My current work in progress:

Stornoway, designed by Alice Starmore from her book Fishermen’s Sweaters, knit in Frangipani 5-ply guernsey wool in the Aran colorway, on a 3.0mm needle.

ISO: A Gansey or Aran for a Petite Miss

Pam asked:
The person-I-most-enjoy-knitting-for, my 17-year-old daughter, recently asked me to make “one of those white textured sweaters.” Aran or gansey, I thought, I can do that. But as we looked at pictures together, primarily in Alice Starmore books, she — who’s a slim 5′ 3-1/2″ — kept saying that the sweaters were beautiful but too wide and boxey for her.

I ask you, as one of the Queens of Textured Sweater Knitting, if there are any patterns you’d suggest for the petite but not child-sized?

For ganseys, check out this site. They have a pdf version of their catalog you can download, and it looks as though the sizing starts at a 36″ chest measurement.

Beth Brown-Reinsel has a number of beautiful gansey patterns, many that start at 34″. You can’t order from her site, but she lists there many retail outlets that carry her patterns.

As for arans . . .

You might check eBay for vintage knitting patterns. I know Bernat did several pattern booklets of aran designs in the 60s and 70s, and they were sized smaller than the oversized designs you see today. And the ones I’ve seen are pretty classic — they don’t look dated. Check out this one on eBay — it’s one of my old favorites.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for Pam? Please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments.

Speaking of Comments . . .

There were a lot of interesting comments on yesterday’s entry. I do think we can all agree to disagree about process and the disposition of the things we knit. Bottom line as I see it: We are all entitled to do what we like with what we knit. And no one has the right to impose his/her idea of what we should do onto us and pass judgment on us should we not adhere to his/her idea.

I have decided to become the ultimate process knitter. Every night, Penelope-like, I shall unravel what I have knitted during the day.

(Just kidding.)

Speaking of Comments, Part Deux

I’ve just noticed that I’m approaching 22,000 total comments on this blog. If I were not so lame, I would have noticed the 20,000th comment, but alas, it slipped past me. I shall be monitoring the comments closely, and will send a fiber prize to the 22,000th commenter (unless the 22,000th comment is spam, of course). So comment away!

Oh Yeah — Knitting Progress


Hey Lucy, nice sleevage!


And Now For Something Completely Different

LizzyB asked:
On another note, do you ever get frustrated with Lucy’s “help” when you do your make up? I have been having 2 kitties help me lately as opposed to the one I was used to, and it’s more challenging than just one! Just curious of course and kitty help is always appreciated, if not welcome Lucy. Honest! ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh yeah, this is a topic I know something about!

Here’s a snippet from a post I wrote almost exactly two years ago:

I have a lovely antique dressing table that was my grandmother’s, and every morning I sit down at this table, where I have positioned my 5x magnifying mirror, to attempt to apply make-up.

Note to women over 40: 5x (or higher) magnifying mirrors are depressing.

Lucy waits for this moment. As soon as I sit down, she jumps up on the table and immediately turns into a purring, quivering mass of affection. She stretches, she twirls, she butts her head against my hand. Imagine, if you will, attempting to apply eyeliner when suddenly a big furry ass is thrust into your face. The sudden impact of a kitty head against the hand holding the eyeliner. The mirror falling over from another kitty head-butt. I used to use liquid eyeliner. Ha! Not any more, after stabbing myself in the eye with it. I switched to pencil liner, but abandoned that after the first stab.

Now it’s simply eyeshadow applied with my pinky. Mascara? I’m a coward. I apply that standing up.

Update: I’ve gone back to using eyeliner. I now apply eye make-up, standing up, in the bathroom.

Lucy Sez:


“Why doesn’t Momma want my help in applying make-up?”


  1. I’m 5’2″ and on the smallish size, and I find I can knit Arans for me from a number of Debbie Bliss’s kid patterns. Seriously! She’s got a number of lovely, classic patterns, too.

  2. What a lovely model you have for your sleeve! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I knew I gave up makeup for a reason: kitty help could be a bit scary. Okay, I gave it up because of EXTREMELY sensitive skin, but no-kitty-help is good too. I get enough help from Grace with my knitting! She likes to hug my needles. While I’m knitting. I make her quit, because I don’t want her to be an Edgar Allan Poe kitty, but she won’t listen.

  3. I guess it’s comforting to know that mine is not the only cat who wishes to blind his or her mistress, but I wish the little devils would be that affectionate at a more opportune moment like, maybe, when I’m calling him and begging him to come sit with me. Fickle beasts.

  4. How are you liking the Little Gem? I got one about the same time you did, to add to the “stable” (which also includes a Schacht DT and a Reeves 24″ saxony). Anyway, I think I am pretty happy with the Gem – it’s odd looking, but so portable, and a good little spinner.

    I don’t think it’s too hard to cut down some of AS’s patterns by eliminating some of the panels.

  5. The master bathroom is the one place in my home where kitties are not allowed, so I don’t get any help with makeup. Tyberius does, however, love to stand on the coffee table and block the line of sight to the television…especially when I’m on the couch playing video games. Left-right-A-A-B-cat butt. Great.

  6. Hi – on cabling without a cable needle – Grumperina ( has a variation that looks good to me. Rather than doing all the slipping and twisting and slipping back before knitting any stitches, she… well, take a look at her site. Looks like it’s worth a try.

    (tickles to Lucy – you are such a glamour girl!)

  7. Looks like we all no where to go when we need some feedback! My dog (whom my husband swears it part cat)is not agile enough to hop up onto the counter and help me with my makeup.