My current work in progress:

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


Back to a Real Project

Not that socks aren’t real, but . . .

I was feeling a bit at a loss last week without a “big” project on the needles.

So here is the beginning of my denim cabled pullover.


The denim yarn is, as I mentioned before, Elann’s Den-M-Nit, which is very similar to Rowan Denim yarn. The Elann yarn has 100 yards per 50 gram skein and states a gauge of 5 sts/inch. Rowan Denim yarn is almost identical — 101 yards per 50 gram skein and the same gauge of 5 st/inch.


On my swatch, pre-washing, I got a row gauge of about 6.5 rows/inch. Post-washing, it is 8 rows per inch. The stitch gauge is pretty much the same pre- and post-washing.

So, I cast on last night and started knitting.


The yarn doesn’t suck too badly to knit. It is sort of like knitting with string, particularly after knitting with soft sock yarn, but I’m gettng used to it.

Speaking of Socks . . .

Michelle asked:
I was reading your toe-up sock pattern and there is one instruction I don’t understand. What is “wrap and turn”?

If you’ve never done short rows, that won’t make any sense to you. Do check out this article, by the incomparable Bonne Marie Burns, on short rows in general, or this article by yours truly, which includes information on short rows for socks.

Sheila asked:
I have a question, I have yet to knit socks, still a beginner. Do you think the toe up version would be a good way to learn?

I may be biased, but I say yes! I created the pattern so that I would have a simple, easy-to-memorize, pattern for socks.

Margarita Hat?

Jenn commented:
The extra long straw is a great idea, but you know what would be really great? You know those beer hats that hold 2 cans of beer? The King of All Remote Controls should make you a Margarita Hat.

The only problem with a margarita hat? I’d get hat head.

I am glad you all recognize the genius and resourcefulness that is the King of All Remote Controls. Hands off, ladies — he’s mine!

Lucy sez:


“He’s mine too!”


  1. I cannot believe how fast you knit.You are my knitting Idol.

  2. No need for extra-long straws or Margarita-hat head. I’m working on an implantable abdomenal flask that will dispense tequila (or the liquor of your choice) at desired times. Nothing technologically advanced – the surgery is fairly simple, and should cost ~ $1,000 (after all, sturgeons and anassteesiologists are expensive), and after that just fill it via tube cleverly hidden in the navel. Log onto the website and select the time(s) and level of alcohol to be dispensed through a radio signal via cell phone towers. Been published here, so nobody can patent the sonofabitch idea, eh?

  3. Just wanted to pop in and say that the first sock I ever knit was using your toe up pattern. Thanks for making it available.

  4. Wendy, I’d like to thank you for your wonderfully clear and easy to follow toe-up sock instructions, as linked in your blog. Tho I’ve knitted for about 40 years, I’m just now knitting my first pair of socks. OK, so I had to try 4 times before I got my wraps to look right, but I’m on the way to sock nirvana now, lol. I think I would have done better I’d chosen yarn which used needles larger than 0, but I’m getting the hang of it now.

  5. Maybe you could knit a sturdy head band to go under the hair, attach the magaritas firmly, with a steady flow tube to dispense?

  6. Thanks Wendy! Your instructions are awesome. Now I need to go buy some yummy sock yarn. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hmm, I never considered that hat hair thing. I suppose if one is the kind of person who would actually wear a beer hat, then that person is probably not all that concerned with hat hair.

    And yes, I will also sing the praises of your toe-up sock pattern. It was the first sock I ever made. Many thanks!

  8. Forget the clever dispensing gizmos – I just wanna know how in the world you KNIT WHILE DRINKING??????? You are KUI, girlfriend!! Knitting Under the Influence!!!

    You must STOP NOW. As your “designated knitter,” hand over your stash (and I’ll take your needle collection, too if you don’t mind) so I can keep you safe and knit for you!!!


  9. Aw, that Carol! Isn’t it great that she’s watching out for you?

  10. I like that pattern Wendy, just a question, what do you do with all these sweaters….do you wear them or give them away?

  11. I completely agree that your pattern’s a good first one – I taught a friend to knit and a pair of socks, using your pattern, was her third or fourth project.

  12. I was just wondering about your needle size and stitch gauge for your Lorna’s Laces socks; are you knitting them on a smaller size needle and a tighter gauge than the yarn band recommends? Do you do it that way because you like a denser look and feel in a sock? I was just curious since I have some Lorna’s Laces sock yarn that I haven’t used yet and it seems to recommend a size 4 needle and a gauge of 6sts. to the inch.

  13. Wendy, something is wrong with the toe-up sock pattern. Mine didn’t fit. Oh wait, maybe it’s operator error?
    KOARC cracks me up.

  14. Hathead is a terrible thing. That’s why you need a margarita TIARA.

  15. I tried toe-up socks for the first time this weekend and I found the directions incomprehensible. What do you do with the extra yarn on the figure eight technique when you want to start knitting? How do you determine the number of stitches to cast on when you aren’t casting on 48 stitches? Do you pick up BOTH wraps and knit them in the short row technique? I’m not holding you personally responsible, mind you, but I couldn’t find any clues as what to do with these things. Perhaps an FAQ? (Then again, I spend so much of my day at work writing FAQs I can imagine wanting to shy away from them.)

  16. It’s funny, but on my screen the label on that ball of yarn looks like “D*MNIT” – at first glance. Sure hope knitting with it doesn’t bring that word to mind.
    Printing your “Tiptop Toes” article from as I type. You’re tops! Toodles…

  17. What pattern are you knitting from (or is it one of your own) with the denim yarn, it looks great!

  18. I confess I’m mystified — what’s the advantage in using a shrinking indigo yarn? there are some interesting patterns for such, but there’s a world of interesting patterns. So, what’s the appeal of the whole shrinking thing?

  19. I confess I’m mystified — what’s the advantage in using a shrinking indigo yarn? there are some interesting patterns for such, but there’s a world of interesting patterns. So, what’s the appeal of the whole shrinking thing?

  20. The sweater is great, Wendy. But could you clarify something for me? If you find that you are getting shrinkage (or stretchage) after washing the gauge swatch, how do you adjust your pattern? Do you knit longer or shorter to account for the change? And if so, how do you deal with increases and decreases over the length of the sweater and sleeves? Thanks for de-mystifying!

  21. The Den-M-Nit should make a great snuggly sweater. Love the color you’re using. I keep thinking about the fade factor but remember that you rarely use the sweaters you knit. Do you generally know while you’re knitting something that it’s an item that will be put away or do they sometimes speak to you and say “you will wear me…. you cannot resist my powers…” ? ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. I’m as mystified as Lise about the whole shrinking yarn thing…but then again, I’ve been known to do the swatch/wash/recalculate pattern to new gauge thing myself just to knit with cotton. And watch it stretch out of shape over the following year.

    However, it’s the drinking while knitting that really has me excited. I know other knitters who can do this….I’d only be safe mixing stockinette and margueritas. Gee I wish I could do that!!


  23. I think it’s rather generous of Lucy to share the King of All Remote Controls with you. She’s such a nice kitty.

  24. The shrinking yarn helps you knit at a reasonable gauge. You knit it at a normal wool tension, and when you wash it, it shrinks into a solid, soft cotton fabric with a nice drape. It would be a bear to knit that tight. (At least for me!)

    As to first sock pattern – I usually use the Knitty Fuzzy Feet pattern when teaching socks. It is a top-down pattern. What is great is that the felting covers up all the uneveness in the wraps, picked-up stitches, etc. Also, because they are slippers, fit is not as crucial.

  25. Does the yarn turn your hands blue? Love the pattern. I need some textured knitting.

  26. I had a ball sitting around thinking of fun, entertaining things to write, so thanks for helping out my creative side!

    I am also inspired to do some Denim knitting, since I also bought some Den-m-nit a long time ago from Elann (good price, had to have!) but need to come up with a project. So, there’s my inspiration!


  27. FYI, a margarita hat is, obviously, referred to as a “margarerro”.

  28. That denim yarn looks really luscious. There’s something about that indigo blue that gets me.