My current work in progress:

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


A Bonehead Move

Yesterday afternoon I hauled out the ball of denim yarn I had prewashed to photograph it for the blog. Because it was sitting on my prewashed swatch, I pulled that out to play with. On a whim, I took a ruler to it and measured the row gauge. Seven rows to the inch. Huh? I could have sworn my washed row gauge was 8 rows to the inch. I measured again: 7 rows. I counted over 2 inches: 14 rows. Over 3: 21 rows. And over 4: 28 rows.

I looked at the pattern. Eight rows to the inch.


One of several things must have happened:

1. I spaced out completely and just plugged the wrong number in for the row gauge when I calculated the pattern.

2. I miscounted when I measured the gauge of the swatch the first time. (A numbers wizard I am not.)

3. The swatch stretched.

Because the swatch has been pretty much untouched since I measured it the first time, I’m guessing that what happened was either scenario 1 or 2.

So I recalculated the pattern using the new row gauge of 7 rows to the inch. No biggie, except I was already past the armhole shaping on the back.

However, I had originally decided to make the total length of the sweater 26″ and lately I had been thinking that I kinda sorta wished I had made it about 2 inches longer — more of a tunic length. Well, now it will be. i adjusted the total length in the pattern, which simply added the length below the armholes (and I already had knitted the proper number of rows for the new longer length). The armholes at the new row gauge are knit with fewer total rows, and I hadn’t gone past that point in my knitting.

So, crisis averted. But still . . . duh. What a bonehead move.

So I finished the back last night. Sorry about the photos — had to use the flash because there wasn’t enough natural light for a decent photo.


Unwashed, it is 33″ long. Cat included for scale.

Here it is after washing and a spin in the dryer.


Juast an ootch over 28″ long. Ta da!

I do so love a happy endng.


Thanks to all of you who weighed in on the issue of the dye running in the wash. I decided to wash the piece solo, so I just threw it in the washer with laundry detergent and let ‘er rip.

Thanks also for all the pointers for removing dye from needles. I have no problem with having these needles stained blue at the tips, as long as that blue doesn’t come off on subsequent knits. It has been mentioned once or twice that using a cleaning product on the needles will alter the finish, so I’m not sure I want to do that.

I’ll think about it later.


  1. See, you kept your head and averted a crisis. I would have just sat down and cried. Clearly you possess more Yankee ingenuity than I, and I salute you!

  2. Oh thank you! I’m happy to hear that even a knitting goddess like you has difficulties with gauge or miscalculations with numbers once in awhile… whew!
    I have had a run in with the same problem, and often get so frustrated, and think I’m some sort of knitting-gauge freak!

  3. *rubs the belly of the cat included for scale* ๐Ÿ˜€

    And that is why gauge is evil, and must be avoided. That is also why my current WIP is a lace shawl.

  4. Wendy, I am so in awe of the perfection of your rows & stitches. You are a craftswoman and knitting scholar. Do you realize the rest of the general knitting public does not have the ability to knit at the speed of sound?!

  5. Hi Wendy- It just proves that we are all human, and wonderfully infallible. Just think how boring life would be if we were perfect beings.
    At least you didn’t have to wade in the frog pond.

  6. For the needles I would try the Magic Eraser first, then go on to things that might raise the grain.

    For preventing cross contamination of dyes – put a Shout Color Catcher in the wash, it will pick up the “loose” dye. It is a sheet that you buy in the laundry product aisle of the supermarket.

  7. Cat included for scale? Yeah, right. Cat included because she wanted to stretch out on the beautiful, newly knitted sweater piece that would bring out the blue in her eyes and garner a tummy rub.

  8. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. And all ends well. Lucy look very nice on it: matches her baby blues perfectly.

  10. May I introduce a 4th possibility? One word – gnomes.

  11. Love problem solving…….soooo much better than the algebra 2 trains word problems!……..nice save as they say……..and thanks for sharing!……just think: if you hadn’t done the save, Lucy would have a blanket!

  12. Whew!! How about the cat included for scale picture post-washing? ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Am I just completely dumb? If your stitch gauge is off, won’t that make it wider, rather than longer? How does adding inches help? I’m sure this is obvious but I cannot figure it out. And I’m not even new at this! <:)

  14. Apprently your subconscious was at work. That would be the excuse I would use in your shoes! However, it does make me feel better about my!

  15. I *do* so love a happy ending. Glad your sweater will be the size you want after all. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Ann Carpenter says:

    Wendy, I was looking at your socks and some of the ones on the Sock Hop pictures and am in love with some of the Socks that Rock colors. Yes I do have some of their yarn but have never seen such colors as Siren Song and Blue Brick Wall offered anywhere. I know your Lucy was a special color, are these others also? I love the Siren Song and think the Blue Brick would be great for the husband who is mad for the socks I make and will wear any color just about so long as I knit them for him. Love your Lucy. We used to breed rare colourpoint Siamese, reds, torties, tabbies, etc. so I love the pointed babies.
    Ann Carpenter in Dallas, Texas

  17. patty bolgiano says:

    Sock Question
    My hubby has big feet, and loves and owns those BIG thick socks. (It is thicker than worsted weight) I believe they (the socks) might be referred to as “boot socks” he wants more and I am more than happy to provide said socks, however typing in “thick sock yarn” didn’t provide the right information. Have you ever knit these kind of socks, and if so what yarn did you use, or do you have suggestions.


    PS have a great couple of weekends.

  18. It is heartwarming for a pro to demonstrate mistakes and how to deal with them … must be very encouraging for new knitters, or even not-so-new knitters who also make mistakes.

    Pretty denim, pretty Lucy.


  19. I knitted a baby thing on bamboo circulars with denim yarn and they went blue. I decided not to try to clean them with anything *cough*lazy*cough* but just merrily knitted something else with a darker wool. The blue stain had faded off by the end of that project and now I can barely see it. Maybe the wool was rough enough to get it off, or lanolin or something. On another note, I finished my Moth shawl! Those last rows are loooooooooooong.

  20. You are truly the boss of your knitting! ;-} Correcting a mistake can be more satisfying than doing it right the first time. The weathered blue is lovely.

    The denim sounds a lot like Euroflax linen: feels like knitting string, but the washed garment is soft and drapey.

  21. martha in mobile says:

    Lucy is totally a 3-D intarsia motif!

  22. I’ve read blogs of others who have had blue tinted needles from working with a denim yarn and no one said they had the dye come off the needles onto the next project. I wouldn’t clean the needles with anything.
    I’m glad your crisis was averted, though I’ve become and expert at frogging and it really doesn’t hurt that much…

  23. But did you get any directions on how to get the dye out of Lucy. Oh wait, maybe she didn’t lay on it long enough to turn blue.

  24. Thank goodness for happy mistakes.

  25. Ruth Martin says:

    How much is an ootch, anyway?

  26. No problem with using the flash. It makes it easier to see Lucy!

  27. you could always make a small washcloth with the needles next. That way it wont matter if the blue gets on it. Some small washcloth for the kitchen or something…

    Just a thought….


  28. I’m thinking somewhat on the same lines as Gia. Knit some white or cream or light colored yarn with those needles. You must have some laying around. You can tell the yarn it’s a swatch but it’s really a needle test.

    Probably should test some cotton and some wool…

    And if the blue dye rubs off, you could give those needles away to someone, like me, who likes to knit blue.

    I’m just trying to be helpful, now…

  29. Wow Wendy I’m always so impressed with what a fast knitter you are!! Love the color…OK I’d better go get some knitting of my own done!

  30. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and seeing all the photos – both the knitting and Lucy. Love the problem solving too – helps me to fix some of the same oops’ that I’m very good at making.

  31. Cat included for scale. LOL LOL LOL Thank you KOARC for all the pics. We really love Lucy. Any more YouTube films coming?

  32. My only experience with blue dye was what came off on me while I was preggers with the first. Doc thought I had a rare blood disorder; turned out I had new sheets and lanolin lotion. Lanolin does wild things with dyes!
    Love your blog!

  33. I always enjoy looking at your amazing knitting, but today, I was intrigued by the photo of Lucy and her catnip stash. We have a Mom and five kittens which we rescued. I fear they might be bored. Would a daily catnip treat entertain them? We are willing, but by no means expert slaves to our feline companions!

  34. Gauge bonehead-isms: I just did that with a hat I’m knitting. I was sure my gauge was 3 stitches/inch, but just measured again and it’s somewhere between 3.25 and 3.5. Yikes. Hat for a pinhead, anyone? So I ripped and cast on more stitches. It’s just a hat, after all….