My current work in progress:

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


Yarn Stress Test

So . . . this week I have been stress-testing yarn.

I have knit and ripped out the same three inches of this sock a total of five times. This is the sixth knitting of this yarn, and I think I finally like the way the sock looks.



And it is not like I’m attempting a complex pattern. Yet it took me six tries to get it right.

On the bright side, I am happy to report that Fleece Artist Merino Sock yarn can be ripped and reknit many times without hurting it. No need to thank me. I’m happy to conduct these experiments for you.

The colorway is “Ruby Red,” by the way.

I think it might be a good idea if I cautiously back away from the knitting for a little while.

Look at this book:



It’s Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen, and I got a review copy of it this week.

Aside: While I will often proclaim that I do not cook, I am a closet foodie. And baking is a particular love of mine. I have, in the dim and distant past, made puff pastry and croissants from scratch. And other assorted hijinks.

Wowie, wow, wow, this is food pr*n at its best. When I flipped the pages the first time, the book opened to this:



Little star shaped strawberry shortcakes. With blueberries. The perfect dessert for an Independence Day picnic, no?

And check out this autumnal cheesecake:



There are recipes for muffins and cupcakes as well, and recipes for many different icings, and detailed directions for decorating your little cakes. So. Cute.

I actually read the book cover to cover when I got it yesterday. It’s packed full of good information and advice, as well as  recipes and instructions for decorating. Most of the items in the book are very do-able by “normal” people in a normal kitchen. It gives me hope. 🙂

Would you like a copy of this book? (I’m not giving up my copy, nosireebob, but the publisher generously offered to send a copy to the winner of my blog giveaway.)

Send an email to the Official WendyKnits Contest email address: blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet before 4:00pm Eastern time on Thursday February 28, 2008. A winner will be selected at random and I’ll arrange for a copy of this marvelous book to be sent to you.

If I had the ingredients handy, I’d be baking little cakes right now instead of knitting. Hmmmmmmm . . . I think a trip to the grocery store is in order . . .

Lucy Sez 

Well, to tell the truth, Lucy is too busy having a political discussion with a friend to say anything right now.




  1. Oh, yum!

  2. I suspect I’m going to end up discovering first hand what frogging the Fleece Artist yarn is like. I have some stuff put aside that’ll be turned into a scarf rather than socks, but the design is fiddly, and I anticipate much frogging and usage of lifelines!

    I’ve been on such a baking kick lately that having a copy of that book sounds lovely! Even though technically I should avoid temptation by sweet things. :p But I somehow doubt that if I start cooking little cakes and muffins for people, they’ll complain about it. :p

  3. That little honeybee decorated cupcake on the cover looks totally cute! The shortcake though – that says Spring to me! Sunday always seems to be my day to spend more time in the kitchen, including baking something from scratch (ok, not EVERY Sunday but a book like that provides definite temptation).

    Can’t wait to see those socks when done – I like the chevron look to it so far 🙂

  4. I love to bake, in fact, I just made dark chocolate walnut brownies. No closet foodie here.

  5. I love the way the toe and pattern look on your sock. It is wonderful how nicely Fleece Artist rips out and can be reknit…I just ripped out part of a scarf and started another pattern. Can’t even tell it happened! Happy baking. Yummy!

  6. I’m glad I have company ripping things out. I’ve started a shawl 5 times today: didn’t like the pattern, didn’t like the texture on that size needle….maybe I should bake something too! Max and Sam would say hello to Lucy, but they are busy terrorizing the pull off strip from the milk.

  7. anne marie in philly says:

    sweet jeebus! I damn near licked the screen…it all looks so good!

    I like to bake from scratch – sweet cornbread and brownies are my favorites.

    lucy and polar bear must be comparing notes before the next debate. meredith and steven send their purrs to their cousin!

  8. I know where you are coming from with the ripping. It happens at least once a month on a project for me.

  9. I agree with all comments above: that book is splendiferous! A must have! I love to bake (and cook)!!

    Am anxiously awaiting more info, pics, etc on the new socks. Great color!

    I’d vote for Lucy in a HEARTBEAT! luv.m.

  10. I am in the same boat. I’ve knit and ripped my sock at least 6 times.. and not with a yarn that a bit of sympathy. The yarn is now in a time out for a couple of days until it decides to cooperate. Maybe one of those adorable little cakes is what I need to make me feel better! Isn’t dessert the answer to everything? 🙂

  11. ‘Ruby Red’ is sooo what I’m all about this month…ripping and reds!!! You go girl!!

    That book looks amazing!! Gibson’s father has a sweet tooth that could be well satisfied with the goodies from that book!!! I might have to enter your contest and cross my fingers!!! 🙂

  12. I love the sock pattern so far! Is it your own?

  13. Is that leaf on the cupcake edible? It looks slightly too thick to be a real leaf. If so, wow!

  14. So that’s what I am – a yarn stress tester, cool. In case your wondering, dream in color classy can take 5 rip backs and still is as spongy and soft as ever. Here’s hoping no more are required.

  15. I love the Whimsical Bakehouse book and this one looks great too! I’m not much of a baker, but I do love to decorate cakes!

  16. Oh my, it must be the phase of the moon…I’m about to start re-knit #4 on the first of a pair that shoulda-coulda-woulda-been done last week. I’m so frustrated I’m about to go knit a scarf…and that’s NOT normal…

    Love the look of the book, but Windows is telling me it can’t find the address, so phooey.

    Here’s hoping I don’t match your six tries on the sock…

  17. I’m quite sure the polar bear is telling Lucy that he wishes Al Gore (who was elected president, but had his victory stolen from him by Republican bastards in Florida and on the Supreme Court) had served as president the past 7 years so that he could have made progress in the war against global warming.

  18. Hey Wendy,
    I’m too fat for baking….. So, I’m still way back there at that sock with the increases on the bottom.

    Would you mind explaining where the increases started on the foot, the rate of increasing, how many stitches you increased to, and where the decreases started and ended???

    Thanks a bunch!!!!!!!

  19. Lisa in Toronto says:

    I would like to enter the cookbook contest.
    I think I could convince someone I know to make those fancy items!

  20. No need to thank you for the yarn testing–too funny! You are generous indeed!
    Is Lucy still working on her plans for world domination? I hope so!

  21. Stress-testing!!!!


    *that*’s what I’ve been doing……..


  22. I love your felted cat beds. And your ragdoll cat is absolutely gorgeous. I knit. And I have 3 cats: a seal-point Himalayan; a seal lynx point Himalayan-Birman cross, and Jake, my blue lynx-point Ragdoll. I can hardly wait to try your pattern for the cat beds.

  23. Hej Wendy!

    Next time you´re planning on baking something,
    please let me know and I´ll try to pop over.

  24. Oh, yeah, I’ve done my share of yarn stress testing.

    Unfortunately, with socks, the major stress test occurs as I walk through the heels at a depressing rate = when the rest of the sock is still mol perfectly fine. I’ve switched to contrast-colour short-row heels (i.e., my idea of “replaceable”) to combat tragic early sock loss.

    Hey Lucy, maybe you’ll appreciate a bumper sticker I saw recently. It made me laugh out loud: “Kerry/Edwards: Sounds better now, doesn’t it?” Hehehehe….

  25. I am The Frustrated Baker. I love to bake. I am careful, yet relaxed. I have tried fool proof recipes which have resulted in wondering what is the next level down…Idiot proof? Brain Dead proof? When you say “normal kitchen” I have to ask – do you have gas or electric? Seems like all really good bakers…who can make puff pastry and croissants (!!) from scratch…have a gas oven. Oneday I will get it right. Yeh, and oneday I will be able to knit lace…

    Looks like Lucy is making a very strong point in her discussion.

  26. Love the new sock so far. It’s toe-up! (Love the toe-up thing.) And the cookbook would be great, ’cause I have a best friend who cooks and she doesn’t have that one yet! Maybe I could talk her into making some of that yummy carbfest for me if I give her the book???

  27. I think if the bear voices his opinion too loudly he’ll get paw-tossed.

  28. And Liz in IN, I have that bumper sticker on my car now!

  29. All I can say Is yummm. Just exactly what this season calls for and what my body does not need, unless I was a hibernating bear. Love the book, and the socks are intriguing. Will you be posting a few more details? I would love to try that type of increase on a sock. I have Cat’s book but it is so hard to follow.. .

  30. Good luck with the sock, now that you’ve got it the way you like it, I’m sure it will be lovely!

  31. Michele In Maine says:

    Baking from scratch is definitely my thing – chocolate in all its forms my specialty. Before my daughter was born, I baked wedding cakes as a little side business, but had to quit that when my spare time disappeared. Now knitting is the primary hobby – less fattening for sure! That book looks amazing! If I don’t win it I will have to track down a copy for my collection.

    Good luck with the red sock! You seem to have bent it to your will at last.

  32. Mmm, that cookbook cover looks good enough to eat. I love books with covers that create the feeling inside of me that the material within the book itself, when absorbed, is supposed to create.

    I would imagine they will sell swiftly and easily to a salivating public.

    Blu asked me to get some advice from Lucy. He says, well, I’ll translate: His question is about cats. We have several cats living in our barn and around our place now. He wants to get to know them, but they won’t stand still long enough for him to get a good behind-sniff. He welcomes any advice from Lucy.

    Have a great day,

  33. For some reason I’m on a baking kick. Which would be fine, but it seems to directly correlate with the slowdown of progress at Weight Watchers. But, I’m always up for something new, and that book looks like fun. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Oh yum!

  35. Sunnyknitter says:

    Love the yumminess pictures! I’m glad you’re liking the Seawool. I just bought it in that colorway to do the Mystic Light KAL. I wanted something firey but subtle and seeing it knit up in your toe (that sounds odd, doesn’t it?) makes me think I’ll be happy with it. If there’s something about it that you think won’t make it good for lace, please drop me a line if you have a chance. Thanks!

  36. i think the sock looks great! and i love the chevron-y pattern. yet another one i’m sure i’ll want to buy!

  37. Yes, I bet Lucy and the bear are discussing global warming. The conversation will probably end with Lucy batting him around the room. Not very diplomatic, but since Lucy, like all cats, considers herself empress of the world she doesn’t see any need for diplomacy.

  38. Wow, that little cakes book looks fantastic! I’ve just been getting into baking again now that we have a house with a decent oven, and making lots of little cakes sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

    The red sock looks great so far, too, and I’m happy to hear about the froggability of Fleece Artist yarn!