My current work in progress:

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


The Naming of Cats is a Difficult Matter

Important Note: I’m told that the server where WendyKnits is hosted is getting a hardware upgrade Friday evening (Feb 29). Therefore, I will be closing comments on Friday afternoon for a while. Comments will be re-opened when I get the go-ahead to do so, but I don’t know when exactly that’ll be. WendyKnits will no doubt be offline for a bit while the upgrade is in process. Be ye not alarmed.

On the naming of kitties, yes, y’all are correct. I named them after King Arthur and his foster brother (and later seneschal) Kay. And it turned out that I picked the right names — Arthur was too smart for his own good, and Kay was, as I said, dumber than a box of rocks.

This was Arthur.



I also had Gawain (an orange tabby, of course), Bedivere, Tristan, and Isolde. Some of you remember Isolde, or as I called her, Izzy.

All this Arthurian cat naming stemmed from my study of medieval literature in graduate school. I was hooked on Arthurian legend. I read all of Chrรฉtien de Troyes’ romances (in translation) Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and the Pearl Poet’s Gawain and the Green Knight, among many other things.

One of my favorite later writings was John Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, which was based on the Winchester manuscripts of Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. I highly recommend it.

My favorite Arthurian movies are Monty Python and the Holy Grail (I mean seriously, how could I not love that?) and John Boorman’s 1981 movie Excalibur, which featured a young Liam Neeson as Gawain, Clive Swift (who played Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances) as Ector, and Patrick Stewart as Leodegrance.

Don’t get me started. ๐Ÿ™‚

I seem to have strayed somewhat from the subject of knitting, and Random Wednesday is over.

Here’s my Chevron sock.



Yeah, I’m going to frog it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Not that there’s really anything wrong with it — but it’s still not what I had in mind. A lesson to me to not start something when I’ve got the flu!

Debi B asked:

I have a question on the kf&b increase. Do you knit the first stitch, then kf&b, then knit to the next to the last stitch, kf&b in that stitch and then knit the last stitch? Do you worry about the stitches mirroring each other, which I assume they wouldnโ€™t if you kf&b at each end? I try to to a left or right slanting increase, but sometimes am not quite sure if it matters.

What I do for my gusset increases is to kf&b on the first stitch, knit until there are 2 stitches left, kf&b in the next stitch, then k1. This way the increases look the same on each side.

Book Giveaway

There were 523 entries in the giveaway for the book Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse, and the random number generator chose Caroline A. in Oregon to receive the free copy. Thanks to everyone who sent an email!

Lucy Sez



“I’m sick of all this talk about kitties I don’t know.”


  1. You could say Dennis.

    I didn’t know you were CALLED Dennis!

    Well you didn’t bother to find out did you?…Help, help, I’m being oppressed!!


  2. I’ve given all of my animals British names. My cats are Winnie (for Winston), Basil, Monty, Tommy, Julie, Penny, Lily, Olivia and my dog Madison. A veddy nice bunch, I must say!

    Have a great weekend!

  3. And yes, I am a big fan of Fawlty Towers and of course, Monty Python!


  4. I’m having trouble picturing Clive Swift in Excalibur, May have to hunt that one up. My DD#1 is in charge of naming at our house. She says that little cat “Ernie” named himself by responding to that name.

  5. I thought my cat was the only one who sat on the arms of couches that way! Definitely looks uncomfortable.

    Excaliber is one of my favorite movies of all time, but it has some seriously cringe-inducing moments, you know? I always laugh when Arthur intones, “I shall build…a ROUND TABLE!” Nicol Williamson and Helen Mirren rock that movie.

  6. Lucy sure looks comfy…though with Ragdolls, they always look comfy no matter what position they are in ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the heads up about the server being down for a bit tomorrow. I’m on I wonder it its gonna affect us too? I hope your sock comes out the way youwant after a ??? frogging, I know its several but cant remember how many just now. Have a nice weekend!!

  7. Oh, no, Lucy, you’ll never make it to the Summer Olympics if you can’t manage the gymnasts’ vault better than that!

  8. Ours are mostly named after old movie stars: Cary Grant, Charlie Chaplin, Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis. Bette’s name is especially apt because she has such big eyes. The two that break from that tradition are Lorelai (I was a big Gilmore girls fan) and Howie (named after Howard Cossell because like Howard, he never shuts up.)

  9. Thanks for answering my kf&b question! I’m going to try this method when I cast on my next sock. Very soon!

  10. They were forced to eat Sir Robin’s minstrels, and there was much rejoicing. *yaaaaayy*

    I love the color of that sock yarn – here’s hoping Lucky Pattern #7 works out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. It isn’t just one of your holiday games.

    My animals’ names are mostly from literature…..except for Liesl, from the movie, since my DD, then 3, figured out the name space (Eilonwy, from Lloyd Alexander; Bregalad from Tolkien, etc), and she proposed Liesl from Sound of Music, so, naturally, we had to let her. But no one ever knows where _my_ ragdoll’s name is from….he’s Button Gwinnett.

    And I know a little girl name Isolde!

  12. There was a cute scene in a movie called Logan’s Run (1970s) where Peter Ustinov was caring for a post-apocalyptic Lincoln Memorial that had become overrun with cats. He explained that cats actually had 3 names; their everyday name, their fancy name and their secret name which only they knew.

    I’ve always wondered what my cat Ermentrude’s secret name was, after I’d saddled her with such a clunky sounding one. But, while she was a very pretty half-Siamese, truth to tell she wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box.

  13. Hooray TS Eliot and Yay Monty Python! Two of my most favorite things.

    My cats name is Curley. Given to her by someone before us due to the fact that her tail constantly curls up over her body at the base and at the tip. It fit her so well we just didn’t change it.

  14. I love Excalibur! It’s a little kitsch-ey, but fun. And guess what? It’s on Cinemax on Saturday a.m. I may have to see if it’s on OnDemand this weekend, too (or if I have a copy of it on tape somewhere). I also read the Mary Steward version of the Arthurian legend when I was in my “romance novel” phase. OK, I never really left that phase, but I mix in some other things now.

  15. When we were adopted by our present *first* cat there was a lot of “I fed your cat” or “I let your cat out” so her name became Yurcat. When she presented us with 7 kittens and I helped her to birth the first one, that one became Micat. Then we were adopted again and he’s Arcat.
    It’s hysterical when we go to the vet. “Is this your cat?” “No, this is Micat. Yucat is in the car.” “Huh?”
    Anyway, thanks for publishing your bottom gusset socks!! I’m always looking for something different and this really looks like fun!

  16. The old cat we have now was adopted at about age 6 (about 13 years ago) and came with the name Sparkie. We then changed it to Sparkle, which evolved to “Sparklin’ R” …………….as in “Sparklin’ Our Cat”.

  17. Joyce Riedesel says:

    We have Shakespearian cats: Rosenkranz and Guildenstern (Rosie and Gilda), Lysander (a 28 pound Maine Coon also known as Bubba), and currently Titania and Oberon. My daughter had this thing going on most of her youth.

  18. Hooray TS Elliot. and Monty Python.
    Our older dog is Samson and our younger one is Baru, as the ancient Irish king. He’s about as smart as Kay sounds. Samson is smart as a whip.

  19. I’m a HUGE King Arthur fan. My favorite books we the Mary Stewart trilogy….romantic I know, and more about Merlin, but still they got me started. I, too love Monty Python’s stuff and I did like the T.H. White books……maybe I should read something other than a knitting magazine once in a while!

  20. My cats, like Joyce R’s, have been Shakespearean: Portia (because she declaimed a lot), Thisby (umm, because the character as portrayed in the playlet in Midsummer Night’s Dream was loving but not too smart), and Puck, for reasons you may imagine. Mischief personified.

    But somehow my daughter named our last cat without even consulting me — CItrus. I think there are orange groves in The Tempest, but that doesn’t count….

    If you’re answering commenters’ questions (when the blog returns): let’s see, we know your name, it’s on the cover of your book and all, but, Wendy:
    “What is your quest?
    What is your favorite color?”
    (Since you ‘fessed up to a literature degree, I’ll spare you the airspeed velocity inquiry!)

  21. Those all sound like great cat names. Learned from personal experience not to name kitties after famous warriors, though. We had cats named Alexander and Caesar, and they both got into a lot of fights. LOL

  22. That is a CLASSIC Lucy photo! LOVE IT!

  23. Love that kitty pic! Too darling!

    My husband names all our kitties. He seems to nail it when it comes to describing their personalities!

    Have a good weekend – Frog joyiously ๐Ÿ˜‰ luv.m.

  24. Better not try another frontal assault…that rabbit’s dynamite.
    “fetchez la vache”-
    Either way, delighted to find a seriously kindred spirit. Must go find my copy of Morte d’Arthur..haven;t reread it in ages.

    You are inspiring!!

  25. T. H. White’s “The Once and Future King”. I blew out a paperback when I was younger and my brother kindly gave me a hardbound copy for Christmas a while back.

    It is the best. Many lessons to be learned, especially early-on when Wart learns that Might Does Not Make Right. I have carried that one with me and it applies in all settings.

  26. Hm, my first girl was Jewel, because she was. Her younger housemate was (and is) Cinnabar, or Cin, because of the smudgy red bits on her. (Both were/are tricolors.)

    Sorry to say that while like the MP movie, I’m not so fond of “Excalibur.” I think it was the cringeworthy bit where a couple of people had sex while she was naked and he was in A SUIT OF ARMOR OH MY GAWD ARE THEY KIDDING?!?!?!?!?!?

  27. Obviously I was too young to appreciate the cast when I saw Excalibur. Must go add it to the Netflix list (only slightly longer than my Ravelry queue).

  28. I am truly amazed you could even knit with the flu, even if it required frogging later. I tried Stitches West on Friday morning for the annual take a day off work pilgrimage with the girls and had to be rescued by the husband. I am pleased to report I did stop by Tess’ Designer Yarns and found the people with the 4 inch metal Addi dp’s before I could no longer soldier on. Then I went home to bed where I remained in bed for the next several days. Finally Monday night I could do a couple of rows of garter stitch on a baby present sweater. Seems like everyone’s had this flu. And its wretched. Remind me to get a flu shot next year. I hope you feel better!

  29. Theresa in Italy says:

    I’ve got to see “Excalibur” again. Helen Mirren and Nicol Williamson eclipsed everyone else the first time round for me. And oh yeah, the sex-while-wearing-armor bit, I remember that.

    If I start listing all my favorite lines from “Holy Grail,” there won’t be room for anyone else to comment….

  30. ::sigh:: Sometimes ya just gotta frog. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Among our current cat crew is an orange and white boy we named Norton. While on a wintry walk many years ago, DH (and I, but dh did the work) rescued him from a rural road’s storm ‘sewer’. It had to be ‘Norton’, right?

    Have a great weekend, Wendy, hope you feel ALL better soon. Love you, Miss Lucy.

    PS to bonnie: I heard that this year’s flu shot missed the mark, and only helped 40% of those who rec’d it. ๐Ÿ™

  31. Excalibur — love that movie. I can’t forget Helen Mirren as Morgana — she was great, as always!

  32. A new translation of Gawain and the Green Knight came out within the past few months, it got a really great review from the New York Times. In case you wanted to revisit that one…

  33. Have you ever used the Kitchner bind off for your toe up socks? It a little fussy – but after some practice, looks really really nice. The instructions were in More Sensational Socks. Happy Knitting! Sharon.

  34. I had a cat named Merlin. He started out with the name Guenevere, but when it came time to get spayed we discovered she had “become” a he. It seemed only appropriate to change the name to Merlin, since he was obviously a magician.

  35. That’s one of the best shots of Lucy I’ve seen! In her “please, could there ever be another kitty but me?” mindset, it’s just a perfect pose!

  36. My grandmother passed on the tradition of naming cats after witches.

    She has had Samantha, Tabitha, Sabrina, Angora, and a few others.

    My current cat is named Phoenix, as when I adopted her they had named her “Ash” at the shelter. So she arose from the ashes.

  37. Aww, that’s too bad about the sock. It looks gorgeous, but I totally feel you about, well, not feeling it.

    I agree, I love that picture of Lucy. She seems so laid back. My cats are all frantic kitties.

  38. I’m sooo going to have to check out Excalibur! I love me some Keeping Up Appearances!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Lynette Holzer says:

    Does Lucy socialize well with other cats? My ragdoll, Izzy, is neurotically “only”. He likes dogs but frehe finds it extremely distressing if there’s another cat in the vicinity.

    And on the subject of matters medieval, while you were reading all that stuff about Arthur, did you happen across Parke Godwin’s trilogy, “The Last Rainbow”, “Firelord”, and “Beloved Exile”? I highly recommend them. And I thank you for your references to the Steinbeck version and to “Excalibur”. I’m going to read the Steinbeck and re-watch the movie. While I knit socks, of course.


  40. Marion Zimmer-Bradley has an interesting take on the Arthurian legend where she tells it from the perspective of the women in the story (primarily Morthaine), called The Mists of Avalon. There are also a couple of prequels, the Priestess of Avalon and the Lady of Avalon. Very very interesting if only for being so radically different from what you normally read.

  41. I named my kitty Grace. But he isn’t. We are having a bit of a problem coming up with a name that sounds like Grace but is more gender neutral. I should know better then to give kitties girl or boy names.
    Excaliber is one of my favorite movies. It is interesting that half of John Boorman’s family are in it. Nothing like putting the wife and kiddies to work
    Have a great weekend

  42. OMG! I *love* Lucy!

  43. Sunnyknitter says:

    Another Arthurian here, I have a calico named Nimue and we share a ragdoll with my Mum named Merlin. (We get custody when she goes to Canada for six months. Two families that love him, can you say spoiled?) We also had Carbon and Egbert.

  44. I’m amused at your pet naming. In addition to other Arthurian pet names, I have a California Kingsnake, named Galahad. You can see in this picture that he has a little grail-shape marking on his head. It would have been more correct to name him Arthur (he is a KINGsnake…) but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

  45. Nooooooooo! Don’t frog your Chevron sock! It’s beautiful! By the way, nice pic of Lucy.

  46. Love the picture of Lucy. Only she could get herself into that position.
    Have a great weekend.

  47. I own a Maltese named Gracie. When we adopted an older male dog what else could we have named him but George?

  48. Allyson says:

    I’ve read loads of Aurthurian themed books. Some were better than others. Do you have a favorite?