My current work in progress:

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


Can You Stand It?

Can you stand yet another blogger blathering on about the new Knitpicks needles?


If you can’t, you’ll want to skip a bit.

I wasn’t going to get any Knitpicks needles, but a friend got some of the dpns and liked them, so I bought some too, to try them out. I got them in the mail yesterday.

Like others have said, the packaging sucks. The dpns are on a card in a flimsy cellophane sleeve, and the size is marked on the flimsy cellophane sleeve. I like to keep my needles in their original packaging, so my favorite for dpns are nice plastic sleeves, like the ones that the Skacel bamboos come in. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s annoying. Still, considering the price of these needles, you can’t really expect much in the way of snazzy packaging.

The needles themselves are nice. Good points, very smooth. Here’s a comparison photo for you.


Which needle is which? I’ll give you a hint: the top one is the Knitpicks needle. Can you guess the rest of them?

If you think you know which needle is which, send me your answer in an email:

1. List the needles in order, from top to bottom.

2. Send me your answer by noon, ET, Sunday, July 23, 2006.

3. Only one email per person.

4. Email your guess to: blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet

Here’s another hint: the needles pictured are the Knitpicks needle, a Pony, a Brittany, a Skacel bamboo, a Regia, a Skacel metal, an Inox, and a Colonial.

Whoever guesses which needle is which will win a nice yarn prize.


I knit the toe of my second Schaeffer Anne sock with the Knitpicks dpns in size 0 (2mm). Then I switched back to Skacel bamboos.


The good thing about knitting socks with metal needles? You are not going to snap them. But the bad thing, for me anyway, is that they are too darn slippery. As I was knitting with them, I’d find the needle would slip out of the stitches when I had just a couple left on the needle. Because my socks go on my commute with me and I knit while waiting on a subway platform, I can’t have my needles escaping like that. (Raye, was it you who told me that the track system for the NYC subway is paved with your lost DPNS?) So I won’t be using these for socks.

I did order a couple of circulars in smaller sizes (but not the Options kit). I’ve not gotten them yet, but I’ll be interested to see what the joins are like. If they are good, I might like ’em for lace knitting.

Speaking of socks, Anne asked:
I have a question for you about knitting socks in general. I just started my first pair a la “Wendy’s generic toe up pattern” and I’m noticing a very slight crease forming at the change-of-needles sections. Am I pulling too tightly? Not tight enough? I rarely work on dpns – I usually opt for two circs when knitting sleeves, etc. in the round and haven’t noticed this peculiarity before. Thanks for any advice you may have!

And later in the comments, kmk offered this solution:
For Anne/ewelittledickens with the crease problem in her socks on dpns: I avoid that by, when I come to the end of a needle, instead of using the needle I just freed up to work the stitches on the next needle, I work the next couple stitches onto that same needle I just used before I start using the needle I just freed up. Did that make sense? If not, Wendy can surely explain it better. What it does it move the boundary between the needles slowly around the sock instead of in a perfect vertical column that can crease.

It makes sense to me. 🙂

Can You Block It?

Julie asked:
How important is sock-blocking? I’ve blocked lace, and a sweater, and the odd scarf, but socks never struck me as needing it so much. But the sock-blockers are pretty cool.

Me? I don’t block socks. Ever. I bought the sock blockers simply because they display the socks nicely for photographing. I like to keep photos of all my knitting projects, and the sock blockers will result in better sock photos.

Can You Handle It?

Lena in Maryland commented:
I just recently bought a noni bag pattern from jimmybeanswool. It is the triangle baguette with camellia flowers. My only concern/dissapointment is that she doesnt explain how to attach the handles. And all her purses are shown with handles. Have you wondered how you will attach your handles? Please let me know if you figure this out!

Ah, but she does explain how to attach purse handles — it’s just not on the pattern. It’s on the Noni Bags website, on a page entitled Handles 101.

She has a similar page that discusses blocking, and one that discusses gauge for felted knits. I recommend that you read ’em all if you are making a Noni Bag.

Can You Sew It?

I plan (I think) on inserting a zipper and a lining into my Noni bag. To construct the lining, I might actually use my poor old sewing machine for something other than sewing steeks for Dale of Norway sweaters.

I have a lovely Husqvarna Viking sewing machine, that, when it was new over 20 years ago, was their top of the line model. Looking at the website I linked to there makes me think that my machine looks like a Model T compared to what they have now.

I used to sew. A lot. I made designer creations from Vogue patterns. Back when I was a young thang and just starting a career I’d make a suit in a weekend, complete with lining. Those days are gone forever. I know it’s been, well, at least 12 years since I’ve sewn any clothing, because I’ve lived in my condo for just over 12 years, and the sewing machine has not been used for anything other than steek-sewing or repairs since I’ve lived here. I sort of feel sorry for my sewing machine — it deserves so much more attention that it has gotten for the past 12 years.

Hmmmmmm . . . I seem to have digressed a bit.

I’ve purchased some material to use as a lining.


I’ve purchased some very stiff interfacing to give my bag some shape. And I’ve purchased bamboo handles and hardware.


I’ve got purse feet on order. I’ll not order a zipper until after I felt the bag, because I won’t know exactly how big the opening will end up being until after I’ve felted.

As you can see, I’m going to do my best to turn this into a well-structured, usable bag. We’ll see how I do. Full disclosure, as per usual.

Lucy sez:


“Have a good weekend. Chill!”


  1. I love your lining fabric! I am asking for KP needles for my birthday 🙂

  2. I covet that kitty fabric! That will be perfect for your bag.

    My sewing machine has also been sitting unused for quite awhile (pretty much ever since I started knitting again). It is nice to have a good machine for when the mood strikes you.

  3. I concur – the lining of the noni bag is very very cool.

  4. Hey,Wendyknits “regulars”–you’re usually so observant. Something’s been different here since July 12th and no one has mentioned it! Though some days it’s been more noticable than others.

  5. I love the lining fabric! And Lucy on the cool kitchen floor. We could all use a cool kitchen floor this summer. 🙂

    I feel sorry for my sewing machine too – I bought it 6 years ago with absolutely every intention of learning to sew…and learn to sew I did…I also learned I don’t like sewing. It’s noisy and I have to sit in the same place all the time. I like my nice quiet portable yarn!

  6. I think the sewing bug has bit everyone lately. 🙂 I’m seeing a lot of people sewing now more than I have in the past. Maybe it’s just because *I* have decided to sew now too. Love your socks! happy knitting! 😀

  7. L-B, I do believe I see a new couch in Wendy’s pictures. (Either that or new slipcovers.) I love the neutral fabric. It makes a great backdrop for knitting photos.

  8. Sock blockers are also good if you’re knitting socks as a gift–especially lace socks. When I knit socks for Sockapalooza is very nice to send someone a really neat, blocked pair of socks.

  9. I also have a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. I learned to use my moms growning up. (she purchased hers new in the mid 70s) When I moved out I bought one for my birthday, looks exactly like hers. But mine is better, it was used to teach salepeople about the older machines and has entirely new parts inside the old familar case. I wished I used mine more than I do. I have been doing a lot of hand sewing repairs lately. Oh well

  10. hmm blog socks, I use my blockers to stetch them back to size to prevent shrinkage…heehee
    of if they gifted otherwise blocking? I’m just loving ttat colorway of the Anne!!!

  11. Great lining fabric!!!

  12. I can’t seem to get into the contest email. Hotmail won’t recognize it.
    Love that bag?

  13. Yep. It’s obviously just a matter of time before I buy some of these . . .

  14. Lining is a hoot!..just think: all of the sewing machines sitting, just sitting in America today…..ah…..well… the noni bags….and there she goes: from socks to bags….with sweaters in between!…….you are fun!

    Try the Mason-Dixon baby kimono sweater: it’s a treat to knit!

  15. You can buy your zipper any time–just get one longer than you know you’ll need, like an 18″ or so. Nylon (plastic) zippers are great, because you can sew it in, with the pull end matched up, and then just zigzag across the other end and cut it off! I watch for zippers on sale and buy them for various projects–not that I don’t have a stockpile already. Yarn, quilt fabric, more yarn…

  16. Noémie says:

    I have exactly the same problem as you with metal double points.
    I tried knitting a sock and then a glove with those, and seemed to be forever dropping the needle through the stitches.
    So, I quit using those for several years, until I moved near the german border and discovered both bamboo double points and self-striping sock yarn! That was a revelation! Now I have 6 sets of double points in numbers 2,5mm and 3mm, and more sock yarn than I’ll ever be able to knit! (well, it makes nice baby sweaters too, so my nephews look cute!)

  17. I love fun lining fabrics! I’m not a sock knitter and I’m not big on dpns, but I absolutely cannot use metal dpns. They slip out of my work everytime and when I accidentally poke myself with them it hurts. Yeah, I’m an accident waiting to happen and need to take this into account when buying needles.

  18. I’ve got several sets of the KP needles on order, and I can’t wait till they get here! I actually really WANT something that’s super-slidey, because it’s been SO DARN HUMID here lately that my sock wool just sticks to the bamboo that I’ve been using, and it drives me insane. It’s not fun when knitting feels awkward, darnit!

    And yeah, I’m loving that Anne colourway too…

  19. If its any consolation, the Viking I bought only 4 years ago looks pretty antiquated compared to the ones on their website too.

    Cute lining fabric!

  20. I look forward to seeing your finished bag. The lining is very fun and appropriate. Lucy must have approved it. =)

    kmk’s method of avoiding the crease in the sock knittng between needles is what I do, too.

    Yay for Friday!

  21. marjorie says:

    The Noni bags are wonderful–thanks for telling us about them. I’ve been thinking about giving knitted handbags as Christmas presents, and these would be fantastic for my non-knitting friends (yes, I actually have some friends who don’t knit–but I like them anyway).

    Do you detect any difference between Inox needles and Addi’s? I’ve accumulated a full set of Inox over the years (straights and circulars), but no Addi’s. And I see that you and many other bloggers use the Addi’s. What is the reason for your preference?

    I also have English Millward’s in the old English sizes and some of the metric sizes that don’t have U.S. equivalents. Have you ever used them? They seem like Inox needles to me. (Many of these were purchased in the days when only Boye needles were available in the U.S.! Those were really dreadful.)

  22. I am a bamboo/wood needle fan…I started out on metal susan bates–I did NOT like knitting w/those. I happen to like the addi natura circulars, the turbo circulars, and crystal palace dpns. Jury is still out on turbo vs natura. And, hey, I am using a sewing machine that my mother bought in 1970! She gave it to me a couple of years ago and since I don’t sew anything more complicated than a straight seam (although I did use the blind stitch to make the hem of a curtain) it is perfect for me! Love the Noni bag and your fabric lining!

  23. Okay, I just had to enter – great challenge!

  24. Nancy Hart says:

    One remedy for dropping your DPNs on the subway is…magic loop 🙂 I know you HATE it, but whenever I have to travel, that’s how the socks in progress travels. DPNs at home are fine. If I drop a bamboo one and don’t notice right away, the dogs take care of it for me.

  25. Had to enter as well, and completely agree in regards to the metal dpns falling out of work. Bamboo for me!

  26. Michelle says:

    Hi Wendy,
    Like everyone else, I think your lining for you bag is just great. And I loved the idea of the purse feet!! I may have to check something like that out myself. Umm, where does one find such a thing?

  27. hi wendy! i found the knitpicks DPNs also to feel very heavy compared to the wood needles i have and the INOX gray metals, which are my personal favorites (i alternate between inox and rosewoods in order to take advantage of the differences in sizing).
    the knitpicks needles are also a bit TOO sharp for my taste—not terrible, but they were really poking me on socks. now on lace, it is different.
    i have tried the knitpicks classic circulars and i love them for laceweight yarn. it’s possible that with fingering yarn they would be too sharp, and shred the wool, but for laceweight, they are perfect.

  28. Love your purse lining – what a hoot! And, thank you thank you for your ful disclosure re the new needles – it’s really appreciated. And now for something completely different – to help get your weekend off to a good start: Thought you’d like to see these cuties. Love to Lucy!

  29. Oh now I can’t wait for my Knitpicks needles to come in. I also orderd the DPNs because I heard they were nice and pointy.


  30. I am also someone who knits and sews. I recently found a web site called I’m completely hooked! I love reading the pattern reviews and checking out what everyone is making.

  31. The points on those KP dpn’s look great! I might have to get some of their larger sizes. I like using metal for bigger flat knitting. But definately prefer bamboo/wood for socks. And I’m with everyone else loving your lining fabric, too cute!

  32. That lining fabric is called Michelle Meow! I have loved it since it came out and use it a lot in my handmade totes and bags…Wendy, you have great taste, but I do suspect that maybe Lucy had a paw in this decision??? Doesn’t the Little Michelle under the Paris streetlamp (with the sub-title “l’amour”) just crack you up?
    Can’t wait to see your finished creation!

  33. I have the same thoughts about my Noni bag – actually making it useful. I love the lining fabric and the handles are perfect. I can’t wait to see it.

  34. I’m mildly amused by the KP review, because I was browsing your archives (what? I was bored!) and stumbled across this:

    “Got a catalog in the mail from a company called Knitpicks — I think this is the second catalog they’ve sent me. Very nice full-color catalog with lots of photos of projects and yarn. Anyone ordered from them?”

    I guess most of us have, four years later.

  35. I’m sure someone has asked you this before, but not in recent memory… since you prefer DPNs, and therefore knit one sock at a time, how do you make sure the two socks match? Some folks count rows, others just measure – you’re such a prolific sock knitter, I’d like to know how you do this. Thanks!

  36. Mellanie says:

    Your bag is going to be so cute! I’m sure you’ll have total strangers asking if you’ll sell it. Purse feet–fancy stuff. Can’t wait to see it. I also think the lining is great, and a light color so you’ll be able to find stuff. I enjoy the daily Lucy Sez. Give her sweet pet-pets for me.

  37. I entered! I hope I got them all right!

    I can’t use anything but metal needles for socks. I knit too tightly on socks for wooden needles to feel comfortable, the just drag so much. I love Inox, and Bates, though I have to buy two packs every time since they come in sets of 4.

    The KnitPicks DPNs I got are very nice, but Anne was right, they are very heavy. Not too heavy, though. But one thing I noticed is that the size 1 is a 2.5 mm, not a 2.25, so it isn’t interchangeable with most other American sets.

  38. Vicki Maynes says:

    I read you have purse feet on order. Can you suggest a source for purse hardware? I’m looking for leather straps.
    Thnaks, Vicki

  39. Wendy, it is interesting that you mentioned the Knitpicks Set of interchangable needles as I am considering buying it.

    What do you think of the Denise Set ? I was surprised that did not even mention it in your book.

    I have many friends that love that set. However, I have many problems of yarn getting stuck in the joints and the needles folling off the cable while trying to get the yarn out of the joint. Huh ! Anoying…

    I lost my Denise Set while on a trip in L.A. recently and I have decided not to buy another one. I was thinking about the Knitpicks set instead… I would love to get some feedback specially related to the joints. I have used cheaper needles that have similar screw-in joints like these ones and the needles got un-screwed as I knited. I hope the knitpicks set does not do that…

    Anyways, feedback on the Knitpicks set will be welcome and also I am curious to hear your opinion about the Denise set.


  40. Dear Wendy,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support for the fundraiser to benefit me. You are right, I have an amazing group of friends. Their love and support is carrying me through this transplant. It’s a very tough time for me and I thank you for being a positive part of my recovery.

    Dale Jarrett ~ http://chip-n–

  41. Am on pins and dp needles awaiting the results!

    Also, a quick and possibly annoying question- Wendy, are you planning another book? Amazon advance order is on speed dial!