My current work in progress:

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


In a Garden

I continue to knit in a garden.

Well, more specifically, I am knitting on a garden. My Shetland Garden.


I know — it doesn’t look like much right now, does it? Oh, but just wait til it’s blocked!

I’m happily making progress on the border chart, so I predict a finished shawl before next week. Then it will be on to the Inky Dinky Spider!

Of Laceweight Yarn and Buttonholes

Heather asked a good question in the comments:
Any recommendations for a type or brand of lace weight yarn? I’ve knit lace with sport weight to get the hang of it, but when I try to use lace weight it just “floats” too much on the needles and I can’t keep my place. I’m sure it gets better as the added weight of the items increases, but I can’t get there. What do you think?

Very fine laceweight can be a pain!

Starting out knitting lace with sportweight is an excellent idea. Some of my early lace projects were made from fingering weight wool. I particularly liked Brown Sheep Naturespun fingering. It is relatively inexpensive and is fine enough to give a nice lacy effect.

Another idea is Shetland jumperweight — which is fingering weight as well. Or you can try Shetland laceweight for your first foray into laceweight knitting. Shetland wool is slight hairy so there’s a bit of grab on the needles — less likely to fly all over the place.

Schoolhouse Press sells Jamieson & Smith shetland laceweight. And jumperweight and cobweb weight, for that matter. You can also buy all this direct from Jamieson & Smith, though they do not have online ordering through their website. Email ’em, or better yet, call ’em!

Sherry asked:
When I am not working on my lace shawl, I have been making a cardigan. Buttonholes….
what is your method? Not happy with mine….
I have plans for a jacket next, but the buttonhole thing is bothering me.

Buttonholes can be a pain, can’t they? I don’t knit a lot of cardis with buttonholes, so I don’t have a lot of experience with them. Generally I do the two-row buttonhole where you cast off on one row, and then cast on over the cast off on the next row.

Suggestion: take a look at Nancie Wiseman’s The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques. She’s got several different buttonholes explained and you might find one that you like.

Summer of Lace Update

Over in the Summer of Lace group we were discussing what to do when summer is over. We took a vote, and the majority ruled that we would rename the group “Lace for All Seasons” at the end of summer. So if you sorta kinda felt like you sorta kinda wanted to join but gee golly summer is like half over (or if you are in the Southern Hemisphere in middle of winter), fear not! The group is staying. We shall knit lace whenever the heck we want to.

I’ve got some lovely autumnal merino wool that I plan to use to knit a flower basket or leaf shawl when the weather here is a bit more autumnal.

Speaking of Books

Several of you have asked in comments and emails when my book is due to be published. Well, I talked to my agent today and he tells me it’s slated for either May or August of 2006, depending on which production cycle it gets into. So . . . a while yet. But I understand my editor is very happy with my manuscript, so I am happy too.

Lucy and the Manicure

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who has a cat obsessed with emery boards. As I said, all the cats that I’ve known have had the same obsession.

Last night after I retired for the night Lucy proceeded to fight the Battle of the Emery Board. The dastardly emery board tried to get away from her, but it was no match for her military prowess.

It did, however, cut into my night’s sleep, as I was attempting to sleep on the battlefield. Really, I ought to know better.

All hail Lucy the Conqueror!


  1. Oh, I can’t wait to see the Shetland Garden blocked! Gorgeous!
    And how cute is it that Lucy was doing her nails!! (And teeth, and tongue…..)

  2. I had an emery board crazy cat too –if she got out when she wasn’t supposed to, all I had to do was go out and scrape on an emery board and she’d come running!!!

  3. Hi Wensy:

    Love your new garden and Lucy of course. I have two new babies one is a medium gret the other a white tiger tabby. They really belong to my girls but you and I both know who the real mama is. Now what is your book on? Lace knittg?

  4. Yay!! I’m glad to hear that the summer of lace is going to stick around for a while. I’ve been neglecting my Branching Out…

  5. fantastic! i was *just wandering around in amazon checking lists of upcoming knit books looking for yours. i had no idea there was such a long production cycle but i CAN be patient when it’s worth waiting for. and your book, now that’s one fine reason to be patient.
    oh by the way, it’s freezing in sweden. not really but just to rub it in, we do have some medium weight cotton weather over here now that it has cooled down. to further rub it in, autumn starts in august over here. you should come over/nicole

  6. Can’t wait to see your shawl when it is blocked. BTW, Subaru must have heard you and changed the song for their commercial. Let’s see how long they run this song into the ground.

  7. So glad this group will continue. Charlotte is on a shelf waiting for me to finish Harry Potter and I just bought more yarn to make more shawls!

  8. I love Jamieson & Smith. My late Mother and myself ordered from them for years. When Mom passed away, I wrote and asked if she had a balance owing to them on her account. I was placing an order for myself at the same time. They replied that in fact Mom had overpaid on her last order, and so they were applying the credit to my account. Nice touch.
    I received my Shetland Garden pattern from Sivia Harding yesterday. Beautifully written and comes in its own plastic sheet protector. I can’t wait for her to design an entire sweater.

  9. And knitting a Shetland Garden is definitely much tidier and cleaner than actual gardening. Well, cleaner anyway, sometimes my knitting is less than tidy, depending on the size of the frog pond.

  10. I just love watching the progress on your shawls. Peacock inspired me to assign some silk singles in a similar colorway I spun years ago in lace weight to that pattern…what a perfect match! So…I’m a little confused – does Lucy like to grab your emery boards when you’re using them or do you use them to keep her claws neat? My cats (well, Portia, in particular since Max only shows up for food every now and then) don’t care about emery boards but seem to like it when I trim their claws with the clippers.

  11. Good for us, the lace website becoming ‘all-seasons’! I started a shawl, a sock, and ordered a couple of shawl kits, but have no idea where or when I’ll get the time to do all this! So at least I won’t feel like I failed the ‘summer-of’ requirement.

    On the subject of buttonholes, I found one I liked in Maggie Righetti’s book, Knitting in Plain English. I don’t have the book before me, but I believe she calls it a ‘one-row buttonhole’. I thought it was very effective, looked pretty neat.

  12. Yay for the continuing lace!

  13. Maybe you could talk Lucy into moving the battlefield. If not, you may have to change your sleeping location. Or earplugs! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. The One-Row BH is the best bound BH I have used and can be found in most knitting books. I often just do a “YO, k2tog” BH — it works for most situations and is almost invisible.

  15. Helle From Denmark says:

    Shetland Garden loooooks gooood……..cannot wait to see it!!:-))

    May i ask what book that is you are getting published?? Knitting…..or what?? Sorry, if I’m a ding bat…..but it’s not long ago i start reading your blog, and it sure as hell is a lot easier to ask, than to go through a lot of posts!!:-))) Thank god i have never bragged about having a memory as an elephant… please…fill me in???:-))

  16. Thank you so much for the advice, Wendy. I’m going to order Shetland jumper-weight and try another shawl. It comes in the most beautiful colors. Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚