My current work in progress:

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


DPN Lovers of the World, Unite!

It was heartwarming for me to see other lovers of DPNs step forward and be counted in the comments. Dude! DPNs rule! Or, as Claudia so aptly said: “DPNs or bust.”

But . . . to each his/her own. Some of you weighed in liking the 2 circs method or the magic loop method. Good thing we don’t live in a society where it is illegal to knit socks on anything but dpns and any sock knitter found with a circular needle would be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly.

Not that I would be comfortable living in such a society.


I have turned the heel on the second Bob Sock and am knitting down the home stretch. That is, up the leg to the cuff.


Thank you for your kind comments about my short row heel. I love short row toes and heels. And now might be a good time to point you in the direction of an article I wrote for Knitty way back when on different techniques for toes on toe-up socks. If you are a toe-up sock wannabe or newbie, you might find this helpful.

Ann and Tricia asked for tips on keeping short rows neat and tight.

My advice: Make a conscious effort to knit tight!

I find that I have a tendency to loosen up my knitting slightly while doing short rows, so I make a conscious effort to knit tightly and firmly.

I double-wrap my short rows too — I think that helps guard against holes. I talk about double-wrapping in the Knitty article on toes, so check that out.

When you get to the end of the heel shaping and are ready to resume knitting all the stitches, you might find that there is a small hole between the heel stitches and the instep stitches. I almost always pick up a stitch or two in-between heel and instep on each side as I work the first row. Then on the next row, I decrease back down to the proper number of stitches by knitting 2 together.

Mia asked:
What kind of ribbing did you do on this sock? Did you use a smaller needle or something to make the ribbing draw in so much as compared to the rest of the sock? Looks like it would be nice and stretchy… just what I need!

I do so love me a nice stretchy cuff! The cuff on the Bob Sock is done with the same number of stitches (72) and the same size needles as the rest of the sock. It is a 3 x 3 rib, which is why it draws in so much.

Laureen asked:
I have a question about your generic toe-up sock pattern. When I do the short row toe, my self stripping yarn comes out in blobs of color.(I don’t know how else to explain it) Your strips seem even. My colors pool. Do you adjust your yarn ?

I’ve made no adjustment, and I’ve got blobs of color at the toe (and the heel too) as well — see? Toe:




My blobs are not too big, because my yarn has a fairly fine stripe sequence. If you are using a self-striping yarn that has wide stripes, you’ll get big blobs of color at the toes and heels.

I went into my knitting gallery to look at socks I’ve made in the past. Check out the Lorna’s Laces Bee Stripe socks. Now look at these Opal Mexiko socks. Clearly, the skinnier the stripe pattern, the more acceptable the patterning at the toe and heel.

All right kids. They claim the weather is going to return to “seasonal” overnight, so in a day or so I’ll start assembling Dungarvan and knitting the bands.


But now if you’ll excuse me, I have bears to stuff.


Lucy Sez


Why, yes, I am a fan of the ear rubs!


  1. Hee hee… “the Knitty article on toes.” I’m not sure why that made me laugh, but it did, and so did “the Bob Sock.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love knitting with dpns! I’ve never tried 2 circs or magic loop, to be fair about it, but that’s probably because I have no complaints at all about dpns. Okay, one complaint: when I knit with size 1’s or 2’s, I always feel like my giant Fezzik hands are going to snap them in half. Otherwise I am a happy knitter. Not as happy as Lucy, though – sweet kitty!

  2. you a treasure trove of tips, hints, and common sense……..dps are wonderful…..I sometimes think that I like ’em, cause I can use ’em!….a minor accomplishment, but a fun one…..

    love the bears……article helpful……

  3. I have been using your double-wrap short row heel ever since I got how to make it … and it is a great way for socks. Really … no hole at all and the wraps look nice. Thank you very much for the tutorial.

  4. It’s funny, I started knitting on DPNs. I didn’t know much about anything else. But I love ’em for just about everything.
    You sock tute is what got me started with knitting. I started my search with socks, and you were my inspiration to give it all a try. And, well, Miss Lucy, too.

  5. I have been knitting a pair of socks on 2 circs and I have vowed to finish them because I took a whole class to learn how to do it. But, the truth is, I think DPN’s are so much more elegant. I can’t imagine the women in the film Babette’s Feast wrestling around with two circs. I do, however, wish I could manage 2 socks at once. I hate second-sock-itis!

  6. I’ve been MIA for a week or so, and you’ve done quite a bit since I’ve been gone. (I hope you didn’t see my embarrassing faux pas in my blog comments pre-departure. If you didn’t – cool! Don’t go look.)

    I LOVE the Teal Hogget!!! Oh GOODY! And your socks and bears, and Aran. Oh boy!

    And I do wish Lucy could go to the festival – not that I will be there, but so many of her fans will…it’s sad the festival organizers don’t realize her popularity :).

  7. Using a complementary color for toes, heels and cuffs is a fine way to preserve the pattern in self striping yarns.

    I do love your short rows. I’m going to try to tighten mine up and see if I can get a neat result like yours.

  8. Awwwww….. sleepy Lucy. So cuddly looking.
    The Bob Socks look lovely. I think I’m in love with that Regia colorway.

  9. I have been doing YO short rows because I cannot figure out how to purl two wraps and a stitch together. Are there any hints about this, or am I just a sissy…?

  10. I use your toe-up pattern and love it, but I have made a revision which would fix the pooling of self-striping yarns. Instead of a provisional cast-on and short rows, I use a Turkish or Middle Eastern cast-on to begin at the very tip of the toe. I start with 16 wraps and so have a round of 32 sts to begin. I then continue in rounds, doing increases at the sides (or wherever I want) every-other round until I have my 64 sts, which makes a perfect fit for me. BTW, I prefer dpns, too. To prevent Second Sockitis I have two sets of dpns and do two toes, then two feet, two heels, etc. Then they match and they both get completed.

    Thanks for your pattern, and thanks for all the wonderful info and inspiration.

  11. oh, count me in on the DPN wagon; i could never do 2 circs but i know a lot of people who like them. it is a good method for people with hand problems as well.

    i also love the short-row heel, and have found a way i like to avoid the little or big holes at the heel corners: when you get to the last stitch of the heel, just before going to the instep, reach down and pick up the stitch from the row below. put it on the needle and knit together with the last heel stitch. knit around to the first heel stitch (on the other side) and do the same. this tightens up those two corner stitches nicely, i find.

  12. Tee hee. More pantsless bears!

    I have yet to make toe-up socks (they’re on the list), but I never had any question who I was going to turn to. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. That heel looks wonderful to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. The bears are so cute. I’m really liking the colors in the Bob Sock. The heel colors are larger stripes, which is nice. I also noticed on the Mexiko socks that what we could see of the heel looked like a square with two colors split on the diagnonal, which I alos thought was a nice effect.

    Love the photo of Lucy napping.

  15. Count me in on the dpns. I love them. Two circs or magic loop might be fine, but I don’t see the need. What I’d love to do is learn how to knit a sock within a sock. I’ve not found out the pattern for that just yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love Lucy! My own cat Claude would love her, too, if he weren’t so, um, ‘neutral’ on the subject. Both would want the worship due them, I’m sure.

  16. I’m with Claudia, DPNS or bust, baby! I’ve never had a problem with DPNS and they work just great for me, so why change it, if it ain’t broke. It’s great to have options.

  17. Having made socks with all three methods I find I absolutely, positively despise and abhor two socks on two circs!!! It’s awkward, you can’t put it down in the middle of a row and there’s just entirely too much STUFF to make the project at all portable. I’m doing magic loop now except for turning the heel, when I return to the magic of 4 dpn’s. Some things are best done “knitting in the old way.” (No endorsement of the book here, just couldn’t resist the pun.)

  18. *sniffle* I made my first toe-up socks with your instructions, Wendy. Ah, the memories.

    I agree with wintrymix that DPNs certainly look more elegant. There’s something elegant and very knitterly about them. Sadly, I just wind up poking myself with them and losing needles despite the coolness factor, so I switched to the two circs method. It also increased my speed. Still, I have a great deal of respect for the DPN knitters.

  19. Now that I’ve been thoroughly flogged for using 2 circs (ouch!)and asking my silly question, I apologize. I’m going to my corner to knit. Can Lucy ever forgive me?

  20. I’m a DPN girl myself, but my twin swears by knitting with 2 circs, especially because she can knit both socks at the same time.

    How would Lucy look stuffed in a bear suit?

  21. In reference to Lauren’s question about short row toe and heels, it might be worth it to check out Alison’s entries about socks. She does adjust the yarn to make her heels and toes either match or make them a solid color. I personally like the pooling of color, but her socks do look really lovely.
    There’s a lot to slog through, but if you find the 3/6/06 entry, she talks about how she avoids pooling.

  22. Here’s the scoop. I don’t like knitting socks on DPNs so if we lived in a society where you can only knit socks on DPNs, I wouldn’t knit socks. I would beg of my friends to knit socks for me.

  23. I love the short row heel (and toe!) I’m actually trying out the figure-8 toe right now. Also fun, but I think I like the shape of the short row toe better. The figure-8 toe does prevent the pooling of the yarn. As for tightening the short-row section, I’ve tried the combination knitting method, and that seems to work pretty well for me. Lucy looks lovely, as usual!

  24. Liz K.’s great link to Alison’s blog leads me to a photo request from Wendy…could you possibly show us your knitting stash? In terms of what it’s in, how i’s organized, etc. My new hubby and I are living in his apartment, and the assorted baskets and sideboard full of yarn are driving him a little batty! Alison’s blog showed her stash, but she has a bit more space than a 1-bedroom NYC apartment. any tips for a blissful co-habitation are greatly appreciated!

  25. I used your Knitty article on toe-up cast ons for my Olympic socks, very helpful! They were my first toe-ups and you really helped me a lot.

    Just wanted to say thanks!

  26. I have nothing to contribute to the sock conversation (I’ve only made 2 pair in my knitting life), but I couldn’t pass up the chance to gush about the beautiful photo of Lucy–makes me want to reach into my computer and give her all the ear rubs she wants!


  27. You’ve gotten me all inspired to do toe up now that I know where I can get the info and that I can do them on dpn’s =) Thanks for all the links.

    The bears are great. I can’t wait to see them done. They seem like a great alternative to the basic baby blanket for a shower gift.

  28. Jennifer says:

    I really want to thank you for your tutorials. I was working on toe up socks for my sock pal, and I just wasn’t happy. I really like your short-row styles, and am going to try one of them. Your tutorial on cabling without a cable needle was also very helpful. I enjoy your blog every day, and always like to see the photo’s of Lucy. Thanks again, Jen

  29. wendy, may i ask what’s the basic construction of a short row heel? what makes it comfortable in your opinion?

    i have knitted socks on DPs until recently. i am trying two circulars to see if it makes any diff. other than the fact that i can try it on while knitting and SSS(2 on 2 circs), the disadvantage (at least for me) is that the sts between the two needles are larger (and thus, uglier) than if i were to have used DPs.

    back to SR Heel….: do you have a preference for using 50 or 60% of your total sts for the heel? i’m currently using 50%. then, i knit until 2 sts remaining before turning the work to start on the SR. should i have gone until 1 sts remaining?

    thx much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. I have finally learned to use the 2 circ method. It is fine for certain patterns but I still prefer my DPNs!!! Now if I could just find some ebony dpns in a size 1 or 0, I will be happy. And yes, I have tried the Lantern Moon ones but I have had 3 break on me in less than a week.

  31. I love my DPNs. Ask my croc sock. It’s a crock. Again. Because I tried to use 2 circs.

  32. *smacks head*

    You’re that Wendy!! I am three quarters finished with my very first toe up sock thanks to your clear, concise instructions! Thankyou!

    And give up dpns?? Never.

  33. Have you ever noticed that the spot right behind a kitty’s ears and head is the softest fur of the kitty. I just love that about cats, that one little spot of pure heavenly fur, not that the rest of their fur isn’t nice, but that one little spot on each ear is so nice to pet. Maybe that’s why they seem to like their ears rubbed so much.

  34. Another DPN-head, just to be checking in! I tried two circulars, I tried magic loop, and honey, give me back my sweet little double-points.

    I’m rather amazed at the number of people who are just sure they need to convert me to their supposedly preferable method. I don’t think so!

  35. anneonymousone says:

    My mother used to be a Braille transcriber; she would read texts and create a Braille version of it on a Braillewriter. As a result, she uses some abbreviations that non-Braillers find strange. Even though she started transcribing Braille when I was around ten, it seems that the abbreviations affected her DNA and, therefore, in a weirdo time-machine-gone-wrong kind of way, mine.

    Every time I see “dpns,” I automatically read it as “doupons,” to rhyme with the pronuniciation of “coupons” in which the first syllable is “koo.” I have been knitting with them a few years now, and my misreading makes me laugh every time.