My current work in progress:

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


Mermaid Confessions

(Okay, I just spent half an hour attempting to unscrew the top peg on my Lendrum wheel so I could fold it up. Finally got it. That sucker was screwed in tight.)

Snow (that trouble-maker) said:
Wait a minute! I thought Mermaid was to be knit on retreat next week. Aren’t you getting ahead of schedule? What if you run out of things to knit at the retreat? Quick! You’ve got to go out and buy more yarn!

Okay, missy. Do not make me smack you with an unfinished Celtic Dream. The retreat starts the day after tomorrow, so there will be Mermaid knitting going on during the retreat and long after the retreat.

Besides, L-B started hers too. So there. Nyah, nyah.

Concerning Mermaid, Julie asked a good question:
I have my trigger finger on ordering a Mermaid kit, but I really am nervous about the size – the large says about 42-43″ – I need a good 46-48″ finished size. As you are knitting on, do you think adjustments larger would be manageable? Or would I drive myself nuts? (which could happen anyways).
I’m also thinking a good blocking could add a couple of inches – it is good ole wool after all.

Absolutely, adjustments could be achieved pretty easily. It would just be a matter of adding a garter stitch ridge or two in each piece, I think. You could probably block it out a bit larger, too.

One warning — it’s a kit, so if you run out of yarn it might be hard to find more.

Brigitte asked:
Wendy, how are you finding the instructions, are they clearly written? One of my biggest knitting peeves is a crappy set of instructions; it will completely kill the project for me, no matter the designer or design style. It’s rare that I’ll bother to decipher them, something in the back of my mind reminds me that if they don’t care enough about good quality instructions, the finished project cannot be too compelling, regardless of the photographs.

When you first look at them, the instructions seem a bit daunting. However, they are very clearly written and I’ve had no problems thus far. You do, however, have to make darn sure you read carefully, because there is a lot of shaping in this baby and the instructions need to be followed to the letter to get it right.

Margene asked:
I’m so tempted by Mermaid! It is a gorgeous jacket and one I know would
be worn often. It looks slightly felted. Is it?

No, but you are instructed to wash it in lukewarm water and spin-dry it, then lay it out flat to block. I think the yarn will bloom a little from that so it will have the appearance of being ever-so-slightly fulled.

So. A couple of you have mentioned that you can’t quite figger how what I’ve got knitted so far is going to turn into Mermaid. Maybe it would help if I turned it and photographed it this way?


Feel better, L-B? Do you see the lack of progress? I did extremely little knitting last night, and not because I was spinning. I did no spinning whatsoever. The truth is . . . and this is almost unheard of for me . . . I felt too crappy to knit.

Not sure why, but my best guess is that it is simply job stress and extreme fatigue. It occurred to me this morning when I was leaving for work that I really need a vacation. I locked my front door and had trouble remembering how to find the garage so I could get in my car.

Sad, no?

But coincidentally, my need for a vacation coincides exactly with, well, a vacation. I left work this afternoon feeling lighthearted because I will not return to the orifice office until Tuesday. Yay.

(And in the joy that is being a Federal employee, after I come back from the retreat, I’ve got four weeks of vacation that I must use before January 7. Covering three peoples’ jobs and not having time to take a vacation pays off in the end. It’s use-or-lose leave, and that is sacred. I have to take it. Darn. Dang. Rats.)

And Now For Something Completely Different

Kristy asked:
Do you have any pointers for someone who wants to learn to spin and (quite possibly) eventually invest in a spinning wheel?

My best advice? Find someone who knows how to spin and ask that person to show you how it’s done. That’s what I did. Pretty much exactly a year ago . . .

And Now For Something Completely Completely Different


The tree outside my office window. It’s autumn! It’s autumn!

And for Sky (and Mitten) Queen, today’s sky:


I took this picture because to me the little cloud looked like it was hiding behind the building, peeking out furtively.

Did I mention that I need a vacation?

Hey, Look!

You scored as Pissed at the World Cat. And here we have the next serial killer. Try having some cotton candy, it’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, Psycho.

Which Absurd Cat are you?

created with


Quiz link found on Rock Chick’s blog.

Lucy is concerned.


She feigns indifference, but I know the truth.


  1. Re Mermaid adjustments — When I was at market this summer, Hanne Falkenberg was there, and was asked if it was possible to adjust the design for more zaftig figures. Her advice was to widen the underarm gussets, because it won’t affect the neck shaping. I have just received my kit and I’m about ready to play with it. I too want to increase my size to 48″ or 49″.

    I love the colorway you chose, Wendy — it looks great!

  2. I thought for sure I’d be Psycho cat, but alas, Drunk Cat I am. Meet you on the highway overpass with a six pack and a couple of rounds of ammo.

  3. Wendy, love the Mermaid, adore your blog! I’m still stuck in lace mode….please…rescue….
    I took the cat test and am “Ninja cat”; actually feel cool for the first time in my life.
    Again, thanks for the inspiration, and enjoy your vacation.

  4. Thanks for answering my question. It is such a beautiful design…I’m trying hard to resist for now but it is on my ‘to do’ list!
    Hope you get that vacation soon!

  5. The problem with the screw on your Lendrum might not have been (just) that it was tight, but also that the finish tends to stick one part to another, especially after humid weather. A really handy tool to have is an adjustable oil wrench — the kind where the part that goes around the oil filter is rubber. Works like a charm to unscrew those Lendrum screws.

  6. I hope you are not coming down with a bug. Enjoy your well-deserved break and have fun at the retreat!

  7. Thanks Wendy! I guess I will have to embark on a mission to find someone within some sort of reasonable radius from me who spins. Frankly, sadly, I only even know two people who knit: one who taught me and one that I taught to knit. Sad. So, if anyone knows anyone in Central California or the SF Bay (I am in Modesto) who spends, point me in their direction! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have fun on your vacation. I’m looking forward to seeing Mermaid’s progress when you return.

  8. Noooooo! Please oh please don’t beat me with an unfinished Celtic Dreams! ACK!

    I hope your retreat is lovely and that you don’t get to feeling horrendously guilty for leaving some of us behind to slave away in our dreadful offices as you knit merrily along on your lovely Mermaid.

    Oh, and I hope you don’t miss poor, lonely Lucy too dreadfully. Who will take care of her while you’re away? Will she pine for you, and go off her feed?

    (Can I dish out the guilt or what? It’s a gift, I tell you. A gift!)

  9. Oh, I envy you actual Fall! It’s been in the 80s all week here, which is just plain wrong.

  10. Couch Potato Cat, I am – sittin’ knittin’ and watching TV
    oh my…..

  11. Wendy,
    In reply to another poster’s comment on upsizing Mermaid: Just for the record, I wrote Hanne Falkenburg about upsizing *Jazz*, another of her designs. My DIL is a beauty 6 ft, long arms and voluptuous. We were afraid the arm length would be an issue. HF gave me advice on lengthening the sleeve and offered to send me another ball of yarn if this would be needed. Great responses from her! — HTH Connie

  12. Hmmm…I see quite a bit of progress. Don’t forget to bring the medicinals! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But that fresh mountain air is just what the doctor ordered!

  13. I’m another drunken cat…but a drunken cat with Mermaid on the way. While I love the apple green you’re doing it would make me look sick, so I picked the cream colorway…watching your progress made me order my own Thanks!

  14. God, why is everyone suddenly going on a Mermaid kick? I love the pattern, but I just can’t afford the kit right now. At least I get to see everyone esle step on the landmines before I knit it myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I didn’t knit last night either. Just came in, fed the cats, and staggered to bed. I have been so dead tired this week, I am seriously considering taking a sick day just to catch up on sleep. After all, if I don’t, then I’ll get sick for real. Right? Right??

  15. I’m so happy you’re spinning again (and blogging about it)! I’m a regular knitter and reader of your blog and I just took the plunge and bought a wheel, which I have to say was VERY EXCITING for me. I’m looking forward to seeing shots of yummy bobbins of singles in your future posts!!!

  16. Well, you’re just full of information today (well yesterday, but…). Mermaid is looking great – I’m putting her on my Christmas list. Have a wonderful vacation and next week is a short week too. You’re barely going to have to work between now and the end of the year.

  17. Mermaid looks fab! I am so tempted…but I have too many UFO in the basket at this point. When are you taking your four weeks vacation? Between Thanksgiving and Christmas? You could knit all your Christmas gifts! Bet you never thought of that, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. A little tip on the Lendrum knobs – I learned the hard way NOT to screw in the knobs too tightly. When I unscrewed one the brass fitting pulled out of the wood along with the knob.Dear hubby fixed it by putting some epoxy into the wood hole and replacing the brass fitting. Now I know to stop as soon as I feel resistance. I love Mermaid!!

  19. The Mermaid pattern is very clear … for the first half. Then you are instructed to “reverse all shapings”. (And yes, I know it’s not hard, but I just spent $120 for a kit, can you write out the instructions, please?). The schematic diagrams included in the pattern and the actual photograph (!) were extremely helpful. Not only is the Mermaid jacket beautiful, but it’s cleverly constructed.

  20. The Mermaid jacket is beautiful and I’m glad to see someone making it, but I’m curious as to what you would rate the level of the knitting involved. Beginner, Intermediate or Skilled knitter?

  21. I work in 22314 and recognize your completely completely different and thought, yah, one of the bloggers I read lives nearby, how cool is that?

  22. Ooh, I wanna be smacked with a Celtic Dream, finished or unfinished. I don’t even know what it is, though I’m picturing lots of warm Irishy cables. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the Mermaid kit, but I (like many of your other readers, I see) would need to expand it to 48″ or so, and I’d be afraid of making a big mess of it.

    Greetings from “Drunk Cat”! ๐Ÿ™‚