my copy of the book!

  16. Diana & Orion says:

    OMG, Wendy! A book! That’s so awesome!

    When the right time comes, please let us know how our yarn stores can pre-order it in quanitity!

    Kinsdale still rocks.

    Man, coming home late yesterday on top of the vet visit? It’s amazing you were not shunned for your rude and hurtful behavior…

    Congratulations! Hugs to you and mega-belly kisses to HRH Lucy.

    regards — Diana & Orion

  17. Diana & Orion says:

    OMG, Wendy! A book! That’s so awesome!

    When the right time comes, please let us know how our yarn stores can pre-order it in quanitity!

    Kinsdale still rocks.

    Man, coming home late yesterday on top of the vet visit? It’s amazing you were not shunned for your rude and hurtful behavior…

    Congratulations! Hugs to you and mega-belly kisses to HRH Lucy.

    regards — Diana & Orion

  18. Diana & Orion says:

    OMG, Wendy! A book! That’s so awesome!

    When the right time comes, please let us know how our yarn stores can pre-order it in quanitity!

    Kinsdale still rocks.

    Man, coming home late yesterday on top of the vet visit? It’s amazing you were not shunned for your rude and hurtful behavior…

    Congratulations! Hugs to you and mega-belly kisses to HRH Lucy.

    regards — Diana & Orion

  19. Congratulations on the book… I’m thrilled for you and for all the knitters who will read your book.

    Colleen in KC

  20. Can’t wait to see the book – congratulations!

    My guess is the hint was February 1, when someone asked why you returned to ganseys!

  21. January 16…
    “Links of mine have been included in a book”

    Did I win?!!


  22. since I am at a lab without ear phones I couldnt listen, but many congratulations on the book deal!!

    and I do promise to listen to it once I get my laptop out of its coma (the white light at the end of that tunnel is coming!)

  23. Debbieakadragonridermom says:

    Just wanted to add my congratulations! And my guess…was your hint the title of your 2/28 entry? “and some of us have greatness thrust upon us”

  24. Wendy! Not an idiot!! I really enjoyed the podcast — and yes, you can tell Marie is a professional. You didn’t do too bad yourself. What fun. I’ve forwarded the address to all my St. Louis knitting group here. Good luck on the book. I hope Ingrid and the grape arbor shawl are included. Take care.

  25. Wendy,

    Congrats on the book deal! I have always thought you could put together a wonderful book with all of your knowledge and experience. I can’t wait to buy it.

  26. Wendy – the BIGGEST HUG and Glass of Champagne tipping in your direction on this WONDERFUL news!

    I know how passionate you are about WRITING (as well as knitting) and I am just THRILLED FOR YOU!


  27. Congratulations on the book! Great news!

  28. Susan Brockett says:

    Great news about the book.

    Does this mean that you can give up your day job?

    And will there be pictures of Lucy in the book?


  29. How cool! I can’t wait to read the book. Pretty soon we’ll all be rushing for the Wendy Johnson book the way we do for Alice Starmore and Debbie Bliss. Most knitters know what it means to be knitting an A-S and soon I have a feeling knitters will know a W-J. I can’t wait to give the grape arbor a try….. Best of luck to you.

  30. Susan Maurer says:

    Alright, I’m a sucker for contests (and free things), too. I’m going to have to guess the hint was Waddle the Penguin (as in, publishers) and his, er, well, romancing the yarn. Since you’re publishing a yarn, so to speak, and he’s, well, involved with it.
    Congrats! So can you answer another question about the book? Did you write the prose?? Is it really prose (as in poetry) or musings about life and knitting and such…?
    So glad you’re getting published! Any photos of Lucy to be in the book? (Guess we can’t ask too many questions aforehand, hey? Or it may spoil thr surprise by letting the cat out of the bag ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. I think the first edition has already sold out! When is the book tour, btw? We’ll have a big ol’ Knit Out Oakland for you!

  32. Yet another Melissa says:

    Congratulations on your book, Wendy. You are a marvelous writer (as well as knitter) and often have me laughing as I read your blog. I hope you’ve included the quip about Swedes in times of extreme emotion shaking hands — that was one of my favorites! Will Waddle and Lucy be joining you at the book signings?

  33. The interview was great (but I think you should have let Lucy purr a bit — it would have been funny…) and congratulations on the book!

  34. Bravo! on both your book and your interview. I’ll be where ever you say in the DC area for your book signing. Hooray Hooray!
    Love to Lucy

  35. I’m not going to guess, I’m really lousy at guessing. But I did greatly enjoy the interview and I listened to the previous one about fungi too which I really enjoyed. Thanks for cluing us into that sign.

  36. Congrats on the book! I’m definitely looking forward to reading it, because I’ve gotten a lot of tips from reading your blog. Don’t forget L.A. when you do a book tour!

  37. Isn’t skype great!! I use it all the time. Gotta love free phone calls!

    Loved the interview and congrats on the book deal! I’ll be watching for it on the book store shelves!!

  38. congratulations!!! that’s really wonderful. I can’t wait to buy it ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Congratulations on the book Wendy. Good for you.

  40. I really loved the podcast – thanks for taking the time. Fab news about the book too! Oh, and you definitely *need* a new bag. ๐Ÿ˜‰ and more importantly, you deserve a new bag.

  41. Congratulations, Wendy! We will all be eagerly waiting to hear more details and then to buy your book. I wonder how I will be able to get a signed copy in New Zealand…?

    My guess is from your posting on 1 February 2005, where you are asked about your return to knitting another Starmore fisherman sweater, and you respond that you will tell us one day… Were you perusing your Starmore books for how she writes and presents her patterns specifically to help you out in how you may present your own? Can you think of someday hearing that Alice Starmore is knitting one of your patterns from your upcoming book? That would be so cool… ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Was it on Feb 8 when you said you felt sorry for folks without reading material? I love trying to read stuff into other stuff people wrote.

  43. Congratulations on your book, can’t wait to see it.

    My guess is the comment from your Feb 16 post, ‘I took the day off work today for an appointment this morning’.

  44. Congratulations on becoming a Penguin author! (They’re among our clients for whom we handle production editing, so we’re rather prejudiced, of course…)

    That must be a quick editorial/production cycle for your book, though; I’m already handling books that are September 2005 releases. Let us know how it progresses!