My current work in progress:

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


Weather Report From Sleeve Island

Hot and humid, chance of thunderstorms.

But we are careening down the first sleeve towards the cuff. Sleeve the First will be completed this weekend, barring any atrocities. And Sleeve the Second ought to be well underway.


Because Tuesday is Independence Day, I had the foresight to take Monday off from work. Four-day weekend. Woot!

In the photo above, my sleeve is still on the 40cm needle, but it won’t be long before I will have to switch to the 30cm needle.

Jon asked in the comments the other day how I can stand knitting with the 30cm needle. I almost can’t stand it. But I find I do a better job with the 30cm circular needle than dpns for fair isle. And I usually can manage to knit the cuffs with the circular too. It’s just not very pleasant.


In the comments, Susanne asked:
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?

Hmmmm, most of the fair isles I’ve seen are pretty “stripey” — but some are more monochrome than others. I’ve also seen some lovely fair isles with a vertical rather than horizontal striping pattern — I know there’s at least a couple in Alice Starmore’s Tudor Roses — Henry VIII being one of those.

On another subject . . .

Well, gosh and golly, I do seem to have a lot of sock yarn, don’t I? Yesterday was the first time since I started acquiring the new sock yarn stash that I actually put it all together in one place. It was a bit . . . alarming. Maybe I should slow down a bit.

It just sort of happened, you know? I was on a quest to sample as many different sock yarns as possible. Represented in yesterday’s photo are Lorna’s Laces, Opal, Cherry Tree Hill, Fleece Artist, Lisa Souza, Claudia Handpainted, Socks That Rock, Interlacements Tiny Toes, Schaefer Anne, Sock Hop, Great Adirondacks, Woolarina Handpainted, Dave Daniel’s Cabin Cove . . .

And I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

Lucy is exhausted from striking seductive poses all week for the benefit of my blog. She would bid you a happy weekend — if she were awake.


I particularly like the paw over the nose.



  1. Marti J. says:

    Miss Lucy is just too cute sleeping like that! Both Mittens & Laou (both of them female Ragdolls) used to sleep the same way & look almost identical to Miss Lucy; now my male Manx, Irish, sleeps that way as well. Soooo cute! That Fair Isle sweater is just too gorgeous for words! If I ever get off my sock knitting kick, I just may have to try this too. You’re such an inspiration …

  2. I hope I can figure out how to knit as quickly as you. It’s just mind-boggling!

  3. Ooooh! Kitty paws – LOVE ’em!

    That sweater is just too beautiful for words. Have fun with it this weekend.

  4. I cannot express how inspiring your work is and how lucid and clear your explantions are on this sweater that appears so impossibly difficult with techniques I have never seen before! Thank you so much for sharing!

  5. Did you forget about Deirdre??

  6. What is it about the 30 CM length that drives you so nutty?

    Also…I just can’t even tell you how much I want to do fair isle. Now that I’ve seen how gorgeous it is (My previous notions of fair isle recalls mostly ugly 80’s sweaters that abused a fashionista’s coke-induced colour blindness)

  7. Hi Wendy- I’m really enjoying watching your progress on Mara- it really is lovely.
    I advise never to put the stash all together like that- it can cause sickness and vomiting, or at the very least, scare the heck out of you!
    Noogies to Juicy Lucy!

  8. Wendy, you’ve knit Norweigian mittens on dpns would the fair isle sleeves be that much different?? I can only knit small circumferences on 2 circs, but maybe I should revisit the using 16″ and 12″ circs.

  9. great progress!
    why not use 2 circs? it’ll make your life so much easier.

  10. Wendy, have you checked out the elastic circular needles? Here’s a link

    Maybe the 10″ stretchy circular needle meant for sock knitting will work for the lower sleeves.

  11. Mara actually looks quite patriotic, don’t you think? Pretty appropriate for the holiday! Happy July 4th!

  12. Aww, poor Lucy. She did a great job on the poses, though. I just love it when she uses her tail to wrap around her body. Makes me think of my own Sharky, all tired out after a whole night of trying to keep up with my Hubby, who was up working all night (doesn’t matter she was sleeping all day before that).

    I had been wondering whether to order a pair of circulars for some sleeve knitting in the round, now I guess I’ll just use some dpns since it’s just a one-color ribbed sleeve. Uncomfortable knitting results in much procrastinating with me, unlike wonderful Wendy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. this hacking the fairisle ends makes me consider fair-isling. But only with Shetland. Which I cannot afford, because I can’t afford JACK. Darn. Off the hook.
    But all that sock yarn? Is it time to do another of those random drawing things? No,no, don’t put me into the hat — I don’t have the time (amid all those UFOs).
    Ain’t it grand the deluge’s done?

  14. Lucy certainly looks content! And adorable too of course ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m feeling very inspired to try this fair isle business… excuse me while I go try to justify more yarn spending….

  15. Lining up the stash is a good way to get a grip on what’s there–if you can do it! I know I couldn’t. Heck, I had a hard enough time lining up all my WIPs for a portrait. It worked, though. One got frogged, two got finished, one is well on its way, and it’s just too doggone hot to work on the other two right now. Send us some of your rain, okay?

  16. My cat Molly draws her hind leg up between your front paws and over her nose like that. I think it is so darling.

    I have a question about traditional fair isle motifs: is the XO pattern in your cardigan a traditional one? I ask because it is identical to a vest in “Folk Vests” (I picked it up off the floor and look at it again).

  17. Goodmorning (1:35 a.m.). I’m at work and taking a break to gaze at and read about yarn and knitting. Thank you again for faithfully keeping your blog going. It’s one of my favorites. And I am a hugh fan of Lucy who reminds me of my cat Kohl.

    I have a triva question for you. How many skeins of cotton yarn are there in a hank? AND How many hanks in a spindle? Rachel

  18. Brief technical query:
    The sleeves on Mara appear to be more of a set-in style – but I can’t see any shaping after you’ve picked up the stitches at the armscye to knit down.

    Is it cunningly disguised, or is blocking going to solve the “arms in the air” pose?


  19. I am LOVING this sweater. And the paws, of course. xo

  20. I know Mara will be finished this weekend,I can’t wait to see what’s next on your dance card Wendy!

    Hope you have a relaxing fun long weekend, knit lots!

  21. Can’t wait to see the completed sweater! As for the sock yarn, if we all put all of our stash in one place at one time, well, there’d be ALOT of shock waves ringing through the knitterly kingdom. As fast as you crank out a pair of socks, you shouldn’t worry, you’ll deplete the stash faster than the average knitting machine. Life is short, buy more yarn! There are far worse & less productive habits out there & I’m sure they have no blogs. When Lucy wakes up, please tell her Linus says Happy 4th!

  22. Cathy W says:

    Those stretchy circs mentioned earlier look interesting. The patterns on how to use them for small items are not up yet. Its hard to visualize using them, because it seems they would stretch the wool too much, and the needles don’t bend of course, –I need to see the pattern.
    What do you think Wendy?

  23. Marianne Froding says:

    I cant send you an E-mail. I have e-mailed Gunnar and he want some more information!!

  24. Stripes, yes I am sure 90% of people were told that stripes going across make them look bigger, barrel -like, whatever you feel you look like in stripes. The key to evereyone from size 2 to 22 is to find a stripe that has more than 2 colours and more than 2 thicknesses of stripes. The combination staves of the barrel feeling.

    Amazing project makes my cap look look tame.

  25. Miss Lucy is just snuggled in for her nap isn’t she. You’re making great progress on the sleeve – I really can’t believe how quickly you’ve moved through this project. Makes me realize how slow I actually am.

  26. I love lucy she is so freaking cute

  27. Holy cow, that sweater is beautiful!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Jocelyne says:

    Happy knitting week-end to Lucy “The Paw”!

  29. I love it when animals cover their faces with their paws. There’s this polar bear at the St. Louis Zoo, whenever he is asleep is paw if over his nose.

    Have a great 4-day weekend.

  30. Wow Wow Wow. that ‘s the amazing Fair Isle Cardigan shown on the cover of Alice Starmore’s Fair Isle Knitting book! It’s nice to see your exceptional knitting skills.

  31. DAY-UM, can you work the fair isle. I feel like dancing and chanting in the background, “Go Wendy! Go Wendy! Go Wendy!”

  32. When decreasing for sleeves, what is the best way to keep track of your decreases on the chart? I have a FL that I have been working for a year now and I have been at a deadstop for about 8-10 months, because of the sleeve decreases and not knowing what to do with the patterning. This probably sounds like a dumb question, but it has been a very big problem for me.

  33. And do you have a favorite sock yarn? As a beginner sock fanatic, I’m always interested in what else is out there. You seem to have found them all!!!