My current work in progress:

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


Cotton This

Susan asked:
I just went to check out “Luanne,” and I noticed that it’s knit with Debbie Bliss Cashmere Cotton (or vice versa). Can you let us know if you prefer one over the other? Rowan’s CashCotton vs Debbie Bliss’, or how they differ, if you like them both for diff reasons?

They are very different yarns. The Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere is 85% cotton and 15% cashmere and has 109 yards per 50 gram skein. Suggested gauge is 5.5st/inch on a US size 5 needle.

The Rowan Classic Cashcotton DK is 35% Cotton, 25% Polyamide, 18% Angora, 13% Viscose, 9% Cashmere, with 142 yards per 50 gram skein. Suggested gauge is 5.5st/inch on a US size 5 needle.

The Debbie Bliss yarn has a much higher percentage of cotton, so it has a much more “true” cotton feel to it. The cashmere in it gives it a lovely soft touch, however. If I picked it up and didn’t know what it was, I’d guess it was mostly cotton. Duh.

The Cashcotton is like no other cotton I’ve experienced. (“I dunno, lad. It’s like no cheese I’ve ever tasted.” Extra points to you if you can identify that quote.) If asked to guess its composition, cotton would not be my first guess.

While the gauge for the two is very close, they knit up into very different fabrics. The Cotton Cashmere knitted fabric doesn’t feel as fragile as that of the Cashcotton.

Which do I prefer? They each have their place in the Great Pantheon of Yarns, but if I had to choose between the two, I’d choose the Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere.

I’ve not used the Manos Cotton Stria, by the way, so I can’t comment on it.

I did, however, finish my Blue Sky Organic Cotton sweater, Mel.


I also sat down at the spinning wheel for the first time in over a month. A couple of weeks ago, Brittany gave me this:


Lovely Fleece Artist handpainted merino. It now looks like this:


Brittany, I’ll leave it at Knit Happens for you on Wednesday.

Holtz & Stein Needles

A couple of people have asked me where I get my Holtz & Stein needles. Mine were all purchased at least a couple of years ago. It looks like nobody has them any more.

Lantern Moon is manufacturing ebony needles, but just dpns and straights, as far as I know. Anyone have any idea if they are planning to make circs as well?

What’s a Chibi?

It’s a little plastic case made by Clover that contains darning needles. I bought mine to live in my “travelling” knitting bag, as opposed to the cache of tools that I keep at home (in a ZipZaps® Micro RC Pit Kit Carrying Case).

So apparently Chibis are no longer being manufactured in pink. Can’t live without a pink Chibi? There are several up for auction on eBay — one here. And another one here. And one more here.

No, none of those are my auctions. I found them by searching for “Clover Pink Chibi” on eBay.

Happy Spring!



  1. Eeee! That’s a Wallace and Gromit quote, no? From when they go to the moon and partake of some moon cheese.

  2. There exist modern ebony and/or rosewood circular needles, because I have a friend who bought some recently and loves them. I don’t know what brand they are, though.

  3. I purchased some Holz und Stein Needles a few weeks ago, but I am in Germany 😉

  4. “A Grand Day Out”–my kids’ favorite video.

  5. Oh, my goodness! One of the pink Chibi’s is at $51.00 already, and it’s still got 4 days left to go. While I’d like to have one in pink, I cannot fathom spending that much just to have a different color. Wow.

  6. “A Pretty Sweater is Like a Melody” – looking forward to you publishing that pattern also and making it available for those of us wishing to purchase it (hint-hint). Very nice.

    Wallace & Gromit, of course.

  7. wow, Wendy. thank you so much! I can’t wait to see it.

  8. A Grand Day Out is okay but I LOVE A Close Shave. It’s my all time favorite. 🙂

  9. Well, given my blog’s name, I’d be embarrassed if I couldn’t place the quote as being from Wallace’s and Gromit’s “Grand Day Out.” But I’m with Kathleen, my favorite is “A Close Shave.”

  10. I’m working with the Manos Cotton Stria just now (Eyelet Cardigan from their Design Source Cotton Collection 2). I LOVE the feel of the worked fabric! It is quite soft without being wimpy, and light as a feather. However, I’m having a really hard time getting past the uneven look of the finished stitches. Perhaps there is some trick to making the stitches adjust more evenly, but for me it seems to “bind up” frequently to uneven gauge. All in all though, I think it will be a perfect summer sweater to travel well from the sticky outside air to frigid inside A/C — and the “puckery” design will cover most of the imperfections. I’d love to hear what Wendy thinks about Manos Cotton Stria!

  11. Just picked up a copy of the Aussie magazine “Creative Knitting” ( Autumn 2005) and theres Wendy! Of course I had to buy it….but alas no pix of Lucy :0( She must be upset – poor Lucy.

  12. Hi Wendy ! The cotton sweater looks great ! It is beautiful !

  13. I made a cotton stria pullover last year. Ruth, I felt the same way you did while I was knitting, but once it was finished, I quite liked the look. The texture combines with the hand-dyed color variations to produce an incredible 3D look. Now here’s my beef: Row gauge. The row gauge specified on the tab and in the supporting patterns is absurdly out of what with the stitch gauge, esp. in the new book, where the recommended stitch gauge is 4.5 per inch. Row gauge for this is 7 – 7.5 per inch. The sweater I made had a gauge of 5 stitches and EIGHT rows per inch — had to rework the cable pattern, which kind of annoyed me. That said, I could see making colorful kids sweaters with this.

  14. …is it me or does Lucy resemble Barbra Streisand in this picture? lol

  15. The pink needle case can be found on

  16. carlotta says:

    Pink clover chibis are on sale at

  17. Knitterlady says:

    Check out buyer comments on Joann before getting your hopes up about pink Chibis. Point to ponder: when Clover introduces a new color, will green will be the new pink?

    I made a spring wrap from Cotton Stria and it turned out beautifully. I used #11 needles and worked in garter stitch for an open look, which may be why there was no unevenness in the stitches. Also, gauge wasn’t particularly important. Highly recommended for this type of project.

  18. Diana & orion says:

    Wendy, Mel is GLORIOUS.

    Please OH please include her in your book. I think she is vying with Liam in IMHO as the most beautiful sweater you’ve ever thought up and knit up.


    hugs —

  19. Diana & orion says:

    Wendy, Mel is GLORIOUS.

    Please OH please include her in your book. I think she is vying with Liam in IMHO as the most beautiful sweater you’ve ever thought up and knit up.


    hugs —

  20. Diana & orion says:

    Wendy, Mel is GLORIOUS.

    Please OH please include her in your book. I think she is vying with Liam in IMHO as the most beautiful sweater you’ve ever thought up and knit up.


    hugs —

  21. Susan Maurer says:

    Ach, you guys are the BEST! It’s so nice to have all this chatter about cotton yarns that are actually a joy to knit with! It’s tough being a knitter in Florida … well, sometimes. Not on Spring days like today. Off to do a search for Manos Cotton Stria now, unless Ruth can share the ballband info here. I’m going to make a file of all of this great cotton yarn info, order one skein of each (Bliss, Manos and Rowan), and do a swatch comparison for myself, too. What fun! Also gonna go search out that Aussie issue to read more about Wendy, our knitting celeb! Hey, Wendy, didja make any progress on the Cafe cardigan? I’m dying to see it! That’s on my list of ‘want-to-knits,’ right after I ‘finish-everything-else-I-got-on-needles’. Sigh…. And thanks, Wendy, for being so generous with your time and knowledge, and for answering my query.

  22. Is Lucy taking a break from her training schedule?

    Kathy in Mpls

  23. Wallace and Gromit’s “Grand day out.” Have you heard about the latest movie? The Wallace & Gromit Movie: Curse of the Wererabbit! Rabbits, Garden Gnomes, what more can you ask for?