My current work in progress:

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


Home Sweet Home

This morning I moved back into my newly renovated office. I have my window back! It’s 66 – 69 degrees in the office!

Life is sweet.

And because of down time while I was waiting for my stuff to be moved and the network connection to be turned on, I completed my first Bart & Louise sock.


I really really really like how this sock yarn knits up. Really.

And I started the second one.


This is your tax dollars at work. Me, knitting on the job. But seriously, there was not too much down time. Things went very smoothly, I must say. (Sorry, had an Ed Grimley moment there).

I sucked up to the movers so they were extremely nice and helpful to me. They stopped by several times while I was unpacking to see if they help me. (The baby lawyers started referring to them as “Wendy’s entourage.” Heh.) When I unpacked my pictures of Lucy, two of them stopped to exclaim over her beauty. Clearly, they are good people.

On to more important things . . .

Danielle asked:
How would you rate the difficulty level of Cromarty compared to other AS Arans? I’ve had the pattern earmarked for several months to try as my first Aran (but not my first cabling), and I hope I’m not biting off more than I can chew.

I would consider it one of the more difficult arans, because of the Celtic knot cables. There are instances in these cables where you have to make three stitches out of one, and it can be tricky to do this neatly. The center cable has a repeat of 40 rows, so it’s not something that can be easily memorized. Also, because the sweater is knit from DK weight yarn rather than worsted or aran weight, like most of her cabled designs, it’ll be a time-consuming knit.


Denise asked:
I know that you spin, too.
What would you do if you wanted to SPIN the yarn for Cromarty or another Aran?
Type of wool?
Style of spinning?
I spin, but I’m not that experienced. I have quite a bit of roving – I have a moorit merino/alpaca blend that I’d love to spin. Would that work for an Aran sweater?

Denise, you are giving me far more credit for experience in spinning than I deserve. I wouldn’t attempt to spin yarn for Cromarty because I don’t think that anything I spun would be good enough. I think an aran looks best in a smooth uniform yarn, and my spinning is not even enough for me to want to attempt it.

Any expert spinners out there want to answer Denise’s questions?

Rachael asked:
All this talk about Koigu Kersti makes me really want to try it. I am a fairly novice knitter though and have not done any cables yet. Wendy, I know you have a pattern in your book for a sweater knitted with Kersti, but do you know of any other sweater patterns or books that are simple and meant to be knit with Kersti? I don’t need anymore scarves, shawls, hats or socks–I’d really like to knit a sweater out of Koigu Kersti. I read Maie Landra’s book and am a bit intimidated by the modular knitting patterns–most of which are too advanced for my skill level. I was looking for something more simple. Anyone have any ideas?

You can use Kersti for a sweater that calls for DK weight yarn. If you use a variegated Kersti, you wouldn’t want a design with a lot of texture, though, because the variegation would obscure it. Anyone have any patterns they’ve knitted from Kersti that they love?

This just in:

Lucy still loves her Cozy Cushion!


Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna take some naproxen and lie down. Moving day is so taxing!


  1. Well, I guess I have to comment since I don’t see any others…

    I always find that it helps to suck up to people who carry heavy items. When I was a foreign exchange student, I rarely had to carry my luggage (and this was in the days before luggage with wheels).

    Your Cromarty is beautiful. I hope that some day I’ll have uninterupted time to knit something that complicated!

  2. Great progress on Cromarty! I’m knitting a pair of cabled fingerless mittens and have pictures and discussion on my blog. I had trouble with the chart, but a handful of highlighters cleared that right up! Lucy does look comfy on her cushion. Give her a skritch for me, please!

  3. Brrr…68-69 degrees! I hope there isn’t a breeze blowing on you. But it is perfect for wearing wool sweaters. And socks and hats and…

    The Cromarty is really nice. Are you using your the no cable needle technique? Or is the cable pattern too complex and the yarn too fine to knit without a cable needle?

  4. I’m not a very experienced spinner, but I wonder how a simple three-ply would work up in an Aran pattern. Depending on the fiber and the evenness of the spinning, it seems like it *could* be smooth enough to give some cable definition, while not being too beastly to make enough for a sweater.

  5. I am not a spinning expert, but I have a few thoughts about Denise’s spinning question.

    The wool/alpaca roving you describe sounds like it would be perfect for woolen spinning to make a soft sweater.

    For Aran sweaters, combed wool top and worsted spinning work best. I think Merino would work nicely, you want some crimp, but not too crimpy. A long stapled wool with few crimps per inch might stretch over time.

    Plus plan on having 2.5+ lbs of this wool top. You will need to make samples, wash them, and knit them up. Aran sweaters take a lot of yarn with all those pretty cables.

    Judith MacKenzie spoke highly of 5-ply yarns for guernsey sweaters, so at least a 3-ply would be needed.

    I love spinning, but for an Aran sweater, I would buy the yarn as with my fiber ADD, I would get bored spinning that much worsted yarn.

    I hope this helps!

  6. That sock looks great – the colors remind me of that licorice candy you get that’s in all different colors.

    Clearly, Lucy was worn out at home just thinking of your moving day at work …

  7. Ok – I’ll bite (no pressure, of course, to mark oneself an expert spinner on your blog! oof.)

    First – must be more than 2-ply yarn. 3-ply would work better and 5-ply would be very wonderful. Otherwise the yarn will be too soft and the stitches won’t show up as well.

    Second – while the alpaca blend sounds lovely, it would be stinkingly hot and exceptionally heavy feeling if you had to spin it as a multi-ply yarn I think. I think it also might be too slippery to futz around with cables and knots and stitch manipulation.

    Third – I would vote for a medium-grade wool. Something less soft than merino or rambouillet – because those will tend to pill and while they would make a beautiful sweater, why put all that work into something that might look a little worse for wear. Unless you had a merino that was a long enough staple to put a lotta twist into it. I think I’d suggest a softer Romney or even a merino X fleece. BLF would be wonderful – lots of crispness to the stitch patterns and great to spin. Targhee maybe, depending on the fleece.

    And having said all of that, nope, I haven’t tackled spinning that much yardage with that many plies myself!! A Herculean task to be sure.

  8. Your Cromarty is lovely!
    When I knit it last year, I didn’t find it that difficult of a knit, even though it was only my 3rd sweater and had been knitting less than a year before I started it (yes, I was a very ambitious new knitter). The large cable is hard to memorize at first, but I had it memorized before I compleated the first piece. The Cable actually speeks to you and lets you know where it needs to go.

  9. I *love* those socks! I’ll be haunting the Loopy Ewe site until they get more of that yarn in.

    Lucy looks like she is under a lamp. Does she like to absorb a little extra warmth that way? As much as I try to be environmentally aware with my fluoro lightbulbs, I usually keep at least one lamp with a regular bulb because the cats like to “sun” themselves under it in winter.

    And on that temp thing–maybe it’s one of those “that time of life” things, but that’s my comfort range too. I just feel too hot most of the time at 70 and over and I swear, I’m going to be knitting nothing but cotton sweaters in the near future ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t really know how you survived the 80+ temp office without sitting on an iceberg!

  10. I agree with Roseann. In the Gansey class that I took with Beth Brown-Reinsel, she recommended a 5 ply yarn. She also said that if you were to spin your own, you would want a minimum of 3 plies. More plies are better. (As Roseann stated, I received the same advice from Judith MacKenzie-McCuin.)
    As for fiber, you don’t want a yarn with a halo, since that will obscure your beautiful cables. So, I don’t recommend the alpaca. Save that for another project. Shetlands, merino, moorit would all be good options.
    What you are aiming for is stitch definition. So, you’ll want to spin as smooth of a yarn as possible. To achieve this, you will want to spin worsted (fibers aligned). Top or combed wool would be best, but you can use carded wool. Short draw would keep the fibers smooth.

  11. The socks are WOW. Congrats on the move. Happy to see that Lucy still loves her cozy cushion. Guess I will have to invest in one (four?). Where did you get it?

  12. Clearly these moving men are indeed good people… and with highly refined taste.

  13. Woo-hoo!! Your office returned to you. Whew!

  14. I just started “Cutaway”, a ChicKnits pattern in Koigu Kersti.

    I was looking for a simple, plain, pattern that was on the small side because I don’t have very much yarn (I got it in a trade) and it’s varigated. Hope to blog about it soon.

    There aren’t very many patterns out there for Kersti, and I wanted a cardigan with long sleeves. As it is, I might end up with 3/4 length because according to the pattern I’ll be about 25 yards short. I’m just hoping for the best and just going for it, as usual.

    One thing to note, Koigu is very splitty! Somehow when I knit, it comes untwisted very easliy. I don’t know if it’s just the way I hold the yarn or if I’m knitting from the wrong end or something.

  15. Sally Melville’s “The Purl Stitch” has a great 2×2 ribbed raglan pattern out of variegated Kersti.

  16. I am totally gaa-gaa over the cables. breath taking!

  17. I’m knitting the Fitted Sweater from Louisa Harding’s Modern Classics book. It’s perfect for the variegated yarn I have. The textured Fitted Sweater next in the book would be good for a solid yarn.

  18. Dang, I thought I was the only one in the world who remembered Ed Grimley. YAY!

  19. Glad your move went so well and you are back in your space.

  20. Glad that your move back went smoothly. I am sure that you are glad that the office is at a more reasonable temperature.

    Yay for some down time. The sock looks great. Love the colorway.

    The Aran is coming along so nice. It is going to be so pretty when it is done.

  21. Nice to hear that you’re getting settled in to the new office. Cromarty is coming along so nicely – looks like there is a lot of detail on every row. Not gonna get bored with that one! I think it would take a lot of concentrating!

  22. Coming to put in a vote for Sally Melville’s Raglan Body Hugger in Kersti from The Purl Stitch but I was pipped at the post! Easy pattern and lovely design.

  23. There’s a shrug thingy in Tracey Ullman’s Knit2Together book made in Kersti. Looks nice.

    I’ve requested some Starmore books from my library. Thanks for the suggestion!

  24. Is Cromarty one of the sweaters with only one size given?

  25. I’m not usually into striped sock yarns but really love the Bart & Louise socks. I think it may be the colors and the inclusion of the black. Cromarty is gorgeous too.

  26. Yay, you are back in permanent digs! I’m glad the move went well!

  27. Thanks for the comments on Cromarty. I’ll definitely take that into consideration before I get started!

  28. You and the Ed Grimley jokes…they make me laugh ’cause I can picture him saying it! The sweater and socks lock fabulous. Congrats on being back in your office.

  29. Wendy – – you crack me up. Plain and simple.

    I’m glad you have a window, a cooler office, obviously great people helping you move (or at least excellent taste in cats), and that Lucy still loves her comfy cushion.

    Have a good weekend!

    BTW: I looked up on line for a comfy cushion for my old girl, Trixie, and they want $10 for shipping! I’ve called around to my local pet supply stores and two carry similar items but not the “comfy cushion”.


  30. Some more ideas for Denise’s hand spun aran:

    1) I’d pick a slightly longer staple than merino, I think Blue Faced Leicester would be ideal, I’d say any medium staple medium crimp wool. Definitely a combed top spun worsted.

    2) Definitely 3 ply or more, you want a round yarn, not a flat 2 ply.

    3) If you can spin all singles before plying (you can store the singles on storage bobbins). Then you can control for differences by plying the first single with the last and a middle incase your spinning changes over time.

    4) Get a copy of Alden Amos’ Big Book of Handspinning. It has all of these tips and more for spinning for any project.

  31. I’m absolutely in like with Bart and Louise – the colors just look yummy ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m on the wait list at my library for an Aran Knitting. One copy, 6 people in front of me – maybe I’ll see it by summer. Maybe by then, I’ll be brave enough to try one.

  32. I just noticed that your sock blocker has a kitty in it – where did you get this? I don’t even use sock blockers and I want one! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Love the black in that sock yarn, really makes the colors pop. Must also compliment you on the gorgeous Cromarty!

    Also, would love 66-69 degrees – the gals in my office, who are *not* experiencing hot flashes, love 74-78 degrees. ๐Ÿ˜€

  34. Sounds like you have a perfect office. I just moved into a new one a couple weeks ago. After more than two years I finally get a window too!

    I gotta see if they make a cozy cushion for dogs. Lucy looks so comfy!

  35. I believe that there is a sweater knitted in Kersti in one of Sally Melville’s books. And I wish my commute time to work was longer so I could knit while commuting but I also walk to work.

    I have no clue how you survived the temporary office in those sub-tropical temperatures. My bedroom is normally between 60 to 62. So now you can proudly wear your sweaters and shawls again.

    I can only hope that Mimi will love her Cozy Cushion half as much as Lucy. Lucy looks like she is resting comfortably.

  36. I don’t mind spending my tax dollars on you knitting–it’s thinking about those heating bills that are driving me nuts! Oil addicts indeed.
    Those socks are way cool.

  37. Since Rachael wants to make her first sweater out of Kersti she may do well to invest in the Ann Budd’s book: The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. Based on the size she wants to make and the gauge she gets with her swatch she can pick one of several styles of sweater patterns out of the book.
    Alternatively, a few commenters have already mentioned the The Raglan Body-Hugger pattern from Sally Melville’s Purl Book. The pattern does call for Kersti yarn but it has a large ‘boat’ neckline which I’m not fond of – but it would certainly qualify as a beginner sweater pattern if Rachael doesn’t mind the neckline.

  38. taxing! TAXING! AHahaha.

  39. Those moving people obviously have impeccable taste, being smitten with Lucy photos!

    Your Bart & Louise sock is a beautiful thing to behold.

  40. Oh, I loved a new office!! I always was plotting, I mean planning to get new stuff in my office when I worked. I mean the HR Manager needs to have a nice office to woo would be employees right????

    Glad Lucy is lovin’ her cozy cushion.

  41. Beth P. in Maryland says:

    For Denise on spinning for cables.

    A couple months ago I spun a sample from a recently aquired Corridale fleece (it’s so nice it could easily pass for Cormo!). It’s a good length, soft and with a nice crimp. I combed some on Viking combs, spun it really fine and Navajo plied it. As soon as I took it off the niddy noddy it shouted “I want to be knitted cables!” So I would say a good Corriedale or Cormo, combed or drumcarded, fine singles and three or more plies.

    Good luck!


  42. Beth P. in Maryland says:

    For Denise on spinning for cables.

    A couple months ago I spun a sample from a recently aquired Corridale fleece (it’s so nice it could easily pass for Cormo!). It’s a good length, soft and with a nice crimp. I combed some on Viking combs, spun it really fine and Navajo plied it. As soon as I took it off the niddy noddy it shouted “I want to be knitted cables!” So I would say a good Corriedale or Cormo, combed or drumcarded, fine singles and three or more plies.

    Good luck!


  43. Cromarty is simply STUNNING in turquoise!

  44. Someone probably already said this in the comments but Bart and Louise look like Licorice Allsorts! (Which I have always thought looked beautiful but tasted horrid!) It will be nice to get settled in your new old office.

  45. Well . . .

    If Rachel is dying to try cables, AND a simple sweater, AND use Koigu Kersti . . .

    One could choose a sweater pattern knit flat with a cable pattern up the center front (not an Aran) and knit the cabled part in plain yarn, using Kersti for the sides and sleeves.

    Looking at the color card, I’d use a light bitter green with color 123B, or bubblegum pink with color 212, or turquoise with 124.

    Maybe even use the Kersti for the ribbing? In the smaller sections, you’d get interesting pooling/striping with the fancy yarn, and interesting texture with the plain yarn, so both would show off to advantage. This would mean a little more seaming/swatching, but if you’re knitting flat, you can’t escape seaming anyway.

    And if you took a sweater whose finished measurements were big and drapey on you, then the little pulling in of the cable panel wouldn’t matter so much . . .

    Drop me a line at my email addy to chat more, or hit my blog to discuss this.

  46. Hey Wendy! you are a sock knitting fiend!! I’m getting ready to start a pair with Jitterbug yarn from Colinette but it’s going to take me forever-I have a new baby, 2 older kids, and slow fingers…but they still find time to knit every day! I like to see your socks that just seem to magically appear every few days-it imotivates me to hop to it! C’mon over to visit my new blog if you’re ever in the neighborhood!

  47. On your advice and Lucy’s approval I got a cozy cushion for my cat Tom Thumb and he absolutely adores the thing. It’s so worth the money. Thanks!

  48. What a sweater! I’m going to stick to something way simpler-if I ever to start one;) Love the color of that sock mmm. {{Lucy}}

  49. We haven’t seen your sock yarn log cabin in awhile. You’ve finished so many cool socks since you last showed it I can only imagine it’s grown by now. Please give us an update.

  50. COOL SOCKS!!! Where did you buy yarn from?


    I really need your help with that one!!!!

    Visit my blog more info!!


  51. That is one good looking sock, I mean look at the heel on that thing. Sweetness in sock form!

  52. anne marie in philly says:

    have you ever visited

    spouse’s uncle told us about it. they have reprinted knitting/crochet/tatting books under the “crafts” heading.

    check it out!

  53. WOW. I found a new page.I started to design a new page here.I’ll follow your page step by step.I want to share my knitting,crocheting ideas with the others.Maybe you’ll help me??See you then…