My current work in progress:

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


From Colorwork to Cables

Thanks, Margene, for the title suggestion!

I spent a good part of the day at Knit Happens (I don’t return to work until Monday) and here’s my progress on the Halcyon Aran:


Actually, that’s the third photo I took. Here’s the first one:


Those would be Holly’s fingers at the top, and Lara’s fingers at the right. Then one of those two got the bright idea to pull a Vanna:


And here’s Lara feigning innocence:


Look! She’s knitting so fast her hands are a blur!

In the comments, Pam asked:
How do you choose the yarn you will use for a given project? There are only a few that you have used more than once.

In this case, the yarn and pattern were a gift, so that saved me choosing.

But usually, it’s a matter of a certain yarn catching my eye for whatever reason. I like using a heathered or tweed yarn for arans, but you don’t want too much variegation or the texture stitches will be obscured.

You also want a yarn that is sturdy enough to show the texture stitches. Nothing too soft or drapey. For a hardy aran pullover, you want a hardy aran yarn. If you are unsure, get one skein of the yarn and swatchez-vous some cables.

The photos today are not great — the cables show up in this yarn much better than the pictures show. It’s very hard, I find, to take good photos of a dark yarn and have the texture stitches show up well.

Cassie commented:
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the flax/wool blend. I’ve been tempted but wondered if it would hold up without sagging and also if it was hard on the hands.

I really like this yarn — it has the look of a sturdy, beefy aran yarn, but is quite soft to the touch. Despite it’s soft hand, it knits a fine cable.

There are lots of bits of straw in the yarn, but if you don’t mind picking them out (and I don’t), this yarn is great for arans.

Suzanne asked:
How does the Aran pattern you are working on compare with all of the Starmore Arans you have done? I find the Starmore patterns to be heavenly in the logic and detail she includes in her patterns. Is this pattern similar?

I’d equate this to one of Starmore’s less complex arans — like St. Enda or Na Craga. The pattern is well-written, and the charts are excellent.

Imbrium asked:
Does that Holly Spring Homespun have a destiny yet, or is it stash enhancement? It is indeed a lovely colorway.

It has a destiny — a lace design still in the planning stages.

Kim asked:
The Aran is going to be beautiful! But I have to ask…what happened to Bettna?

Nothing happened to Bettna. It’s still in the WIP list in my sidebar. I’ve simply ceased work on it for the time being.

See? Even though I have the “one WIP at a time rule” I allow myself exceptions. Just because.

Lucy Sez:


I got some much needed rest today while Momma was out at the yarn shop!


  1. Wendy,

    First I’d like to post my woo hoo! for knitting my Halcyon Aran. It’s looking great! I’d also like to share some thoughts on the Harrisville Flax & Wool. I have done several designs for Harrisville and have used this yarn frequently. Both the Flax & Wool and the Orchid (soon to include cashmere and a stunning new color range), are soft spun singles. They need to be handled gently, but their cable definition is excellenet. I wear sweaters made of both these yarns often and they wear surprisingly well. I can’t imagine either yarn ever taxing one’s hands, and I do encounter that problem with my poor little hands, myself. These yarns make a soft and very lightweight sweater for the gauge. They are knitting’s best kept secret! Knit on!

  2. The aran sweater looks great. The cables and the yarn are a wonderful combination.

  3. Marie-france says:

    Love the aran sweater! Now Wendy you casually mention spending most of the day at Knit happens but surely you didn’t manage to get out of there without increasing your stash??

  4. Simply beautiful, as always.

    *gazes in admiration*

  5. I spun up some silk/flax blend roving a few years ago, partly because I just couldn’t imagine how silk and flax would work together. The answer was, they worked well! I then dyed the yarn with an acid dye, so that the silk would take the color, but the flax wouldn’t. I ended up with a nice marled kind of yarn. I used it to knit a tank top out of.
    I bet the wool/flax works just as well, even without the color variations I got with my method. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I was wondering about the shed factor of the angora blend you used for the Bohus?

  7. Okay, I’m giggling now. Swatchez-vous?! Perfect! Looks like you had a great knitting day. I’d love to visit Knit Happens some day!

  8. Cables — I tell you, the sight of cables has been making me weak in the knees lately. I don’t know what it is. I think I may need to start a project like this soon!

  9. No one…simply no one knits as fast as you do. The Aran is looking verrrry fine.

  10. Elizabeth A. Buckley says:

    Siiiiiiiigggggghhhhhhhh…. !soo lovely .. i’m still in the Bohus aura and now Cables…Siiiiiggggghhhhh!

    Lara’s hat beckons. Where could I find the pattern?


  11. Elizabeth A. Buckley says:

    Siiiiiiiigggggghhhhhhhh…. !soo lovely .. i’m still in the Bohus aura and now Cables…Siiiiiggggghhhhh!

    Lara’s hat beckons. Where could I find the pattern?


  12. Elizabeth A. Buckley says:

    Siiiiiiiigggggghhhhhhhh…. !soo lovely .. i’m still in the Bohus aura and now Cables…Siiiiiggggghhhhh!

    Lara’s hat beckons. Where could I find the pattern?


  13. That’s very fast! I bet you’d be able to finish another 2-3 tops by the end of the first month at this rate.
    Maybe you could try directional lighting to bring out the cables. Just a suggestion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Don’t kid yourself, Wendy. Bettna has pulled a Celtic Dreams. Just admit it, and move on.

    Didn’t Ann at Purling Swine do a really beautiful Halcyon recently? Or am I thinking of something else?

  15. elizabeth says:

    I have to stop reading your blog-early this AM I ordered the pattern for the Halcyon Aran and after looking at several different yarns ended up ordering the Flax&Wool(in the Birch? colorway I think)from none other than Holly Spring. My word-I haven’t seen the yarn yet but am putting them at the top of my list for customer service-I already had an email early this afternoon that they had shipped!! Yikes-guess I better get back up to the Mary Tudor I am only 4-5 inches into-plus I still have the neckband on Cromarty to finish(put it aside for Xmas-yes-THAT was my excuse;) Is Cromarty calling from your stash yet??!
    Happy Knitting

  16. Well, since Alice is the one who picks straw and VM out of yarn around here, wool/flax sounds like a good option. Gotta keep her busy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Wow Wendy, the rate you are zipping along with your knits, I wonder if your hands ever rest!

  18. Wendy,

    The Bohus looks good – nice work! Your aran sweater has me thinking about an aran cardigan from Knitters’ magazine of several years ago – I think the pattern is also in their Celtic book. Until recently I didn’t think I had the skills to do the sweater justice, but now … :>. I think it might be Aran cardigan time.

    I’d love to hear what you finally decide to do with the Envy yarn from Hollysprings. I love working with silk/silk blends and I’m always on the lookout for good ideas for this fiber.

    I know you’re a big fan of Holtz and Stein’s hardwood circular needles so I thought you’d like to know that Colonial Needle company has just received their own stock of Rosewood circulars in a small variety of lengths, plenty of sizes.The only drawback I’ve seen is the cost – they start at $38 and go up to $44. I’m not convinced any knitting needle is worth that much money. The needles may not be on their website yet, but a quick email to customer support will get you all the details. If you do get a chance to use these needles, let us know what you think of them and if they’re worth the cost.

  19. Elizabeth — That hat is from Stitch N’ Bitch Nation by Debbie Stoller. Sadly, it’s not really mine…it’s currently on display at Knit Happens as a shop sample! I just thought I’d uh… ‘model’ it… yeah… (I bought yarn for it though!)

    SUPER FUN seeing you today, Wendy!!!

  20. One WIP rule? Are you high?

  21. Can I second the motion on Lara’s hat. My son wears those peaked bennie’s all the time but I have never found a pattern for one.

  22. That Lara is just the cutest thing.

  23. Amy Adkins Bock says:

    I love Lara’s hat! Was it handknit? Where can I find the pattern?

    Oh, and your sweater is lovely, as always.

  24. Hi Wendy,
    I always wondered, you go so seamlessly (no pun intended) from one project to the next. Not to speak of the speed with which you do that, but do you not experience the slightest bit of “finished project slump”? Hard to explain what I mean. But whenever I finish a larger piece like a sweater or cardi, it seems I need like a day or so to “rest”. More mentally than anything else. Its like a block that ocurrs before I can go on to other things. This of course doesn’t keep me from having too many projects at any given time, its the finally finishing that does it.

  25. Wendy,

    Under What is This? on your sidebar is the ISBN for your new book! Congratulations! I’m looking forward to seeing it!

    I also greatly admire your speed and accomplishments, and also admire Miss Lucy, the beautiful kitty!


  26. Wendy – The picture with the girl knitting wearing the green hat. Can you give me pattern details????????
    I have been looking for a hat like that for a long time for my daughter.

  27. I’m a big fan of your blog and I’m constantly amazed at the number of projects you complete. I guess I’ll forgive you for having more than one WIP. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Today, in the car, I was musing over the question of what you’ll knit next and wondering how you decide. It seems that, like Oprah, your choice of projects could really benefit a designer or a yarn manufacturer both financially and creatively.
    Do you consider this when choosing what projects to tackle? Do you perhaps knit projects and not blog about them because you don’t want to draw attention to a designer or yarn that you’d rather not endorse? Or, the opposite – do you choose a project because you really do want to honor a designer or manufacturer?
    I don’t mean to cast any asparagus (aspersions) your way or to challenge your decision-making process but I wonder if your blogging fame hampers/enhances your choice of projects? I also wonder if any designers or manufacturers have encouraged you to blog about their projects/yarns and how you handle that sort of thing. The more readers you get the larger this issue might become – I can see it evolving into the type of endorsement schemes that professional athletes have going.
    Anyway, these were just some thoughts that were running through my mind. I’d love to see a post that answers these questions and again, I don’t mean to be suspicious or anything. You rock! And, I’ve learned a lot from your blog, so thanks for putting all the time and effort into it!
    a fan,

  28. Gorgeous, as always!
    I love Lara’s hat. Is there a pattern somewhere online for it? Either for sale or for free?

  29. Since my own Aran project is progressing at the speed of a herd of turtles, I tell myself “no more Wendy! It is bad for your knitting self-esteem!” But, alas, here I am, every day, in awe of your knitting prowess. Rock on Wendy! (P.S. – I Love Lucy too!)

  30. Those of you who are looking for the pattern for the hat Lara is wearing in the photo — read the earlier comments to this entry — Lara posted the information here.


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    Teapot & Cashmere Cozy

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