My current work in progress:

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


Am I Blue?

Well my hands sure are!

There was a question in the comments asking if I was having issues with dye from the denim yarn coming off on my hands and needles. That is one of the hazards of knitting with this yarn — they dye does indeed come off. It washes off my hands pretty easily, except for my fingernails. Try as I might, I can’t get the bluish tinge off them, even with copious scrubbing with a nail brush. If I wore nail polish, the blue would come off on the polish and my nails would be fine, but I loathe and detest nail polish so I never wear it.

So for the foreseeable future my nails will have a bluish tinge.

The dye is not staining my needles because I am using metal needles. To be specific, I am using one of my beloved precious Signature Needle Arts circular needles — a U.S. size 5 with the stiletto tip. I have previously waxed lyrical about my love for these needles so I will not go on and on again here. suffice it to say that my opinion of them has not changed. In fact, I find myself planning my projects around the sizes I have. (The circulars are currently only available in U.S. size 5, 6, and 7. I am eagerly awaiting the day when they announce more sizes.)

Speaking of needles . . .

Reader Catherine asked in the comments: I’m thinking of buying to myself a set of multi-sizes circular knitting needle. Which one would you suggest? Metal or wood/bamboo?

I am hesitant to make a suggestion because needle choice is very subjective. Personally, I like metal needles and the pointier the better. So I love my Signature Needle Arts Needles. I am also fond of the Addi Lace needles because they have lovely sharp tips too. I can’t remember the last time I used a wood needle.

But your mileage may vary.

Back to the sweater at hand, I did finish the neck shaping on the front last night. Here’s a photo of the front and back pieces, folded inside out, with my camera lens cap in the shot.

I call it “Still Life With Lens Cap.”

And I cast on for a sleeve for commuter knitting. I finished the cuff.

I may join the front and back and pick up stitches for the neckband tonight, but then again, I may wait until the weekend to do so. I won’t be using my Signature Needle Arts needle for the neckband for two reasons. One, I am using it to knit the sleeve, and two (more importantly) it is 32″ long and I am knitting the neckband in the round. I’ll be using a shorter Addi Lace needle for the neckband.

Lucy is still basking in a golden glow.


  1. Barb Harger says:

    I like the blue you are using for your sweater…def. in my list of favorite colors. I rarely use wooden needles…they splinter occasionally and they stick to some yarns, and can break right in half, rendering them useless, but they are beautiful, too!! I was very sad when my Brittany needles broke! Wood can be nice to use with very slippery yarns and they are easy on the hands. However, I can get by the hurting hands using Addi Turbos. Lucy has basking down to an art…!! LOL!

  2. Kimberly Manny says:

    I share your feelings about fingernail polish but I do keep some polish remover for such a situation as yours. Have you tried using it or rubbing alcohol on your blue tinged fingernails?

  3. Curious looking stitch holders – don’t think I’ve seen those before. What kind are they?

  4. I had a hand-dyed yarn I bought from a local knitting shop back in Rochester, NY. It dyed my hands blue something awful. I rinsed the unused skeins in cold vinegar water and that helped some.

    I really don’t care for wooden needles either. I like slick metal needles with nice sharp points. HyaHya make nice lace needles for a cheaper price than the Addis.
    Denise´s last blog post ..Tabby- Tiger- Tuxedo Tuesday

  5. Wendy, did you try oil to get the dye off? Often works when I dye my hands with natural dyes. Just rub a fair bit of olive or another oil in to hands, let it sit a bit, then scrub.

    Also, I paint my nails (including under the white tip if you have long nails) to keep dye off. That way I can just remove nail polish and repaint- no blue fingernails! They have matte, non shiny, and other polishes out there that don’t chip or at least aren’t as noticeable in clear. Since you don’t like nail polish, a fine grade nail buffer may also do the trick.

  6. Wendy, did you have any idea that the yarn would do that before you started? – turning your hands/nails blue — is there a good way to check a yarn before starting a project so one can take the necessary precautions to avoid dye carryover to skin and nails — must admit the blue color is so lovely –

  7. Yippee! Just bought your box of toe-up socks. But I will not let myself break the seal until the Christmas knitting is done. How’s that for incentive?

  8. MIchelle B says:

    OHH my hand were blue for days when I was knitting with Elann Denim yarn!!

  9. That’s the question I was going to ask, about the Elann denim yarn, if that bled dye also? Just got to say that for us newer knitters, wood works well, less slippery when you are still mastering some techniques. I love my Harmony tips from KnitPicks, they are also beautiful and well priced.. Thanks for sharing your sweater! I so love the denim yarns….

  10. Do you need one of those medical alert bracelets so that if something (heaven forbid) were to happen to you, they wouldn’t have House interpreting that as a symptom?

  11. Sarah Stevens says:

    I have bought some denim yarn and plan to make a sweater frim it this winter. I’ll keep in mind the dye transfer. My question though is: since this is meant to shrink during the first washing and drying, do you block the sweater before? Which blocking process do you recommend? I bought a book about denim sweaters and it says to block before assembly. Does blocking to the knitted dimensions help it to shrink more accurately during washing? Thanks!!

  12. I also love my Harmony wood interchangeables from Knitpicks! They are so much more comfortable to work with than metal. Arthritis in my hands made me learn how to use a circular needle to keep the weight of the knitting off my hands. It helped tremendously. I use them for everything I knit, circular and flat. For some reason the wood does not hurt me like the metal does. For double points to start tiny circular items I use bamboo needles just to get started.

  13. I hear that rubbing toothpaste into fingernails takes away off colors. I’m guessing anything with a “whitening” agent is the way to go.

    Best wishes.

  14. Maybe that Lavishea bar that Loopy sells would work on your nails?

    Lucy looks lovely in any lighting!
    MicheleinMaine´s last blog post ..Painted Dragonflies Project Bag

  15. I’ve had a few yarns that have leaked on my hands (Aracunia among others), and it doesn’t bother me. Though I’ll admit that seeing my nails turn blue or strangely red is always a bit odd!
    Seanna Lea´s last blog post ..10 Tuesday shopping and a last nanowrimo

  16. Liz in Missouri says:

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for sometime and watching the projects grow and I’m loving the sweater, despite the smurfy fingertips. But I had to jump on and sing praises with you about the Signature needles. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! After years and years of all different kinds of needles, I, too, have decided that I prefer metal needles and particularly the Signatures. (I sold a set of Walnut Brittany straights and was able to repair the furnace! Amazing!) I’m knitting a small shawl with the same 32″ size 5 blue circs. They really are the best ever.
    By the way – after the cat left, I got a small little Maltese dog. Her name is Lucy! LOL

  17. I do the same thing you do, plan my knitting projects around my Signature circular needles. I really wish they’d produce some smaller sizes; I love knitting lace, but even a size 5 needle is too big for that. But the first time I used a Signature circ, I knew there was no way I was going back to other needles. Addi lace are okay, but I’ve had too many problems with defective needles from Knitpicks, so they’re my last choice these days. Gotta have pointy needles!

    I probably won’t ever have to worry about the dye coming off on my hands from denim yarn, though — cotton yarns and my somewhat arthritic hands just do NOT get along. Which forces me back to lovely wool or cashmere or alpaca. Such a pity. 🙂

  18. jo morgan says:

    I too love the ADDI lace needles and use them for all manner of projects, not just lace. That said, I recently tried some of the KnitPicks Harmony wood interchangable needles and was pleasantly surprised. They’re nice and pointed and the tools included with the tips and cables solve the needles coming apart problem that I have noticed with other interchangeble needles. The nice thing about these products is that you can try one or two without making a big investment.

  19. I have been dyeing my homespun yarn and I too got tinted finders and nails. The cure is TOOTHPASTE. Wash your hand and brush it on and under your nails; you will be amazed at how it works.

  20. I always find a little bleach will get dyes out even in those hard to get spots like under the fingernails and around cuticles. it even would get wood stain which is hard to get off. and oil is great for paint and dye stains and olive oil , baby oil or crisco leaves your hands soft too.

  21. I also have to come to the defense of wood and bamboo needles. As a newish and definitely far from speedy knitter I really prefer them over metal. I find I end up holding on too tight with metal to keep them from slipping and wind up with a tighter knit than necessary and sore hands to boot. Metal is great if you’ve got a need for speed, but if not, I recommend wood or bamboo.

  22. Brenda Seader says:

    Working my way thru your “Socks From the Toe Up” book, and am enjoying myself SO much. Thank you for all your comments–you make it so much easier!

  23. Your designs are wonderful to all us older knit wits out there. When I first started knitting 59 years ago there were no computers and no Wendy. Darn it.

  24. patwiczulis says:

    I would like to be entered in your contest. Have been a long time fan of you, Lucy and the biscuit blanket!! Pat

  25. How fun to learn about a new (to me) blog: I live on a farm.
    also, fun to see her “Biscuit Blanket” I’d love to have THAT pattern/kit.

    Ciao, JH

  26. I hope I’ve done this right. :)) At least I tried.

    I do enjoy reading your email posts…I’m a knitter and a cat lover, so it’s a toss as to which part is my favorite. Lucy IS beautiful, though…is she a Balinese? Or perhaps a Rag Doll? Such a lovely girl she is.


  27. Love the idea of winning something. Is Lucy part of the package?

  28. I too have been using the socks from the toe up
    In a box, so convenient! Lease enter me in the

  29. My kitty girls, Ashes and Cinder, and I love following your and Lucy’s escpades and would love to win something … anything. You’re making me want to knit with cotton — crazy in winter, right?

  30. I love your blog. I am intrigued by the denim yarn and am enjoying your progress. No pets in our house anymore (that ship sailed years ago 🙂 I do look forward to Lucy’s comments every day. A “gal” after my own heart.
    Keep warm, Judy