My current work in progress:

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


A Blast From My Past

Last night I was happily flipping through the Vogue Knitting 25th Anniversary issue, just skimming the articles and looking at the pictures when I turned the page and saw design number 19:

VK Design 19

VK Design 19

Whoa! Flashback! I made that sweater when the pattern was first published, back in 1990. It was a DKNY design in fingering weight cotton. I immediately emailed L-B and told her so, and wondered if I would be able to actually find my version of the sweater.

Ten minutes later, I had found it.

DKNY Sweater 080707

DKNY Sweater 080707

Folded up on the top shelf of one of my closets. It has likely been there for the whole 14 years I’ve lived in my condo.

The original pattern was written for fingering weight Rowan cotton yarn. I made mine from el cheapo crochet cotton bought at a craft store, so I’m quite sure the cost of the whole sweater was well under $10. My gauge was loose because the cotton I used was finer than what was called for in the pattern, but I really liked the way it looked. I remember I wore this sweater over a black Calvin Klein slipdress for my mom’s retirement party (which I’m pretty sure was in 1990.)

This afternoon I gave the sweater a quick once-over with a steam iron.

DKNY Sweater A 080707

DKNY Sweater A 080707

I don’t see any reason why I couldn’t wear it now. In fact, the first day that the temperature dips below seventy-eleven-billion degrees, I’ll be wearing this over a tank dress.

DKNY Sweater B 080707

DKNY Sweater B 080707

I think I’ll leave it on my dress form for a while. It just makes me happy to look at it. ๐Ÿ™‚
While I was looking for it, I also found my very favorite aran cardigan that I’d sort of half-heartedly been trying to find for the past few years (but that’s another story for another time), so it was a very good evening indeed.

Sock Update

Here is the state of the Cabletini Sock:

Cabletini Sock 080707

Cabletini Sock 080707

Sock Question

Marji commented:

I am a brand-new sock knitter.

Question: What do you do if your pattern isn’t toe-up but you want to knit that way?

You can convert a lot of top-down patterns to toe-up pretty easily. Take a generic toe-up pattern that has the same stitch count as the pattern you want to knit and plug in the top-down pattern stitch chart. You’ll need to turn that chart upside-down to achieve the same look as the top-down sock. A word of warning — some patterns will not lend themselves to being turned upside-down and won’t look the same. I’m told by people who have knit upside-down Monkey socks that the stitch pattern doesn’t look the same.

You say you are a brand-new sock knitter. My best advice to you is to first knit a sock pattern that is written toe-up, so you get the hang of how it is done. With that experience under your belt, you will be better equipped to turn your top-down pattern into toe-up.

For You Top-Down Sock Fans

Wendy has converted my toe-up Southwestern Sock pattern (free download from the Loopy Ewe, here) to top-down and has published her notes on her blog. Go! See! Thank her!

My Sock Model

Catspaw asked:

I love it when Teddy models the sock. What’s his history? A childhood toy, a gift from a dear friend, a dump rescue? Do tell.

Teddy actually belongs to the KOARC. He acquired Teddy when donating blood. Back 6 or 7 years ago, in addition to juice and cookies, the Red Cross was giving out little bears to blood donors. And it wasn’t for kids, either, since all the blood donors at that particular bloodmobile were adult government workers.

Teddy 080707

Teddy 080707

One day I discovered that Teddy’s head was the exact right size to model a sock toe. And a star was born.

Lucy Sez

Lucy 080707

Lucy 080707

“I’m the real star here and don’t you forget it.”

About her pose yesterday — draped over the arm of the couch with legs hanging down on each side. She almost never does that, so of course I grabbed the camera and documented it for posterity.


  1. Today’s picture of Lucy is beautiful. Worthy of a cat calendar!

    I really like how that sweater looks, even if it is done in radically different yarn than was originally intended. I have to commend you for knitting a whole sweater out of crochet cotton, too. I can’t knit with that stuff for more than an hour before my fingers start to feel rubbed raw. Crochet cotton isn’t very friendly to the hands. ๐Ÿ™

  2. Patricia says:

    A hidden treasure! The sweater looks great- totally in style.

    Yes, Lucy, you are the real star!

  3. Hmm…I got a stuffed buddy blood drop while donating blood once. It is pretty cute, but I’m not sure it is appropriate for modeling socks. Would look like fluffy bloody ankles or something.

    Did you add extra stitches to the current sock to account for the cables pulling in?

  4. What a beautiful sweater! Goes to show that in the right hands, even el cheapo yarn can turn out gorgeous.

    Good catch with Lucy’s pose yesterday. Today’s is lovely, and she truly is a star.

  5. Wendy, your sweater is lovely. That’s a great idea to wear it over a dress; very chic! Lucy looks gorgeous in today’s picture! Oh, and Teddy is quite cute also

  6. I ALMOST made that sweater back in 1990, but I bought the cotton, started to knit, and then realized that I hated knitting with it! Back it went into the bag, where it sat for years until I found somebody to give it to . . . great sweater, though. Yours looks fab!

  7. I have to agree with the others that the Monkey socks do indeed not look the same with the chart turned upside-down and knitting them toe up. I made more than a few attempts to make it look right, but let’s just say I wasn’t completely pleased with my results. Although, I have seen a few versions out there that are knit toe up with some modifications such as changing all stitches to knit. So, I decided it really was a good time to try to get over my fear of the kitchner stitch – which I have only attempted a few times…

    And, I have to say I am enjoying all the patterns you are coming up with for the Summer of Socks – I might just have to follow your example and experiment with different toes and heels while I’m challenging myself!

    Love the sweater, by the way – thanks for sharing. : )

  8. Thanks for the link to the magic cast on, (on the last post) very cool! I’ll have to try that for my next pair!

  9. Thank you, thank you, thank you for answering my question. I know you haven’t been feeling well lately and I felt bad for asking, but I have recently become obssessed with socks and have been purchasing pattern books and they are all top down.

    I am not inordinately fond of Kitchener stitch and will avoid it if at all possible and it seemed to me that toe-up deals very nicely with that little problem. But what to do with all those pattern books?

    I have downloaded your generic pattern and plan to start right away.

    And we all know that Lucy is the star. ^_^

  10. I think it every time I see it, but now I’m finally going to say it — Lucy has the most regal and elegant profile of any cat I’ve ever seen.

  11. You made that DKNY sweater!
    I started it in cotton, but think I will try it in the wool version. It should be easier on the hands.
    You are entitled to be so very proud of yourself for finishing it in a cheap cotton.
    I am very impresses, as usual, by your knitting!

  12. Impressed, impressed is what I meant to say, not impresses!
    See, this is because you had never shown off this sweater!
    Just beautiful!

  13. Joan Callaway says:

    Timeless – that’s what that sweater is! Thanks for your nudge to try the Magic Cast On – I watched the video, tried it again. Initially wasn’t thrilled with the little nubby left by the slip knot. Frogged it and started over with the slipknotless version…and voila! Lookin’ good! Thanks again…

  14. Wendy in Cambridge says:

    I started that sweater, too, back then; I never finished mine, though. Yours is just lovely.

    Teddy is the perfect sock model. I always enjoy seeing him work!

    Lucy is perfect, period.

  15. Personally, nothing about the magazine shot does a thing for me, but I’d make yours in a hot second. Bravo!

  16. i am impressed that you have knit enough things to have lost track of them! i aspire to be that prolific of a knitter some day.

    i love your summer of socks patterns, wendy! i just bought some Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Sun River colorway, and i think it wants to be knit up into your Southwestern Socks pattern. these will be my first toe-ups. thank you for generously sharing your designs!

  17. I’ve been looking for some of my first sweaters…so I can post them as a warning.

  18. note to Marji above. I like doing kitchener stitch so I’ll take any and all sock books I can get my hands on.

  19. OMG – I made it too!!! I did use the Rowan cotton and after almost 16 years it’s wearing out. I’ve repaired arm seams and I have a neckline to repair. I will totally make it again in cotton – it’s my favourite warm weather sweater. I miss the DKNY patterns – I loved most everything that she did for VK.

  20. I knit a vest version of that sweater back in 1990 (or so). I blogged about it here. I think you should bring it out to wear again! It’s lovely.

  21. I love the knitting memories that anniversary issues bring back! And thanks for the laughs as I imagined the treasure hunt after I told you I don’t remember ever seeing that sweater in your condo. That was as good as a dare,huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Glad you found it!

  22. It’s true that the Monkey socks just don’t work unaltered in reverse. Since I am a bear of very little brain, I decided there was no harm in having upside-down Monkeys. Here is an unblocked one, and I’m nearly finished with the second. I love it!

  23. Lucy certainly looks regal as all get out in that photo! Your sweater looks great and how fun that they picked one you knit for the anniversary issue!

    Here’s hoping it gets below seventy eleven billion degrees for you soon and you can weat it.That’s pretty much Too Darn Hot.

  24. I made that sweater from the el cheapo too. I wore it to my sister’s wedding, and forever after. Last year I finally wore a hole in it. I still have the original pattern. And a trip to Michaels for more el cheapo is in the near future.

  25. I love the sweater! It is so totally awesome that a sweater you knit 17 years ago is back in print, you still have yours and it looks fabulous. I would be sorely tempted to knit one for myself (the new Vogue arrived just the other day) but knitting a sweater in fingering weight yarn sends me running to the corner to find my happy place. I’ve only just recently come to grips with knitting socks in fingering weight yarn. But, it certainly rates a “someday project”. I’ve grown to love knitting socks at a fine gauge, I may too learn the same patience for a sweater.

  26. You know I always love your socks ๐Ÿ™‚ What a great find, an old FO revisited!

  27. Meh, I have to disagree with the people that say the Monkey socks don’t look the same with the chart flipped doing the sock toe up. I’ve done two pairs and mine look like the original. I just moved the k1tbl to the row after the double yo instead of before when you’re working the chart backwards!

    I am currently knitting the embossed leaves socks from IK and oh man that one did not work with the chart flipped. I had to knit them as the chart was written, it just did not work. I think I needed to alternate where the yo’s were so that I got the leafy look to it. So my embossed leaves socks are reversed. They’re still gorgeous!!

    Oh and I love your cabletini socks, they are beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. The cabletini sock is fab, I love it.

    And on the Vintage Vogue (not to make you feel older or anything, but hey– vintage is vintage). Don’t you love it when:
    a. something comes back around that you still own
    b. AND looks quite smashing???????

    It is a beauty, what a bonus that you can strut your stuff in it!

  29. Isn’t it great to find what you hope will be a treasure, and it still is!

    And congratulations on being quoted in Vogue. You’re in fine company, Wendy.

  30. Wow; your version of that sweater is really stunning. I flipped right past the magazine version! Maybe they should call you to style photo shoots instead, since your sweater looks drapey and elegant, and on the model it looks like an ocean of fabric….

  31. Your sweater is lovely!

    It took me a couple readings before realizing that the “Wendy” that converted the Southwestern Socks was not you speaking in the third person about yourself… I’m glad she did though!

  32. Your white sweater is much nicer than the one in the magazine – which I never even gave a second glance before I saw yours. The thinner yarn gives it a very hip, lacey effect.

  33. Ooh! I like yours better. It has a more drapey effect. Nice.

  34. I’ve been seeing a lot of those designs, knit the first time around, coming out of the woodwork. It’s fabulous!

  35. Marianne Y says:

    I’m glad that you had a great evening last night, finding your long lost sweaters! Your DKNY sweater is gorgeous! I hope you will post pictures of it when you wear it.

    On toe-up Monkey socks, I first tried to knit them as you mentioned, by turning the chart upside down, but that looked really strange. I couldn’t put my finger on it until someone pointed that out. So I am now knitting them toe-up, using the Monkey socks pattern as given, but starting from the toe, using your pattern, Wendy, and the chart as it is printed. The pattern seems to flow a lot better this way, for some reason.

    I like your Cabletini sock design! I do hope you publish a book of your sock patterns from your Summer of Socks! I would like to buy it!

  36. Your sweater is even prettier than the Vogue version. It makes me want to make it!

  37. I adore the sweater! What a great way to be reminded of some of your past knits.

  38. My dad got one of those stuffed blood drop characters that Peggy mentioned. He gets all the cool blood prizes.

  39. You are obviously ahead of your time with that sweater. I agree with all about preferring the drapey-ness of yours over the original.
    About Kitchener – I too am not a fan of top-down because of that. But – I’ve been soldiering on and found a really easy to understand video on YouTube and so when I get ready to sew up the toe I get on the computer and watch that video again. It really helped me develop a rhythm which I think is necessary. I’m glad it’s there – it’s my crutch!
    Next on my list is to work out my heels. I’m really liking the way your heel flap is looking.
    I ditto everyone who wants a book of your socks. Any chance you might self-publish?

  40. The sweater definitely needs to be worn again. It is lovely.

    Of course you are the star Lucy. How could we forget it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  41. Congratulations! on the discovery, on the brilliance the first time around to pick such a pretty pattern, and to risk “adjusting” the drape with a different gauge!

  42. Thresa in Italy says:

    Ooooh, your DKNY sweater is so elegant and refined. What fun to unearth it after all this time! Hope the temperature drops soon so you can show it off.

    And speaking of elegant, I have to agree that that is a VERY regal pose of Lucy’s!

  43. Leslie - knitting therapist says:

    I made that sweater in 1990 also, in Georges Picaud really fine cotton in pale blue. I gave it to a friend in Ottawa – I’m sure she still has it, she still has her Escada blouses from the late ’80’s.

    When I make it again (not if, I loved it that much) I knitting that sucker in the round to the armholes. All that patterning on the WSR! P3tog tbl and little needles with finger-slicing cotton! My arse! I had cuts on my fingers!

    Yours has truly stood the test of time. Congrats!

  44. That’s a very pretty sweater!

  45. Doesn’t the 25th Anniversary issue bring back memories? For me it’s the Map of the World sweater. I made that back in 1996, only I have no idea what happened to it.

    The DKNY you made is lovely! I remember it being on my To Do list, only at the time lace scarred the bejeesus out of me. (So I did the MotW loaded with intarsia instead. Go figure.)

  46. I love your sweater. It is lovely. I also would
    like to know if there is any way we can
    get your sock pattern? I’m sorry that you
    are ill. I am very ill. I am only here on a
    day to day basis, but I am still knitting.
    Going to take my knitting needles with me.
    Many Blessings,

  47. I already left a comment, but I forgot to
    tell you that I can only knit socks from the
    top down and I’m not well enough to learn
    anything new right now. How do you change a toe up pattern to a top down pattern?

  48. The sweater is beautiful. I hope you get to wear it soon (as that means that it will no longer be seventy million degrees). ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. I remember that sweater, although I never made it. Cheap cotton or not, yours is beautiful. There were some other really nice “oldies” that I wish they had featured. I still go back to those old issues for inspiration. I’ve got a UFO (soon to be restarted) that is from VK Spring 1990 that I think is as wearable today as it was then.

  50. My lord, I had a sweater that was clearly a cheap rip-off of the DKNY original. Loved it, but it finally wore out. Now I can make a new (and nicer) one. Yay!

  51. Great story about the VK sweater. I absolutely love the Lucy pic today — she’s so regal and elegant! Which only emphasizes what an outlier yesterday’s pose really was. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  52. I really love how that sweater looks! Crochet cotton, huh? Never thought to try that – but it definitely works, doesn’t it.

    Just got my copy of the Vogue extravaganza – there’s three that I definitely want to make now. After, that is, I locate a pattern for a men’s henley to make my honey a sweater. The one I was using is way to small for him! Darn Vogue couldn’t have put one of those sweaters in there, could they?

  53. Oh, Wendy how cool!! The sweater is lovely, you totally can wear it now! Truly a hidden treasure. I am loving the new Vogue for a change!

  54. Wow! I LOVE that sweater!
    And Lucy, hon, your Star Quality can’t be denied…

  55. I concur that your sweater is much better-looking than the Vogue picture, which doen’t seem to fit the model. (It has that Mary-Kate Olsen look!) I really admire your sock dedication. What are your plans for all those socks? I am trying to teach myself to admire but not covet, at least until I work through all my unfinished projects–knitting and otherwise.

  56. I looked through the new Vogue last night and had some fond memories and a few nightmares, too! Your sweater is one of the patterns that stands the test of time. Enjoy wearing it and showing it off!!

  57. I think Vogue should have left the originals alone since, for the most part, they are so much more flattering than the updates. Your sweater is gorgeous and I wish I had the original Vogue so I could do one as well. It is so delicate and lacy looking. You’re in DC right? So am I (well, Maryland – Silver Spring but I work in the district) and it is MISERABLE now. Way too miserable to even think of wearing knits!

  58. Wendy – I have to admit I was happy to read that you lose track of your knitted items. I do as well and feel a little bad about it. I spend so much time and money on yarn and patterns and then, well, I lose track of them after I knit them. For instance, I knitted this beautiful silk cabled tank last year. Just HAD TO HAVE IT! I wore it once (I finished it at the end of the season last year) and have not worn it at all this year. I just keep forgetting to pull it out. My biggest successes have been the Bohus sweater (love, love, love – – looks professionally done) and my socks – – oh, and my lace shawls/scarfs.

    Lucy is one of the luckiest kitties! I just love how you love and adore her. I too am a HUGE cat fan. I rescued a kitty from a shelter and can’t imagine him living in a cage! He is such a snuggle bunny. Makes my heart break for all the others I can’t help.

    Hope you are feeling better Wendy.


  59. Love, love, love that sweater.

    I’m a recent sock knitter also. I’ve found a way to avoid the kitchener stitch: When decreasing for the toe I decrease l row, knit 1 row eight times, then decrease every row until I only have about 8 stitches left on 2 needles. Then I cut the yarn leaving about an 8 inch tail. I thread the yarn on a tapestry needle the pick up all the stitches off both needles, pull it tight, repeat, then pull it through the inside and hide the tail. If it is pulled tight enough it looks nice and is soooo much easier than the kitchener stitch!

  60. Wow, what a find! I love your DKNY sweater, it’s really beautiful!

  61. Wendy, your DKNY sweater is a classic and has stood the test of time. It will look lovely on you, I’m sure.

  62. Oooh, your version is actually lovelier on the mannequin than on the model in the magazine (which sadly disappointed me a wee bit for its 25th anniversary issue – at least as far as patterns go – the interviews with old and new guards of knitting are interesting).
    If you get the energy to post a photo of your Aran that you found, I’d love to see it. When it dips below a million degrees here as well, I’m musing over casting on for a button-up Aran vest of my own design. What is it about Arans? They have endless appeal.
    Congrats on enjoying your finds. Isn’t it nice to reminisce?

  63. That sweater is a work of art, cheapo cotton yarn or no cheapo yarn! ๐Ÿ™‚
    BTW, my hair was bathed in the luxiourous Sweet Almond and mint today! I love it as much as the Fig!
    I’m sure you are LOOKING GOOD!
    hope you are feeling better. And not just drugged up better either. Better.

  64. so are cabletini’s going to be a paid or free pattern… cause they might just bring me back outta hiatus ๐Ÿ™‚
    they also might make me spontaneously combust in this heat but hey what is life without some “risks”

  65. I have not been so covetous in a long time. I adore that sweater. Sure, it’s got the Flashdance shaping, but it’s so very, very KEWL. Wear it in good health and let it be a reminder to us to never get rid of a handknit!

    Making my next lacy pullover in crochet cotton because I won’t let you out-cheap me! xo Kay

  66. Oooh a Summer of Socks Book. I can see it now. Id buy it!

  67. I love finding old forgotten clothing. This week I discovered where I’d stored my shorts and some other summer items. Happy Day!