My current work in progress:

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


Q&A Day!

About Needles

Susan asked (about my Brittany birch 5″ dpns):
Does Lucy chew on the points? I got smart and started buying two sets at a time, as my fur balls like to chomp on those little pointy ends.

I too bought two sets of them, and it’s a good thing I did. I refer you to the tale of woe in this blog entry.

Marcia asked:
Have you tried the “Magic Loop” You can knit your sock pattern on 1 longer circular needle.

I experimented with it once. I don’t like it. I also don’t like the idea of manipulating the cable on my circular needle like that. I live in fear that my circs will separate at the cable (and some have done so, just through the wear and tear of normal use) and this seems like something that would add further stress to the needle cable.

And I can knit faster on dpns than this way, or on two circs, so it’s dpns for me.

Gabby asked:
Where do you buy your wooden circs? I’ve looked all over and I’m never
able to find any.

I buy mine at my LYS, Knit Happens. They carry my favorite brand of bamboo circs: Addi Natura.

About Row Gauge

Stinkerbell asked:
No you aren’t alone I am in that boat of tighter row gauge, but my
question to the knitting goddess is this:

Obviously this will mean that you need more yarn for your project non??
therefore how do you determine how much more you might want to get, if
you are say trying to buy all your yarn at once?

Actually, I said that I have looser row gauge — I knit fewer rows than required. But that would lead one to the opposite question: Shouldn’t I need less yarn for a project?

Someone who is knitting at a looser row gauge than stated for the pattern is using more yarn per stitch. The person knitting at a tighter row gauge is using less yarn per stitch. I’m thinking the differences in amounts of yarn needed are negligible, unless your row gauge is way off.

But that would be an interesting experiment: have two people who have the same stitch gauge but differing row gauges knit swatches that measure the same, rip ’em out, and see how much yarn each used.

About the Rebecca Cardi

Anne asked:
What do you normally do about shoulder seaming? I notice on the Rebecca cardigan you are keeping the stitches live until the making-up stage . Do you usually use a three-needle bind off or grafting technique?

I do a three-needle bind-off whenever possible, and will do so on this cardi.

Speaking of which, I finished the right side front.


And I’m working on a sleeve.


About Kinsale

Laureen asked:
I love how your Kinsale turned out! Did you alter the pattern at all? It is more fitted than the model (or are the models just anorexic?) I’m tired of knitting big, boxy sweaters and really like the fit on you.

The model was wearing a larger size and she, no doubt, weighs about 80 pounds. I made the smallest size and knitted it at a slightly tighter gauge than recommended. I also made it about an inch shorter. It looks really long on the model in the book, so she must be a really tiny person!

About Lucy

Sharon asked:
She’s the cutest thing. I thought she was a Siamese seal-point at first, but was surprised to hear she’s a Ragdoll. I know this is unrelated to knitting, but how hard is to groom? I used to have a Himalayan (seal-point) and she matted so easily. I’ve been wanting to get a Ragdoll – I hear they are the sweetiest kitties!

I can’t speak for all Ragdolls, but Lucy has an extremely sweet personality. She is very dog-like — always wants to be with me, comes when I call her, and loves to play fetch. She is extremely affectionate and seems to love everyone she meets.

Ragdoll fur is characterized as being like bunny fur. I have only once ever seen a mat in Lucy’s fur, and that was when I first got her. She had one mat in her “mane,” which I carefully snipped out. We brush her 3 or 4 times a week and she hasn’t had a mat since. Surprisingly low-maintenance for a long haired kitty.



  1. The gauge experiment would be cool, in a super-geeky sort of way. [I’m super-geeky so I didn’t mean that as an insult!]

    Thanks for all the tips. It’s comforting to know that I’m not a freak for having unconventional row gauge.

    Hi to Lucy!!! And a scratch behind the ear, too!

  2. i’d love to see some sort of experiment like that… i suppose it’s the Mathlete in me. my boyfriend’s in a band, and i frequently sit there ALL through his practices with my sketchbook and patterns around me doing math and re-writing patterns to fit my odd gague.

    when i first started knitting, i thought that stitch gague was dependant on row, so they HAD to be proportionate. i never really caught on that they’re independantly varying until recently. boy was THAT a wake-up call.

    ps – my next cat will be a ragdoll ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Knitterly says:

    “But that would be an interesting experiment: have two people who have the same stitch gauge but differing row gauges knit swatches that measure the same, rip ’em out, and see how much yarn each used.”

    Better yet, knit the swatches and weigh them on a very precise scale.

  4. On the subject of needles – again… I note your favorite brand of bamboo circs is Addi Natura. I was recently in the US and stocked up on my supply of Addi Naturas as we can’t get them in NZ. The woman who served me in the YS in San Francisco told me that Addi are no longer making bamboo circs. Had you heard that?

  5. Just a link for those interested in ragdolls. We had to have ours put to sleep recently and are planning on getting another one. They are the ultimate in cats.

    This link provides general information as well as links to catteries.

  6. I know I’ve mentioned it before – or maybe I haven’t, what with my astoundingly sieve-like memory, but Lucy is adorable, and quite a nice addition to your blog, which is already informative and entertaining. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I have two ragdolls, both of which are terribly sweet (though the one that is *show cat quality* is decidedly stupider) and act a bit like dogs- they come to the door when people come, fetch, and really like to be around people.

    Ive never had either of my cat’s hair matt even a bit. They require very, very little brushing- just enough to keep them from getting furballs-which they really enjoy.

  8. DOH! That is what happens when you are too paranoid to really actually *erm* read…

    might ahve to play lab experimentation though…

    anyways I got a question answered in a post, I am going to take that, feel special and meditate on it ๐Ÿ™‚ Smile today and pet a furry one!

  9. Our old rag doll, Cocoa Moe, was in all honesty, rarely brushed, and always beautiful. The only long hair we’ve ever had a big matting problem with was a 14 year old Himalayan we adopted (something of a kitty hospice project) who was beyond caring for himself.

    I seem to remember that Lucy was a Petfinder cat? I have to say, anyone who is looking for a pet- take a look at Petfinder. Any breed, any animal- somewhere there is one waiting in a shelter for you.

  10. I’ve got a Maine Coon who doesn’t mat either–though he did last spring, for the first time ever, due to then-undetected ill health. This year he’s doing his traditional thing, which is to shed happily and profusely with no outside intervention.

  11. I agree with you on DPNs, the magic loop method, and (for most smaller things) the two-circ method. DPNs for hats, socks, gloves, mittens, small diameter scarves, and sleeves on toddler and smaller size garments. The two circ and magic methods are just too fiddly for little stitches, and I’m fairly speedy (and very consistent) with DPNs.

    But I have to admit the two-circ method does have its moment for larger items.

    I’ve got big paws, and short diameter (read shorter than 29″) circs rarely have needle parts long enough for comfort. As a result, unless an object was quite wide around, I did most of my in-the-round work on extra long European style DPNs.

    I’ve now switched to two-32″ circs for sweater bodies and for (joy of joys!) knitting two sleeves in the round side by side. I still use my extra-long DPNs for some pieces, and still favor shorter DPNs for smaller items, but I’m growing to like the two-circ method for the bigger things.

  12. What’s worse then a kitty bite on dpns or any wood needles, a parrot bite! Okay maybe not worse, but I have found several needles that my Basil apparently decided would make great parrot treats. Aren’t pets fun!

    I used to have a ragdoll myself, her name was Sugar. (We didn’t name her, she came to us named) She was the sweetest cat in the entire world. And you’re right, they really are quite low maintenance for long haired kitties.

  13. I think this is my all-time favourite Lucy picture. Just wanted to let you know.

  14. I’ve been enjoying the tutorials of late: needles and row gauge.
    Back in October you discussed a Twisted Rib stitch but your instructions were (I believe) for knitting flat. What is your favorite rib stitch for knitting in the round? And when you cast-on for a hat and want a ‘stretchy’ cast-on what kind of cast-on do you prefer? I’ve been trying the German Twisted Cast-On discussed in the Winter 2004/2005 issue of the Vogue Knitting magazine (pg 30).

  15. I did a version of the row gauge experiment myself. I knit a scarf with Noro Lily on US5s, using 3×3 rib over thirty stitches. It turned out very short. I ripped it out and knitted it in 3×3 rib using an elongated stitch, and it is much longer, using the same amount of yarn. It is much more open (almost lace-like).

    From this it seems like a looser row gauge would use less yarn, but how much less is still a question because I altered my stitch, so considering good experimental design, I created new variables (I spent too much time in the lab today).

    On another note, a past roommate had a ferret, and it was very nice and funny to play with, but it liked to find out how things felt between its teeth. Toothpaste tubes were a favorite, but it also got hold of my Brittany birch needles once. It didn’t break any, but I had to file off the little marks and refinish the points! But that was much easier than when my sisters beagle chewed on a metal needle!

    No problems with cats though!