My current work in progress:

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



A couple of you commented about how quickly I seem to be knitting the Alpine shawl. There was indeed a lot of progress made on Saturday, particularly compared to the previous few days.


But I did not do much on it yesterday. I seem to have slept “funny” on my right hand Saturday night (I woke up with my thumb bent back too far) so it felt not quite right — a bit of pain but nothing too serious. So I took it easy on the knitting yesterday, and will tonight as well.

I did knit on my sock-in-progress on the train.


Lorraine commented:
One thing I’m really curious about- how do you manage to be faithful to one project before beginning another ?(not including socks). I suffer from yarn polygamy, if I’m working on one, I’m thinking about another.

(This, of course, is the secret to my apparent speed in knitting — project monogamy.)

Project monogamy is one of the very few examples of willpower in my life. How do I manage to remain faithful to one project? I just . . . do. If I have more than one “big” project and one sock going at a time, I actually feel uncomfortable.

In pre-Internet days, I always knit things one-at-a-time. I’d be working on a project, and halfway through it I’d decide what I wanted to knit next and buy the yarn for it. That way I could cast on for the next project as soon as I finished the current one. I didn’t even have a stash.

While the stash part has changed, I still think about my knitting serially. At this moment, I don’t know what I’m going to make next. I’m a bit more than halfway done with the Alpine shawl, so I ought to start thinking about it. I may do a series of small things, but it may occur to me to start something big. I bought several Cookie A. patterns from The Loopy Ewe, so perhaps I’ll make one of those as my “at-home” project. Because these are far more complex than my usual mindless commuter sock, I won’t knit them on the commute — I don’t want to have to fiddle with pattern and charts while on the train platform and on the train. So perhaps some at-home sock knitting is in order. I’ll knit them exactly according to the patterns, and not bastardize them into my usual toe-up process.


Pamela commented:
It sounds like you buy the novels you read. I’m curious why you don’t borrow them from your local public library. As a librarian, I’m always interested in why people do or do not use their local library.

Over the past few years I’ve bought many, many books from the public library’s collection of “for sale” books. I’ve found it is a great way to pick up books cheap — I think they sell paperbacks 4 for $1.00 and hardbacks for $1.00 each. When I’m done with them, I usually pass them on to someone else, or donate them to a book sale.

Why don’t I borrow books from the library? Mainly because I want to read them on my timetable, rather than one that the library imposes (out of necessity, of course).

Lucy Sez




  1. Zoom indeed, I am amazed at your Alpine progress, very inspiring for me when I get back to Paisley Long Shawl. I love the color & texture combination on your waffle socks, very pretty.

  2. So close to being the first comment!

    I too prefer to buy the books I like rather than just borrow them from the library. I will use the library for books, of course, but if I like what I’ve read, I try to buy it. Both to support the author, and because heck, I never know when I’m going to have an attack of insomnia and be wanting to read a certain novel again at 3 in the morning. That’s something my parents could never understand, but then, I was always a much bigger reader than they were.

  3. You mentioned pre-internet days and I had to laugh. Before the internet I never bought yarn except for one project and I never worked on more than one project at a time. I can even remember, when reading about a knit sock for the first time that I’d never knit a sock. Well, the internet is THE enabler! Funny how one little box can change your life so fast. I love it.
    Sheri in GA

  4. Mary Pat says:

    I almost always borrow current fiction from the library. It saves my money for more important things like – yarn and knitting books. But I do have a stash of other books too that I can always pick up and read on a snowy day or sleepless night.

  5. We have a great consortium of libraries where I live (North Shore Boston)–so I order knitting books from the library. I like to test drive before I buy (if I like more than 2 patterns I will probably buy the book). I like to see what all the fuss is about without sitting on the floor at Barnes and Noble for hours.

  6. Patricia says:

    Wow- the shawl is moving along! Looks like you’re almost done, not halfway.

    I usually have two projects going- big yarn and small yarn projects. Cross-training. With two going, I can usually make progress on one of them (I’m at an easy spot)during the 5-15 minutes between ‘ready to leave for the bus’ and ‘actually walking out the door’. Like this morning- knitting one row on a big yarn shawl vs. picking up gusset stitches on a sock. I had 5 minutes- big yarn won.

  7. I’m working on staying dedicated to one project at a time… I need to finish my North Sea Shawl I started last year… Right now, I’m only knitting socks and my progress still seems slow…someday I’ll dive back into my stash and attempt sweaters again…

    I, too, still buy a lot of books. I go to the library for some books (I have library cards to 3 VA locations and 1 in DC) and renew them if I have to, but agree, it is always nice to read on your own time schedule…

  8. wendy,

    Speaking of the “faster than the speed of light” and/or faster than humanly possible speed with which you complete projects, why do you only list ‘date completed’ in the finished work gallery? I noticed on some of your earlier pieces you had both. Aside from your prodigious output and magnificent workmanship, to complete these things in the short time frame (relative to the rest of us) is nothing short of astounding. That you could do Mara in 3 weeks (and work, and blog and eat and sleep et al) never ceases to amaze me.


  9. Christine says:

    I’m a serial knitter. If I start on another project before finishing the last, it sits in a bag for a very long time if it ever does get finished.

    DH is a sloowwww reader with not much reading time. The thick scifi novels he likes to read usually take him 3-6 months.

    I do both the library and the bookstore. I definitely do more library since I have kids and we’re instilling a love of books and the library in them.

  10. Delurking for a moment, I agree with reading one’s own timetable.

    It is very hard to enjoy a book when you *must* have it returned by a specific date. Also, I live in a rural area. My local library doesn’t have a good selection of SF, paranormal romance, fantasy, etc.

    So, I started using It is like Netflix for paperbacks. I like it so far, but have only been using it about two weeks.


  11. Saturday night must’ve been a bad one for sleeping – I still have NO IDEA how I managed to sleep in such a way that half my body is knotted up!

  12. I’m going to have to work on that knitting monogamy thing. Along with getting thin, in shape, and 50 again…

    Books: I love libraries, but owning books is part of my comfort, the surroundings that make my house feel right. I use libraries a lot, esp. for research, but the time limit is hard. (Book monogamy–never going there; I have more books going than knitting projects). But I did find a book-overload solution: we do an annual used book sale at my church, give all the proceeds to the local homeless shelter building project. Building a new shelter book by book…also an excuse to buy airplane-and-beach books, because I save them over the year and donate them to the booksale.

  13. I use the library for audio books for the 45-minute each way commute. Sometimes I will purchase an audio book but normally then donate it to the library when done. We’re a small, rural town and I have to purchase all my knitting reference books – and NO! I do not give those away ๐Ÿ™‚

    Knitting & Reading are my two vices. In fact, my husband hardly knows what to think when I sit in front of the TV keeping him company at night without one or the other in my hands.

  14. Madeline says:

    If anyone living in the SW Vermont/NW Massachusetts/nearby NY area is looking for a Lucy look-alike, the Second Chance Animal Shelter in Shaftsbury, VT, has Daisy. Daisy is 8 years old with lovely blue eyes and would like a quite home with no children. She can be a little crabby, but also a real love if she takes to you. She likes to sleep on the knitted and crocheted cat cozies, made by several loving shelter volunteers.
    Thank you!

  15. Wendy- I have sunk to the depths of whoredom, and cast on another shawl. I am at one with my faults.

    Your blog gives me something to aspire to.

  16. I use the library occasionally, but I really like owning a book. I re-read them over again and even again.
    I frequent garage sales & used book stores, onky buying “really” new sometimes.

  17. I used to buy books. And knitting books are still bought. But I’m back to the public library – mainly because I’ve had to move too many times and I’m tired of having so many books (I can’t seem to let them go! lolol!). The doc says I have to stop lifting the boxes of books when I move, too! Something about my joints getting old???
    Project monogamy. Hmmm….Wonder if we should start a KAL for that, Wendy? Maybe it would encourage some of us (present company excluded of course!) to FINISH what we start??

  18. Beth P. in Maryland says:

    Hi Wendy,
    Is this gorgeous piece of lace for you, or is it another gift for some incredibly fortunate person?


  19. Marianne says:

    Wendy, your Alpine Lace Shawl is heavenly! It makes me want to run out to buy Victorian Lace Today right now. (I’m trying to talk myself into waiting for a while to do that.) And, I love your Poodle Skirt socks!

    I’m still trying to get up the nerve to knit a pair of socks again; I haven’t done that in 30-something years. I did try a cast-on for the toe-up method (as that’s what I think I did way back when), but I somehow messed up the toe area. I’m thinking about just doing cuff down, just to get a pair underway & done, so I get back in the groove! Also, I’m one who is guilty of having multiple projects going at one time.

    On the books & library question: I always seem to be looking for books that our local library does not have, especially on knitting. In fact, the area library consortium doesn’t even have a number of them. On the fiction ones, I always seem to be looking for one that is so new that they either don’t have it yet or all copies are checked out or are wait-listed from here to eternity. So, I belong to Barnes & Noble’s book club to get their discount on books that I think I just have to have now. My husband reads a lot more than I do, and he seems to be content to wait for the library system to get them in.

  20. The alpine shawl is looking so wonderful!
    Thank you again for your motivational update about your knitting serial style.
    I needed to hear it again! I appreciate it!

  21. Each lacey shawl you knit is prettier than the last one. Thank you for sharing!! Lucy is adorable!

  22. The shawl is already looking lovely. I owe a lot to your example in many ways, including your project monogamy. I modified the principle a bit for myself, up to 3 projects at a time, but I have stuck with it and seen many more projects to completion. It has been inspiring instead of confining. Rules can be awfully stimulating at times.

  23. After 3 years of fairly steady knitting, I’m finally beginning to find a reasonable amount of speed, which helps accumulate FOs. But I have Knitters ADD, with simple projects for visiting my mother or SnB, more complicated ones for at home, and those that start with ‘gotta have that’ yarns. Good thing I have lots of tote bags to keep the projects in!!

    Books, well, check my online name. Every room in our house except the bathrooms has bookcases, most of them with double rows of books. I read them, I skim them, I re-read them, I browse… I do buy at the library’s used book sales, and I contribute non-keepers to them, too. I don’t often buy the ‘book of the moment’, but for those Costco can be a bargain bookstore. I used to work very long hours, so the library was not open when I needed books; ergo, the CBM Library, and no habit of using one now.

    Scritches to Lucy!

  24. Sock Help! I’m coming to the source of my inspiration. Wendy, I have a question. I am a sock knitting addict. I enjoy knitting them IMMENSELY! I use a classic sock pattern and since my hooves are quite genererous 9 1/2 I make mine with 64 stitches on size 2 needles.
    Although some sock yarns call for size 0 or 1 I haven’t attempted those sizes yet because I’m not sure on the # of stitches. How many do you increase to offset using a smaller needle? I appreciate your time.

  25. baby that thumb ๐Ÿ™‚
    i wish i could give lucy a little nose kissy!

  26. I envy your monogamy. Jane in my knitting group is like you in that she knits lightning-fast, in large part due to her monogamy (and the fact that she’s been knitting for 30 years).

    I’m too easily seduced by the next pretty yarn and/or way-cool pattern in my possession. I can’t resist casting on for yet something else, even as there are ten other things on the needles. Startitis, I think it’s called. I really wish I could catch “finishitis”.

    Gosh that shawl is pretty, even unblocked. How would rate it, difficulty-wise? Is it interesting enough for you?

  27. I love libraries. I check out books on CD and load them on my iPod (to listen to while knitting!). We get kids’ books on CD for family car trips. I borrow most of the books I read — I could not possibly keep all the books I read, and those that I do buy (because my book club book is wait-listed too long, for instance) I usually pass on when I’m done. My collection of knitting books is growing, and those I almost always keep, so far.

  28. my local library will let me renew an item up to 4 times (3 weeks at a time!), unless someone wants it. right now i’ve got a book i’ve renewed 3 times (i finally got to it today, lol) as a result, i usually have 20 books more out at a time. and yes, i knit and read too, lol.

  29. i was just googleing fair isle and came across your fearless fair isle knit a long. would you be doing any other knit a longs?
    you could make it challengeing or easy. aran or colorwork or both you could even throw in some lace. but that might be a little too challenging. a cabled cardi with a colorwork yoke.
    just a thought have a great day Siouxz

  30. A de-lurker!

    About serial knitting, although I am myself a monogamous knitter, I am constantly fighting the huge to cast on a new project. I find that knitting begets knitting. What usually stops me is my stash, I only buy yarn when I know exactly what Iยดll do with it.

    Books, on the other hand, are a serial problem for me. I buy and buy and buy and buy… and eventually read.

    Your shawl is really gorgeous.

  31. Ugh! If I only I could stay faithful to ONE project at a time, I would actually have more FO’s…

    I keep telling myself that, but does it change?! You do inspire me to get into the habit of having one (ok, maybe 2) big WIP’s going at once.

  32. In pre-internet days, I had more $$, less yarn ๐Ÿ˜‰ But now it’s more fun too, I may not even be knitting if not for the ‘net. The shawl is a beauty!

  33. That’s interesting to think of pre-internet knitting. I hadn’t thought of it in regards to how I knit. I have noticed I’m more daring in my choices, as there is so much information on how to do stuff (steeks were my internet breakthrough).

    The shawl is looking beautiful!

  34. Even when I couldn’t knit and crochet, I had a yarn stash! My mom and grandma and aunts crochet, and I always wanted to become a crocheter. I finally learned, but knitting fit me better so I rarely crochet (but I love the look of a crocheted border even though I dislike crocheting, so I buck up and do it sometimes).

    I like to buy books over borrowing them. I’ve started utilizing the library for knitting books. I borrow it, see if I like it or if I find interest in using it in the future, return the book (unfinished), and buy it when I get the money. This has stopped me from doing what I used to do – buy books and then discover they didn’t have what I wanted in them. I am a HUGE fan of but they rarely have knitting books posted. It’s a great place to get last year’s best sellers, though ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. I’ve never found a library yet that keeps up with it’s science fiction/fantasy collection. I rarely use the library as a result. If I’m looking to read some other genre then I might go to the library but in the 3 years I’ve lived in this city I’ve gone to the library twice. This makes me kind of sad. In the small town I grew up in the librarian would actually order in the books I read since I was a voracious reader and she wanted to encourage it. I haven’t found that same level of interest any where else (plus it probably helped that she also enjoyed sci-fi/fantasy).

  36. I love owning books. It’s a record of what I’ve read, great decoration, my own 24-hour library, and home comfort all at the same time. Working in a couple different bookstores in the past years hasn’t helped either. I rarely go to the library, only if I need something for reference, because I love to keep the books I read.

    That said, a couple times a year I do take a bag to the local used bookstore, but it is very hard to part with most things.

    My boyfriend is the same and when we moved in together in September, it was like getting my own personal library. ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. I, too, like to buy books rather than go to the library. First because I love being surrounded by books. Second, because I’m really bad about returning them on time. It’s not that don’t read them quickly enough. In fact, I seem to read them too quickly. I finish reading it and forget I have it. When I was a kid, my fines got so high, the library refused to let me check out books. My father donated several sackfuls of books to cancel it out. So, now I avoid the library, except for research purposes.

  38. Wow, the Alpine shawl is going to be beauuuuti-ful!

  39. Speaking of books, did you know that there is a reference to your Knitty article “Tiptop Toes,”in Shannon Okey’s book, Spin to Knit (p 99)?

    I’d circle the reference in the book, but it’s a library copy.

  40. The shawl is looking incredibly gorgeous! Love it! I am also loving Cookie A.’s patterns. I bought a ton of them at Stitches west. Wanted to mention that I am running a contest over at my blog involving some lace incase you’re interested.

  41. I like the idea of “at-home socks.” I’ve just recently made a list of some of the more intricate sock patterns I’ve accumulated and want to make, among the “Thelonius” and “Pomatomus” socks by Cookie A.

    A lot of my socks are for knitting at meetings and lectures, and I do an awful lot of “routine 14” sock knitting. But I’d really like to do some of these fancier patterns.

    After making the list I cast on for Nancy Bush’s “Birch Leaf” socks from A Gathering of Lace. I swatched for them ages ago, and now it’s time.

  42. I usually buy my books. I used to go to the library religiously after work and borrow and return books, but anytime I wanted to have a book out for a long time I would just hold onto it (a very bad habit) until sometimes I could have just bought the book or two of them for the cost of fines.

    I also reread books all the time, so I buy anything I think I’m going to want to read again.

  43. I’m surprised that you bought some of the Cookie A patterns! I love them, and can’t wait to try them- but I thought I remember you saying you like doing plain sock patterns because your feet are sensitive to the feeling of the patterning? Or are you doing them just for the sake of knitting and a beautiful pattern?

  44. I use the library for books I’ll read once, but never go back to, like all of those self-help books about how to be organized – after all, the first step in being organized is not buying a ton of stuff you’ll never look at again, right? (For all of those books I’ve read, my desk still looks like my filing cabinet threw up on it.)

    For fiction, I like to have a big library at home, I like to sit and re-organize my books. They just generally make me happy to have and pick up, and stuff.

  45. the Alpine is beautiful.
    hi Lucy!

  46. Wow, you really are zooming along, it looks fabulous!!

  47. Wendy,
    What camera do you have? Yours takes such wonderful close-up shots. I can’t seem to do this with my digital. I just finished my first sweater, a lovely little victorian lace number for my granddaughter. I tried to photograph it and the pictures weren’t very good at all. I’d like to see the stitches and patterns cleanly in a close-up as you are able to. I know enough to know that the pixels will make a difference and after that I know nothing.

    Anything you can do to enlighten me would be helpful.

    Thank you! Hi Lucy!

  48. I wanted to comment on the library discussion. I am a huge reader (what is it with knitting, cats and books always going together?) and got my first library card at age 4. I have been to the library at least twice a month my entire life. But some books must be owned!! I agree with Judith who said that owning books is part of her comfort–mine, too. There is nothing else in life that compares to a new book that hasn’t been opened yet. And yes, I do want to support the authors.

    Add to that the fact that the fantasy section at many libraries are sometimes out-of-date or just get one or two copies of a book I am dying to read–I would just give up and go buy it instead of waiting six months to read it.

    Wendy, as usual, your work is fabulous and Lucy is beautiful.

  49. The topic of comments is very interesting. Up until recently, I rarely posted comments. I think I thought I didn’t have anything interesting to say. Plus, I felt outside of the blog community because I don’t have a blog. But after spending more time than I’d like to admit reading blogs, I began to feel like a voyeur. I knew all these things about people’s knitting, pets, vacations, etc. It actually began to feel weird. Over time, I’ve felt more a part of the community and have started to comment. Wendy, your blog makes people feel especially welcome. There are many things to find in your blog … top notch knitting, beautiful yarns, discussions of everything from what kind of needle’s people prefer to our library use. Plus, the ability to be in touch with the infamous Lucy … how we love her!!!

    As far as the library goes, I’m with those who like to read at their leisure. Knowing I have to get books back to the library within a certain timeframe takes away from my pleasure of reading.

  50. You have made quite a bit of progress. It is sooo pretty.