My current work in progress:

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


Yet Another Blog Post Based on Questions From the Comments

We are feeling slightly less than stellar here at WendyKnits (nothing serious, though), so I am resorting to answering comments questions in lieu of actually coming up with something creative.

Susan asked:
So did the Morehouse Merino meet your expectations? I have some in my stash and have used it for small lace scarves but it seems a bit overspun – lots of twisting. Did it block as well as you expected (it looks perfect from the photos.)

It did meet my expectations! While it looks a bit overspun and twisty, it blocked out beautifully. When I unpinned it, it shrunk back only an inch or two.

I had a total of ten skeins of this wool, and I only used 4.5 of them for this lace piece. So I’ve got enough for another good-sized project.

Mary Anne asked:
Do you ever have to rip anything? I am working on a lace veil from Victorian Lace Today and I have ripped that sucker out so many times. Now I hate it. Am I the only one with this problem?

I very rarely have to rip anything, because I pay very close attention while I’m knitting. This is particularly true of lace knitting. Ripping lace can be a major headache, so I keep a close watch on it. If I’ve done something wonky, I always find it in the next row, and at that point it’s pretty easy to fix.

Lynn asked:
Okay, so how do you keep Ms. Lucy from clawing the lace? Do I remember correctly than she is declawed, at least in front? My beasties would find a way to make any knit object even more lacy than it was to begin with, given free rein and their druthers.

You are correct that Lucy was declawed when she came to live with me. She does have her hind claws, but she never seems to use them destructively. All her toys are in very good shape — she is very gentle with them.

Here she is with a new toy she got from her Auntie L-B for Easter — a baby chick that actually peeps when you press its tummy.


She is quite intrigued by it.

Peeve asked:
Oooh, I have a question I’ve been meaning to ask. I’ve knit lots of lace before, but I tend to head for fingering weight when knitting lace, because I find the tiny yarn with big needles thing difficult to deal with. Do you use big needles with small yarn or do you adjust the needle size down to suit?

The answer? It depends. ๐Ÿ™‚ I usually follow the pattern recommendations. If I’m designing a lace piece, I’ll swatch to see how the pattern looks in various needle sizes and choose the one I like best. Generally speaking, I fin that I use a US 4 or 5 with laceweight yarns and a 5-7 for fingering weight yarns. With some variations, of course.

Deborah asked:
I have some blocking wires too. Can you describe *how* you run them through the edge stitches so as not to distort them too much? Which part of the stitch do you put the wire through?

The Alpine lace has a garter stitch edging. I ran the wires through the last stitch at each edge, running it through each stitch — sorta like you’d run a sewing needle through fabric if you are sewing a basting stitch. It’s a bit time-consuming, but it’s really worthwhile to try to thread it through each stitch to get a nice smooth edge.

Of course Lucy was helping by joyously batting at the other end of the blocking wire as I did this.

In the book (Victorian Lace Today) I noticed that the Alpine lace was blocked by pinning it out — the edging was pulled out into points. I did not like the look of that — I like the smooth edging much better for this piece.

On to mitered square questions now.


Mary asked:
Wendy, when you first showed us the mitered squares you explained that you’re alternating brown and green (with a dash of other colors) and that you’re not keeping the colors in any sort of order.

Now that the piece is larger, are you still eyeballing it or do you have a some sort of a master color plan? Also, will you have enough yarn for the whole sweater in all the colors? Do you anticipate running out of anything? And are the front and back going to match?

I am still eyeballing it. I have 16 different yarns. I put them all in a tote bag, and pull them out one by one to use. After I knit a square, I put that yarn in a second tote bag, and pull another yarn from the first tote bag to use. When I’ve emptied the first tote bag of all yarn, I then start over — put all the yarns in the “to be used” tote bag and once again randomly select yarns to knit. This way I don’t keep picking the same ball of yarn over and over. I am doing this it random, except that I’m alternating predominantly green and predominantly brown squares.

Will I have enough yarn for the entire sweater? I have 16 balls of yarn that average 350 – 450 yards each. (Some of the yarns, like the Claudia, come in smaller skeins that you need 2 for a pair of socks. In those cases, I wound 2 smaller skeins into one ball). If I multiply 350 by 16, I get 5600 yards of yarn — way more than necessary to complete this sweater. So I will not run out of yarn. And I won’t run out of any single color because I’m making sure to use each skein an equal number of times.

Are the front and back going to match? No. But I will make sure that at the side seams the colors will alternate. Same with the sleeves.

Punkin in Oregon asked:
Regarding the miters, it looks like you have waste yarn through the top of the last finished row – am I correct? I am studying it closely to learn the best way to connect the blocks. Will there be a lot of sewing when it is finished?

Looking at my photo, it does look like there is a waste yarn through the top of the squares, but no there isn’t.

I’m slipping the first stitch of each row on the squares to make a nice chained edge. And when I start a new square, I connect it to the next one by knitting up stitches in those edge chains.


I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to sew it together. It did occur to me that I could knit the thing as one huge piece and just sew up the side seams, but I don’t think I’m going to do that. I don’t relish having the entire sweater on my lap as I knit those last squares. So it will be knit in pieces. I’ve not yet decided how I will put it together. I’m toying with the idea of picking up stitches along the edges to be seamed and doing a three-needle bind-off and making a garter ridge as I bind off.

I’m knitting in the ends as I do each square — here’s a peek at the wrong side:


Meribeth asked:
I have a question since I have difficulty with “visualization” Would mitering look good with heathered yarn? A different color for each block?

I say yes. A lot depends on the yarn. It would be pretty quick to do a little swatch and see what you think.

I’ve got some lovely handpainted silk in stash (the same yarn I used for my kimono jacket, but in greens). I’m thinking about a short sleeve summer top made from mitered squares for that yarn.

Lucy Sez:


I rule by the power of my adorableness!


  1. Cathy-Cate says:

    Echoing the ‘royal We’, We love the Q&A! There’s no such thing as a dumb question, because any question asked is almost certainly a question that others wonder about as well, so it’s a public service to have these posts, rather than a copout!
    Feel better, play with Lucy who hopefully is continuing to improve, and keep on miterin’ — looks awesome!

  2. Patricia says:

    I enjoy the Q&A blogs too! Inquiring minds….

    Go Lucy!

  3. The Alpine lace is gorgeous!

    I really like how the mitered square sweater is coming along. I’d never heard of the mitered squares before you started the sweater and I’ve recently found instructions how to do them so I can give them a try. I learn so many great things from reading your blog.

    LOL! Lucy does indeed rule by the power of her adorableness.

  4. Meribeth, I did a mitered square tank top in a variegated yarn, and it turned out pretty neat. Each square changes color in a different sequence. It might not be something you like, but I like the result.

    Thanks for spending the time to answer our questions, Wendy! It’s really cool to have someone of your talent to bounce ideas off of.

    Purrs to Lucy.

  5. Wendy, I do believe you have just revealed to us mere mortals how you accomplish so much, knitting wise: “I very rarely have to rip anything…”

    Your process for using the various yarns for the sqaures makes the way they are patterning even more interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

    Tummy rubs for Princess Lucy!

  6. Wendy- I am working on the Spider Web Shawl -full hexagon- in the KSH. Being the Knitting Masochist that I am, I have ripped no less than 3 times.

    In Kid Silk Haze. Need I say more?
    I am in the Fifth Ring of Handknitting Hell.

  7. I just love your Alpine Lace shawl! It had me making a trip to my LYS for yarn and I’ve been staring at it in my VLT book too. (gotta finish another project first). If you’re looking for an interesting movie the next time you’re working on a VLT project, see if you can find Victoria and Albert. It’s an A&E/BBC production (along the lines of Pride & Prejudice); two discs, about 200 minutes total. While Victoria didn’t knit in the movie, it was interesting to watch the changing fashions and the ever-increasing presence of lace! Gave me a whole new appreciation for VLT.

  8. Oh, there’s my pet peeve. Wendy rarely has to rip anything. Yup! She pays very close attention even when she doesn’t appear to be paying any attention at all. Or paying too much attention to me ripping away when I wasn’t paying attention.

  9. Hi Wendy! I’m very much enjoying the Q&As as well. The mitered sweater is looking divine, the colors are beautiful. It must be even more so in person… Lucy, of course, looks too adorable for words today – the kids tell me to send her lots of tummy rubs!

  10. I also love your Q&A blog entries, Wendy. You’re such a good teacher. And the power of Lucy’s adorableness is, indeed, quite powerful. And adorable. I especially love her in those “Oh, put on some pants!” poses!

  11. alright – maybe *that* explains why i’m not enjoying knitting my first lace – it’s lace weight on 8s. and it doesn’t help that it’s mohair… i am a newbie, and no one warned me how much harder it is to frog mohair. oops.

    thanks for the Q&A post – i learn a lot from almost all of your posts, but the Q&As are a whole other level of enlightening.

  12. Fluff! Fluff! Fluff! Lucy is the Queen of Fluffiness.

  13. Lucy’s right, you know. She does rule and she is so very adorable. Sure hope you do a 2008 Lucy calendar, we are enjoying the 2007 one a great deal! What a star!

    I hate knitting mitres, but I’m impressed by the look of your work. It’ll be lovely.

  14. anonymous says:

    Hey, Wendy, does Lucy ever have those “d’oh” moments where she is puzzled by something and all you want to do is laugh?

  15. Awwww! Lucy got her baby chick after all. Auntie L-B knows how to spoil the girl, huh?

  16. Hi Wendy,

    I think this is my first time visiting your blog. I keep hearing about it though. Good Q/A.

    I had to post to tell you how much I like that mitered squares piece. The colours are wonderful. A lot of my faves.

  17. Hi Wendy,

    I think this is my first time visiting your blog. I keep hearing about it though. Good Q/A.

    I had to post to tell you how much I like that mitered squares piece. The colours are wonderful. A lot of my faves.

  18. (Huge sigh) I think all these pics of mitered loveliness are going to do me in. I have three different colorways of blue Sockotta and I no longer think of them as sock yarn. In my mind, they are now a short sleeve summer pullover.
    I wish Lucy would have a talk with my collie. I need to find someone who can communicate with her that adorable posing on the floor will reap even more pats than a cold nose on the arm.

  19. I think my Sam would have a great time helping with the blocking wires. My dog Apollo would definitely be in there helping out too. Silly beast.

    Lucy is a Queen. Pet her.

  20. Sensational miters. Can’t wait to see it done.

  21. Lucy has the cutest ‘tocks ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m loving the miters more every day!

    Thanks for the blogiversary wishes!

  22. OK, seriously. I want to kiss the kitty belly.

  23. Thank you so much for answering my question about mitered squares. I now have a better understanding of the process. The backside of the sweater looks great! and the colors are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your work. I think I have to knit some squares.

  24. Meribeth says:

    Thanks for answering my question too, Wendy. And you too Nicole.

    I read your blog and get inspired and I learn so darn much! The task is to get the speed up and the skills up…so I can *keep* up. I hope you are feeling much better…and I like the Q&A too.

    Another belly shot! Lucy Eye Candy in the morning. Can’t get better than that.

  25. Marianne Y says:

    Your Alpine Lace is fabulous, Wendy! I did not get a chance to post to your column from Tues. I love it over your pale pink chair! Do you think the Alpine Lace would be ok knit in fingering weight yarn so it would be easier to rip out, as I am learning to knit lace?

    Lucy looks adorable with her baby chick toy. I have one little dog who plays nicely with her toys and takes care of them, and I have one little dog who destroys his toys in minutes. Our furry friends can be intriguing at times with their different personalities.

    We have a Winter Storm Warning here in mid-Michigan, beginning this afternoon. Ughh!! That just should not be on April 11th!

    I hope you all are feeling better very soon!

  26. Hi,
    Quck question: Do you use continental knitting techniques? I’m a long time thrower and am trying to teach myself continental K and P. Is it worth teaching an old dog new tricks??

  27. I have to tell you, in the picture of Lucy and her baby chick, the expression on her face is great! I’m glad she finally has a baby chick, since her Heifer Intl chicks never seemed to arrive …

    The mitered squares are really intriguing to me. I just cannot imagine the finished sweater, and so can’t wait to see it!

  28. Now you KNOW I love everything you knit up. I have hunted down and purchased many books you’ve mentioned. But this mitered square sweater….I’m not so sure about it. It looks like it will make a beautiful beautiful blanket!! But I can’t seem to picture it as a sweater. I can’t wait to see the completed project.

  29. There seems to be quite a bit of mitering fever going around … the sweater will be lovely!

    Glad to see that Lucy finally got a chick. Well on her way to having her own flock?

  30. Lucy’s Peep is adorable…and she does look quite enamoured of it!
    I’m just amazed at the mitres…it’s so cool!

  31. Anita May says:

    I was so “captured” by your alpine lace back when you started it that I had to order Victorian Lace Today from Amazon. Well, it arrived last week and as my teen-age(okay, she’ll be 20 tomorrow, but I don’t look that old, ha!)thumbed through it she said, “Mom, you don’t wear things like this. Why did you buy this book?” She obviously does not understand the knitting for the sake of knitting concept, yet. We’ll work on that more when she’s out of college!

  32. Wendy, is there any chance you’ll be teaching a class, say at Stitches East? Your blog is always such a great resource on a number of topics and you seem to be the teaching type (says one to another :>).

    The Alpine is gorgeous and thanks for sharing the mitering details – I may yet be inspired to try miters.


  33. Ann in CT says:

    I was going to celebrate that Lucy finally got a chick, but Judy beat me too it.
    Does Lucy manage to set the peeping off?

  34. Anne Leedham says:

    Knitiquette question: I was knitting in my office (a quad space – so no chance for privacy) during my lunch break when someone came in to ask me a question. I answered the question along with other questions that came up from the first answer. And I continued knitting. I’ve since found out that she considered my knitting during the discussion rude. I will talk to her about my perceived rudeness. Any suggestions for the next time? Is there a guideline or just common sense? I would stop reading a book if interupted. Perhaps I should use that as my guideline.

  35. I made a lace shawl from the Morehouse Merino laceweight about 15 years ago and it’s held up extremely well. This is a shawl I use all the time and am not particularly careful with it,and have even washed it in the washing machine. Since it’s something I grab almost everyday, I don’t bother blocking it anymore but if I did, I bet it would look as good as it did when first completed.