My current work in progress:

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


Bits and Pieces

I finished my Cromarty last night.

Cat included for scale.

Every seam sewn, every end woven in.

As you can see, I added a band to the bottom of the sweater as well as to the bottom of the sleeves. I used the two small side cables together on this band.

So instead of doing the braided cable on the neckband, I did a narrower band with one of the small cables.

All in the interest of being matchy-matchy you know.

With the addition of the bottom band, my Cromarty is almost 26″ from shoulder to hem. A much more wearable length for me than the 23″ it was before the addition of the band.

I used 15 skeins of Rowan Calmer and a U.S. size 5 needle.

I started this sweater on December 3, so it took me a month and a day to complete.

Because of my decision to add bands to the bottom of the body and sleeves, there was a fair amount of seaming and weaving in of ends. I counted how many pieces this sweater is constructed from: twelve. Front, back, two sleeves, two sleeve bands, two bottom bands, and four neckband pieces.

Those among you who are not a fan of seaming are likely twitching by now.

Me, I have no issue with seams. In fact, I’m rather fond of them. Now your mileage may vary, but I find that a sweater knit in pieces and seamed together usually hangs better than a seamless one knit in the round. When you are knitting in the round, you are actually knitting in a spiral. Depending on the yarn you are using, it will in some way affect the drape of your garment. In my experience, the heavier the yarn, the weirder the drape when knit in the round.

I’m remembering back to an Icelandic sweater I bought at a Scandinavian bazaar approximately a ga-jillion years ago. It was knit in the round from Lopi-type (1-ply bulky wool) and it always fit weird, sort of twisting on the body when worn.

Of course, there are things you can do to make your circular knits fit well — using short-rows to incorporate shaping is one technique.

And there are certain types of knits that really are best knit in the round. Fair isle sweaters knit from jumperweight wool, for example. It is much easier to knit colorwork in the round because you always have the right side facing you. The stranded nature of fair isle work adds some stability to the piece. and if you are knitting a cardigan and steeking it, once you cut open the front steek, it is no longer a spiral.

A very compelling reason for me to lean towards knitting in pieces is that I only have to have one piece in my lap at a time while I knit. Because I am too warm 99.9% of the time, this is a big deal for me.

But like I said, your mileage may vary.

Next on the needles: a gansey-type sweater knit in DK weight cotton. In pieces. Stay tuned.

Sweet Shawlettes Giveaway Update

Don’t forget to leave a comment on Tuesday’s post to be entered in the drawing for a free copy of Sweet Shawlettes by Jean Moss. You all have given the book such a lovely reception here that I am now authorized to give away two copies in the drawing this Sunday. A big thank-you to Jean and her publisher, Taunton Press!

Lucy Update

Lucy thanks you all for the lovely comments about her photo in Tuesday’s blog post.

Meanwhile, she has found another great use for the toy she got for Christmas.

Hey, not every photo can be a glamor shot.


  1. Gorgeous sweater! Interesting what you say about the seaming – I find that seamed sweaters fit much better, especially in the shoulders.

    As for Lucy’s toy – is that the scratcher and ball toy? Just bought one for my kitties for Christmas and they love it! Bat is around, scratch it, lay on it, tag team the ball – its great.
    Kris´s last blog post ..Ten on Tuesday

  2. Really enjoyed your explanation of knitting in the round. A real mystery unravelled! Lucy looks so cute on her toy.

  3. Wow, the sweater looks amazing and it sure went fast.
    I’m sure Lucy isn’t pleased with the picture of her rear end. I know of no lady who likes that kind of shot. I used to buy our cats fancy toys at Christmas, and learned that the basic mice seemed to be their favorites.

  4. Beautiful knitting! How on earth do you get all of Lucy’s fur off for photo op? My Meezers’ fur clings like burs.
    Barbara-Kay´s last blog post ..A magnificent cat

  5. Cynthia RD says:

    I love Lucy! (Is that how you picked her name?) Of course, I also love the sweater. That color green is perfect, and the addition of the band at the bottom looks great!
    P.S. You’re spot on regarding the twitching.

  6. Twitching here!

    I love your finished Cromarty, it looks great! I’m impressed with the knitting and seaming. I especially like the bands.

    And I’m twitching, er, itching to see the next one.

    My cat also loves to help with the blocking. What is it about wet wool that is so appealing to an animal that avoids water?

  7. Cromarty is beautiful – I love the bands you added. I rather enjoy seaming, truly dislike weaving in ends. Why do cats like to sit on things they’re attracted to? (Now that I think of it, guess that explains why I’ve always got a cat pleading (whining!) to be in my lap.)

  8. {{CROMARTY}} I may just have to give this one a try! Love the bands – they really make the sweater.
    PS – Ozzie LOVES the shot of Lucy! MRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROW!

  9. lovely!!!
    FoFo´s last blog post ..Teaser….

  10. Your Cromarty is wonderful. Because of you I added the pattern to my favorites on Ravelry and I hope to knit it soon. Not sure I’ll tackle it for my first sweater ever, but I would love to knit it.

    I don’t have your experience with sweaters, I’ve never noticed how they might seem to twist, but maybe its just cause I don’t wear full “in the round” sweaters and all of my store bought one’s button or zip in the front. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that when I knit my own.
    Jessica´s last blog post ..Happy New Year 2012

  11. Oh I’m no twitching because of the seaming. I’m twitching from all those cables! Yea, I can do cables but on a much smaller scale than a sweater. It’s beautiful and just the perfect color for you. Can’t wait to see your next sweater

  12. Sharen Warren says:

    I love your sweater. and thanks for all the details. Back in college when I took design and tailoring, we were taught that more pattern pieces meant a better and more flattering fit. Then came “The Sack” dresses which were easy to make, but flattered no one. Telling my age, aren’t I? Do you find that singles or one ply yarns tend to bias also?

  13. Kathleen Krause says:

    Love your Cromarty. I looked at all the pictures of this completed on ravelry, and was really unsure what my exact thoughts on the bottom banding were. Wasn’t sure I liked any of them. But….I must say, I love your banding. It is perfect, not to heavy, just a perfect accent to the pattern. I agree, piecing is a good thing, due to the same reasons, the thermostat in our house is set at 58. (Bless my husband for wearing turtlenecks and sweatshirts) I just finished a knit from neck down sweater for my nephew. Loved the concept and it worked up fast, but thank goodness he is a boy, cause he would look pregnant otherwise. There is a problem with the hang…the yarn was from Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill in Mt Horeb, WI. (local for me), I am thinking it will soften up and hang better, as that is the usual case with their wool.
    Lucy is always a delight in your blogs, having 3 cats myself.
    Please include me the drawing for Sweet Shawlettes.

  14. Glorious sweater with fabulous stitch definition and I love the colour – great for the New Year!
    Jean Moss´s last blog post ..Another blast from the past!

  15. I really like the modifications that you made to Cromarty and appreciate your having shared both your work and your rationale with us!

    I look forward to seeing what you will do with the Gansey. I’m especially intersted in how the cotton will work for this project. I’ve not had the best experiences with cotton in heavy garments, so am hoping I learn from your approach to this project.

    Grazie!!! (And thanks to Jean for making two copies of Sweet Shawlettes available for your drawing!)
    Linda´s last blog post ..Thursday Thoughts – Knitting for the Home

  16. Cromarty’s lovely, Wendy, and you’ll look absolutely gorgeous in this shade of green! As for Lucy and her Christmas gift: I knew it would come to this. (Thanks again for the reminder of my Ruby every time I see your furry girl.)

  17. Cristy Ray says:

    I love the sweater! it looks great.

  18. Love your sweater. Hope I can win a copy of Sweet Shawlettes. Thank you:)

  19. Absolutely love the color of this gorgeous sweater! It has been exciting watching the progress. Thanks for sharing!!

  20. I assume it’s “gansey-type” because ganseys are actually knit in the round?

  21. Your sweater is so pretty! I am almost ready to seam my first sweater. Hope it goes well. Thanks for a chance in your giveaway.

  22. Amazing in numerous ways, most significant to me, the amount of time from start to finish!! I’d still be on the first piece after a month and a day… Speedy I’m not but obviously you are. What a stunner and the bands are a perfect fit in my eyes…..are interested in selling it??? I’m starting a mystery sock class next week so my new year will begin with a new project….knit on!

  23. Kristine M. says:

    The sweater is lovely. I like the unique cables. They’re more of a square design instead of just being vertical. And I’m all too familiar with Lucy’s pose. I see it everyday from my cats!

  24. What a beautiful sweater! I love the green, and I LOVE the cables! I’ve never managed to knit a sweater for myself, every time I try someone sees it and falls in love… and I’m such a push-over that I give it to them. I’m not a huge fan of pull-overs, but I wonder how this would look as a cardigan with an offset button band on one side of that front cable panel or the other? *goes off to ponder*

  25. How impressive! I can’t believe you got that knit in one month. WITH holidays! Beautiful job and I love the extra bands.

  26. Comartry very beautiful, Lucy she like to !!!
    Congratulation !!!

  27. Cromarty… oh my it’s beautiful what cabley goodness. I was twitching at the thought of seaming 12 pieces but only because I’ve done very little seaming(more practice and I should be fine).
    Brandi´s last blog post ..A Bit More Christmas

  28. Twitching too b/c of cables and not the seaming. I gave up cable in the dark ages when I knit my first Kaffe Fassett sweater (I am aging myself a little but I was just out of collage)… and saw him in person. I will do any amount of fussy colorwork, but cables… not for me! and my two kitties are very jealous of Lucy’s toy… but they would definately find her latest use for it right up their alley!

  29. That lovely sweater says St. Patrick’s Day to me!

    Lucy will multipurpose any toy. Kind of like our kitty thinking that trash cans are something to hide in…

  30. Lovely. I really like the neck choice. And the matchy-matchy. How about a picture of it on you? It would look terrific with your beautiful hair. (Nothing against Gwendolyn.) I was wondering about the length, and how you decided. I go by where a favorite sweater of mine ends, but I wonder if there is a formula, the way there is for skirts (you know, the old 1-2″ above the point where your calf begins to curve inward).

  31. The sweater looks just wonderful. I so agree with you on the seams issue. Knit in the round feels weird on my body.

    Love Miss Lucy’s new toy, as does she obviously.
    Angeluna´s last blog post ..9/11 Remembrance and an Odd Momento

  32. susan murphy says:

    Lovely sweater! Would love to win Sweet Shawlets…thank you!

  33. Cromarty is a beautiful pattern but I think the addition of the bands makes it superior!

    Singles yarn tends to bias when knit in the round. Any yarn will bias but singles in particular. Hence the twisting Icelandic pullovers. Cardigans are OK but not those hot hot pullovers. Maybe if I lived in Iceland I could put up with it.

    The Emperor also has The Toy. He also sits on it. I think it is the catnip residue.

  34. What a beautiful sweater!

  35. Every time you get a shot of Lucy “helping” you block a wet sweater I’m reminded of those small robot vacuum cleaners and wonder if I could mail order a cat-shaped blocking tool from somewhere.

    Cromarty design is much improved IMHO by the banding. Just lovely.

  36. Wow Cromarty looks amazing, totally love the cabled banding that you added, it really makes a great finish to the end result. Have all my fingers and toes crossed for Sunday but even if I’m not picked I will put it on my to buy list anyway, think it is out in march in the uk 🙂

  37. I love, love, love, how Cromarty turned out. I especially love the square neckline, and the cables on the bands. Really lovely sweater. May have to put it on my list…

  38. savannagal says:

    Your sweater is lovely. I really like the square neckline. Thank you for including notes on your changes. I prefer the version with the bands as well and would love to make this sweater someday. Thanks.

  39. anne marie in philly says:

    the better to stare at her fuzzy rat from her perch on the toy…too funny! have a great weekend!

  40. Wow…Fast and Sweet! It looks amazing.
    I too like the stability of seams. If no seams, then drop two stitches and crochet up the sides to make seams.

  41. Betty Eliassen says:

    The sweater is beautiful – I do like the bands. I am one of those that was twitching at all the sewing. You comments were quite good and I am trying to think positively about them. We will see how that works out. I am impressed at how fast you knit it up and then did the sewing. The sewing alone might set me back several years.

  42. really really love everything about this sweater! (even if it means lots of twitchy seaming!)
    turtle´s last blog post ..still alive… really!

  43. Pam Kurst says:

    I would LOVE to win that book! Gorgeous stuff. Your latest sweater, once again, is beautiful. Wendy, you are the most prolific knitter in the world!

  44. Cromarty looks fantastic – and very aptly named after my favourite holiday haunt in the whole wide world!!!!! I’m always to be found wandering along the North east coast of Scotland at least twice a year! Can I also say how much I love your blog – I’ve been subsribed for a couple of months now and really look forward to it. Your wip are facinating and your links and interviews and reviews are really useful – and Lucy’s input is always appreciated! Thanks for keeping me motivated and experimental!

  45. Gorgeous sweater! I learn so much from you every taime I read your blog! Thanks. My kitty Piper would be appalled if I took a behind shot of her, but my Finlay would not care one bit as boys can’t be bothered with vanity. They say to say hello to Lucy.

  46. I really like how the Cromarty turned out. Your banding pattern choices really balance the body pieces. What a lot of beautiful knitting!

  47. Carolyn Robinson says:

    I love your website and would love to win the book.

  48. Tanglegirl says:

    Cat included for scale? Ha. Cat included because cat wanted to be in the shot. I have cats, they told me so after carefully reviewing the picture.

  49. couldn’t resist sharing this from you tube. thanks for the tips and the beautiful inspiring photos of your work

  50. I enjoy your website and your work is beautiful. Thank you for the opportunity.

  51. That sweater is beautiful!

  52. I’m always so late to the FO party… :/

    Cromarty never grabbed me that much, but I do like it better with your changes, especially the band at the bottom. Seaming is the way to go; I’m not a big fan of working “all in one piece” any longer (unless it’s colour work!).

    And excellent colour choice!!!
    Brigitte´s last blog post ..Stella, Ginger and Maud