My current work in progress:

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


A Yarn Tale

Here is my progress on the cabled vest.


No, I’ve not named it yet. While the name “Fusilli,” which was suggested in the comments last week does have its appeal, I’d rather give it a Celtic name. Any ideas?

I am liking the Rowan Scottish Tweed 4-ply very much. It is very like shetland jumperweight wool, only a tad softer. It’s put up in 25-gram skeins, with 120 yards per skein. Jamieson & Smith shetland jumperweight is listed at 125 yards per 25-gram skein, so you can see it is similar.


In the above photo, the Rowan Scottish Tweed is n top, and some J&S shetland jumperweight is on the bottom. As you can see, they do resemble one another.

The Scottish Tweed is nicely heathered, and in the 2 skeins I’ve used so far, I’ve noticed that the thickness of the yarn has inconsistencies — thinner in some places, thicker in others. This does not bother me — rather, I think it gives the yarn a nice rustic feel.

Sharon asked in the comments how I am finding Scottish Tweed in comparison to (the sadly discontinued) Yorkshire Tweed?

The Yorkshire Tweed has a more substantial, solid feel to it, I think. It has the same specs — 120 yards per 25-gram skein, and the gauge listed is 6.5-7 stitches per inch on a US 2-3 needle, about the same as Scottish Tweed. But Scottish Tweed feels much lighter and airier.

I think this vest is going to be great for office wear — lightweight and warm — but not too warm.

Sharon also asked:
On a technical note, how many stitches does one add to stockinette stitch to accomodate cables? I thought I’d read somewhere that the numbers are 8 to 10% more per cable but I can’t find the source. For example, if I had a 60 stitch sock and wanted to put two 4 stitch cables down the sides would I add 10 to 12 stitches?

The short answer is that it depends on the cable.

When I am noodling up a new design, I swatch each different stitch pattern and cable, and put the design together based on each individual motif. I allow “x” number of inches for the moss stitch, “x” number of stitches for Cable A, etc.

Kris asked an interesting question:
What kind of sights and sounds from your daily life help to inspire you great cabled creations?

That made me stop and think. I can’t say I get much knitting inspiration from sights and sounds of daily life. I think it’s more accurate to say I get knitting inspiration in spite of daily life. I take the subway to work everyday, along with half-asleep commuters in the morning, and tired commuters in the afternoon. I work in a federal building with linoleum floors, and 25-year-old faded carpet, beige metal furniture, and walls the color of puke.

It’s a good thing I have an imagination.

Anyway . . .

Here is the Fleece Artist sock, which I have not worked on since Friday afternoon.


As you can see, I opted for feather and fan for ther leg pattern. I think it’s particularly pretty in this colorway.

Dave asked a very good question in the comments last week: am I going to handwash the Fleece Artist socks?

This is a good question because the ball band of the yarn stated “hand wash” but there was also a hang tag attached to it that stated “machine wash in cold water.” Interesting!

I checked out the details for the yarn on the Fleece Artist website, and there too it states machine washable. So that’s what I’ll do. But I will wash them on the delicate cycle, and air dry them, like all my handknit socks.

Speaking of “all my handknit socks,” Monika commented:
I can’t help but wondering, what are you doing with all the socks you knit? Are you wearing them once and throw them away so you can wear the next pair?

Ha, ha, very funny. I currently have 9 pairs of handknit socks. I have given away a bunch of socks that I made.

But ask me again in a year.

Lucy sez:


Please pity me, for as you can see, I lead a very tough life.


  1. For your beautiful vest, may I offer up St. Andrews. As in the golf course. Vests and golf and Scottish Tweed, it could be a fit.

  2. Ruth Martin says:

    Hi Wendy — Recently discovered your blog and enjoy it very much. With regard to Fleece Artist sock merino, just thought I’d tell you that I always machine wash my FA socks – in cold water – on either the “cottons” or “permanent press” cycle (depending on which load I’m doing that day) and usually I put them in the dryer as well, on medium setting. If they begin to felt I hang them to dry thereafter, but so far all my FA socks have held up to this treatment very well. Happy knitting!

  3. I have always liked the Irish name Ciaran (pronouned “kir”, like the drink, “ron”). It looks beautiful.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I also like the feather and fan leg for the colorway you are working. Can you either share the pattern for it or refer me to a published pattern? Thanks.

  5. Um, Fusillian?

  6. If only I could come back in my next life as a Lucy.

  7. I was trying to come up with a Celtic name, but I think I agree that Ciaran would be a lovely name for it.

  8. Hee hee…too bad, I like “Fusilli.” But with all my Irish blood and all, I’m quite fond of Celtic names. Ciaran is very nice. Are place names allowed? I like to say “Killarney.” I vote for Killarney. 🙂

  9. I just realized it’s Scottish Tweed, so it ought not to be Killarney, though I do love to say it. I change my vote to “Duncan”!

  10. I’ve come to like Sioban (shivaughn) a police woman in Ian Rankin’s novels.


  11. Wendy, how about naming your vest Niniane – the Lady of the Lake. That’s such a lovely blue that the name seems apropos.

  12. We went through a town in Ireland named Tralee on our way to Dingle. I’m not suggesting Dingle, of course.


  13. How about the name Bronwyn? Love that name. As for the Fleece Artist, I made my sister a pair out of Cosmic Dream and she throws them in the washer and dryer….no problems. I have a skein of their Autumn coloway in the stash as well.

  14. As a name for the vest I would like to suggest


    “which means rough or turbulent water and comes from an old Gaelic word garu which is the basis for the Scots Gaelic garbh which appears often in mountain names and the water related garry, and also the English yar.”

    From the website:

  15. May I suggest Brigid?! Heh heh… (what?).

    You know, I love the idea of a nice, cabled vest. Over the right top, it can go well with jeans, or a skirt. Hmmm…

    Head noogies to Lucy from her fans here in Toronto – Atticus and Mae (aka. the Little Dudes).

  16. How about:
    Manus — (MAH-nuhs) Traditional Manx name, from Latin name Magnus “great” ?
    as found on website:
    because the vest is certain GREAT !!!

    As commented to Ian this week — thanks for all the pictures of the Johnson 4th of July gathering — so much greenery was quite a change for your blog!!

  17. I agree with Julie, changing my coice from St Andrews, Duncan is the one. I have a son named Duncan and also one named Angus. And a husband named Craig. Just saying….

  18. What about Kelton for a celtic name?

  19. We all should have a life as tough as Lucy’s has turned out. And I’m so pleased to see that I have ALMOST as many pairs of hand knit socks as you – 7! And the hub has 4 so this makes me feel like I’m not such a slacker after all 🙂

  20. Juliette says:

    So many good name ideas! I offer one that my Irish father always called me — Branigan

  21. The beautiful repetition of spiraling cables always reminds me of poetry for some reason, so I suggest Ceridwen for your lovely vest. Ceridwen was the name of the Celtic goddess of poetry and her name means “beautiful enough for poetry”.

  22. Hey Wendy,
    As I consider you a sock yarn guru I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on my first dye lot. I am not looking for a sale, just a professional opinion. I want to dye great sock yarns so any info you can give would be appreciated!

  23. OK: this is my submssion

    Orry, Gorry — (OH-ree, GOH-ree) After King Godred I, Norseman who ruled the Isle of Man as well as parts of Ireland and Scotland from 1079-95. The Milky Way in Manx is known as Raad Mooar Ree Gorry (The Great Way of King Orry). It is said that when Godred landed on Man, people asked where he came from, and he pointed to the stars.

  24. Do you wear your handknit socks under your cowboy boots?

  25. catspaw says:

    I’ve been listening to Thistle & Shamrock – how about Fiona – or have you one already?

    Leaving for vacation on Thursday – yeehaw.


  26. Wendy I’d like to offer the name Padraig (Pah-drig) for a man’s vest; Grainne (Grahn – ya) for a woman’s.

  27. Sue Anderson says:

    (the ancestral Celtic hero and bard – his songs and poems trace the intricacies of the unending knotted chain of Celtic Tradition–from the book “The Celtic Tradition” by Caitlin Matthews)

  28. Kate Jones says:

    I have two suggestions:

    Maeve – “intoxicating one” and
    Kiley – “graceful”

  29. I have always like Sian (“Shawn”)

  30. What about Seamus???

  31. I’m voting for Tarasaigh – one of the Hebrides Islands.

  32. After reading a few of your past blogs, I went out and got myself some wooden needles (bamboo)and now I am alot happier with my fair isle tension. Thanks!

  33. Oooh, it reminds me of one of our dances, which helpfully has the Welsh Name Tros y Gaereg (sounds like ‘trossy garrick’). The cables are like the figures we dance.


  34. Whatever you name her, she’s a lovely vest! I’m kinda liking Ciaran but since it’s scottish tweed how about Thistle?

    Love the sock, it looks wonderful in the F&F. I have some FA in the stash but haven’t used it yet!

    Tell Lucy to come wish P-Man a happy birthday!

  35. Wendy,
    The name *Cairnryan* jumped into my head when you mentioned a celtic name for your vest (waistcoat to me!) The name has a Scottish and Irish feel to it, the place is actually in Scotland and it is a ferryport to N.Ireland. Somehow the name suggests cables and moss to me 😉
    (PS when I lived in Ireland, Padraig was pronounced Paw – rig)


  36. I’d like to second the request for the feather and fan pattern. I’m just learning socks, and I’ve discovered that I despise knitting ribbing on dpns. I love the look of the feather and fan, but I’m just not experienced enough yet to recreate it myself without a pattern. Pleasepleaseplease??

  37. After reading everybody’s ideas I’ll cast my vote for Maeve. I was going to say Siobhan but I think Maeve would be even better.

  38. Lucy sez: Excuse me Wendy but you’re going to need to buy a wider couch. Look how my poor tail has to be at a 90 degree angle to the rest of my body. Not very cat friendly.

  39. I read somewhere that the Rowan Scottish Tweed is a nice replacement for Rowan’s Donegal. What is your opinion of that? I want to knit Alice Starmore’s Donegal sweater and am trying to decide what yarn to use.

    Love your socks! I will have to try that yarn, too.

  40. I was going to suggest Étain (AY-teen or AY-deen depending on who you ask), but it does kind of look like a Ciarán (and actually, it’s traditionally pronounced keer-AWN–the accent over the a makes an ‘aw’ sound). If you’d rather go with a feminine name, Ciara (KEE-ra) is very close.

  41. I like Galen/Galyn – it means Tranquil

    That was the first word that came to mind when i saw the picture today

  42. How ’bout Erin?

  43. Being a knitting foodie, or a foodish knitter, I think “bubble and squeak”. The cables look like they are coming up around sausages…….

  44. ‘Ula’ – gem of the sea…
    ‘Lachlan’ – from the lake…

    It’s such a beautiful color and you make it look oh, so easy!

  45. Sheri in St. Louis says:

    I was going to pick out a brilliant name, but soon became overwhelmed at all the lovely choices. So instead, I’m sending you the website I was perusing, and maybe you can come up with the best suggestion yet!

  46. I thought sea names when I saw that lovely blue vest, so I was going to say what an earlier commenter already said, “Ula”.

  47. Oh how about Limmerick. Here’s why, it reminds me of the roads in Limmerick. When I was there a couple years back we got so twisted and turned around and lost our second car, we spent the rest of the day driving around Ireland, trying to find the other car. It was quite the adventure.

    But then it’s probably not a very Celtic name in the sense you were meaning.

    Lucy you look like you are so abused, how do you ever manage to survive? I’ll give you Abner’s e-mail address you guys can complain to each other about your mothers.