My current work in progress:

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


What Happens in Columbia Stays in Columbia

Yesterday morning I drove up to the Maryland Sheep & Wool festival. I’m really lucky in that it’s just an hour’s drive from my home.

As per usual, although I had my camera, I took next to no photos. But lookie here!


Left to right, that’s High-Energy Jenny, Carrioke, and Ann-Marie. Aren’t they cute?

What’s that Jenny’s holding? It’s a little Frecklegirl doll, because she was with them in spirit!

I saw many other knitters and bloggers I know, both through their blogs and from online friendships: Claudia, Silvia, Theresa, Julie, Norma, to name a few. And Rachael & Lala were there, as well as Greta and Maggie. I was delighted to see my blogless buddy Lolly again, and to meet Sarah-in-Sacramento, Shannon, Joy, Hope (who brought along her handsome and amiable friend Kevin who I will forever hold in high esteem for schlepping the booze for me), Sheila, Vanessa, and Nathania in person. (Nathania and I discovered that we must have been separated at birth, even though I am far older than she, because we found ourselves saying the same things in unison. With no rehearsal. Honest.)

Okay, I am quite worn out from all the linkage!

I had booked a hotel room at the Columbia Sheraton for Saturday night so I could stay as late as I wanted and not have to worry about driving home tired. So naturally I brought a bunch of booze and snacks with me and threw a party. A number of the above suspects stopped by, as well as some others, and it seems to me as though a good time was had by all.

And what happens in Columbia stays in Columbia.

Did I buy anything? Yeah, some stuff. But I concentrated more on socializing.

I got up early this morning and came home. Lucy seemed very happy to see me.


To Quote Margene

“It’s the process.”

That’s in answer to the question why I am knitting another Inishmore when I already have one (and one that so far has been worn only once).

I should point out here that I’ve actually knitted two Inishmores previously. The first one was given away as a gift.

But it’s a vaild question: why the heck would I knit something I already have? And have only worn once?

Inishmore is heavily textured, making it a thick heavy sweater, and very warm. I just don’t have a lifestyle that requires a lot of heavy knits. So why make those kinds of sweaters?

It’s the process.

I love knitting cabled textured sweaters. I have a particular fondness for Alice Starmore’s aran designs. Apart from all the “singles” I’ve made, I’ve knitted St. Enda three times, Irish Moss twice, Fulmar twice, and Na Craga four times. Two of the St. Endas, both Irish Mosses, one Fulmar, and all the Na Cragas were given as gifts to other people. So I’m not quite as insane as you may think (though the jury is still out on that).

The Inishmore that I’m about to knit will, I think, look quite different from the last Inishmore, as the yarn is so different. I’ll be using VirtualYarns 3-ply Hebridean in the color Sea Ivory. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Inishmore looks in a dark heathered green.

Ashley asked:
Wendy, when you shorten/lengthen cabled sweaters, do you take out/add a specific repeat (subtract 1 repeat before the waist shaping, for example) or do you subtract a repeat’s worth of stitches proportionally throughout the sweater? Sorry if that is a dumb question (or doesn’t make sense) but I am trying to add length to my first cabled sweater, so I thought I’d ask the pro!

Ashley, if your sweater has waist shaping, it depends where you want to add/subtract the length — above or below the waist. You say you want to add length. If you are high-waisted, I would think you’d want to add it below the waist shaping. And you have to figure in how many rows in a pattern repeat — if the pattern repeat is longer than the amount of length you want to add, you have to recalculate on which row you want to start the shaping.

A cabled sweater without shaping is much easier to lengthen or shorten. Inishmore doesn’t have any body shaping, so I’ll just knit until I have the length I want. That is, do fewer pattern repeats. The largest pattern repeat in Inishmore is 36 rows (the smaller patterns are 12 rows), so obviously I won’t be deleting an entire repeat, just a small part of one. The design has no armhole shaping — it has drop shoulders with saddle sleeves, so you just start knitting with row 1 of the pattern and continue on, repeating until you get to the point where your piece is long enough.

(Aside: a lot of people complain about Starmore designs because of the lack of shaping. I love ’em because as a rule I don’t like fitted sweaters. To each his/her own.)

The Inishmore I pictured in last Thursday’s entry is, as I said, an inch shorter than the pattern directs. I measured the gauge on it and find it to be exact in both stitch and row gauge, and it took 4 complete pattern repeats to get to the length I wanted (along with the amount of ribbing as directed by the pattern) on the back. The front, of course, has the neck shaping that cuts into the last pattern repeat.

To Double-Variegate or Not To Double-Variegate?

I got a lot of advice on whether it would be wise to knit the felted basket with a variegated yarn held double. Some say yes, some say no. I think I might try it. So, if it fails and the colors look muddy when they are felted, I’ll know it was a Bad Idea. Some pretty yarn will have died a sad death, but it would be giving its life for a good cause: exploration.


  1. I was there, too! I kept thinking I would run into people I knew online, but WOW- it got so crowded! I only stayed a few hours this morning and then went home when the crowds came.

  2. By golly…I think you’ve got it! LOL
    What fun to meet so many other bloggers…I’m still envious but know it will happen for me someday.

  3. I think the receivers of those gifts are sooooo lucky!

  4. Hi Wendy! It was so nice to meet you this weekend. I hardly took any pictures either — I swear, I’m photographically challenged – but I got a really nice one of you! I’ll post it soon.

  5. Nice to meetcha. Its always a bit sad to leave Columbia. However, we did not leave without hitting the Nordies. Hard.

  6. Thank you so much Wendy! Luckily the pattern repeat (11 rows) is almost exactly the same as the number of rows I was going to add anyway, so I don’t need to mess with that, but I do indeed have waist shaping to contend with. Of course, I couldn’t pick a nice simple one to start with….

  7. Wendy! It was so nice to meet you!!!! What fun. Thanks for being so friendly and nice, even though you are a knitting celebrity!

  8. Your worthy opponent has nailed the Inishmore gauge! Ready to rumble? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Mary Root says:

    Wendy – one suggestion for the verigated yarn held doubled would be to use it for the contrast color on the slip stich basket. I love varigated yarns used with a solid in color patterning. If it turns out badly, a solid fabric wouldn’t look great, but the little bits and pieces of color in the slip stich would probably still be fine.

    Thanks for the link to the pattern for that basket, it is just too cute. I am travelling to a wedding this summer where I’ll be staying with relatives, I think I’ll make these as hostess gifts for my aunts.

  10. Your scarf is finished, Mistress. And if that ungrateful in-law that it was actually made for doesn’t call me back, you may yet receive said scarf.

  11. I really wish that I could have met you. I dropped off a knit blogger at the Sheraton. I was tired…but if I had known lots of you were staying there, I would have come in for a few drinks to meet everyone. I’m so mad at my self! I only live like 5 minutes from there. Next year!

  12. Suzanne says:


    I totally understand what you mean about the process, especially when it comes to knitting A.S. designs. Knitting is probably like breathing to you (as it is to me) in that you are always knitting something, so you like to be knitting something you love. Whether you wear it or not afterward is really beside the point. I find it to be odd that we never ask artists or muscians what they will do with the art they produce or the music they make. We seem to understand that they do it because they love it not because they have a practical reason for doing it. Yet, somehow with knitting we have a hard time getting over the idea that it has to be practical. The fact that it is often practical (like in your gift giving) is just an added bonus that I love about knitting. However, like you, I will continue to make A.S. Arans if I am loving the process even if I move to Hawaii and can never wear one again.

  13. Hi Wendy! What a treat to meet you at Sheep and Wool…you are totally a celebrity! Thanks for the shout out ๐Ÿ™‚

    And your cables look great!

  14. patty bolgiano says:

    What did you purchase at MDS&W? I have been going for several years and it has changed quite a bit. Less small sheep/wool vendors and more stores seem to be showing up. I was pleased to see that not everyone had the same idea in bringing certain yarns, and of course certain booths were overflowing. (Koigue sp?) I actually left by 11 am. Granted I got there at about 8:30 am and I couldn’t believe all the people flowing into the parking lot/field.


  15. looks like you had a great time – when Saturday rolled around, I was feeling somewhat less bitter and began hoping that it wasn’t raining on your heads! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. I was totally there too! It was insanely busy and we could barely walk around. My mother and I had been to it years and years ago when I was a great deal younger and were shocked at the change.

    Still! Fantastic stuff there.

  17. What a crazy weekend! It was so great to meet you and put a voice and fun personality with the blog! I’m sorry we missed the par-tay … it sounds like a good time WAS had by all.

    Lucy looks lovely today, as usual!

  18. So sorry to have missed the big shindig! Sounds like it was a blast.
    I LOVE that color Sea Ivory. It is one of the elements of the Jade Starmore design Rheingold, which I recently got. Even winding the balls of yarn in Sea Ivory is getting me excited– and wishing that I had a whole sweater’s worth of Sea Ivory, rather than just one bit or it in the stranded colorwork. I foresee a big box of it winging my way someday… ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. AnitaM says:

    I live in Columbia, so, I admit it, I went both afternoons for a couple hours each day. I had a migraine hit Saturday right after a Boy Scout Car Wash all morning, so didn’t get the 2 younger kids there in time for the last Sheep shearing demonstration. Then we got waylaid by all the angora bunnies you could pet, and the two mohair goats you could touch, so we missed the last sheepdog demonstration. (You have to see those if you’ve never gone before!) So… back on Sunday after the soccer game, just in time to see a black romney ewe get sheared. It had the MOST gorgeous fleece! It looked like black velvet as the inside became visible, so lustrous. I managed to resist the urge to rush up and touch it, but it was difficult! So I used a whole role of film between that, the collies, the alpacas, etc.

    We have decided that the next time we are in need of a pet, it has GOT to be a german angora bunny! (The kids won’t say rabbit. If it is a pet, it is a bunny.) And next year, we will get to the festival early to sign up for a time slot to try out weaving! Boy scout car wash or not! It was a lot of fun looking at all the different types of sheep, and the shepherds are very nice about explaining the traits of their particular breed of sheep, or how they groom them. We especially enjoyed watching a scottish black face sheep get combed on Saturday for show on Sunday. Absolutely amazing wool! Although the lady talking with us said it would be full of straw again Sunday morning! And I think I have enough fiber now to keep me going until next sheep and wool festival – oh dear!

  20. AnnaMarie says:

    Lurker mostly but thanks for the Susan G. donation thingie. I guessed the date but forgot to say I think you will win. My mother passed away one week ago today, May 2nd from breast cancer so this foundation is where all my donations go. Good luck! Have to say, if I win the sweater it will get auctioned off for breast cancer as well, the book, I’d keep that

    Go Wendy, Go!!!


  21. Mini me is even on your blog! Wowee! ๐Ÿ™‚

    It is all about the process…


  1. Mini Me!

    I was so sad that I couldn’t go to MS&W but guess what?! I was there! Jenny made a little frecklegirl doll and she got to participate in all the fun- HOW SWEET IS THAT?! I have the best…

  2. Mini Me!

    I was so sad that I couldn’t go to MS&W but guess what?! I was there! Jenny made a little frecklegirl doll and she got to participate in all the fun- HOW SWEET IS THAT?! I have the best…