My current work in progress:

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


I Can See Clearly Now, The Rain Is Gone

It stopped raining. Alert the media.

It’s been sunny and nice (though still relentlessly humid) all day.


While we have scattered thunderstorms predicted tonight, they are not supposed to be anything compared to what we’ve had over the past few days.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh . . .

Yes, I Tie the Ends Together

No, it is not heresy.

In her Art of Fair Isle Knitting, Ann Feitelson mentions that “Shetlanders break off the old color and do no more than knot the new color to the old one with a square knot leaving an end 1/4 to one inch long.” (page 68) She goes on to explain that the strength of the square know combined with the slight felting of the yarn that occurs when washed make this strong.

And it is one hell of a lot faster than weaving in the billion ends.

So there.


Catspaw mentioned in the comments:
A gazillion years ago at the very first Stitches event, I took a class with Arlene Mintzer who taught us to braid the ends. It’s secure, kinda fun, and gives you a little bit of yarn should you need it for repair. If you’re the daring sort (I’m not) you can pull the braids to the right side for embellishment, though I wouldn’t do it on a fair isle. Of course, I have very long hair so braiding is more agreeable to me than knotting. Just another string to your bow, so to speak.

I actually saw a colorwork vest that Arlene Mintzer made, where she had braided the ends together on the inside, at a class she was teaching at a TKGA convention in the 1980s. It was very pretty, but I don’t think I’d have the patience for it!



Lucy thanks you all for the comments about yesterday’s photo.

She will allow us to pet and rub her tummy — she is very cuddly and welcomes all attention of this sort. She says no, she is not available for parties.

Surprisingly, she is completely oblivious of thunderstorms. I think she’s happy as long as she’s at home with at least one of her humans. She’s the first cat I’ve ever known who wasn’t upset by storms.

But she is terrified of the vacuum cleaner. Go figure.


Sock Yarn

Remember how I gave away all my sock yarn last March? I’ve acquired some since then.



  1. So… much… sock… yarn!

  2. I think some of us, or maybe just me, who has been brainwashed into thinking that knots are evil and do not belong on a handknitted item!

  3. Michelle says:

    There is a knitting God – you tithed your yarn and were gifted more!

  4. I would expect you to have all that yarn & MORE !!!at least you make beautiful garments….& share so much with your blog readers..I hardly knit anything and i have tons too ! Oh Well such is life !Keep collecting yarns…….Sydney

  5. Yikes – all that yarn would put me under too much pressure! I have a stash, but it’s small – maybe 10 or so projects worth. Any more than that and I get nervous for some reason!

  6. Gahhhhh (drool)

    covet covet covet

  7. Thanks for that sock yarn picture. You make me feel A LOT better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. OK this is probably a stupid question but hey, it’s one of the things I do best. Umm, you haven’t bought ALL that yarn since March, right? Maybe one or two skeins? A ball or three?

    I think blue is Lucy’s color. She looks particularly beautiful in today’s picture.

  9. Oh, come on, you have to give us a vague idea, at least, of what’s in that lovely and enviable pile ‘o’ yarn. I can guess a few from the shape/size/ball band/colorway, but not all of them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The sweater is of course gorgeous, and so’s the kitty.

  10. Some? You call that some? I’d hate to see your idea of a lot. Again, thanks for all the great information on fair isle.

  11. That is a lot of yarn! How . . . very dreadful for you!

  12. Wow, all that since since MARCH?!?!?!

    Time for a give away. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Kidding!

  13. So how much of the new sock yarn is an exact replacement for the stuff you gave away?

    Stormy is also fine with thunderstorms and terrified of the vacuum. I don’t get it either.

  14. Lucy does look lovely in her “blue bed”. and your sock yarn stash rivals mine. …mmm must make more socks…must make more socks…
    Mara is truly beautiful…I have been slightly “afraid” of the fairisles with the “stripes” going across my rather ample self. But there are minimal patterns that don’t have some sort of dominant stripe effect. comments??

  15. Deborah C. says:

    Jeesh – I thought I was bad about sock yarn! On the other hand, I have stash up the wazoo, not counting the sock yarn, so maybe I should keep my mouth shut… Mara looks gorgeous. By the way, Mairi McCleoud of Virtual Yarns says they are planning to put many more of the AS “classics” up on the website this summer, so those of us who missed the boat on some of her books will get their chance to play, too. Woohoo!

  16. Kate/Massachusetts says:

    Uhmmm, Wendy…is the government now paying its employees in sock yarn????? Could you hire me??? pretty please? ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. You know, for maybe 2 seconds, I sat in judgment over your acquired-but-unused sock yarn before realizing that I simply haven’t collected mine into one consolidated pile yet. I probably have just as much.

    Guess that means I have to put aside more time for knitting. Dang.

  18. Holy Poop!!! That’s a crazy lot of sock yarn! I am loving all the colours though!

  19. That’s a little tiny bit of yarn!

    So when’s your next giveawaypalooza?

  20. You have got to be kidding me — just since March? And I thought my stash was getting out of control! Sheesh! (Know what’s sad? I’m soooooo jealous!!!)

  21. Well, if you decide to give away more sock yarn, I’m sure there are people willing to take it off your hands. Heh.

  22. Oh. My. Goddess. That’s a lotta sock yarn.

  23. You’ve acquired SOME? Nice shopping!
    YaY for the sun!

  24. Ok. Not feeling quite so bad about MY sock yarn problem…

  25. Wow. Is it bad I’m jealous of your sock yarn stash?? ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s fully of yummy yarn!

  26. Yikes!!

  27. I would comment on the sock yarn, but I just started knitting socks this February, and I have a ton of yarn in storage. Not that much, but on a student budget, enough to really make you think. I’m saving it for college this fall, though, so I have something to do at all times.

  28. You my dear are seriously addicted. hehehe

    I just wish I had the extra income to be as addicted.

  29. Are you SERIOUS? Nuh-uh. This is an entire knitting circle’s stash, right? Or, like, Knit Happens let you borrow their entire stock of sock yarns just to shock us?

    Heheh….shocking stock o’sock. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Nancy J says:

    Wonderful sock yarn stash! And the photo of Lucy today is spectacular!!!!!!!!

  31. Some? Holy crap! How do manage to knit and shop at the same time?

  32. Wowzers! That is stupefying! And lovely to boot :~)
    Blue is definitely Lucy’s color-she’s dazzling in today’s photo.

  33. Oooooh, I see lots of good stuff there. Fleece Artist sock yarn is so yummy.

  34. anne marie in philly says:

    innocent queen lucy in her cat bed (looks nice in color; b&w photo in your book does not do it justice – I am assuming it’s the same bed…)

    my meredith is scared of the vacuum, and my steven j. is scared of thunderstorms. ah well…I do not care much for thunderstorms myself, and I hate to vacuum; takes time away from knitting.

    yet meredith is like lucy in that she will present her belly for intense rubbing sessions with her mommy. steven j. says his belly is off limits to everyone.

    off to knit now…

  35. I’m a knotter too! Especially my 100% wool (non superwash) socks – I figure the ends will felt soon enough! Yay for knots!

  36. Holy Crap! My habit is teeny weeny compared to yours! But since I was a beneficiary of your last destashing, I can only be grateful that you are willing to pass it on! Lovely.

  37. Is there any Blackberry Ridge Mer-Made in there? Lovely, lovely stuff. Worked up beautifully, no odd pooling.

    That’s the mark of a fellow addict, I can look at that and say, “Oh no, you need more.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    And no, I don’t work for them, darn it.

  38. SOME?! You mean enough for a small army, don’t you? Heh..
    Oops, that’s another pic of Lucy I just *have* to save.

  39. If I have counted your sock stash correctly, it means that you could wear a different pair of socks every day for a season and only need to wash quarterly. That is my kind of economisation.

  40. Wait now. That was just this past March that you gave all your sock yarn away, wasn’t it? 3 months ago or so?

    Your stash acquisition is shocking, yet enviable.

    I’m loving the sweater – the colors are so rich.

  41. When I grow up I want to live with your sock yarn….what an inspiring, beautiful, and yet still so utilitarian sock yarn stash. I am soooo green with envy .One can never have too much sock yarn. I unfortunately tend to buy it a pair at a time. Four kids kinda cuts into the sock fibre budget. Now if I could just convince The hubby that I NEED it or I’ll die , then we’re in business.

  42. So in that fabulous sock yarn stash, do you have a favorite??

  43. marianne says:

    Holy Crap! You have a problem! Unfortunately, I share it. What I’d really like to see is a picture of all of your knitted socks (and the KOARC’s) in one pile. I’ve been getting curious as to how many pairs of socks you actually have now.

  44. My husband and I have two linx point siamese cats. Neither seem to be bothered by thunderstorms (or tornado sirens for that matter), but both are terrified of the vaccuum cleaner.

    Nice sock yarn stash!

  45. Oh, my! Look at all that sock yarn! You put my stash to shame.

  46. I’m going to pass out from looking at all that sock yarn. wait, no, I’m going to go shopping!

  47. Thanks for posting that picture. My husband now thinks that maybe my sock yarn stash isn’t so overwhelming after all ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Looks like you have more than a little sock knitting in your future!

  48. That is a lot of sock yarn. Good thing you knit fast. I never knew anyone else but me braided their ends it. I hate weaving, a lot. And thanks for the reply on Folk Vests- I threw it across the room after your reply. To hell with her.

  49. Kathy in San Jose says:

    Hmmm, what does it mean when some of your devoted readers can identify items in your sock stash without seeing a close-up picture!? I think it means that we all have stashes which we need to get knitting on.

    Mara (and Lucy) is gorgeous!

  50. YOU’RE the reason I can’t find good sock yarn anywhere! >:(

  51. OK, now I want to come visit so I can give Lucy belly rubs and fondle your sock yarn! I’m new to the sock “thang” (I’m on my third pair atm) and such a lovely stash is very inspiring!

  52. EVERYTHING about this post was drool-worthy. Period. ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. Heh great sock re-stash :o) This is about 1/2 of mine since October: (none of the duplicates of Lorna’s Laces, Koigu, etc. are shown but even with those that only accounts for about 60% hehe Sock stash is a feel-good thang…and I figure, if I gave it away, etc., I’d end up having to get more just to get it up to the proper threshold again…wheeeee

  54. I shall show that sockstash picture to my husband next time he raises his eyebrows at the arrival of another squishy parcel…

  55. OMG. I WAS going to comment on the sweater…but when I saw Lucy…and then all that yarn…OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG How can you even leave the house to go to work? That pile looks like an art sculpture. You don’t need to work, you have more than enough yarn to last the rest of your life. And this is the New Stuff? OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

  56. I’m with Lucy. Vacuum cleaners are hroo-doo-doos from hell.

  57. I am seriously drooling over the yarn stash you have there. Can you help me with coming up with 10 excuses for having that much sock yarn?

  58. You have no idea how jealous I am of your sock yarn stash. I have such a wee little stash in comparison.

  59. You acquired all that since March! I’m speechless.

  60. Look at all that yarn… You are so my hero.

  61. OMG. The sweater is lovely and I have been enjoying learning more about the art of Fair Isle, but THE SOCK YARN! I am in awe.

  62. Speaking of sock yarn, I do believe you’re the reason I can’t find Opal Rainforest in the Tiger colorway ANYWHERE! Those jazzy socks you made for the KOARC have had a ripple effect on the world’s supply!

  63. Wow! I thought I had a lot of sock yarn!

  64. Wendy! So much sock yarn – so little time ๐Ÿ™‚
    My dog is scared of just about everything but especially thunderstorms and the vaccuum cleaner. Everytime I start it up he bolts from the room. It’s my excuse for not vaccuuming more often ๐Ÿ˜‰

  65. Holy moley to the sock yarn. Do you have a favorite?

    And, I knot yarn.

  66. your sock stash looks awesome…so many gorgeous colors!

    btw, got any tips about how to carry the main color when you’ve got 5 or more stitches of the contrast?

    I flubbed a bit on my Fair Isle hat tension is ok – but the inside looked wonky…

    (I hope my terminology is right)

  67. Ah……the benefits of the road tour?……and I agree with Dave Daniels……work is impeding your knitting!… the tips on the fairisle……Lucy rules!

  68. Louise in Maryland says:

    How lovely! My poor little stash feels so teeny now, I need mroe sock yarn. Do I see LL Shepherd sock in the Knit Happens colorway in there? I was a little disappointed in how that knit up into socks for me – it fell as single alternating rows of pink and gree, and from a normal sock-viewing distance the color looked sort of muddy (but they feel GREAT anyway and I wear them). The baby socks I knit from the leftovers had several rows of each color together and look super. I’m going to order another skein to make a pair for my daughter – she’s in between baby and adult but I think the colors will pool/stack enough to get good contrast.

  69. Fair Isle looks great, so jealous, but then I stepped outside and remebered wool and Houston don’t mix.

    Incredible sock yarn stash. And my hubby thinks I have too much. Is there really such a thing as too much sock yarn???

    Lucy is stunning in blue. Our Simon would be drooling if he still had the “man parts.” He does want the bed, though. Guess I’ll have to knit him one. Simon’s not afraid of the storms, either, but the dog is, and once Sam starts barking, Simon goes into hiding. Go figure.

  70. what are you going to do with all that sock yarn?
    you couldnt possibly make that many socks…could you?

    my cat is not afraid of storms.
    nor was my kitty i just had to let go.

    even my dog isnt afraid of thunderstorms which is really weird.
    although when he is outside in one he tries to catch the lightning.
    you havent seen anything so funny as an 80lb german shepherd jumping up at the sky in the pouring rain trying to catch lightning.
    good think i love animals:)

    and i still love lucy she looks very soft and fluffy.

  71. Dear God! That’s a lot of yarn! You got me drooling over here. =)

  72. Aye carumba! You are one lucky lady!

  73. May I come over and roll around in that sock yarn stash? Yummy.

  74. Are you by chance wanting to give away more???;)

  75. I am DROOLING over all sock yarn! I have about a mountain of the stuff myself, but heck, I can never have enough sock yarn.
    About the knotting vs. weaving in ends on Fair Ise sleeves: If it’s good enough for the Shetlanders and Wendyknits, it’s good enough for me.
    That’s quite a glamour shot of Lucy in today’s post, she really is a gorgeous cat.

  76. nice. have you ever used the angora valley fibers sock yarn? I just bought some and can’t wait to get started, but I never see anybody write about it.

  77. Wowwwww! If that’s just socks, I’ll bet the other stuff is something else.

    Ahem. You NEED that much yarn. You’re self-employed (a published author), and need the fiber for research. Of course you needed to re-stash. You must stay up on the market, else your business flounders. Besides, as many yarn stores as you’ve been in, it would have been rude not to have bought something from each one, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  78. Wendy…Envy is a sin…I am totally blaming this one on you…my eyes are green…sooo green. Thanks for the flash…I love it!

  79. I HAVE to show my Hubby your stash of sock yarn. Hopefully he will then realize my stash is quite reasonable!

  80. Thanks for the fabulous pornography!

  81. Is giving away all your sock yarn similar to trying to go on a diet to lose weight? No matter how hard you try, you always gain back more ๐Ÿ™‚

  82. I think you are in dire need of an intervention. The first step (I’m told) is recognizing you’re an addict. The second step is relinquishing your stash to your intervenor (that would be me). We can take it in baby steps if you like.:)

  83. Oh my Gosh!
    Now that’s the beginnings of an “in-home” yarn store:)

  84. Wendy

    My name is Martha and I’m a long time reader/lurker. I am begging you to make the following request on your blog….I am only asking for blood….Please help me. If you want to verify that I’m a real person go to my blog at I’m trying to appeal to the whole knitting community.

    My Mom is in th hospital and needs blood ASAP, and may need a lot more in the coming weeks. PLEASE IF YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO IS A NEGATIVE PLEASE PLEASE ASK THEM TO DONATE ASAP. The blood has to go thru a bunch of screenings and stuff before she can get it, plus she needs a very specific type so it will be a while before she can even get it.

    Please make announcements where you can…at work…at church….at your knitting group….where ever…..I am very desperate.

    When you donate say you want this to go to:

    Elizabeth Miodonski

    In Cook County Hospital in Chicago.

    Thank you very very much.

  85. That is one impressive looking sock yarn stash! Lovely! Gives me a goal to achieve, lol.

  86. I love that pink and green sock yarn towards the bottom of the picture, what kind is it?

  87. Carol Arena says:

    That’s the greatest picture of Lucy ever!!!

  88. Well, when you’re ready to give away all your sock yarn next March, I’m ready for you!

  89. I thought I had a lot of sock yarn. But you are the queen!

  90. *drool* over all that yarn and the beauty you are creating with that fair isle.

    Next time you must purge, call me!


  91. Thanks so much for sharing your sock stash photo. It’s so good to know I’m not alone! Course I knew that already, but the visual proof is nice too.

  92. So if that is the SOCK yarn stash, what about the “other” yarn stash. Hopefully, it is equally large and beautiful. Speaking of beautiful, I Love Lucy! She looks and poses like my Pudgie Mocha who also hates the vacuum. I am lucky as we rarely have thunderstorms in Sacramento. Otherwise I would be under the bed with the cats (all eleven of them). Keep collecting yarn … maybe then I won’t feel so in need of a good shrink for my OCYCD (obsessive compulsive yarn collecting disorder). But if I could knit as fast and beautifully as you do, maybe I could use it up in 5 lifetimes instead of 10.

  93. First of all, thanks for all the fair isle advice. I just managed to score a copy of “Tudor Roses” on ebay and I’m gearing up. I’ve followed your sweater’s growth and I’m getting psyched.

    Then I saw the sock yarn. First there was shock. Then the very next thought was: I have to buy more sock yarn.

    Hmm…I think there’s something subliminal going on here.
    (By the way, I count close to 70 pairs of socks’ worth, yes?)

    Purrs out to Lucy.

  94. WHOA
    Lotsa yarn.

    Hey, how much did all the yarn for Mara cost? I want to make Mara as well, but I haven’t bought the book yet. I’m trying to figure costs.

  95. Angelika says:

    I really like your sock yarn,especially the one with the brighter colors.
    Every time I think I found some for the Mexican tropical environment and I order it, it’s a lot of wintery grey yarn or worse with just a bit of color.
    So I am off sock yarn for the moment…….
    I am also very much taken aback.
    I work in rural and inner City development in Mexico for the last ten years and just yesterday worked on some statistics where I figured out, that the average income of the Mexican poor is about 1500.- dollars a year ( about 15000 pesos ) and while I know the number,I never was able exactly to imagine how much that was in consumer goods all in one pile.
    I do now….it’s your sock stash !
    I counted about 90 skeins and multiplied them by 15,. bucks…….1350.-$
    Now if I just weren’t so envious of all this really gorgeous yarn…..


  96. Hello,
    Wow! that sock yarn pile looked neat, Did you try laying in it? Loved those blues and purples, and those pastels at the bottom.

    Actually , I’ve knit 1 pair of socks and thought would like another. Since its summer, something with cotton might be more comfortable.
    SOmeone told me thats hurts their hands to knit with. So wondered peoples experience.
    What’s good to knit a sock with , so nice to knit, nice to wear and stands up. ( and costs little – am job hunting ).
    Also favorite tools or patterns used would be helpful. We have Patons-Grace and Lionbrand-wool around here . Oh yes, I do like natural fibers, though have strayed to beautiful colors.
    Thank you

  97. I’d turn that sock yarn pic into computer wallpaper and add some color to work.

  98. OMG, i really did NOT see that coming, the picture, i mean, of the yarn. i . .i . . .i . .i think what scares me is that have a LOT of yarn too, and if i laid out my sock yarn, it might look like that!