My current work in progress:

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


Archives for October 2005

Mitten Innards

Here, by popular demand, one of the Vinternatt mittens turned inside out.


(Yes, they were knitted on dpns.)

Now wave bye-bye to them, because they are going to the Knitters Review Retreat with me on Friday, to be donated to the Dulaan Project, which is the charity project chosen for the 2005 retreat.


Here’s a page that lists my book for pre-sale at several different Amazon sites — the U.S., Canada, the U.K, France, Germany, and Japan. So yes, in answer to several questions I’ve gotten, it will be available outside the U.S.

Did You Notice?

The Poor Little Qiviut Scarf is no longer listed as a work in progress in the sidebar?


Yay!!! Lucy checks it out:


It’s a bit over 6 feet long — a nice size, I think. Here’s a close-up:


Mermaid Beginnings


I’ll talk about Mermaid tomorrow. 🙂

My Friend in Bulgaria

Sunday night my dad sent me the following email, with the subject line “Your Friend in Bulgaria”:

This photo was taken on October 19, 2005, in the village of Erkech, Eastern Bulgaria. We went there for a yogurt party.


Isn’t she wonderful??

Um . . . Mom & Dad? How was the yogurt party? You party animals, you!

It’s All About MemeMeme

The lovely Stephanie tagged me, so here I go:

What’s Your All Time Favoite Yarn To Knit With?

Really really tough choice, but when the chips are down, I’d have to say Jamieson & Smith jumperweight shetland wool. A huge range of colors, and one can knit fair isles from it that are glorious.

The Worst Thing You’ve Ever Knit?

Another tough choice, considering I’ve been knitting for over four decades. When I was a teenager, I knitted a pullover for my brother out of bright blue acrylic that I got at Kmart, or some comparable store. ‘Nuff said.

Your Most Favorite Knit Pattern? (Maybe You Don’t Like Wearing It, But It Was The Most Fun To Knit)

Inishmore, from Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting. I’ve knitted this sweater three times, which should tell you something.

Most Valuable Knitting Technique?

Cabling without a cable needle. When you knit a lot of arans, knowing how to do this saves a great deal of time!

Best Knit Book or Magazine?

Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting. another touch choice, but I’ve knitted more designs from this book than any other I own:

St. Enda (three times)
St. Brigid
Fulmar (twice)
Na Craga (three or four times — I forget!)
Irish Moss (twice)

Favorite Knit-A-Long?

The “fearless fair isle” knit-along I hosted early on in the history of knitblogs.

Your Favorite Knitblogs?

Yeah, there’s a question that is not easy to answer. I have 172 knitblogs in my Bloglines list.

Your Favorite Knitwear Designer?

Alice Starmore. No question.

The Knit Item You Wear Most Often?

This is yet another tough one, but I’d have to say it’s the Wave Cardigan — from Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting.

Lucy Sez

Pay attention to me now!


I’m going to go do just that.

Bobbing and Weaving

I mis-spoke.

Last Friday I said something about stranding versus floating. What I meant was weaving versus floating. “Stranding” refers to the type of colorwork this is, where you carry both colors around the entire work (as opposed to intarsia).

There were some comments questions asking what I was talking about. Well, first off, if I managed to say it properly it would be easier to understand. Duh.

When you are doing two-color knitting, what do you do with the color not in use when you are knitting an expanse of several stitches in the other color?

Some people “weave” — twist the yarn not in use with the working yarn every two or three stitches on the wrong side to catch it in and hold it in place.

And some people “float” — just ignore the yarn not in use until it is time to use it again and then just pick it up and knit with it, ensuring that it’s stretched out properly so that it doesn’t make the knitting pucker.

I float, almost always. Even for long stretches, like ten stitches. As long as I make sure I’ve got my stitches spread out well on the needle while I knit, I have no problem with tension. The reason I do this is that I find that weaving sometimes shows on the right side, particularly when using very fine yarns. At least it does when I do it.

But because a mitten is something you jam your hand into, I didn’t want any floats on the back that were big enough for a finger to pull on. So weave I did.

Tomorrow I’ll post a photo of the inside of one of the mittens, so you can see my weaves. Meant to do it today, but forgot to photograph the innards.

By the way, if you want to see a sweater I knit with crazy-long floats, check out the February 2004 archives (link over on the sidebar). The Dale sweater I dubbed “Frida” is an example of extreme floating.

When I wear it I am careful when I put it on so I don’t pull any of the floats. Now if you were doing a stranded colorwork sweater for a child, you’d likely want to weave, so no little fingers would get caught in floats.

Why, yes, I did finish the mittens.


I did some work on Mermaid, but I’ll wait til tomorrow to show you. Right now I’m busy with this:


Reviewing the first pass of the typeset pages of my book!

Lucy is busy with this:


A glitzy little orange ball her Auntie L-B sent her for Hallowe’en.

(Lucy says “thank you!” to Karen for the Hallowe’en card too!)

L-B sent me this for Hallowe’en — a cute sheep in costume!



Mitten Accompli

I finished the facing on the first mitten on the morning commute. Here it is, pre-sewing.


And all done!


I’ve made a good start on the second mitten but, doh! Forgot to photograph it. No biggie — it does look like the first one . . .

Christina asked:
Will these mittens have a lining? Why does a mitten need one- for warmth, or so your fingers don’t get caught in the stranding? I am quite curious. The only mittens I have knit have been a solid color.

My mitten will not have a lining — just a facing for the cuff.

I would line mittens for warmth, if I were gonna line them. Erika made a very timely comment:
I love mittens, particularly patterned ones with soft linings. I line my mittens a la Anna Zilboorg…after the mitten is done, pick up stitches at the wrist and knit a second mitten in … angora … and tuck inside. They are warm, and blissful.

Now I’m imagining mittens lined with qiviut . . .

But back to these mittens. Christina mentioned stranding.

I am stranding these mittens, rather than doing floats. Long-time readers of WendyKnits who have a good memory for useless trivia know that I rarely strand my colorwork. I almost always float.

This is one of the situations where I strand. I don’t want fingers to get caught in floats on the inside of a mitten, so stranding is very much a good thing here.

I steam blocked the finished mitten, by the way, and the yarn bloomed and softened beautifully.

Lucy Sez


“Yes, this mitten is acceptable.”

Of Mittens and Mermaids

Didn’t quite finish the first mitten, nope. I spent a good chunk of my at-home knitting time last night doing something else. (Gasp!)

I’ve got it done apart from the facing. The back of the hand:


And the palm. complete with thumb:


Lauren asked:
What is the reason for the provisional CO as opposed to knitting a picot edging from the CO and then on up to the hands?

One could certainly knit it the way Lauren described.

The patterned part of the mitten is knitted using 3.5mm needles. The plain part (the picot edge and the facing) is knitted using 3.0mm needles. Perhaps the rationale for knitting the facing downward from a provisional cast-on is that the gauge will be slightly different. The directions say to knit the facing until in reaches the top of the cuff. This way you are sure to have a perfect fit of facing to cuff.

Leena pointed out something interesting:
I read about your mittens and the lining… I know some people around here knit mittens regularly with linings and do the lining with baby wool. So when the hands get sore and dry from the cold the baby wool feels nice next to your skin and you can use yarn that can take hard wear outside.

While these mittens have cuff facings knit from the same yarn, I could knit the facings from a different, very soft yarn — and I could knit an entire lining for the mitten if I so desired. I’ve seen patterns for mittens with a lining like this and always thought it was a great idea. Thanks for pointing it out, Leena!

A couple of commenters asked how easy the mittens are, and if they were a good first colorwork project.

I’d recommend them for an enthusiastic advanced beginner. But you know what else is a fabulous introduction to Norwegian colorwork? A Norgi hat.

Mittens are a bit more difficult because it’s harder to keep good tension on such a small project on dpns. But a hat . . . a hat you could knit on a small circular (until you get to the top shaping).

Bea Ellis has a number of kits for hats, which are all her original designs, available here. If you are intimidated by a hat, try knitting one of her fun headbands, shown on the same page.


A couple of answers about Mermaid.

The icord is the left front edge of the jacket. It’s knitted sideways. Isn’t that cool? Emma, my only concern about knitting this is indeed a concern about going mad from garter stitch. We’ll see! There’s a lot of color changes, short row shaping, and other hijinks involved in the knitting, so I’m thinking I’ll survive with what’s left of my sanity intact.

The wool in the Mermaid kit. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it’s jumperweight shetland, which I don’t find scratchy at all. I’m not extremely sensitive to scratchiness in wool, so your mileage may vary.



Mmmmmm . . . Mittens!

You knew I would, didn’t you?

I started one of the very pretty Vinternatt Mittens that I purchased as a kit from Nordic Fiber Arts. If you are in the market for Scandinavian mittens, you need to check out their mitten offerings. They’ve got lots to choose from. (Did you hear that, Snow? Click on the link. Do it . . . do it . . . you know you want to . . . )

The pattern is great — very detailed and clear. And they provide mirror-image charts for the left and right mitten, which pleases me immensely. Less work on my part to have to reverse the mitten in my head, doncha know.

This is a provisional cast-on at the bottom edge. The mitten has a picot edging. After you complete the hand, you pick up the stitches at the bottom edge and knit a facing. Nice, eh?


The back of the hand:


The palm:


Because these babies are knitted at a gauge of 6st/inch, they go quickly. I think I need another mitten kit in the finer Finullgarn wool. Hmmmmmm . . .

Oh, who am I kidding? I ordered the Frostrosen Mitten Kit today.

By the Way . . .

I got my yarn for Torino from Bea Ellis the other day. Whee!


And While I’m in “Full Disclosure” Mode . . .

You might have noticed that L-B alluded to a Mermaid-in-Progress in the comments. Why, yes, I did start another project.

I would like to pause here and point out that I know how inconsistent I am being. After all my bleating about being a one-at-a-time knitter and all. Watch while I rationalize:

See, I have the kit for Mermaid (colorway number 2), a recent gift from a friend in Scandinavia. L-B also has a Mermaid kit (colorway 3). We decided we’d knit on them during the Knitters’ Review Retreat (weekend after next).

I sort of started mine Sunday evening. See, I’d had a bad afternoon what with all the startitis and all. And I didn’t feel well. (sniff, whimper)

So I figured I’d just knit the i-cord to start it. Then I figured I’d just pick up the stitches along the icord. Before I knew it, I had four rows done.

But that’s all I’ve done. Honest.


Ask Lucy. She’ll tell ya!


Happy Birthday, L-B!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is my buddy L-B’s birthday. Here’s to a very happy one!

October is a good month for birthdays!