My current work in progress:

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


All Thumbs

Yesterday’s entry about thumbs provoked some interesting comments, enough for another blog entry on thumbs, I think. Here are some of the comments from you all about how you work your thumbs

Kit commented:

I always use the backwards loop cast on for my thumb and after I’ve put the thumb stitches on a holder for the body of the mitten. It works just fine for me.

Meredith said:

On thumbs, I use a backwards loop cast on after I put the thumb stitches on waste yarn. And then when I go to work the thumb, I pick up the same number I cast on, plus 2 (one on each side).

kittything offered:

One of the thumb techniques I like is the one included in the Fetching pattern. Begin your round on waste yarn, transfer back to the working needle and reknit the stitches with project yarn. later unpick the stitches on waste yarn to get two sets of live stitches and then pick up stitches in between the two live rows to close the gap.

Colleen said:

I generally use a provisional cast one (the one where you just use a random piece of waste yarn and flip the working yarn over and under the needle and the waste yarn) to cast on for the thumb stitches. I find I need to do it kind of loosely to work well. I prefer this because it makes for less bulk inside the thumb, and I am VERY physically sensitive (threads or lint in toe seams on commercial socks make me NUTS), so I want the mittens smooth on the inside, although most cast ons look fine outside, that won’t work for me.

Sarah commented:

For thumbs placed on the palm like this, I usually use waste yarn to knit the thumb stitches, slip those stitches just worked back onto the left needle, and knit in pattern with the regular yarn. When it is time to work the thumb, I pull out the waste yarn while I place the stitches on my needles. I also pick up the extras to keep the holes away.

Brent Annable said:

When putting the thumb stitches on hold after the gusset, I DON’T cast on any extra stitches – I just put the total number of increased stitches on a piece of waste yarn, and just keep knitting in the round as if they weren’t there. This seems logical to me, because then you continue with the same number of stitches as you started with. Then, when it comes time to continue the thumb, I pick up 2-4 stitches across the gap to avoid a hole.

And there were some questions:

Kerin asked:

I’ve always put my thumbs on the side. The ones on the palm just don’t seem like they would fit the shape of my hands – what do they look like on? How do they feel? I suppose one benefit of a side gusset is that all of the stitches are waiting for you when it’s time to knit the thumb. It’s not really occurred to me to knit them palm-side, but now I’m curious!

We-e-ell, I guess everyone’s hands are shaped differently. For me, mittens that have the thumbs just inside the edge on the palm fit best, because that’s the way my hand is built. ๐Ÿ™‚

Leslie B. asked:

What are the reasons for choosing a knitted cast-on versus a cable cast-on? They seem very similar to me.

They are similar. I do a knitted cast-on because that’s how I’ve always done my mitten thumbs. See? You can always count on me for a rational answer.

Speaking of mittens, here’s my poor little mitten-in-progress, which has been sadly neglected this week.

Hot Stuff Mitten 020708

Hot Stuff Mitten 020708
Book Give-Away

I had 669 emails from people who entered the drawing for Twelve Months of Knitting by Joanne Yordanou. The Random Number Generator chose number 320, who is:

Laurie F.! Laurie, has been emailed and has responded

Thank you to everyone who sent me an email for this book. ๐Ÿ™‚

Special Notice – Alert! Alert!

My wonderful web guru tells me she will doing some upgrading and maintenance on my blog this weekend. She will turn off commenting for a period of time on Saturday while working on the database, to ensure that no comments are lost during the time she is in there with her little wrench and screwdriver. It’s possible that my blog will be offline for a bit during that time as well.

So if you try to leave a comment over the weekend and can’t, that’s why. I’ll be back on Sunday, God willin’ and the crick don’t rise.

Lucy Sez

“Sometimes my Momma uses the corniest expressions! I hide my head in shame.”

Lucy 020708

Lucy 020708


  1. What a tail! I think she’s looking for treats or baby chicks

    Thanks for compiling the thumb technique comments. That was on my to do list!

  2. Congrats to Laurie!

    Lucy you are a SILLY kitty! Buster and Yoda love bags too! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your hot mitt is love-er-ly! Have a most excellent weekend!


  3. What a gorgeous tail! I’ve seen so much of her face that I didn’t realize how beautiful her other end was.

    Since my first cat had to have her tail amputated, I’ve really been fascinated by cats with big fluffy tails. Right now I have a very fluffy tabby who’s watching me from atop the computer monitor and occasionally swishing to remind me that she is what I should be paying attention to.

  4. That’s some shot of the little princess. Her coat has never looked fuller.

  5. Thanks for such a great summary of different thumb cast-ons – very helpful!

    Is Lucy looking for something, or in the process of crawling in for a little nap? Amazing where cats will sleep when they want a new spot sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Congratulations Laurie, I hope you enjoy the book. That Lucy is a riot. Really cats are so much fun to have. She really is a little princess isn’t she. Have a great weekend I hope you get to knit.

  7. anne marie in philly says:

    lucy also sez: “a-ha, HERE’S where momma hid the good catnip!”

    steven and meredith wish their cousin a happy playful weekend with momma and daddy!

  8. Oh, Lucy! You are too funny! There was a Lucy (honestly, that was her name) who looked just like you at my local shelter, and she was very vocal. And sweet as pie!

  9. Are you sure Lucy is hiding? She may be stashing her ID for her world domination party!

  10. Oh! The mittens! Is it too much to hope that some of these incredible patterns will be available to we peons eventually? Your mittens are somehow even more inspiring than your socks. . .and I didn’t think that was possible!
    Aside, to Lucy- Leave your momma be! “God willin an the crick don’t rise” is a perfectly valid qualifier in most situations!

  11. She’s not hiding her head in shame… looks to me like she’s hiding her head in a knitting bag… !

  12. Silly cat! She’s so cute.

  13. Dat’s not hiding!!

    Dat’s time-honored kitteh bag inspection.

    If the kitteh don’t do it, who will? And when Mama dies from something that went un-sniffed in that bag, who will feel badly? Huh?

    (My kittehs recently got the joy of a bag *in a box*. wow. How lucky are they??!?)

  14. Theresa in Italy says:

    Thanks for the discussion of thumb cast-on techniques—I had been doing the backwards loop method but think I’ll try something different next time, just for a change.

    Wow, Lucy’s tail is very impressive!

  15. Lee Cockrum says:

    Although you are being kind at attributing Lucy’s posture to hiding… I think she is just being typical kitty nosy!! (But totally cute none-the-less!)

  16. I think Lucy’s going for the charge card for a little QVC shopping. Nice tail. Extra fluffy.

  17. Michele in maine says:

    Lucy is looking for her kitty conversation hearts.

  18. As always, thank you for the most informative knitting blog. I also have started peeking in on a few of your favorite blogs. Thank you for sharing – – I enjoy them.

    From the angle of today’s photo of Lucy, her tail looks soooo long!


  19. I must say, I’ve seen my Kumba in exactly the same position in my purse or knitting bag on more than one occasion. I’ll bet it’s not quite the same reason, though, since I seem to recall you saying that Lucy doesn’t get into your yarn. Whereas, I find…*ahem*…recycled yarn every time I scoop the litter box, no matter where I try to hide my stuff.

  20. thats good to know that ur blog might be offline. cuz i come on here everyday, even on days i noe u dont blog just to look at the patterns and stuff.

  21. Lucy looks suspiciously like she is suffering from an attack of the Nosy Nose or maybe the Must Get Ins. Common in cats, I’m afraid and it never seems to get better. Fortunately it’s funny and only harmful in extreme cases. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Lucy, please don’t make fun of your Momma’s corny comments. That one has long been a favorite of mine, except my grandmother always said it just a little differently: “If the good Lord’s willin’ and the crick don’t rise.”
    Wendy, love your gloves!