My current work in progress:

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


Knitting With String

That’s what knitting with this denim yarn feels like: Knitting with string. Bleah.


I keep looking at my washed swatch and fondling it to remind myself what the finished sweater will be like.

I am knitting this with bamboo needles. When I started the gauge swatch I used an Addi turbo. But I quickly abandoned that and started over with a bamboo needle because the denim yarn on the metal needle was just too slippery for me to deal with.

The only problem — the indigo dye does stain the needles a bit. I’m hoping I can clean the needles up a bit with some Murphy’s Oil Soap when I’m done with the knitting.


I’m coming along nicely on the Trekking socks.


No staining of the needles. Heh.


Denise asked:
Do you like the delta orifice that comes with the Gem? I had a less-than-enjoyable time spinning on it and was considering selling it, but after I swapped the delta orifice for a WooLee Winder it worked much better for me.


No, I don’t like the Delta orifice. Roseann suggested I might get another flyer for the Gem and recommended the Majacraft Fine Fiber Flyer — it’s item Maj-3002 on this page from the Woolery. Roseann, I ordered it this morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

So I’ll continue to practice on the Majacraft Gem to get more comfortable with it, because I’ll be taking it on the road in a few weeks time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of “on the road” I’m not going to be going to Rhinebeck this weekend — but I’ll be thinking about it! I’m going out of town the following two weekends though, and both are trips for fun, so don’t pity me too much. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lucy sez:


“Huh? You’re going out of town? Parrrrrrr-tay!”


  1. Lucky wants to party with you,Lucy!

  2. oooh, I love the color of the Trekking socks. A few questions about them: 1) does the randomness of the colors bother you or are you ok with them not matching? 2) I am working on my first pair of Trekking socks (and only me second pair of socks ever). I am going toe-up (your pattern!)and have turned the heel and started the leg. I was planning to do the leg in stockinette, but when I tried them on, I think it is going to be too loose around my ankle and leg to stay up. Do you usually decrease stitches after turning the heel? Should I just start ribbing to solve the problem? I feel like you are one of the only people who I see making socks with stockinette legs so I am curious what your secret is.

  3. I noticed that about the bamboo needles too – though mine didn’t soak the dye up nearly as quick, or with such a high saturation. I kinda like it, actually; it’s like my needles have a record of everything I’ve knitted with them. What brand do you use? Mine are Clovers… maybe it’s a brand thing.

    The socks look great!

  4. Sounds like Rhinebeck is a big thing according to all the blogs I read. I am checking it out this weekend since my daughter lives close by. Maybe I will try some spinning wheels ? Spend a bit of money on yarn? Are you ever part of the Stiches events?

  5. Hm the wheel I use most is a Majacraft. I purchased there lace flyer and bobbins as well as I was in the past mostly a lace knitter. Bu the orifice drove me mad!! I much prefer the open loop at the front.

    Have a great couple of trips. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Don’t despair at the denim yarn, my Mum made me a denim jumper 10 years ago, it was worn every day that it was cold enough for 3 years, and it’s still my jumper of choice for curling up in on cold days. On the days it isn’t cold enough I have to make sure I put it away properly because my cats love it too.
    After all this time it still looks great, it’s paler but doesn’t look worn. The best bit about it is that when it starts looking a bit overstretched (from me putting my knees in it) I can stick it in the washer on a hot wash and it shrinks and looks like new again.
    It does stain everything when you knit with it though, Mum had blue fingers, and had to put a cloth over her lap to protect her clothes. It was worth it though, I seriously expect the jumper to last longer than I will.

  7. I think the more normal flyer will be the icing on the cake for your Gem spinning. The Woolery also has a whorl with higher ratios, however, you were already spinning quite finely with the regular whorl, you will be cruisin’ on your trip!

    Al is still talking about his afternoon with Lucy, she made quite an impression on him! We also enjoyed her movie debut and look forward to seeing more of her career in film.

  8. Good luck cleaning those needles…..Nice Trekkings socks. They look wonderful! I’ve always wanted tot ry a Majacraft Gem, I was thinking of getting the rose for another wheel. Lucy looks sweet as ever too! ;o)

  9. You must have misunderstood Lucy – I think what she actually said is “pUrrrrr-tay!”

  10. Sitting in CA…….thinking about Rhinebeck & pea green with envy…….NY in the fall: heaven……have fun…….and Lucy will have fun with her dad!
    As for knitting with cotton……hmm……has it’s joys…….flexibilty not one……but the finished product is / has been a joy……

  11. New Cecil B. DeKoarc video (2 MB and 46 seconds) uploaded to YouTube this evening at

  12. Too bad about the needles. I’ve used some wool that did the same thing to my birch needles. I was never able to clean them up well enough for stitches to slide smoothly over them. Let us know if the Murphy’s does the trick.

  13. I have found that Lava soap does wonders at getting stains out of needles. Rub the soap on your hands and get a good lather going and then “wash” the needles. Don’t rub the needles on the soap or you take the finish off. Good luck!

    Denim can be a total pain to knit with, but the finished product is sooooo comfy!

  14. I really didn’t like my one knitting-with-denim experience, but the final project (the baby jeans from knitty) were adorable! I knit them with my Denises, which are now permanently pale blue.

  15. Christine says:

    I knit a cardigan with denim and it permanently stained my bamboo needles (different brand). As it was a train project, I kept arriving at work with blue hands and was embarassed on a number of occassions when I walked into meetings without washing them!
    It really was serious torture. Not only that but the my swatch shrank much more than the final product,so the darn thing was about 3 sizes too wide for me. I ripped it *after I finished*!

  16. I’m towards the end of a denim (demon) sweater for my husband. The swatch wasn’t enough reassurance for me, I’ve been washing as I go along. Don’t try this at home, one sleeve is now a different colour to the other sleeve and the back. The prewashed fabric is deeply unpleasant – it reminds me of dishcloths only so much bigger.

  17. If the mice will play when the cat’s away, what does the cat do when the knitter/spinner is away? I used to wonder when we left home (back in LA, my daughter and son and I) what our Boxer dog really was up to when we weren’t around. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

    It is unfortunate the denim isn’t more enjoyable to knit with.

    Have a beautiful day, you and Lucy both.


  18. First of all, love your socks, I always do. Every time I think you must have a pair in every colorway, a new one shows up;) On the denim sweater: 1) Does cotton block in a similar fashion to wool? 2) Due to the running, will you treat the sweater in any way before wearing?

  19. wendy, i cleaned my needles by wiping them with a little bleach and a paper towel, then rinsing several times with water. finished with a coat of butcher wax. good as new ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. If it’s staining the needles, is it staining your fingers too? Gotta hate that …

    Funny how the spinning bug has hit … I spun up a storm this weekend, but alas have no knitting to show for it (yet) ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. That’s a great suggestion about using the Murphy’s to get the dye off your needles. My Brittany’s got dyed by the Andean Silk I used on a recent project.

    Is Stitches East on your upcoming travel list? It’s not that far away. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Try the Mr Clean Erasable Pad – gently – to remove the dye from those needles. I was amazed how it took pink dye off mine. Good luck:)

    Funny how Trekking looks so different for each knitter ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. So, can I give you Western Seas to finish?! The miles and miles of st stitch are just killin’ my spirit! Don’t know how you do it.


    Lucy, the Little Dudes may just crash your party!

  24. I’ve got a big batch of denim yarn that’s just awaiting inspiration so I’m looking forward to seeing how your project turns out. Hopefully, the end result will be worth knitting miles of stockinette with string.

  25. Hi Wendy,
    Beth W. in Richmond here. I just have a question I’m sure you must have an answer to – Are any knitting needles allowed on flights at all?? Am flying to Atlanta on Thursday and just wondering if I’ll be able to do any knitting??
    Thanks a bunch, Beth

  26. Wendy Treat says:

    Hi Wendy & Lucy!!!

    You mentioned cleaning your bamboo needles with Murphy’s Oil Soap. Just last night I went into my knitting needle holder and was disgusted to find some of my bamboo knitting needles and crochet hooks were MOLDY! All of my rosewoods seemed fine.

    Does this ever happen to you? Do you suggest cleaning them with the Murphy’s Oil Soap? And, is there a better way for me to store my needles?

    Unfortunately we do not have air conditioning and I beleive the humid summer months are the culprit.


    Wendy A. Treat
    Marlborough, CT

  27. There has been quite the discussion lately on the Master Knitter’s list about prewashing commercial yarn before knitting with it. I wonder if this would eliminate the shrinkage and dye transfer problems with the denim yarns. It sure would be nice to knit with that yarn if it was already soft, shrunken, and de-dyed, hmmmm?

  28. Well, I feel even better about my agonizing wheel choice last week knowing that you, the amazing Wendy, spin on a Lendrum. Mine should be here very soon from the Wollery – I live about 1.5 hours from there…

    Lucy is much taller than I imagined – she’s simply gorgeous and the vieo was a real treat!

  29. Maybe you should keep the needles blue. You might be able to start a trend of colored bamboo needles…and next thing you know, we’ll all be dyeing our wooden needles instead of our fiber.

  30. I had blue fingers for weeks and had to be careful what clothes I was knitting in. I have a set of Aero’s that are permanently blue, but I love them. The dye doesn’t come off on other projects and for me it brings back good memories.
    I love my denim sweater – it really gets better with every wearing and every washing. The ‘denim effect’ is even more pronounced in cables!
    I’ve got the ecru denim which I want to make into a lovely cardigan … any day now! lol

  31. Janna mentioned her permanently blue Denise needles above. I visited a new-ish yarn store in the Chicago area yesterday, and noticed that they have a class in which you dye each pair of your Denise needles a different color so you always know what size you’re using. An interesting concept, but I’d rather save $15 and just look at the size stamped into the needle.

  32. i think i like your blog very much.
    i am a chinese

  33. Wendy in CO says:

    Ooh, I love how the Trekking yarn looks knit up. I’ve seen it a lot at my LYS. How does it knit? I’m gonna get me some as soon as I recover from buying a house (and use up some of the yarn I already have!).

    I kind of like when my wooden and bamboo needles get dyed. When I use them the next time, I’m reminded of where I was in my life when they got dyed. If it was a good time, I can remember it fondly. If it was a difficult time, I can feel good that I got through it! ๐Ÿ™‚