My current work in progress:

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


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!




  1. Your mittens are beautiful Wendy. Have you ever been tempted to knit the Dale of Norway Ingeborg scarf? I saw the pattern advertised on the net and was stunned by the intricacy of the design.

  2. Oh my! Those are beautiful mittens. I just knitted a couple for the first time and they look so clumsy compared to yours. I’m used to crocheting hats and mittens, but the technique is different – especially when using dpns.

    One day, I hope to be as talented as you. Congrats on the book, by the way. I’ve already put it on my wishlist.

  3. The mittens look great, Wendy! I’m glad you clarified that “stranding” thing–I was pretty durn confused when I read it!

  4. Whew! I’m not losing my mind. I saw “stranding” and got all confused, thinking perhaps I had my terms screwed up (entirely possible). Thanks for clarifying ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lovely, lovely mittens!

  5. Gorgeous mitts, and lookee there at your typeset pages! Can’t wait, m’dear!

  6. Cool mittens. These are Latvian style, no?

  7. Ohhhh, Isabella is drooling over the new sparkly ball — they are her ABSOLUTE favorite — ever since she was a tiny kitten.

    Happy Halloween to you and to sweet Lucy!

  8. I expected a Halloween fright this morning-a picture of your Mermaid progress! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Wendy,
    Absolutely LOVE the mittens.
    I would like to attempt a pair, but so far all I’ve done is fair isle on circulars and I hold one color in each hand, How is this done with dp’s, seems like a lot to be holding.

  10. Happy Halloween, Wendy!

    I’m so jealous of those mittens; It would probably take me a year to knit even one.

  11. Susan Maurer says:

    Thanks for clarifying. I had been thinking stranding must be some kind of Scandinavian technique, like tvaandstickening. Thought I was missing out on some technique or something. And then once we all learned it, we can all knit as fast as Wendy! Okay, probably not… Love the mittens!

  12. Gorgeous mitts Wendy – I can understand you not wanting to pull strands loose on something as complex as these ! I’m a definite weaver I’m afraid. I’ve tried to go with the flow of floating but it’s not for me :0)

    Happy Halloween !

  13. Makes sense now that you explain it. Thanks. I love your mittens – they turned out wonderful.

  14. Beautiful mittens! I’ll make sure to bookmark some of these posts when I get started on my hat. Can you confirm that you knit these using dpns, and not Magic Loop or 2 circulars? Thanks Wendy!

  15. So glad Lucy liked her card. I thought she needs some hugs from Los Angeles.

    Wendy, while you are being so kind and telling us about weaving and stranding……how about explaining weaving on a purl side?????? I’m really, really trying this two color knitting, but I’ve got to weave on the purl side and it’s driving me absolutely nuts!!!! Knit side, no problem. Would GREATLY appreicate your help…after all, if it wasn’t for you, I’d still be “one color” knitting.

    Happy Halloween.


  16. Lovely mittens Wendy!

    Have you read about my bad-ass potholders?? Probably the only potholders ever to get arrested??

  17. Wendy, I’ve just preordered your book from Amazon and if it’s written anything like this blog, it’ll be both hilarious and incredibly valuable for a sort-of novice knitter like me. I’ve been reading your blog for only a few months, but the info I’ve found here has been very helpful. Thanks!

  18. Just finished taking a tour of your archives to look/gawk/drool at the loveliness that was Frida-in-the-making and thought I’d catch up on May 2003 and how Lucy came to you. Such a wonderful story and it was amazing to look at those early pictures of Lucy (shaved stomach and all) compared to now. How she has blossomed under your loving care!

  19. Those mittens are absolutely beautiful. I just love them!

  20. Wendy, I visit your web site often for inspiration from the pictures posted of your talented and creative knitting, and also love to see the pictures of your adorable cat Lucy, but I was very disappointed when I saw the “pissed at the world cat”.

    Sorry, I just don’t get it; are there not enough images everyday, everywhere of violence in our world, so why create another using a animal that we associate with delight and companionship?