My current work in progress:

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


Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions about my prototype mitten. I didn’t explain why I don’t think it works. Yes indeedy, it certainly could use some embellishment, but the problem is more basic than that. It’s just totally wrong in the yarn and gauge I used. I may try to rework it using different yarn because I like the idea of a top down mitten that starts with the same construction as a toe-up sock.

Judy asked in the comments if I know of a good simple pattern for a “toe-up” mitten. Does anyone know of one? I don’t, which is one of the reasons why I was tinkering with my own.

But for now it is on the back burner. Simmering.

Cat’s Paw!

Last night I looked in some lace books for the cat’s paw motif. Clearly, there’s more than one way to knit a cat’s paw. Here are a few I found:


Gillian asked about my charting software. I’m using Stitch & Motif Maker V. 3.0 to do my charts.

Janet asked:
I know I must sound pretty stupid, but what do the symbols stand for on your cat’s paws chart? I would love to try it on my next pair of socks!

That is so not a stupid question! And I note that I used slightly different symbols in today’s chart, to further confuse matters. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyhow, the blank square are knit, the little circles are yarnovers, and the symbol that slants like this — / — is a k2tog. The one that slants the other way — \ — is an ssk.

And the one in today’s chart that sorta looks like a tiny tripod is sl1, k2tog, psso.

Noni Bag!


By the way, here is the felted Noni bag that I knitted last weekend. I was referring to it as my “Noni Knock-Off” but after knitting it, I looked at the Noni Carpet Bag pattern and discovered that I knit it almost exactly to the specifications of the Medium Carpet Bag. Duh. So it shall from this moment on be known as the Noni Medium Carpet Bag.

I bought plastic canvas to give it some structure, I’ve got pink silk to line it, and I’ve got brown braided handles (that appear to be constructed from straw, mainly).

I also have a pink flower and some leaves.

I’m waiting on the brown grosgrain ribbon I need to make the loops to attach the handles to the bag, then I can get this bad boy finished.

Sea Silk!

Karen B. asked about my Sea silk:
Does yours have a distinctive aroma of seaweed or fish? Just wondering…

Mine does have a distinct aroma, but it’s an aroma I associate with silk more than with seaweed. Though the aroma of silk could be considered fishy or seaweedy, if you were in that frame of mind, I think. What do you all think? I know this sort of thing varies from person to person, kinda like how cilantro tastes to you.

(Do you like cilantro? Or do you think it tastes like soap?)


I started knitting something with my Sea Silk (which is in the Paris colorway). Here it is.


Lucy seems intrigued.



  1. OMG! Lucy looks like she’s posed for a glamour shot with that fancy royal blue background.

    And yes, I love cilantro. And have smelled raw silk. Maybe it IS just me, with my fishy Sea Silk. It is lovely stuff, despite the perceived aroma.

  2. Mmmm….cilantro. Lime AND cilantro? Even mmmmmm-er.

    And the Internet enablers continue to send signs out into the universe that Sea Silk is beautiful and wonderful and I must have some.

  3. Lisa, Mike, Jack, Della says:

    hiho! Fabulous Lucy-socks; I’m enchanted with the whole idea of pet-colored socks. Toe-up mitts…all of Anna Anna Zilboorg’s mittens in Magnificent Mittens, ISBN: 0964639130, start at the fingertips and work down to the cuff.

    Swell socks!

  4. it smells very much like silk to me, I have the Nova Scotia colorway. I am considering a feather and fan with it, not really sure, nothing has yet hit me as something i want to knit with it, and i only have 1 skien, which will make a small shawl.

  5. What is Lucy sitting on — truly beautiful.

  6. What a beautiful Lucy picture! The background really brings out her eyes.

  7. Thank you Alyson for the tip about mitten patterns. And as a person raised in the Southwest and thinking that too much cilantro tasted like soap, I recently found out what the problem is. According to my source (probably the Food Channel) cilantro will taste soapy if it is cut and then left sitting around too long. Since I have been using my cilantro as soon as it is cut I have NOT had ANY soapy taste at ALL. Yay!!

    BTW, my cats are jealous of Lucy.

  8. Sea Silk smells like fish to me, and cilantro tastes like soap. I remember a friend giving me some out of her mother’s herb garden when I was a kid, and telling her it tasted just like her fancy pants shampoo smelled.

    Wonder why we weren’t friends long after that?

  9. It is refreshing that something that a pro like you has knitted has turned out not to be exactly what you had intended (the Mitten.) I am just about to burn my fuggly green sweater (my first) because I have had nothing but trouble with it. I am about as frustrated as I can be with it. I want to finish it (sort of) but then it is so fuggly, I wouldn’t wear it. So in a way I think what is the use? Love the Lucy sox and your mitten is still way way better than I would be able to do. As always Lucy is beautiful too.

  10. The sea silk smells like silk to me, thank goodness! I have only 1 skein of it in ivory which also has some silver and bronze accents, and haven’t been sure what to make. Happily, I found on the Harlot’s blog a picture and link to a shawl made with 1 skein of sea silk. Jackpot! Good luck with your sea silk shawl.

  11. Cilantro takes like soap to me; anyone know why? Everyone else just loves it here in So. Calif.
    I don’t know about Sea Silk but that funny smell silk sometimes has smells like really rotten clabbered milk. Like when you find a baby bottle several weeks later.

    You should send that photo of Lucy to the Purina Calendar contest. It does make her look like a Cover Girl!

  12. Can you tell me what yesterday’s symbols meant? You had tripods facing in both directions and I’m a bit mystified.

    Also, I am making my first pair of toe-up socks, from your recipe, and the joy I felt last night when I started unwrapping the wraps and realised I had made a toe was quite something. I’d had to rip it back a couple of times, but when it worked I suddenly understood everything. The last time I tried to make a sock was about 50 years ago: it’s nice to be reminded that even at this age I can still acquire new skills ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the pattern.

  13. Ooooh, I just picked up that same colorway of Sea Silk at Stitches Midwest. I think it smells pleasantly like the seashore (she sells seashells there, I hear), which is maybe a romanticized way of saying fishy.

    And cilantro tastes like heaven, not soap.

    LOVE the Lucy photos and the knitting both. Yeah for delurking!

    What are you making with your Sea Silk, and how many skeins are you using? And since the skeins are dyed individually, are you going to alternate rows or just let the randomness take its own course?

  14. Cilantro = soap.

  15. mmm, cilantro.
    It looks like Lucy is posing against a backdrop of Colinette, maybe in a kitty pi. Tres chic!

  16. wendy, i’m having a hard time figuring out what two stitches are: sl1 and psso. i was wondering if you could talk me through them. i would really appreciate it!

    ps. i love that wool was made for your cat and i love how the sock knit up. it’s awesome!

  17. Cilantro does not equal soap here, and I’d never anyone say that it does taste like soap! LOL! As for silk, I’ve heard that silk that smells fishy has been improperly finished. Now Sea Silk could smell like the sea (maybe not fish per se), because it has kelp derivative in it – an entirely different situation. Lucy is lovely as always. Thanks for the cat’s paw charts. I’ve ordered my Lucy colorway in STR and think I will put cat’s paws on my socks too.

  18. Soap. I want to like it, but soap. Have I had a long day, or is today’s title a ‘Princess Bride’ reference? I am waiting excitedly for my Lucy yarn!

  19. I got The Princess Bride reference too – very funny! I am itching to try the sea silk – does anyone know where I can get the raw fiber or even white yarn so I can dye it myself? Not that the Handmaiden colors aren’t fab, of course (and that is the only place I have found the yarn even).

    I have a soap business and can safely say cilantro tastes nothing like our soap. Our soap tastes better, IMHO.

  20. Cilantro tastes like soap to me. And silk DOES sometimes smell fishy, but I like it, for some reason.

  21. That looks like a Lucy Glamour Shot!
    You know, for those mittens, they don’t have to be wearable. The rules are SO flexible. (Yeah, I know, I’ve tried 6 different pairs myself, but…)
    Toe up sock pattern? Never heard of such a thing.

  22. Oh-Lucy!!! You look marvelous!

  23. I’m chiming in behind Lisa et al, to give you a heads up about the Anna Zillboorg book. I’ve made quite a few mittens that way — better or worse, I can’t say. But they are beautiful.

    I love the Paris colorway — I was longing after that when you first posted a link to the website.

    Speaking of links, do you buy your silk fabric online (to line your bags) or do you use G Street Fabrics or some such local place? Our local fabric stores seem to run long on cotton and polyester – real silk I don’t expect to find.

  24. Sea silk smells like beach (in a good way), and cilantro DOES taste like soap!

  25. I love cilantro. This is because, like most people, I do not have the gene that causes it to taste like soap. Those who do have this gene will NEVER like cilantro, and it is unfair for those of us who do to push it on them.

    I only serve it to people I know for certain like it.

  26. I don’t like cilantro, but it never occured to me that it was soapy. I’ll pay more attention the next time it sneaks up on me.

  27. Here is a link I saved to a top-down mitt

    Hope it helps, and posts properly

  28. Aren’t the mitten patterns in Pricilla Gibson Robert’s sock book made in the “toe up” fashion???? I seem to remember them being started like the toe of a sock and they seemed pretty simple too.

  29. I like cilantro and love the smell of the Sea Silk — we found some at Stitches over the weekend and I thought it had a very pleasant oceanside sort of smell. But I had to shove my nose into the yarn to really smell it.

    In the picture, it looks like your Sea Silk is striping…. are the runs of color that long or am I just imagining things?

  30. No soap here… LOVE cilantrao, especially in homemade salsa. yum!
    Lucy looks fab.

  31. Cilantro = soapy wet metal

    It wasn’t until four years ago that I found out that it doesn’t taste this way to everyone. I seriously thought that my friends just had the worst senses of taste … turns out I’m the one … go figure ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Your silk is fabulous. I love the smell of silk. Kinda gamey but luxurious nonetheless.

    Cilantro tastes like soap and why any person in his or her right mind would eat it on purpose is beyond me. Just saying.

  33. I have good luck with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts tow-up sock used for mittens. I use the same cast-on for a mitten that I use for the same person’s sock, but go up a needle size or two depending on the yarn for more ease. You can cast on extra stitches for the thumb with backward loop, then decrease them back out and knit the ribbing on the same number of stitches as the hand. For the thumb you can pick up the stitches you added on and knit I-cord, then with a crochet hook (eek!) pick up hand stitches in the gap and fill up the ladder on the back of the I-cord as if you were picking up a dropped stitch. It usually takes two columns of stitches to fill an I-cord thumb ladder. It’s easiest just to taper the thumb and pull it tight. Sorry this is more of a recipe than a pattern.

  34. Actually I think cilantro tastes and smells like pine sol.

  35. That is such a loverly photo of Lucy!

    I’ve never thought that cilantro tastes like soap… but I can’t stand the stuff. I’ll have to pay attention next time I encounter it. Is it really a DNA thing? ‘cuz that’s kinda cool! My Mom hates it too, so that’d support the DNA idea.

  36. Bleh, cilantro tastes like soap. I don’t care for it at all. Gorgeous photo of Lucy. Blue is definitely her colour.

  37. Whatever the “something” is, it’s looking gorgeous. I think the smell of the yarn depends upon how it’s been stored. When I got mine in the mail, it was in a bag and smelled strongly of seaweed and salt. It unfortunately transferred to the other yarn in the bag as well.

    So I’m not fond of the smell of seasilk, but love cilantro.

    To those above: it can definitely be genes. I remember a demo in high school biology while studying dominant and recessive genes. We were all asked to lick a little piece of paper with something on it (wow that sounds bad!), and if we could taste it, we had the recessive gene. There were 2 in the class who could. I don’t remember what the substance was, but there are certain things that taste and smell different to different people. It may be related to people with “Noses,” who sniff out different notes in perfumes.

  38. Cilantro=delicious
    The Pricess Bride=one of the best movies ever made!
    Sea silk=not sure
    Lucy= hot, hot, HOT!

    No more rhymes now I mean it!
    (Anybody want a peanut)

    Don’t get me started, I can go on for hours!

  39. Wendy – LOVE The title, that quote’s been in my head for a few weeks for a few reasons.

    Do you have a good place on-line where you buy your ribbon? I’m hunting … thanks!

  40. Cilantro most definitely tastes like soap – horrible stuff. Boxwoods smell like cat pee – not one of my faves though I’m very familiar with it. And silk does smell fishy to me, some more than others, but I still use it. And yes, I can roll my tongue into a tube,and raise one eyebrow at a time, thanks for asking.
    Blue suits Lucy very well.

  41. Wendy:
    You are a clever girl. Seems to me the Grape Arbor shawl in your book uses your ‘cat’s paw’ mofit, chart on page 159. Lovely book, by the way. And what thumb style did you use on your finger-up mitten?
    Best always,
    Anne in Nebraska

  42. This is a great picture of Lucy! I have to get a skein of the sea silk.

  43. Cilantro = yum.
    Can’t comment on the Sea Silk because I haven’t smelled it yet!

    Lucy is gorgeous in blue.

  44. The seasilk does smell “silky”, it’s the smell I always associate with silk.

    Cilantro? Yum.My.

    Hey, Lucy better cut out the cheesecake photos, Atticus is developping a serious crush on her!

  45. SOAP! Well, actually, something nastier than soap – it tastes like something you would use to dryclean clothes. Ewww.

  46. My name is Indigo Montoya……..that is the best movie.

    Love the Sea Silk. Now I have to have some. Thanks Lucy.

  47. I’m not sure about soap but cilantro tastes nasty to me. I avoid it at all costs. Silk, on the other hand, I love regardless of the smell. Whatever you’re making with that Sea Silk – it sure looks wonderful.

  48. Love, love, love cilantro.

    Also love, love, love “The Princess Bride.”

  49. Mmmmm, cilantro. Love it. I love Baja Fresh where you can get your own cilantro from the “salsa bar” and put on as much as you want.

  50. There are some toe-up sock patterns in Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski. The Greek Mitten – for one – she shows the Eastern Knitting Cast on… though the colors in the chart are reveresed, which sort of drives me insane.


  51. Cilantro tastes like soap! I haven’t smelled the Sea Silk, but I ordered some 100% silk from that smelled icky when it arrived. Fortunately, it aired out just fine.

    (Oh, and I can roll my tongue into a tube and raise one eyebrow too… Catspaw, can you wiggle your ears? I can, and one of my children can but not the other.) Sheesh, sounds like a freak show at my house, doesn’t it?

  52. Cilantro is divine, just need more of it. I wouldn’t mind a bit if my yarn sometimes smelled of cilantro, as a matter of fact it would be great if it tasted like cilantro as well in case I get the urge to lick.

    Your Lucy cat against the blue background is beautiful.


  53. We love cilantro here. Even though we’re northern transplants, in So FL, we make alot of our own salsa & cilantro is a must.
    Cant wait to see the completed Noni.

  54. Love the Lucy sock! And the sea silk is gorgeous. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  55. I, too, love cilantro… and I think I can guess how you feel about it. : ) I have a quick question that has been bugging me for a few days. What is the difference between ssk and just knitting the next two stitches together? I think I’m missing the point, and only you, dear Wendy, knower of all/most things knitting, can tell me the truth!

  56. The Noni bag looks fabulous. I love the colors and can’t wait to see the finished product.

    How are you able to finish so many projects so quickly? Do you knit in your sleep?

  57. Thanks for sharing the chart! It’s always fun to see how other people put together patterns and the different ways of doing the same basic pattern.
    If you want to create a chart with a legend easily, you should check out Knit Visualizer at
    It’s a lot easierr to use that Stitch and Motif Maker, plus generates legend and written out instructions for your chart.

  58. Wendy, I am a working chef and use cilantro a lot. One of my client’s once told me that she thought that cilantro tasted like soap. I found out that meant she was allergic to it. So if it tastes like soap, you are allergic to it and that might be the only sympton that you have.

  59. If you love Priness Bride like I do check this out:

    Instead of special software to create charts you can also use Excel or word tables and download a knitting font. Here are the 2 that I have on my computer.

    That is a gorgeous picture of Lucy, I think it makes her eyes look even more blue.

    (Oh, and I like cilantro a lot, especially in fruit salsas, mango peach salsa yum!)(sorry so long)

  60. “My name is Indigo Montoya…” Best. Movie. Ever.
    I love cilantro but don’t like the smell of raw silk. I actually don’t like the feel either… I do have to say that silk yarn is beautiful.

    Lucy’s so pretty in that sea of yarn.

  61. Yes, I like cilantro. No, it doesn’t taste like soap!

  62. I used to think cilantro tasted like soap but I didn’t want to miss out on culinary treats so I made myself get used it. Now I love it. I did this also with spicy food, beer and scotch. All in all, I consider this a good policy.

    Love the colors in whatever it is you are now knitting. It is a dream of nighttime hues and looks silky, soft and sensual. Just love it. Wish I could pat it it!

  63. Becky Clark says:

    I covet the sea silk!!!! SO gorgeous. Cilantro is awesome, you can’t make salsa without it!

  64. Well, I’ve never sat and analyzed cilantro to know if it tastes like soap to me… but it is AWFUL. At least, the leaves themselves are… I had some in a broth that I cooked some meat in, and that wasn’t bad… but I wasn’t eating the leaves. I can’t stand salsa and whatnot where I end up eating the actual leaves.

  65. “My name is Indigo Montoya, you killed my father! Prepare to die!”

    I thought I was going to be the first to recognize the line, as I went through the comments, but Chris beat me to it….only because I just got here! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love the kitty paws and am waiting for my Lucy yarn from BMFA….hope you don’t mind my knitting them…you know that they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

    Consider yourself flattered!

  66. Toe up mittens? Yes, there is a fabulous reference: Magnificent Mittens by Anna Zilboorg. You can purchase yarn packs from Liisu Yarns. Warning: these are addictive mittens and this is one of the best knitting books EVER.

  67. Fun entry, and fun comments. Count me in the cilantro = ambrosia camp, and my Sea Silk (yes, I succumbed) smells like silk and has little funky flecks in it. Probably also silk, but I like to think of them as being marine particles.

    Lucy’s socks are gorgeous!

  68. There is a good top-down mitten pattern in the book Magnificent Mittens by Anna Zilboorg, along with lots of mitten inspiration. I used the basic “recipe” to make mittens from my handspun last Christmas. The great thing about making mittens that way is that you can try them on as you go, to get the thumb placement just right.

    Love the Lucy yarn and most recent glamour photo!

  69. I really like your toe-up sock pattern and have been pondering how use it for making the kids mittens. Would it work if you didn’t make a gusset? Then you could just knit waste yarn where the thumb will be, pull out the yarn later, and knit the thumb on the live stitches?
    I received your book in the mail; thanks a lot.

  70. Cilantro = soap. No question about it. Hate that stuff!

    Love the mitten, the Lucy sock, and your latest Noni bag — you’re just a gal with all kinds of purse options, now, aren’t you? ๐Ÿ™‚

    And love that cat’s paw pattern – I need to figure out where I can use that!

  71. I hope you don’t mind, I borrowed your idea with the Cat’s Paw pattern and I am making a scarf in honor of my cat Lucy.