My current work in progress:

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


Fair Isling Along

Yes, now that I’m past the evil corrugated ribbing, I am happily fair isling along.


4-ply Katie asked:
Which in your experience is more irritating corrugated ribbing or checked garter stitch in the round?

Oooh! Good question!

After giving this some careful thought, I think that checked garter stitch in the round is more irritating. Because garter stitch mooshes down when knitted, giving you a really sucky row gauge. You can knit forever, only to discover you’ve made only one-half an inch progress. Very annoying.

Sachi asked:
I’m curious… do you strand with both hands? On one hand? On one hand dropping as you change colors?

I use one hand, dropping as I change colors. I carry the foreground color on top, the background color on the bottom and never twist the two.

Deborah C. asked:
Do you cut the colors you are using once you are finished with the row? I am assuming yes for the body of the cardigan (because of the steek), but what about sleeves? Do you ever carry colors up to another row?

Yes, I do cut the colors. I almost never carry colors up. Perhaps if it were only one row, I might carry. But generally, no.

Hillary commented:
Fair isle and I have never gotten along though I admire it greatly. My tension always gets screwy. How do you keep it even? Are there any books that you would recommend.

I think maintaining proper tension in two-color knitting is one of the hardest things to master and it simply takes practice. A couple of tips, though:

Use a wooden needle. Wood grabs the stitches more than metal does, so it helps you to maintain tension.

Make a conscious effort to spread your stitches out as you knit. If they are spread out to normal gauge, you have a better chance of your floats being the proper tension in the back. (Long-time readers will remember that I always float the yarn not in use — I don’t weave. Well, only in traffic. Hyuk! Hyuk! Hyuk!)

Books I’d recommend — the Ann Feitelson fair isle book is a good one. So is Sweaters From Camp — lots of good tips and technique talk in there.

Kenny asked:
You mentioned that you used long tail cast on for the corrugated ribbing project. I have a question, do you normally just cast on over 1 needle or do you cast on really tightly over 2 needles of the same size? I read somewhere that casting on over 2 needles makes the edge not so tight.

I cast on over one needle — the only time I ever cast on over two needles (or on a larger size needle) is when I’m making lace, which will be blocked within an inch of its life upon completion.

But I cast on fairly loosely, so my edge isn’t too tight. If you feel that your cast-on is habitually tight, you might wanna use a larger needle.

Goin’ to the Sock Hop!

For Debi, because she begged πŸ˜‰ — an X-treme closeup of my Sock Hop yarn!

And note Teyani’s comment about the Sock Hop yarn:
Please let folks know that we have now completed all the backorders from the first round, and are spinning as fast as we can on the new batch πŸ™‚ We’re having lots of fun here ! We hope to have more for sale in a couple of weeks.

Have a good weekend, y’all.



  1. OK, I’m glad to see the purples in the sock yarn. They looked like browns yesterday. Much better.

  2. i just got the biggest yarn envy ever!!! your new sock hop yarn is absolutely wonderful! and thanks for your wonderful blogs, i look forward to reading them daily. you inspired me to start a blog of my own the other day–it’s been a lot of fun so far!

  3. You know, I’m really trying to get through the summer without buying any more yarn. You’re not making it easy!!

  4. Eek, I might totally need that gorgeous handspun yarn…..

    I wish I could be as productive as you! Of course it would help my productivity if I would be sick less, but I digress.

  5. Eek, I might totally need that gorgeous handspun yarn…..

    I wish I could be as productive as you! Of course it would help my productivity if I would be sick less, but I digress.

  6. Oh the fairisle is absolutely gorgeous. After all these years reading your blog, I still can’t get over how fast you knit things up!! Just amazing. Can’t wait to see the new sock yarn knit up.

  7. Your corrugated ribbing turned out stunningly! I’ve only done corrugated ribbing once, for the Rosedale sweater, but I do love the effect.

  8. Thanks for the good tip about casting on my lace on a larger needle. I havn’t been doing that and I think I should from now on because I love to BLOCK! I see much lace knitting ahead for the summer. Jane

  9. Hi Wendy, thank you so much for answering my question. You’re so wonderful. You know, I saw your book at Borders the other day and it took me forever to put 2 and 2 together. Duuuhh!!!! When I saw the book, I thought, hmmm…. that book looks awfully familiar. And the name Wendy sounds really familiar too. Then I opened up the book and saw your picture and then I thought again… hmmm… where have I seen this lady before. Another DUH!!!!

    I just put 2 and 2 together! The next time I’m at Borders, I’m going to pick it up!

  10. The tip about 2 needle cast on for lace is terrific. I have a tendancy to cast on a little too tightly. I am having extreme fairisle envy! It is truly something to behold! And the colours are fantastic.

  11. Oh, wow. Duh, wow. Wowee zowee.

    That knitting world, it’s really big out there, ain’t it?

    So happy to be able to watch this amazingness as it develops. Thanks, Wendy.

  12. Wendy, that sweater is just lovely. I’m really getting into colorwork lately, and I’ll have to remember the tip about wooden needles…I also have a tightness problem sometimes when I strand. What yarn are you using for the sweater? The colors are great!

  13. I’ve definitely benefited from reading in the past what your fair isle knitting preferences are and with every new sweater a new tip seems to come to the surface. It’s helping me to know I’m not so crazy with the things I do (like a semi-long float without weaving).

    Your Sock Hop yarn is SUPERB!! Pretty pretty colors! πŸ™‚

  14. Thank you hunny, much obliged πŸ™‚

    It’s gorgeous! See what a close up can do?

    Love the new cardi too!

    I LOVE this pic of Lucy, she looks like she’s smiling!

    Enjoy your weekend!

  15. Wait…you’re supposed to cut the colors every row? Are you serious? Even knitting in the round?

    Huh…maybe I should actually read some stranded knitting instructions, instead of making it up as I go along. πŸ™‚

  16. Janet Lewis says:

    I can testify that your advice about using a wooden needle makes a major improvement in using fair isle or Norwegian (my current project is one of the Dale sweaters) knittings. And spreading out the stitiches regularly to make sure you are getting enough length for the floats makes a major difference. I second your approach not the catch or anchor the colors under each other. I used that approach for years and always was dissatisfied with the finished fabric. Reading your blog taught me to try it with floats–even if fairly long–it makes a world of difference.

    Thanks! And it is fun to see a new fair isle after a long break. It is quite beautiful.

  17. I can hear Laleli whispering in my closet. She’s saying, “It doesn’t matter what projects you have unfinished. Knit me now!” Of course, I blame you.

  18. Have a wonderful weekend! Your Fair Isle is gorgeous – it’s great fun to see the pattern develop. Love to Lucy!

  19. And here I was feeling guilty that I’m not using both hands when I knit Fair Isle. I also use one hand and drop the yarn I’m not using, keeping background yarn below foreground yarn to keep them from twisting.

  20. I am in awe of how fast you knit…and how beautifully!

  21. The corrugated ribbing may be evil, but it’s also gorgeous. Isn’t that always the way?

  22. Wendy– you never fail to amaze me. The corrugated ribbing may be evil, but it’s beautiful. (and speaking of evil, is Lucy the cyber-cat giving me the evil eye there?)

  23. Holy cow that Sock Hop yarn looks amazing. I love the way the colors are all mixed up. And just when I’d self-imposed a yarn moratorium…

  24. I dream of fair isle. I am anxiously awaiting my next fair isle which will be made with my own homespun yarn. I can hardly wait! But first must finish my first official fair isle with the store bought yarn and my first steeks.

    Lucy, you should come visit me I have a perpetual flow of birds to the new little pond in my backyard. You’d have fun watching them.

  25. Oh my God, Wendy! You are so talented! I canΒ΄t believe what you are knitting! Congratulations!!!

  26. WOW! That sweater is GORGEOUS! You know I’m a men’s medium/large, right? Just in case you were wondering…

  27. wow that fairisle is sensational! Lurve the colours. It’s so far out of my league i can’t imagine if I’ll ever be in that league!!

  28. The sweater is coming along beautifully. It’s fun to watch a master do fair isle. And no wonder that sock hop yarn is so popular – beautiful! (L-B, I won’t compete with you for it, though — it’s all yours!) πŸ™‚

  29. I am curious as to why you don’t carry colours up the side – I’ve been told off in the past for not doing so. I love the colours you’ve chosen, the overall effect is gorgeous. A.x

  30. Hey, thought about you the other day. Well, maybe not about you . . . more like Lucy. The cats picked up a tear strip to play with. They haven’t taken it everywhere with them yet . . . just leave it around for me to trip on.

    Awesome pattern on this sweater!!!