My current work in progress:

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


Ball of Confusion

Here is the state of my desk when I left work on Friday:


And a close-up of the organizer thingie that I keep in the top desk drawer:


Gotta have a Chibi at the office. You never know when you might need one.

The move into temporary space, which was supposed to occur tomorrow, has been pushed back until Wednesday. So I’ll be working in the middle of upheaval just a might longer.

All this upheaval has lead to introspection . . . and not in a good way. For example, while sorting through stuff last week I had an idea I thought was a flash of brilliance. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have your forearm marked off in inches, and have those ruler markings tattooed onto your arm? That way, you’d always have a ruler with you for measuring your sock-in-progress.

Whaddya think?

About a Sock

Thank you for all the nice comments about my wild Thing knee sock. I used my generic toe-up pattern and did the following mods:

I started with 48 stitches around (because the yarn is denser than the usual fingering weight sock yarn I knit with, I was able to go with fewer stitches).

After turning the heel, I increased 4 stitches — 2 on each side of the heel “seam” to close up the hole that otherwise would have formed there — 52 stitches total. I knit straight until the sock was 4″ tall from the bottom of the heel.

I increased 4 stitches on the next round — 1 at each side, and 2 at the center back — 56 stitches total. I knit for 4 more inches.

I increased 4 stitches on the next round (same distribution as the last increase round) — 60 stitches total. I knit for 4 more inches.

I increased 4 stitches on the next round (same distribution as the last increase round) — 64 stitches total. I knit for 2 more inches.

I then worked k2 p2 ribbing for 2.5″ and cast off loosely. End of sock.

My Sock Hop yarn is in two 2.75 ounce skeins with approximately 210 yards each. One skein was enough for one knee sock.

West Side Raglan

Here it is, captured in the wild. I, of course, made it way too big for me so it’s not exactly a flattering look. But damn, is it ever comfy.


I am standing under a Swedish flag, to authenticate my ethnicity. No, seriously, the photo was taken yesterday by the KOARC at the American Scandinavian Association’s Christmas Party.

The Swedish ambassador, Gunnar Lund, stopped by and said a few words.


My mom and I sat and knit.


Johanne, kindly note the pulse warmers I am wearing. ๐Ÿ™‚

(I’ll talk about what I was knitting tomorrow.)

And of course my nemesis, Lucia, was there.


But all in all, a fun day. Lucy elected to stay home and nap.


Here’s a bad cellphone pic of Lucy in her daddy’s lap before we left for the party.


Fine=Gauge Patterns

yarnyoga asked:
Do you know of any reliable sources for tailored, fine-gauge, stockinette-dominant patterns? (Rowan is the best source I’ve encountered, but I’d dearly love to expand the inventory!)

A pattern collection that springs immediately to mind for me is Marion Foale’s Classic Knitwear. This book was published in 1985 and I believe is now out of print, but that Amazon link above will take you to copies for sale by third-party vendors. Amazon third-part vendors also have it for sale in paperback. I note that Marion Foale now has a website where she is offering a few patterns for sale as well — hopefully she’ll expand her offerings in the future.

While you are surfing her site, read the “About Marion” section — very interesting reading about her part in the history of fashion! I do believe Marion Foale has done some recent designs for Rowan, and an article about her was featured in one of their magazines recently.

Anyhow, I have the book mentioned above — I bought it when it was first published. I’ve made a number of the designs in it and they are for the most part fine-gauge tailored stockinette dominant designs, so that might be right up your alley.

As for what my next big project will be, one of you guessed correctly. But I’m not saying who. I’m mean like that.

We’re over $19,000 for the Heifer project!!!


  1. About that tattoo idea…..unfortunately skin, uh, “grows.” The measuring tape would not stay accurate for long. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Thanks for the response … I’m heading off to follow your links right now!

  3. Thanks for the how-to on the knee highs! I may give those a try…

    The West Side Raglan looks great on you, it does looks comfy. Lovely pulse warmers! Last time I tried to wear a pair while knitting Gandalf went haywire trying to chomp on them. >^_^<

  4. I think the tattoo idea is aces on paper, but Norma’s right. Darn Norma for being right.

  5. The other tattoo marking that could help a knitter would be a small line on the foot, marking where you need to start doing toe decreases when you’re doing top-down socks.
    No, I didn’t mark that place with a Sharpie when I was making my first pair of socks. I swear!

  6. Tattoo? umm – NO. but sharpie markings would be acceptable. seriously, you REALLY don’t want tattooed numbers on your arm – think about it … REALLY hard now –

    and while we’re at it, I’m destashing, or something to that effect –

  7. I really like the raglan and will be looking for it next weekend when I am going to visit a not so LYS that I love.

    I will have to bring an extra chibi to work. I used to keep an old pink plastic needle in my lunch bag but that was a job or two ago. A few weeks ago, a co-worker was sent to me with a loose seam. I ended up using a paper clip to get it weaved back up and tied off.

    I think I would “no” the tattoo also, though it is an interesting idea.

  8. Lee-Fay Low says:

    Here’s a less painful improvement on the tattoo idea – why not have those markings on our sock needles!

  9. I sharpie mark my arm for going to classes with nearly completed socks. Then the teacher and other students are not disturbed by my piddling with a ruler.

  10. I like the markings on the needles idea… I’d hate to watch my knitting get longer and longer as I got older.

  11. Another no to the tattoo idea, but I think Sharpie marks on the needles might be useful. On wood needles–on metal, the marks would just wear off right away. The West Side Raglan looks very good and terrifically comfy too–my kinda sweater!

  12. Someone mentioned in her blog that a friend had ruler marks tattooed on her forearm (just tiny lines, no numbers). I thought it was a cute idea but then considered that skin stretches and sags, it wouldn’t stay accurate.

  13. heh. I got that tattoo a little over a year ago and it really does come in handy ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’ll have to take a photo of it tomorrow. I got it done by a cosmetic tattoo artist and it’s just a line of dashes that kinda look like freckles from anymore than a few feet away. My boyfriend sees me using mine and is looking for an artist to get a more elaborate one on himself.

  14. Hmm, tattoo seems a MIGHT drastic. Maybe you could just memorize arm features at critical lengths? (Oh yeah, that mole is where I need to start the gusset, etc)

    Heh, I always make my sweaters too big, too – but they are indeed very comfy!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I thought the picture of you in the West Side Raglan was maybe taken at church. Which would explain the cross umm, growing? out of your head. Or maybe it’s there because you’re the Goddess of Knitting. The Divine Stitcher… I could go on for days …

  16. That St. Lucia stuff scares me. Did Swedish young women often spend Christmas with singed hair and eyebrows?

  17. Well, if you’re worried about looking unprofessional should you have to pull up your sleeves and folks see the ruler tattoo on your arm, you could always have the ruler tattoo done on your thigh. But that opens a whole new can of worms… ;-p

  18. Hey, my cousins and I played Santa Lucia for years, and no one’s hair or eyebrows were ever singed. I was really disappointed when my grandma bought a battery-powered fake candle wreath- it wasn’t nearly as cool as walking through the house with candles on your head.

    I think that ticking off inches on your arm with a sharpie on a day you think you might need them is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, especially if one uses public transit and doesn’t want to be fussing with all kinds of rulers, needles, and notions. The non-knitters on the bus already think we are crazy anyhow.

  19. anne marie in philly says:

    (sings) that’s what the world is today, hey hey [with apoligies to the temptations]

    the KOARC is trapped (in a good way) by the lovely lucy. wish my steven and meredith were lap kitties…

    what – no beer on that desktop? what’s the world coming to?

  20. The Westside Raglan does took extra comfy! And very cute on you! Puss o kram wendy ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Wendy, I’ve measured my hand and arm to determine critical lengths. From my fingertips to my elbow is 17″, for example. My hand is 7″, and my thumb is 1″ from tip to first knuckle. This might be more practical than a tattoo.

  22. Hi Wendy, random lurker here. I have been reading you for years, and never felt “worthy” enough to write in. I got inspired when I saw your Noni bags this summer, and have to report that, thanks to your inspiration and helpful hints in your blog, I’ve now completed 5 Noni bobble bags and 1 pink/green baguette, as well as a pair of baby snugs. I felted them all last night and, per your blog tips, “felted the hell out of everything”.

    I am absolutely thrilled with how they all turned out, and just wanted to let you know how absolutely thankful I am that you are here, and so free withall your information and advice. I am becoming more and more confident, and my knitting group is amazed at the things I’ve triedafterreading aboutit in your blog. Thank you so much – I knowit takesa lot of time, and we unknown lurkers out here really do appreciate it!!!


  23. 1–Is the plastic drawer thingy craft-stuffed?

    2-A pattern/link for wrist warmers?

    3-Chibi goes everywhere sillywoman–it’s in my purse at all times!!!

    4-Who is Lucia?

    5-I always always keep a dollar bill in reserve–they are 6 inches long–and a lovely ruler thingy. In fact, for my size 8ish/9ish feet, I knit the foot until it’s one dollar long from the heel flap pick up then start the toeses.

    (hey, maybe I should keep my reserve dollar in my Chibi!!!!)

  24. I absolutely love the Tattoo idea! Am thinking about crafty tattoos anyway… I love the idea….

  25. You could do the tattoo in brown ink. That way it would look like freckles. You would still have the problem with stretching with weight changes, though.

  26. Hey Wendy:

    You are the idea girl! The arm markings idea sparked and flared and I believe the word genius flowed through my mind in conjunction with your name. Then Norma dowsed it with the bucket of cold reality. However, I am grateful to Norma… otherwise I might have been toddling off to my local tattoo shop for a session.

    COMFY is all important. Most of my sweaters are oversized and I don’t really care if I look good or not. As long as I can feel the *sweater hug*.

  27. ah st lucy. I’m still confused why the swedish population celecbrate with an italian saint. I had the Priviledge of playing her year ago for our school Madrigal. all those “fun” memoriesof dewaxing myself afterwards.

  28. Barbara McCall says:

    I believe Jaeger includes fine gauge patterns in some of its pattern books. Lucy Neatby loves fine gauge work. The old Sweater Wheels have instructions for basic sweaters in fingering weight yarn. The Sweater Wheels can be found on ebay every once in a while.
    Any instructions that create a sweater using your measurements + a gauge swatch will work with fine gauge yarn. Janet Szebo (Big Sky Knitting) would be a resource for Aran sweaters developed using your measurements + a gauge swatch. If you want fair isle, Dale is a great source. They are including more and more non-fair isle designs in their books. Bea Ellis is a great resource for Dale yarns and patterns.

  29. That would be an interesting tattoo for sure.

    Love the Sweater, it does look very comfy.

  30. Question from a lurker and occasional knitter: Just what is a chibi… the wikipedia entry has nothing to do with knitting! Is it just the brand name of the container & needles? Are the needles really that special?

  31. I *do* have a ruler attached to my body so that it is with me at all times. My cubit is 17″, and my fully-stretched handspan is 7 1/2″ (pretty similar to Barbara above, I see). And if you curl up your pinky– the middle bone is very close to one inch, on almost every adult human being. Very, very handy for reading maps in the car.

  32. Wendy – If Lucia is your nemesis, you must be Miss Mapp!

  33. Trikotruc says:

    Hi ! I’m new here, but I must say I love your cat !!!
    I also received your book yesterday and I’m looking forward to reading it…

  34. Christene / Sheepspyjamas says:

    Following a half-remembered trick my (also Swedish) grandma used to pull, I’ve got various sections of my hand and fingers measured and, in a nutshell, I can fairly closely calculate inches from one to eight using various lengths of my right hand. Highly recommended if you’re a sock knitter or if (like me) you can never find a tape measure when you need one… My best, Christene

  35. Well as long as you don’t tatoo Lucy as a measuring device. Although her tail might work nicely. ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Way to go with Heifer. How excited you must feel that you were instrumental in helping so many people

  37. The sweater looks great! Man! Miss 2 days of blog reading and wendy is knitting top down socks…

  38. Top down eh? getting daring ๐Ÿ™‚
    Seriously it is lovely pattern that is in my to do file,

  39. I like the red scarf it seems like a good project to work on. Unfortunately at the weather here in Victoria Australia is in the 40 deg C, we also have bush fires in the country and you can smell the burning here. Hopefully
    a change is due and we will get some relief and
    hopefully help the firefighters.