My current work in progress:

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


Does Not Play Well With Others

A number of you in the comments and via email mentioned Stephanie’s Olympic Challenge and asked if I would be participating.

Hey, thanks for asking. It looks like a fun idea. But will I participate? No.

Why? Two reasons.

First of all, gotta tell you, I have no interest whatsoever in the Winter Olympics. Silly me, I was thinking they were held in January, but I have since figured out that they aren’t until next month. I’m betting they don’t start until after the Superbowl, right? (Yes, I know I could find this info very easily with a little online research. I just don’t care.)

Truth be told, I have very little use for sports on television. (Aside: In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit to watching the Redskins game last Saturday. Hey, the King of All Remote Controls was watching it. Well, I watched part of the game. For most of the first half I was in the other room watching cooking shows on public television.) Heck, I have very little use for network television (yeah, I know this is beside the point). The majority of my tv viewing is spent tuned in to Turner Classic Movies.

Yep, I love the Dale Olympic Sweaters. I think they are, for the most part, very pretty. I buy patterns and often yarn for the ones I like. Sometimes I even make them. That is the limit to my interest in the Olympics. I’ve got pattern and yarn for the Dale Torino sweater, but it’s stashed away for future reference.

Second reason for not participating: I do not play well with others. (Ask L-B about the Inishmore Challenge.) And right now I’ve got my own little knitting agenda going on, and I’m sticking to it. Until I decide to change it. If I decide to change it.

Anyhow, this idea spawned some questions about what I consider a knitting challenge.

What could I knit that would challenge me?

Maybe a fair isle slipcover for my car? Nah, my car lives in a garage so I don’t really need a cover for it.

I could attempt to knit an aran house cozy. But I live in a high-rise condo, so I’d have to knit a cozy for the entire condo building, and some of my neighbors might not like that. (Yeah, that’s the only reason why I’m not going to knit a condo cozy.)

I know! I know! Maybe I could knit Shanti an intarsia ship cozy! Nah, she’ll have sailors to do that for her.

All jokes aside, folks, something like Sharon Miller’s Princess Shawl would be a challenge. I did buy the pattern for it. Seriously, how could I not buy a pattern for something described as “one of the most complex Shetland lace patterns ever offered for sale?”

But I have no immediate plans to knit it. Don’t have the lace knitting mojo going on right now. Not only that but, all talk about process knitting aside, I have no earthly use for such a shawl.

(But if you wanna see it being knit, check out The Princess Diairies, a blog by two knitters who are embarking on knitting the Princess Shawl. I was delighted to discover this blog a couple of weeks ago when one of the two knitters mentioned it on her main blog, which I’ve read regularly for years. Years, I tell you!)

Back to the Knitting at Hand

Here’s how the Rose sweater is looking this afternoon.


As you can see, I’m getting into the body pattern.

Rebecca asked (and by the way Rebecca, nice Ingeborg!):
Do you have the entire sweater designed, or are you designing it motif by motif?

The entire sweater is designed. I charted it out beforehand and wrote out the pattern. As I knit, I make any need adjustments to the pattern.

Sarah asked:
I do have a question—how do you like the Louet Pearl? I saw someone who recommended using it for your Baby Norgi pattern and I do love merino so I was curious about your take on the yarn. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s okay. It has a slightly . . . I dunno . . . stringy? feel while knitting, but if you wash or steam your knitting, it blooms beautifully. I knitted a swatch of my pattern with it before embarking on the sweater and was quite impressed with how nicely it bloomed after a good steam with my trusty iron.

I bought the Louet Pearl because somewhere I read that it was the same yarn as Koigu fingering and I was curious. I don’t think it is the same “base” yarn as Koigu — it feels completely different to me. While it does not suck, I do not find it extremely pleasant to knit — the stringiness irritates my hands somewhat.

Mmmmmm . . . Twisty!

Thanks, Tracy, for this comment:
The twisty legs are called “barley twist” in furniture lingo – as in “oh, does that table have barley twist legs? no? just turned? ok, nevermind”.

And Judith:
Your table has lovely Barley Sugar Twist legs. They are named after the boiled sweets that used to be available in short twisted chunks in the UK (and maybe other places?).

I Googled “Barley Twist” and Barley Sugar Twist” — the terms are apparently interchangeable. I learn something new every day!

I am a huge fan of Barley Twist furniture legs.

I liked Ann’s comment that the table legs look plied. Good thing the twist is balanced, eh? Hyuk! Hyuk, hyuk!

Sandy asked:
I was looking at your table and was wondering what kind of article was holding your spindles.
Is this something you had made or is it available somewhere?


It’s a . . . spindle holder. ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought it on eBay. I don’t think it was commercially made — it was something I saw posted there that I thought would be useful.

I seem to remember seeing something similar available for sale online, but I’m coming up empty with Google searches. I can find spindle lazy Kates, but does anyone know of a spindle storage solution similar to this for sale?

P.S. to Snow

Lucy is looking forward to the next feral holiday! Me? I’m a tad nervous lest she take it too literally.



  1. 1. Wow, you like my Ingeborg! Your Ingeborg was the first I ever saw, and what put it on my to-do list, so that’s nice to hear. ๐Ÿ™‚ (But really, how could anybody *not* like an Ingeborg?)

    2. “one of the most complex Shetland lace patterns ever offered for sale” Makes it sound like more complex Shetland lace patterns are dangerous, and may cause physical or mental harm if attempted. Hardcore! FDA (FKA?) approval necessary.

  2. If you ever decide to make car or home cozies, you might want to look at our local knit graffiti artists. They make knitted tubes that cover fixtures in public places, bike racks, trees, car antennas…I may have seen a vase covered with one of their creations, but I am keeping my eyes peeled to see what they do next.

  3. Thank you so much for the feedback! Perhaps I should swatch a few things up when I’m ready to get drunk try steeking. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    In all seriousness, I was thinking about the knitting as a process track you’ve been mentioning. I’m thinking I’m more of that sort of knitter (and sure, a selfish one too). I have found that I learn to knit better and faster by challenging myself–IE, I have no business trying an Alice Starmore design in theory but I have one on the needles!

    Also, wow, thanks for that Princess Blog link! That should be a great read. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I with you, I never liked watching the Olympics or any sports on TV. I just can’t get into it.

  5. I couldn’t get the link to the shawl pattern to work ๐Ÿ™ I really wanted to check it out.

  6. And, you know, there’s a part of me that thinks that you really could knit that Princess Shawl in 16 days. You’re just crazy like that.

  7. Wendy,
    I thought I would give you an update on the Bohus front. I ordered the Large Collar and your sweater….let the insanity begin. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My blue shimmer is coming along nicely if I can just devote some more time to it. I am about half way done on the second sleeve. I am at the point where I just want to wear it already.

    Once again, thanks for all the encouragement! Let me know when you are planning on doing another one.

  8. I somehow feel better knowing that there is another knitter out there who has a knitting agenda and is unwilling to let the Olympics screw up our plans. I too learn something new every day – thanks for the furniture lingo lesson.

  9. Mmmmm….cooking shows!

  10. But, but…I’m going to need that ship cozy! And I’m going to be the only woman on that ship, so I’d have to teach my Sailors first. Also, there will be two ships (long story) so I’ll need two cozies…I’ll provide the dimensions and you can produce the first and write up a pattern. then i’ll use that to teach my guys. Deal?

  11. Your spindle holder is commercially available, I just don’t know who makes it. I bought one at my LYS several years ago, I think they still have one, but am not 100% positive. I *think* I saw them at a vendor booth at Estes Park a few years ago too, but can’t remember who it was that had them. I’m a lot of help aren’t I?

  12. JerseyGirl says:

    I was shocked about your Winter Olympics revelation. I adore the olympics and I think it all started with the Dale sweaters my grandmother would bring back from Norway. I can’t for the Winter Olympics to start and see what Dale sweaters the teams will be wearing. I also love all of the sports. Your rose sweater is beautiful.

  13. Your sweater is breathtaking! One day I hope to have the patience and lack of distractions to knit something with a chart again ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I don’t watch TV at all. I may have watched some in the past but not in the recent past. I joined ’cause a) I like making an ass of myself in public, b) I need a shawl and c) I got a gorgeous shawl pin and almost 900 yards of baby cashmere for my birthday, and it would be a sin to let it lie for any length of time.

    So, if you could send your lace-knitting mojo in my direction, seeing you’re not going to be needing it, I’d really appreciate it.


  15. Wendy, I’m with you on the “does not play well with others” thing. I think, for about five minutes, about joining an “-along” but then realize that I’d probably decide another five minutes later to go back to whatever project is really capturing my heart at the moment.

  16. I, too, have been known not to play well with others…has something to do with being an only child and self-motivation. Barley legs? I have an antique desk with those and my mother called them Jenny Lind legs (like the Jenny Lind beds.)I like them being called barley or sugar barley legs…fits with the furniture grain.

  17. Funny – that was my thought as well – what could Wendy knit that would be challenging for her? Not too much I am sure. Your talent is unbelievable and is unmatched by most knitters.

    If you do change your mind, it would be most interesting for us to watch.

  18. Well, I’ve thought of a knitting challenge for you. You could *teach*. Something. To someone. In 16 days. After all, once a champion has conquered all, there’s always a coaching career to go to. Or is knitting more like ice skating, where champions settle into a career of soft-lob Ice Capade exhibitions?

    I’m in love with the Rose sweater already. Please think seriously of going pro with the pattern. I’d pay.

  19. I love your new sweater Wendy! It kinda reminds me of Frogner, my favorite sweater that I’ve “seen” you knit. Will the pattern include fluffy? ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. For a real challenging idea, may I point out this site:
    Nrrdgrrl knitted a cover for the spare wheel on her jeep.
    And if you take a look at it, please note the combination on her license plate (in South Afica one is allowed to choose it)

  21. OH, thank you so much for coming out of the closet on this olympic thing. I have never been a sports fan, and like you I didn’t know when the super bowl is or anything other than my cereal bowl. I live in a college town that lives and breathes football.
    Local News Flash: Team Tight End has hemmorhoids and as an aside, Thousands die in Tsunami. But first to the sports scores.
    I have to live with this, thank heavens for cable news!

  22. Thank you so much for reminding me about the Princess Shawl. I have a once a month drool feast at their site and I think I stopped breathing for a few minutes when I first saw the Dove Shawl. I am so tempted to buy that pattern just to have since my knitting skills are still lacking.

    And I to have issues with Working and Playing Well with Others. Only child and really don’t feel like taking on that kind of commitment. The Olympics? Only the opening and closing ceremonies, but I wish the commentators would just shut up for once.

  23. I knew there was a reason to upgrade my cable package. I couldn’t care less about so many other things on TV, but old movies are the very best thing to knit to. And audiobooks. And silence. And…

    I suspect a feral holiday would be one of those days when you call in sick just to have a day off. In fact, I might have a feral holdiay on Friday.

  24. patty bolgiano says:

    Washing yarn, the blooming effect.
    I guess I would be called an intermediate knitter. I had some Harrisville yarn (Highland) stashed away. LYS offered an aran sweater class using same yarn. I took my cones (the yarn was on cones) and washed it and it really bloomed nicely. Infact, downright beautifully. I let them dry for about a week, again the results were beautiful. My question is why not wash your yarn before you knit it. I know the gauge swatch would be different if you just knit it from the cone then washed it vs washing it then knitting it.

    Patty in Baltimore

  25. Sweet Caroline says:

    I read your remark about Louet Pearl being the same base as the Koigu. About a year ago my knitting troupe did a “blind test” of Louet Gems (various weights) and Koigu and decided that the Gems is the base for Koigu. I have had several other experienced knitters/spinners/fiber handlers remark about this possibility.

    I’d appreciate hearing any other ideas about the “source yarn” for Koigu, if your other readers have other ideas. The Koigu people have to buy it in huge amounts from somewhere!

  26. Spindle storage: I bought a metal mesh desk storage piece and cut bubble wrap to fit the bottom. Put my (Oh! heavens! Aren’t they beautiful!)spindles in there like a bouquet. Not hanging from their hooks a la Wendy, but tidy and pretty. But I don’t have any bottom whorl spindles, so that makes it easier.

  27. I’m not fond of pressure and will knit anyway so…it’s a process along. I like Susan’s idea, however. It might be more up your alley.

  28. I enjoyed reading your “knitting philosophy”. It’s great to knit without deadlines or expectations, just simply for the pleasure of knitting.

    I would like to know if you’ve ever tried the Noro Silver Thaw. I’m using it for a project and find it quite enjoyable to knit with.

  29. Re: Inishmore Challenge, You played nicely. I played nicely. My hands were the bitches! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. Great article on spinning in the NYTimes today. Requires free registration, so no direct link.

  31. Wow … sorry you aren’t joining, but I understand. Thought you might though, so when I commented and joined I even pointed out that I was A Wendy, not THE Wendy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. I had a very similar experience to yours when I did some beaded wrist warmers with the Louet Pearl, it felt stringy and somehow hairy to work with. The feel of Koigu (also beaded wristlets) was very different, in a good way.

  33. Wendy,
    The Rose is really lovely. Will you be making the pattern available for purchase, or publishing it somewhere? A few inches, and I already want to knit it myself!


  34. Lucy is sooo beauuuuuuuuutiful. I send her kisses.