My current work in progress:

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


Weird is the New Normal

Thank you, Firefly, for today’s blog title.

I am loving knitting with Sea Silk. It is extremely soft and pleasant, and it slides effortlessly over the needle with nary a split or a snag. I think it’s going to make a wonderfully drapey wrap.

Beate asked:
One question: If you knit a garter stich edging, doesn’t it pull the lace pattern in – because of different row gauge? I am thinking of knitting a lace wrap myself and would like your opinion re. a garter or seed stitch border/edging.

A very good question indeed. Garter stitch “pulls in” much more than stockinette stitch so the row gauge is higher — you need more rows of garter sttich than stockinette to make an inch.

However. (“However” is just a fancy “but,” you know.)

The Sea Silk is fingering weight and the recommended needle is a 3mm — a U.S. size 2, with a gauge of 28 stitches to 4 inches. I’m knitting it on a 3.75mm needle — a U.S. size 5. My resulting knitted fabric is quite soft. The garter edges naturally open up and expand to accomodate the body of stockinette they surround. Even without me tugging on it, the piece does not pull in at the edges.


And thanks to the comments from Gale and Liz, we know that Sea Silk blocks out well, so the edges will undoubtedly stay nice and even after blocking.

Now if I were knitting this at the recommended gauge and with the recommended needle, I’d be getting a much firmer fabric, and I bet the garter stitch would pull in.

Jacinta commented:
I have just finished a very simple crochet shawl in the sea silk, I used two skeins and it didn’t go as far as I thought, I am a bit doubtful whether you will have enough yarn for your wrap?

Hmmmmm, I have 800 meters of Sea Silk. (I convert that to 875 yards, because I am a sad American who is still unable to think in meters.) Several years ago I made the Kimono Shawl from Cheryl Oberle’s book Folk Shawls in Koigu, also a fingering weight yarn (though slightly heavier than Sea Silk, I think). The Kimono Shawl calls for 1000 yards. I remember knitting my Kimono Shawl shorter than the pattern directed, and even then, it blocked out huge.

Doesn’t crochet take more yarn than knitting, generally speaking? Of course, everything is relative, and depends on one’s personal preferences in shawl length. I want something long enough to comfortably wrap around myself in my sub-arctic office. I won’t realy know about the Sea Silk until I’ve finished the first skein. and I won’t really REALLY know until after I block it!

Wendy asked:
I have just completed a Clapotis using Lion & Lamb in the Aslan colourway. I am not happy with the finished product. Maybe the Clapotis is just not my thing, but I had the yarn for the project for ages and decided to go with it.

I am going to rip it and was looking for a suggestion for a shawl/wrap? Most of the patterns I have are for lighter weight yarns. Can you help me out again? I am also wondering how the Lion & Lamb will fare after having been blocked, undone, washed and rewound….hmmm.

Shawls in heavier weights. You could always go the route of a simple shawl and the shawl formula that L-B showed me a couple of years ago. I used that to make a stripey shawl out of my first handspun, all worsted weight.

Or check out Cheryl Oberles’ book, Folk Shawls, which I mentioned above. A few of the shawls in there work with heavier weight yarns. I made the Highland Triangle Shawl out of Henry’s Attic Montana, which is a heavier yarn.

Sockish Stuff

Michelle asked:
Other than Lucy’s colourway, what is your favorite sock yarn to knit with…colour aside…just material!

I like sock yarns that are Koigu-y in feel — the sproingy, squishy ones. I like to knit them and I like to wear them!

Lucy sez:


Well of course my colorway is her favorite!

P.S. If you haven’t already, go to Romancing the Yarn and enter their contest! Yes, I realize that I’m lessening my chances of winning by telling some of you who may not know about it. But I’m just a sweetheart like that, ya know?


  1. Is it wrong to have yarn envy?
    Stunning wrap!

  2. oooooh great. Another knitting blog that I think I need to start reading now. Thanks, Wendy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I think the general rule of thumb is that crochet uses one-third more yarn than knitting.

    800 meters should yield you a reasonably large wrap. My Swallowtail came out about 10 inches wider than the pattern called for, despite using the same amount of yarn (400 meters). I have two skeins of Sea Silk in the Sangria colorway and there is a shawl pattern attached that ends up 18″ by 75″. Long enough to wrap. Short enough not to trip over.

  4. Oh wow, the Sea Silk is GORGEOUS.

    Hah hah, this is funny, me commenting on A) a technical-ish issue and B) as it refers to crochet, which I do not even know how to do properly, but anyway! I seem to be surrounded by (amazing) crocheters, and they always mention crochet takes more yarn than knitting. As liz mentioned above, I have heard it takes about a third more also. I am basically adding nothing here but a me-too, ah well.

    That dang Lucy is so cute you want to hug her!

  5. I knit and crochet, so here’s another me-too: Crochet definitely uses more yarn than knitting, and one-third more sounds about right!

    Wendy, since we’re talking shawls: I recently made a total bollocks of a Faroese lace shawl, gave up and frogged it. Then I thought, since I’ve never knit a lace shawl before, maybe I should have started with something rectangular, which would be simpler just by virtue of having no shaping to worry about. So: is there a particular rectangular shawl you would recommend for a total beginner? (I have knit one lace scarf, so maybe not a TOTAL beginner. But near enough.) I have about 1600 yards of laceweight to work with. Someday I will tackle that Faroese again…but I think I need to work my way up to it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  6. Your fir cones are much better than mine. I tried to invent a shawl but by using the formula that I have which is 10 plus 1 before you add the border, the dumb thing wouldn’t straighten out for me. I frogged and put the yarn away. In my small mind I had thought that a rectangular would be a simple thing to accomplish. It came to mind when I saw yours that I must have made a seriously dumb move.

  7. I just bought a skein of Sea Silk at Stitches Midwest. FYI there is a one skein shawl pattern for Sea Silk at Lettuce Knit.

  8. From someone who has crocheted 27 years…yes, crochet uses significantly more yardage than knitting. It can range but tends to be around 35% to 50% more yardage for crochet than for knitting depending on the stitch/pattern used.

    I’ve been lusting after sea silk and look forward to seeing how this turns out. It’s certainly going to be one of the deciding factors for me on purchase. ๐Ÿ™‚

    By the way – I just whipped up the fastest pair of socks I’ve ever done. Generally it takes me about two weeks to do a set. I did a modification of your feather and fan socks (using an afterthought heel instead of short row) in 5 days! This is a huge coup for me and I lay it all at your feet. This is an amazingly fast pattern.

    Thank you for sharing it.

  9. You are a sweetheart……and the fun never ends….which is why Lucy’s pictures always show her on the floor!…….

  10. I too love the Sea Silk. I made the Stormwater Scarf (similar to Midwest Moonlight in Scarf Style) using just one skein. I’m very pleased with both size and drape. I didn’t even block it (!)–it seemed to block itself in wearing thanks to the drape factor.

    I bought Lorna’s Laces Lion and Lamb (in Asian colorway!) to make the Jo Sharp asymmetrical wrap from Wrap Style. I have a nice button to use with it.

  11. Wendy, thanks again for the advice.
    If you want something done, ask a busy person!

  12. Wendy that wanted shawl patterns for heavier yarns: I just started the Leaf Lace Shawl from Fibertrends, and the pattern recommends anything from lace weight to DK and is very easy to adjust in size. I’m using a DK weight yarn (Peer Gynt) and it’s turning out nicely. It is also a very easy pattern to knit for lace novices like me ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t even need stitch markers for this one.

    And to blogging Wendy: Thanks for a great blog! I learned about cabling without an extra needle from you, and I love your toe-up sock pattern.

  13. Wendy, thank you so much for giving credit for the title and for the link to my blog. That was very generous of you and is appreciated.


  14. Thanks for coming by my newbie blog. I agree with everyone else that crochet uses more yarn than knitting. That’s one reason why I made the switch. I think we’re safe to say that 2 skeins of seasilk will make a good sized stole. I finished one skein’s worth yesterday. I’m also using size 5 needles and I managed to get 8 rows of garter and 243 rows of my stitch pattern before I ran out. Laid flat, my stole comes to 34 inches long so far.

    For Julie above, has a Candleflame shawl pattern that’s free. The original had an error in the chart, but it should be fixed by now.
    There are also written instructions too.

  15. I’m making a shawl from Cheryl Oberle’s Folk Shawls, using a worsted weight yarn – Lacy Prairie Shawl. It’s sort of like Wendy’s formula shawl with lace in between the garter stitch borders.

  16. Mornin’ Wendy! Ahh finally a little somethin I know a “little” about. Taught myself to knit last Nov, but crocheted about 40 yrs. And Yes, crochet takes about 1/3 more yarn to complete comparable items. I don’t know which is more true: learning to knit because I’ve been dying to for so long, or I was just trying to increase my stash without spending any $$$ ๐Ÿ˜‰ Both…

  17. I knit and croshet and am probably equally proficient in both. I’ve also heard and agree that crochet uses 30% more yarn than knitting and (if proficiency is the same) is also 30% faster than knitting.

  18. At first I thought the title said Weird is the new Norma! And I just laughed and laughed.

  19. The shawl is coming along beautifully! I’m just starting the 2nd sock, of the 3rd pair using your toe-up pattern. It’s made me a much happier sock knitter! You were right about how easy it is to adapt other patterns to it.
    To Wendy, of the comments, I made Clapotis with the same yarn, same color, and while it gets alot of use around the house, I don’t like it either! I guess the pattern just isn’t my cup of tea…

  20. You are a sweetheart – the truth is out! And I love Folk Shawls. I’m knitting another Bird’s Nest shawl. Your shawl is looking better and better – how about adding a shawl book to your list of writings? Hint hint. Have a GREAT weekend and Love to Lucy!

  21. Wendy, speaking of your shawls, would you tell me how many skeins of Artyarns Silk Rhapsody you used for your Leaf Lace shawl? I have two skeins and am wodering if that’s too little. Thanks!

  22. You say the SeaSilk slides easily over the needle…….. Does that by chance equate to the wrap sliding easily off the shoulders? I want to knit a shawl for my autistic granddaughter, and don’t want one that will slide too easily off her shoulders and be frustrating for her. I have fallen in love with one of the colors of SeaSilk, but have been hesitating to use it. Thanks for any insight you can give me.

  23. You say the SeaSilk slides easily over the needle…….. Does that by chance equate to the wrap sliding easily off the shoulders? I want to knit a shawl for my autistic granddaughter, and don’t want one that will slide too easily off her shoulders and be frustrating for her. I have fallen in love with one of the colors of SeaSilk, but have been hesitating to use it. Thanks for any insight you can give me.

  24. “Doesn’t crochet take more yarn than knitting, generally speaking?”

    I’d like to comment on this … Stephanie ‘Yarnharlot’ Pearl-McPhee suggests in one of her books that crochet uses 3 times as much yarn as knitting does. I do not crochet, so therefore cannot comment personally. Just sayin’ ๐Ÿ™‚ If that statement is true, then knitters spend 1/3rd less money than crocheters, which is why I loathe crochet and love knitting.

  25. Kathy in NoVA says:

    Totally unrelated to the beautiful SeaSilk, CONGRATS (if you feel celebratory) on having your book featured in the new Knitpicks catalog.

  26. To the “non-WendyKnits” Wendy: I used just under 4 skeins of Lion and Lamb for a “Ponchette” (pattern from Hemp for Knitting). There’s a picture of it on my blog. To: Joanne — the nice thing about the style is that it stays on the shoulders.

  27. My friend Jane ( just gave me Folk Shawls for my birthday. Lots of cool patterns in there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Love the picture of your Highland Shawl. It’s much clearer than the one in the book. I may actually try it now, now that I’ve had this book for years.

    And I love the Lucy yarn. When do we get a pic of Lucy wearing her socks?

  29. Love the picture of your Highland Shawl. It’s much clearer than the one in the book. I may actually try it now, now that I’ve had this book for years.

    And I love the Lucy yarn. When do we get a pic of Lucy wearing her socks?

  30. I am knitting the Stormwater Shawl with the teal sea silk and it is wonderful to work with. So elegant and graceful! Do you or any of your readers, know why it calls for both skeins to be used at the same time? It is driving me crazy!

  31. Oh heavens, the folk shawl book – not another book I ‘must’ have in my knitting library! Yikes!

  32. I’m clearly a bit too self-absorbed and/or paranoid. A quick reading your title, and I thought it said, “Weird is the New Norma.” Hm. ๐Ÿ™‚