My current work in progress:

Sundew,by Martin Storey, knit from Rowan Softyak DK, using 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Archives for June 2008

Code Red Day

Code Red air quality combined with my slight fever and respiratory issues made me decide to call in sick today. So I’ve been lounging around at home all day, forcing fluids, knitting, and of course Plurking.

And I feel much better. I’ll likely go into work tomorrow. I just got an alert that the air quality will be a bit better — Code Orange.

Thank you for all your kind wishes!

Here is my new sock in progress:

I love this yarn — it’s the Unwind yarn I mentioned yesterday (link to the etsy shop in yesterday’s blog post). It’s 100% superwash merino and it’s got a nice twist and “meaty” feel to it. And I love the colorway — Creme de Menthe.

My sock has an ivy leaf pattern going up the middle:

So I am calling this design “Ivy League Socks.”

Lucy had an exciting time yesterday. There was a large winged insect in-between the window and the screen and it kept her entertained for over an hour.

She kept trying to get it and couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t reach it.

But she kept her eye on it!

The Lost Weekend

I’m coming off one of the most unproductive weekends I can remember. But sometimes a girl has just got to chill, right?

I thought I had a touch of food poisoning on Thursday, but now it seems like it must be a virus or something. Blech. I’m laying low and forcing fluids and doing not much at all.

Except I’ve been Plurking almost non-stop all weekend. Plurk is the most enjoyable time-suck I’ve found in a very long time. My Plurk page is here, by the way. I’ve found lots of other knitters I know on Plurk and we’ve been having a par-tay (complete with dancing bananas) all weekend.

I did manage to finish the Swan Song Socks.

And here is their “glamour” shot:

As I mentioned before, this pattern will be a freebie. I’ll write it up and get it uploaded when I’m feeling better.

This is what I’m knitting now:

That”S 100% merino sock yarn from the Unwind Yarn Company, from this etsy shop. The colorway is creme de menthe, and I have started a sock:

Meanwhile, Lucy is helping me by napping.

I do think I’ll join her . . .


Well, you didn’t really expect coherent blog posts two days in a row did you?

I am currently obsessed with Plurk. I just joined last night and am yearning for more Plurk Karma so I can get access to the animated emoticons.

What? You think I’m odd because I want to be able to put a dancing banana in my plurks? Okay, yeah, I see your point.

Are any of you on Plurk? I’m WendyKnits there. (Imagine that.) You can sign up for Plurk here.

We did not get a lot of sleep last night, courtesy of some serious storms. I was laying awake, listening for sounds like approaching freight trains, in case Lucy and I needed to go hide in the bathtub. (Lucy was surprisingly unconcerned, considering the dramatic weather. I guess she is smarter than I.)

Six-Pack Socks

My Six-Pack Socks pattern is now available at The Loopy Ewe. Get ’em while they’re hot.

Book Giveaway

There were 275 entries in the drawing for my copy of The Tenth Gift, and the random number generator chose Knitnana. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway.

I’ve been working on the second Swan Song sock.

And Lucy wishes Avery were here so she could play with her!

I don’t feel like knitting. I think that is a sign that the world is about to end . . .

Gussets and Heels and Foot Length, Oh My!

I’ve gotten some queries lately (via Ravelry and email) concerning toe-up socks. Specifically, how do you know how long to knit the foot before you start increasing for the gusset?

My standard fingering weight sock pattern (pdf link) with a gusset and slip-stitch heel directs you to knit until the length of the foot is about 3″ less than your desired total sock foot length.

I wear a US size 8.5 shoe (a European 39) and my foot is just a bit over 9.5″ long. I knit size medium (this measure is the circumference) socks for my foot.

(Incidentally, Zappos has a great chart here for foot and shoe sizes.)

When I knit socks for myself, I knit the foot to 6.5″ before I start the gusset increases. The gusset itself adds just under 2″ to the length of the foot. The pattern has 22 gusset rows for the medium size and the specified row gauge is 12 rows/inch, so the gusset is about 1.8″ in length.

So after the gusset is done, my sock is about 8.3″ long.

Then, I work the heel. Here is the sock with a completed heel.

Laid out flat, the sock is 9.75″ from the tip of the toe to the back of the heel.

Whoa, there! If my foot is just over 9.5″ long, isn’t the sock too long?

Nope. Because, of course, I’m measuring the sock flat, in 2-D, while my foot is 3-D. Look at the heel flap from the back:

For the size medium, it is 3″ wide. That 3″ is wrapped around the back of the heel and extends around to the sides of my heel (because my heel is not 3″ wide across the back). So about 1.5″ of that heel is on the back of my heel, with .75″ on each side of the heel.

Same goes for the toes. While I measure the total length of the sock foot from the tip of the toe, a bit of that length is taken up around the front of the toes. How much depends on how wide you make your sock toe. I always make mine by starting with half of the total number of foot stitches and I increase 4 stitches every other row up to the total number of stitches. How wide you make your toe is a matter of personal preference — you can start with fewer or more stitches depending on the width of the recipient’s toes.

So, I mentally knock a half inch off the foot length to compensate for toe-width.

Doing that, I’ve got 6″ for foot length before gusset + 1.8″ in gusset + .75″ in heel — adds up to 8.5″ for my just over 9.5″ foot. So my sock is about 90% of the actual length of my foot, which is exactly what I want for a sock that fits well.

Of course, everyone’s foot is different, but I like to think that mine is about average, so it is a good starting point. The “knit until the sock is 3″ shy” rule of thumb pretty much works for all the sizes of my basic pattern because the change in the width of the toe and heel is accounted for in the pattern.

But of course you need to experiment to find your perfect number. Remember, though, that a sock is a somewhat forgiving creature and can stretch to fit, so minor variations are okay.

Okay, enough with the math. It makes my head ache.

As you can see, I did finish the first Swan Song Sock. It handsomely offered to be measured for this exercise.

In other news, although she eschewed all my attempts to help her, Lucy is pleased to report that the speck is gone from her nose.

The Winning Haiku

Here is Theresa’s haiku, which won with 22% of the total votes:

Lilacs scent the air
Memories of summers past
Floating on the breeze.

Congratulations! Theresa, I’ve emailed you.

Thank you to everyone who wrote a poem for the contest. I asked each of my two judges (thank you, judges!) to send me their five favorites and they both told me they had a very hard time narrowing down their favorites to only five.

Today I got nuthin’. I think I am in the throes of the summer doldrums, and it’s not even summer yet. Come August, I ought to be lots of fun, huh?

I just finished reading an engrossing book, though.

The Tenth Gift, by Jane Johnson.

I was given this book as a review copy because it does have some needlework worked into the plot. It’s been my lunch-time reading for the past few days, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s a novel with a dual story — one plot in the present time, and one taking place in the 17th century that is based on historical fact. It is an engrossing story.

I won’t tell you the plot — you can read the description (from the above link) if you like.

I finished reading it at lunch today. Who wants it next? 😀

If you’d like to get my copy of The Tenth Gift, send an email to the Official Wendyknits Contest email address (blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet). I’ll use the Random Number Generator to draw a winner from among the emails on Thursday afternoon (June 5) 4:00 pm-ish, my time. All are welcome to email for a chance to win, and you need not be present to win. 😉

In knitting news, I’ve turned the heel.

Try to contain your excitement.

In other news, Lucy has a speck on her nose.