My current work in progress:

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


Provisional Cast-on for a Triangular Shawl

ETA: Okay, okay. I changed the labelsย  below the photos to be briefer since so many of you complained about them interrupting the flow of the entry. The text in parentheses below will be at the top of each entry. Happy now? ๐Ÿ˜‰

(The links below the photosย  take you to smaller versions of the photos hosted on the WendyKnits server — if you can’t see the photos, click on the links.)

Karen M writes:
I wonder if you can help me with the cast on for Kiri. I keep screwing it up despite having read about it and trying it several times. I am so frustrated . . .

The cast-on used for Kiri is similar to one that I’ve used for other triangular shawls. It can be fiddly, particularly if you are doing it in mohair. When I started Kiri, I had my doubts about my cast-on, wondering if I was going to have to rip it out and start over. I decided to wait until I had a couple of inches done, and look at it again. It turned out just fine.

So I thought I’d do a pictorial here on the Kiri cast-on. I’m doing this in a non-fuzzy yarn so it’ll be easier to see what’s going on.

The first thing you do is cast on 3 stitches using a provisional cast-on. I crocheted a chain using waste yarn with a few more loops than I needed, like so:


Crochet Chain Photo

Using the yarn for the shawl, I knit 3 stitches into 3 loops of the chain made from the waste yarn:



Knit Into Chain Photo and Knit Into Chain 2 Photo

Then I knit 14 rows:


14 Rows Photos

Now, the instructions tell you to knit up 1 stitch in each of the ridges created by the garter stitch. I have 14 rows, so I have 7 garter stitch ridges. I pick up and knit 7 stitches:




Pick Up Photo and Pick Up 2 Photo and Pick Up 3 Photo

Now I undo the provisional cast-on and knit those last three stitches:


Undo Cast-on Photo

I have a total of 13 stitches — the 3 “live” stitches I started with, the 7 stitches picked up from the garter ridge, and 3 stitches picked up from the provisional cast-on.


Cast-on Complete Photo

Now I can start following the directions for working the shawl.

Here’s the cast-on edge in my Kiri:


Kiri Edge Photo

And here’s how I am knitting Kiri:


Kiri Photo

As you can see, Lucy is an integral part of the process!


Kiri Photo

I haven’t gotten much knitting time in on Kiri this weekend — the KOARC and I put on our geek hats yesterday and installed Windows Vista on one of my dad’s computers. It went pretty smoothly, but it took over 5 hours to get everything installed and configured correctly!

So, to distract you from my appalling lack of progress, wool pr0n!


Sock Yarn Photo

This lovely skein of sock yarn is a wool/silk blend from the dyepot of the lovely Rabbitch. Y’all knew she opened an online shop, right?

The colorway of this skein is Tokyo Rose. The name of the yarn just cracks me up:


Sock Yarn Label Photo

Book Giveaway

The winner of the Martha Grimes mystery novel is Mary H. Mary, I’ve emailed you.

Lucy Sez


Lucy Photo

“Come play hide and seek with me?”


  1. Lynne E. says:

    Blog design suggestion: Could you change the message that says “If you can’t see the photo, click here:” to a smaller typeface? Because I can see the photos, I find it quite distracting to read this message over and over again. I do this because the “click here” message displays in the same size type as the blog text. With that one exception, I think your new blog is great–the photos are indeed much sharper.

  2. Lucy the cat assisting as you knit Lucy the shawl is very cute! As is that final picture of Lucy the cat.

  3. Second Lynne E’s comment above. Or is there a way to make the photos themselves links and then just have one announcement somewhere at the beginning or end of the blog entry. Otherwise, I like the new format a lot.

    Love Lucy’s coloring. Wonder how she would look knit up as a Bohus?

  4. Everyone seems to be in purple mood. Every single blog I have seen today has purplish something. It might be in the air!

  5. Thanks for showing the cast on. It’s one thing to read instructions and another to see them.

    Rabbitch is always good for a giggle when it comes to the names ofher yarns and colorways. I swear she was a sailor in another lifetime.

  6. Marianne Y says:

    Aaahhh, Lucy, you’re quite the knitting helper cutie, and you look cute while you’re at it. And your mama’s shawl yarn goes great with your coloring!

    Wendy, thank you for showing the Kiri caston. I’m not planning to do one anytime soon, but I’m always interested in learning or at least seeing new techniques.

    Have you all noticed the size differences in DPN’s between various brands for the same quoted size number? I’ve noticed that some are consistently smaller for the same quoted size than others. I guess for this reason, I wish that knitting patterns would name the brand of the knitting needle, in addition to the size. I have seen some patterns that name the brand, and for a long time I could not understand why, but now that I have my own needle collections, I do understand. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for publishing the help for the Kiri Cast-on. It helped a lot!

  8. Jill D. says:

    Those pictures of Lucy are so cute!! I have a couple pictures of my Tigger “helping” me knit…want to see?

    Of course I was taking the pictures so I couldn’t take any shots of my actually knitting ๐Ÿ™‚
    It’s so funny how she just lays there and twitches her little ear when my working yarn or knitting brushes her while she sleeps. Kitties are so great.

  9. One thing that’s REALLY important to note about the provisional cast-on is that you make the chain, turn it over, and pick up stitches in the bumps in the back of the chains. The first couple of times I tried to do this, I didn’t know that you can’t just pick up the stitches anywhere along the chain and unzip it – you’ve got to go into those bumps in the back of the chain. I struggled with this for a while, not understanding at all why so many knitters loved this cast-on method, until I found one random set of instructions that noted this detail, and I wonder if that’s the part that Karen’s having problems with.

  10. Angeluna says:

    That was quite enlightening. Thank you. Wonderful to see Lucy assisting you. My cats assist by sitting around at my feet watching. They never bother my yarn. Are they normal?

    Gotta say, Toe Jam is pretty hysterical!

  11. Angeluna says:

    Ooops forgot. First, I third Lynne and Chris’s comments above. That line of text under the photos is quite distracting. Perhaps just if the photo title was “active”? Or is this an imposed WordPress thing?

    On needle sizes, it really helps to look at the centimeter sizing. I constantly measure my needles with a gauge as it is just too easy to make mistakes. And even then, disaster is possible.

    I was knitting a sock ML on a Knitpicks sz.1. Started knitting its partner on an Addi Lace sz.1. Tested both in my gauge tester and they were identical…2.5 cm. I started knitting on the Addi, and 3″ into the sock, realized that I was getting a significantly larger gauge on the Addi. What gives there?? I know I get a different gauge on the same size circulars or DPNs or wooden needles, so I never change those. But I was surprised that between the Addis and KPs of the same size, the difference was so significant.

  12. Nice explanations as usual. Love the Lucy photo.

  13. I am determined to master the provisional cast on, and this helps a lot, thanks!

    Lucy helps you knit just like my cats help me (fortunately, most of the time, only one is helping). It kills me how they occasionally give you a dismayed look when you move, but otherwise aren’t miserable enough to get down …

    Love the hide-and-seek picture! Happy holiday weekend.

  14. Holy cow. I hadn’t planned to knit Kiri, but that cast-on is so cool I may have to try it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Gracie likes to help me knit too, but she’s considerably less helpful than Lucy (or Tigger, or Angeluna’s cats). There is a lot of yarn-gnawing and needle-hugging and general foolishness going on during these help sessions!

  15. I just happened to have acquired 3 skeins of Kidsilk Haze in a lovely Royal Blue for ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I do believe I will be using this little tutorial quite soon.
    What an awesome caston. But I bet it’s not as easy in fuzzy yarn as it looks in pictures, eh?

  16. I appreciate your showing the crochet cast on for Kiri. Thanks!

    I must tell you I love the addition of the “Random Lucy Pics” – your little girl really cracks me up!

  17. Hi Wendy! I just finished Kiri about a month and a half ago (there’s some pics on my blog from mid-April) and wore it to church this morning! I made mine a bit smaller b/c I just got tired of doing it! Mostly I just wanted it to be finished so I could see it and wear it all blocked ‘n stuff! I had to fiddle a bit w/ my cast on b/c I didn’t get that “knit up” 7 stitches was “English” for “pick up”-hahaha! what a dope….

  18. Since I used a mohair blend for the Kiri, one thing that helped me with the cast-on was to use cotton yarn for the waste yarn. It really helped combat the sticky nature of the yarn. I thought I’d just throw that up there just in case. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love the pictures of Lucy helping you with your knitting. Pressie sometimes tries to help me spin. I did try to teach Cookie how to knit, you can see it here.

  19. Out of curiosity, is there a particular reason that shawl has that kind of cast on? I can understand how it would make the bottom point more rounded, but couldn’t that be done just as easily by casting on a few stitches and increasing at the ends until you get to the needed amount, and then taking care with the blocking to shape it properly?

  20. Nice Kiri and I love how Lucy is helping you with the knitting. She’s one smart kitty!

    ps: I hope you don’t think I only come here to see Lucy. I really do enjoy your knitting, your photos and your stories :). Just is, Lucy is the icing on the cake, so to speak.

  21. That cast on is so clever I can hardly stand it. It’s funny, I don’t really like triangular shawls, but I have Kiri bookmarked for some reason.

  22. Aussie Rosemary says:

    Agree with Lynne E and Susanna in Seattle above. I have made some socks using your pattern from 5/10/07 [ how’s that -I even wrote the American way of stating the date] The toe method 2 seems to work better for me but I end up with little ‘bumps’ at the corners of the initial cast on. I wonder if slipping the stitch at the beginning of the first rows might help. Also,when increasing for the gusset, to lessen scrunching of the sock at the instep ,I got a really good fit by using short rows. After every 2nd increase round I purled back on the sole stitches – not forgetting to wrap. A bit fiddly but a great result for my foot. My one-eyed Jess says hello to Lucy.

  23. Do you have to crank up the airconditioning when Lucy helps you knit? Two Whippets draped over me in the Winter is cozy. In the Summer I melt. Do I kick them off the sofa? Of course not!

  24. Aussie Rosemary says:

    Agree with Lynne E and Susanna in Seattle above.

    I have made socks using your pattern 5/10/07. The toe method 2 suits me but I end up with bumps at either end of the initial cast on. I wonder if slipping the beginning stitch of the first rows would help.Also,to lessen ‘scrunching’ at the instep,when increasing for the gusset I use short rows .After every second increase round, I purl back along the sole[not forgetting to wrap] A bit fiddly but a great fit for my foot. Love to LUCY

  25. The new site looks great Wendy! Just a quick comment for any knitters who would like to use the ‘crochet chain’ cast on and don’t own a crochet hook – if you cast on using the ‘knitting on’ method where you knit into the stitch you’ve just made, then pull it all off the needle at the end, you end up with a crochet chain.

  26. Wendy- “Toe Jam”.


  27. Karen M says:

    I will try this as soon as I get one of three projects off the needles……

    I wanted to thank you quickly, cause that was really great of you to do that for me! I’ve been puzzled by that cast-on in so many cases for AGES!

    Karen =)

  28. Wendy in Cambridge says:

    Kiri is lovely. I may have to do one, too.

    I particularly like the photos of your very able assistant. I have an assistant, also, but usually the knitting is on my lap and she’s sitting on top of it!

  29. Kiri is lovely.

    Thanks for the tutorial. I have yet to try a lace shawl and I am sure that this will help me when ever I am brave enough to give it a go.

    Lucy looks like she is a nice knitting arm rest. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  30. Ann Carpenter says:

    Hi Wendy and Lucy!! I have to say I do like your new-style blog. It is easier for me to read and the pics do come through nicely. So, your Kiri has encouraged me to start one too. I am using a laceweight that I got from Mystical Creations. I don’t think it has a name but it is blue, green, purple, and lime. Bright but I love bright things. So far we are going well. I’m up to the third row of the repeat with three repeats of the lace stitches. Keep your fingers crossed. I got through the NASCAR race without any boo boos so that was a real triumph, especially when Dale Jr. had to stop for gas when he was leading at the very last. Damn!!! He’s my pet driver. Princess George the tortie kitty blessed us with five new boos last night. There are two reds, two torties, and a solid gray. They are darling and she is trying to be a good mom. Her littermates outside have been lousy mothers but, since she’s inside maybe she’ll be better. We can keep her better fed and move her to the front bath if the other indoors bother her. I just hope she doesn’t decide to run away. She’s bad to want to go out the door any time it opens. At least she’s inside since it is trying to rain a lot. I’ve, unfortunately, gotten so I can’t go to sleep unless it starts sprinkling and, hopefully, thundering. Then I’m off in seconds, otherwise I lie awake for hours. Oh well, at least we’re getting rain. That’s a little unusual for us.
    Ann in Dallas, Texas

  31. I think Lucy wants a Kiri cat bed, if ya ask me ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Theresa in Italy says:

    Thank you for demonstrating the Kiri cast on. Not like I’m going to get to it any time soon, but it’s on my list. Lucy looks adorable in your lap, but I’m just as happy that my 120-lb dog doesn’t try to “help” me when I’m knitting! Enjoy your loooong weekend!

  33. Wendy, thanks for the tutorial. The Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style is inching its way towards the top of my to-do list, and it starts with that same cast-on. It sounded weird, but now I can see it looks really neat!

  34. Ann in CT says:

    Lucy is so cute. Now, my 70 lbs Goldens like to sit in my lap when I knit, then they complain the yarn tickles their ears. And people say cats are fussy.

  35. Thank you for the clear pictures! I wish I had seen them a week ago LOL ;0) Perhaps my stole pattern cast on isn’t so odd after all….

    I Love Lucy ;0)

    Tilly and the 2 Oriental cats, Suzy and Macey,
    Mid Wales, UK

  36. Do you listen to Christa Knits podcast? She interviews Rabbitch in her most recent ‘cast. It will make you wonder what your colorway was called before it was named Tokyo Rose. But she does get a bit graphic . . .

  37. Would this shawl be a good one for someone who is just starting lace ?
    It looks so lovely- I doubt it!
    I was a bit confused on where you pick up those 7 stiches from garter bumps.Do you turn your work ? and front t or back?
    I love your new look!

  38. Thank you Wendy for the wonderful step by step instructions for the provisional cast on and the beginnings of Kiri! I especially love our girl Lucy “wearing” the shawl before you~~Love your new site.

  39. That’s one of the best pictures of Lucy at the bottom there. Oh, and the squinty one with the Kiri on her back. You can tell she adores the attention.

  40. Oh, and I love the new comments look. The rest of your website’s features made the transition seamlessly, but I’m glad the comments look snazzier.

  41. I cannot believe Lucy (and the other posters’s cats) just sits there and lets you knit on her! My cats eat yarn and go CRAZY when I knit. I have to fend them off with a variety of tricks, like squirty water bottles and distracting toys.

    Lucy is so adorable — I have three furbabies, two DSH shelter cats, and one Maine Coon rescue. I don’t know what I’d do without them!

    Take care!

  42. “Interrupting the flow of the entry.” OK.


    You know, seeing your Kiri cast-on tutorial is a great thing – I know I did mine properly!

  43. I LOVE the picture of Lucy helping with Kiri! She’s a much better helper than either of my little helpers, both of whom decide to EAT the yarn while they’re helping.

    And thanks for the photo-tutorial on the Kiri cast on! I thought that I understood the instructions, but it still helps to see an acomplished knitter show me the process.

  44. Hi Wendy! I just finished your sportweight toe up sock..and I have to say, I’M IN LOVE with this pattern!!!! For the life of me I can’t figure the short row heel out and love the “gusset heel” you included with that pattern! I think this may very well be my absolute favorite sock pattern on the entire our galaxy! Since this is my “summer of socks”, this pattern will be very well loved this summer and on many feet come this fall. Thanks so much for sharing, it’s certainly made my summer!

  45. Annette says:

    Didn’t I see you and the KOARC in that Mac commercial? : )

  46. Great picture tutorial, Wendy! Thanks! : )

  47. Michelle from Arizona says:

    Uncanny timing on the tutorial for the provisional cast on for shawls. I was reading that exact same cast on last night trying in my mind to see how it was going to work. Thanks for the pictures!

  48. Donna Wojcik says:

    I took a look at your blog . I love the knitted projects but most of all lucy is special to me. I love kitty’s

  49. Thank you for the excellent tutorial, Wendy! I’ve never knit a shawl before and have only used a provisional cast-on once, and was really scratching my head over those directions. You’ve made it very clear!