My current work in progress:

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


Archives for January 2006

Ask Hyacinth

Rachel commented:
I’m wondering…is that the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation “HOG-get” or the French, “hoe-GAY?” Just curious…either one makes me giggle. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve been saying “HOG-get,” but if you asked Hyacinth Bucket, you know she’d pronounce it “hoe-GAY.”

“Why, yes, Sheridan, dear. Mummy has a lovely new Teal hoe-GAY jumper.”

Snicker, snicker!

So my Teal hoe-GAY is coming along.


I’m starting the armhole shaping.


WendyKnits Book Newz

I had a conference call with the lovely ladies at my publisher today, making plans for events surrounding the publication of Wendy Knits: My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn and venues for book-signings and related events.

We are in the process of selecting LYSs and other appropriate venues. Would you like to host a WendyKnits event? Contact my publicist (heh! I love saying “my publicist”), Liz Keenan, at this email address:

I have conveniently put this information in my sidebar as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Learning to Spin

WendyI asked:
Got any advice for someone who wants to learn to spin? Obviously a drop spindle is the most cost-effective, but is it easy to learn? Maybe one day I too will have hoggett to share…

I highly recommend starting with a drop spindle. It also really really helps if you have someone show you in person how to use it. Maybe it’s just me because I am a highly visual sorta gal, but having it demonstrated up-close and live was the only way I managed to learn (Hi L-B!). I did check out some written instructions, but couldn’t “get” it that way.

There is a website, however, that offers Quicktime videos of spinning techniques — This is a huge help for visual learners.

I think learning how to spin on a drop spindle first really helped me when I started wheel spinning. I understood the concept of “how to make yarn” and the importance of drafting the fiber, and that made wheel spinning far easier!

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch


Lucy is pestering me to make her a CatPope hat.

In the “Things You Don’t Want to See in the Street Outside Your Office” Department


That would be the Washington D.C. Medical Examiner’s van. This was going on in the street, right outside my office window this morning. What a strange (not to mention unsettling!) series of events.

Teal Hogget Q&A

Some questions from the comments:

Shelagh asked:
When I click on your pdf, nothing comes up. Is that the point – it’s a pattern in progress?

If you are having the same problem that Shelagh had, you may need to update your version of Adobe Reader — the pattern won’t display in versions earlier than 5.0.

Lorrie said:
I found one obvious correction to the Teal Hogget pattern: The diagram shows 12″ to armhole shaping, but the instructions say “Work until piece measures 14″ from the start.” I suspect that 14″ is the correct measure because I can’t imagine you specifying an armhole depth of 12″!

Actually, that 12″ measurement in the pattern schematic is for the three-quarter-length sleeve to the armhole, not the body. The body is 14″ to the armhole and the armhole depth is 10″. I’ve changed the schematic on the pattern a bit so it’s more obvious.

Sue said:
I see in your previous blog entry you mentioned ‘heavy’ worsted weight for the Teal Hogget. Could you please mention a some examples of yarn brand/types that would work well for this sweater?

If you check the pattern, you’ll see that the gauge is 4 stitches and 6 rows to the inch.

If you look at a chart of standard yarn weights, you’ll see that “worsted, Afghan, Aran” weight is designated as 16-20 stitches to 4 inches for gauge. Because my pattern is knitted at 16 stitches to 4 inches, it’s at the heavy end of the spectrum for worsted weight.

Specific yarns? Rowan All Seasons Cotton, Scottish Tweed Aran and Yorkshire Tweed Aran would work. Noro Silk Garden and Noro Kureyon would likely work, as would Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. And many other yarns. Anything that knits up to 4 stitches to the inch.

Look for a yarn that has a stitch gauge of 4 – 4.5 stitches/inch. Then knit a gauge swatch, and make any needle adjustments to get to 4 stitches/inch. Do you like how the fabric looks? If it’s too dense, you yarn is too thick and if it’s too loose, your yarn is too fine. Personal preference plays into this. My handspun could easily be knittied at 4.5 or 5 stitches to the inch, but I like the way it looks at 4 stitches/inch.

Laura asked:
May I ask how much ease is figured into it?

The measurements shown on the pattern are the actual measurements — no ease is factored in.

Here is my Teal Hogget in progress.


Rose Update

Still working on the body. Here’s another photo of the front neck steek:


Jon asked:
Now I’m confused. With the neck decreases, are you adding stitches to the steek or is it puckering in and will open up when you cut? I’m rather sure you are letting it pucker/pull in but I just want to be sure.

You are correct, sir! I decreased on each side of the steek. It is puckering/pulling in.

I’ve completed the front neck decreases, now I knit straight up. When the body is complete, I’ll stitch the steek with my sewing machine, cut, and presto-change, the neck will open up nicely.

This process never fails to entertain me. I am easily amused.

There will be no knitting on Rose tonight because I am so tired I am going to have extreme difficulty keeping my eyes open for much longer. I’ll do my best to stay awake til the end of this blog entry, but I’m making no promises.

Weekend Spinning

As I mentioned yesterday, I did quite a bit of spinning over the weekend. I had purchased this lovely roving from Spirit-Trail:


It’s a blend of 70% Castlemilk Moorit and 30% Border Leicester — the brown is the natural undyed Castlemilk, and the peach is dyed Border Leicester. The roving makes me think of peaches and brown sugar — yum!

Here are the singles:


And here is the 2-ply yarn — 214 yards.


I also plied this:


That’s a 50/50 wool/mohair blend that I bought at last years’ Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival from Tintagel Farm. I spun some singles ages ago and then . . . uh . . . wound the 2 ounces of singles that I spun into a center-pull ball and cast it aside — months ago. I’m not sure why, because I love this stuff.

Anyhow, on Saturday I plied it and that’s the result: 160 yards. Then after I finished my brown sugar and peaches, I pulled out the rest of the roving — about 8 ounces worth.


And I started spinning it.


It’s wonderful — very silky and easy to spin.

Lucy thinks the roving would make a lovely kitty bed, but I’m trying to prevent her from testing that theory.


I Gotcha Teal Hogget Right Here, Pally

Due to overwhelming popular demand (okay, one person emailed me and one person left a comment), I’ve extended the sizing for the Teal Hogget sweater so there’s one smaller size. Size range now stands at 37, 40, 43, and 46 inches.

Due to overwhelming popular demand (see above), I am posting the pattern now. You can get it, in Adobe .pdf format, here.

Please note that this pattern has been posted, shivering and alone and untested, as-is. Popular demand asked that I post the pattern now, as-is, so that those who care to do so could follow along at home. I’ll make any and all corrections as I go along, and post updated versions of the pattern as needed. There’ll be a link to the pattern in the sidebar, when I get around to it.

I did start my own Teal Hogget.


The yarn is a little wonky because, hello: it’s handspun spun by an amateur! But it’s quite nice to knit. Surprisingly so. Nicely sproingy with a little sheen.

Speaking of handspun, I finished my brown Bond hogget:


It’s heavy worsted weight, 4 ounces. 160 yards. I quite like it. I did a bunch more spinning over the weekend . . . but I’ll save it for blog fodder as the week progresses.

Still Working on Rose!

I did get some Rose time in over the weekend — I’ve started the front neck steek. See?


I put the front neck center stitches on a length of yarn and cast on steek stitches. I’m decreasing on either side of the steek to create the curve on the sides of the neck.

Lucy is simply fascinated by the whole thing.


State of the Project

Not much exciting stuff going on here.

I’m knitting happily along on Rose.


I am getting close to the point where I can start the front neck steek. (Do alert the media, will you?) I’ll be happy to do so — it.s like coming down the home stretch on the body of this beast . . . er . . . fun project.

No really. It is a fun project. The pattern may look complicated but it’s pretty easy to memorize. Each pattern repeat is 24 stitches and 24 rows. It’s the same thing over and over, but it’s fun.

The sleeves will be fun as well — much smaller universe to deal with so they’ll grow much faster.

But of course I’m thinking about what is next.

What is next?

Teal Hogget.

Well, yeah, of course I named the sweater Teal Hogget. We have already determined that I like saying hogget and you know what? I like writing it too. Hogget, hogget, hogget.

As I mentioned the other day, aided by my Sweater Wizard software, I worked up a design for a little shaped waist pullover with three-quarter length sleeves. I really like Sweater Wizard — it’s a good starting point for designing, I think. I plug in the parameters and it spits out a pattern. Then I make alterations to the pattern and start knitting. Often, more alterations occur during the knitting.

But Teal Hogget is a simple little sweater, so I figure little alteration will be needed. After the initial noodling I did, that is. And just for grins, I decided to write the pattern for 3 sizes: 40, 43, and 46″. Here’s the schematic:


And I’m thinking I might start knitting it on the sly while I’m still working on Rose. Why? I want to start taking it as a commuter project. I plan to start teaching my new knitter at lunchtime tomorrow (assuming our schedules allow) and I’d like to have something in plain stockinette to knit while instructing. Don’t want to freak the poor guy out with colorwork.

If any of you all are interested in knitting it as well, I’ll post the pattern as a freebie.

It takes heavy worsted weight yarn — to give you a gauge of 4 stitches and 6 rows to the inch, on a 4.5mm (U.S. 7) needle — or the size one needs to get gauge. I’m guesstimating, based on what Sweater Wizard advised, 950 yards for the middle size.

So there you have it.

Lucy looks around furtively.


And leaps for the couch!


Not All Hogget is Teal Hogget



This is a pale brown roving from a Bond sheep, which is described as a cross of Merino and Lincoln and it is from a hogget fleece. Purchased off eBay. Gotta love those hogget fleeces!

True, I just like saying “hogget,” but this is incredibly soft stuff. I’ve started spinning it.


I’ve only got 4 ounces of it, but that’s enough for a hat or something.


No update photo because I’ve made just a wee bit o’ progress.

Truth is, due to circumstances beyond my control, I’ve not done much knitting this week. But thanks for all your extremely nice comments about Rose over the past few days. I’m quite liking her myself!

Marsha asked:
How do you keep your yarn from getting twisted while doing your colorwork? I was taught that you always brought your contrasting color up and under the color on the needles. This results in a tangle of yarn as the row progresses, but unravels during the next row—if this were a perfect world. My colors seem to tangle midway thru the row.

I knit colorwork with both colors in my left hand. While I knit Rose, I keep the cream color on top, and the black on the bottom. I keep the black looped around my left index finger, and I pick up the cream when I need it. Sounds awkward, doesn’t it? But it works for me.

I am doing no weaving on Rose. In the main body pattern, the longest stretch of one color is 5 stitches (and the happens on only one row of the pattern repeat). So there really isn’t any need to strand anyway. Because I keep my colors straight and never twist them, they don’t ever get tangled.

Here’s a pic of the inside of Rose.


There are some longer stretches on the border pattern, but I still didn’t weave.


Inside pic:


In the “Just Because” Department

Here’s proof that I don’t drive very much: a photo of my car’s odometer last Saturday:


I bought this car in February 2004 — almost two years ago.

And Sandy, I’m still looking up:


In the “What’s This?” Department

Question: What is this?


Answer: An extreme close-up of Herself!