My current work in progress:

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


Fits and Starts

Thanks for all your kind comments on the Halcyon Aran! To answer a few questions . . .

Suzanne asked:
I am curious about how you decide when you will backstitch your seams versus use mattress stich to sew your seams. I noticed that you use each technique at different times.

You are correct, ma’am!

One reason I backstitched here instead of mattress-stitching: I wanted a strong, firm seam at the shoulder straps, and I feel that backstitching is the stronger of the two.

I backstitched the side seams as well, because the seams are done on reverse stockinette stitch, and I don’t think my mattress stitch looks good on reverse stockinette.

I’m very pleased with the backstitch results.

Jes asked:
Are you worried about how the sweater will wear if the yarn pulled apart so easily? Does it make a strong fabric?

Although you can pull the yarn apart very easily, it knit up beautifully in cables. With all the twists and turns and tugging, I didn’t have a single problem with the yarn. I think this sweater will wear very well.

Jes added:
Re: the vm in yarns, I’ve noticed a lot in Noro as well. This isn’t a yarn that I’ve used, but I noticed a lot of straw on the balls at the LYS, and heard some complaints about it too. Does it seem like they have a lot in their yarn too? Does any of it seem to come out with washing? I think this would drive me nutty(er).

I’ve noticed it in Noro Kureyon, but not a whole lot — when I’ve knitted with Kureyon, I’ve always managed to pick out any bits of straw while knitting.

Non-Wool Yarns for Arans

Thank you all for your great suggestions about non-wool yarns for Arans. I mentioned Rowan Calmer, but totally forgot about Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which a number of you mentioned. Doh!

There were lots of other great suggestions — visit yesterday’s comments to see them all.

I was particularly delighted to read this comment from Meg:
Jaeger has a new dk coming out this spring called Roma, which is a cotton blend with a little lycra built in. I had the opportunity to swatch it before ordering it for the store, and it is simply marvelous! Great stitch definition and feels like you’re knitting with wool.

I can’t wait to see and try out this yarn — it sounds perfect for me!

New Work in Progress

Contrary to what I reported last week, I’m not using the yarn I pictured for my current project. I started with it, but it wasn’t quite right for this project, so ripped it out and started over.

The yarn:


Louet Sales Gems Pearl merino fingering yarn in black and cream.

The project:


A Nordic-inspired pullover of my own design. I’m just beginning the bottom border! Eight stitches to the inch on size 2.5mm needles. Ahhhhh! I’m calling it “Rose.”

The beautiful variegated yarn I’m not using? I’ve got another idea for that!

Lucy’s not telling.



  1. Looking forward to seeing more of Rose (she looks lovely so far), and terribly curious what the variegated yarn will become!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your projects with us! I am anxious to see how Rose develops!

  3. I wish I could sleep as well as Lucy. She looks so comfortable.

  4. Can’t wait to see the new design! If you keep designing like this you’ll have to write another book!! (Or maybe you already are, hmmmm????)

  5. Thanks so much, Wendy and all, for your cotton comments. When I bring up this subject I usually get a lecture on the superiority of wool and you-must-not-be-REALLY-trying and, of course, it’s-all-in-your-mind. So, I really appreciated all of your non-judgemental, practical suggestions to knit onward and upward with cottons and cotton blends. I’ll continue to do wool experiments from time to time but…
    Thanks, Penny

  6. The design on the bottom of your pullover looks lovely! Can’t wait to see more of it!

  7. That pattern is beautiful, and the cream and black contrast is striking! It must be very exciting to knit something you’ve designed. I’m thrilled if I can follow a pattern properly! You are an ispiration.

  8. glad to see the ebonies fired up again ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. I’m trying to learn how to knit, but this stuff is so over my head! Enjoy the blog, will be checking back!

  10. Thanks for answering my question. It is always fun to hear about different methods of doing things in knitting!

  11. I love the black and white (er, cream). You could make the pirate hat and mittens to go with it! (I think the site is Helloyarn.) Arrrr…

  12. Thanks for the answers!

    The start to Rose looks really nice!

  13. Ohhhh, pretty design. That black and cream is delicious!

  14. Elizabeth D says:

    I’ve seen a lot of questions re vm [vegetable matter] in some of the more “homespun” yarns. I’ve always kind of liked it, because it reminds me that yes, real sheep were here, and not that long ago. And I’ve read in a couple of places, including some heated discussions on the knitlist some years ago, that you find vm in Peace Fleece, Bartlett Yarns, etc. because they’re not as heavily processed as some of the softer, smoother yarns. Apparently there’s some kind of chemical dunk that dissolves that stuff — which makes me mind it even less. In case anyone is still interested. . .

    Wendy, I can’t wait to see the next installment of that beautiful black and cream design.

  15. Can I trouble with a question? I just saw a pattern for a pullover that I like to make but it calls for Yukon, a very bulky yarn. I would like to make this in a lighter weight. Any advice on how to accomplish this successfully? Should I just do the math until I come up with the correct finished measurements in the lighter yarn? Can I then just follow the pattern as is or are there other adjustments that would need to be made?
    Thanks for your help with this.

  16. I know you showed 2 colors and neither one of them is a ‘rose’ — so, out of curiousity, will you be adding a third color (like, rose) as many Scandinavian sweaters have employed?

  17. There has been a lot of wowing about your ability to knit stuff so quickly over at the Yarn Harlot’s blog- (check the comments)

    So I have to ask- are you joining the Olympic Knit-a-long, and what could possibly keep you busy for 16 days?

  18. Hi Wendy… You’re so inspiring *sigh*! ๐Ÿ™‚ Can I ask, do you swatch out your own stranded designs prior to starting, or do you work with an idea already formulated in your head?

  19. I had to laugh at your note in another entry about running over your shawls with your chair – yes! That’s what I was doing! So now I’m making a long rectangular shawl that will drape better on me, and on my chair.

    Pesky rolly chairs!

    Pesky job one has to go to and sit in a rolly chair! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Just had to tell you, my Bohus is on the way to me. So. You know. I may never be heard from again, since answering the de-lurking call, but, I’m so excited.