My current work in progress:

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


Today is Q&A Day!

Cynthia asked:
Anyone got any good ideas for all those dibs and dabs of sock yarn I’m accumulating? I rarely use up an entire skein, but I refuse to throw away perfectly good sock yarn!

One idea is to knit little tiny baby socks — or, as Lucy prefers, knit catnip mice from them. Anyone else wanna weight in with ideas?

Imbrium asked:
What kind of scale do you use for weighing yarn? Most of the options I’ve seen (admittedly, I haven’t done that much research) are mind-bogglingly expensive.

I use a cheap little postal scale:


I’ve had it for several years and don’t remember where I got it — but I’m betting you can find something similar at an office supply store.

It’s not very high tech, and it is certainly not accurate to the nth decimal place, but I think it’s good enough for this purpose. I weigh skeins that are marked as weighing a specific weight on it, and the scale reflects that weight accurately.

I know some people who take their yarn to the post office and ask them to weigh it. Now, this wouldn’t be practical if you are attempting to divide one skein into two: “Okay, please weigh it again.” (Wind a few yards.) “Okay, again, please.” Yeah, I can see the people waiting behind you in the line getting cranky.

My post office has a self-service mailing center, with a scale. If it weren’t crowded, you could always try using that!

Sarah said:
I am curious as to your experience with the Socks That Rock yarn. It certainly looks gorgeous–I’m hoping that one skein can make two socks since it’s a touch pricey. (This, mind you, said by the girl using Lorna’s Laces but, well, there you go.)

So far, I’m loving it. It is very soft and “sproingy” and a pleasure to knit.

My skein (4.25 ounces) had 325 yards, but since then, they’ve upped the size of their skeins. The yardage on their skeins (which are now 4.5 ounces) is 369 yards.

I’ll get a pair of socks easily out of the smaller skein. They won’t be tall in the leg, but I’ll simply knit until I run out and see what I end up with. I’ve no objection to ankle socks! So . . . stay tuned. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve finished the foot. See?


And I’ve started a feather and fan pattern for the leg. I think it looks really pretty in this colorway!


Myrth asked:
can you match the toes for all yarns? or only some are like that?

I generally only try to match when I’m using self-striping yarn. It’s fairly easy to find a beginning point in the yarn when it is uniformly self-striping.

While the Socks That Rock yarn is forming a sort of stripe, I’m not going to try to match them. Randomness can be just as much fun!

Jenna commented:
Two questions: I feel like the slipped stitches on a sock with a heel flap give it some strength and stability. Do the short rows hold up as well? How do you keep your bind off on the cuff stretchy enough to fit over a foot? Thanks!

I really like the short row heel as it seems to fit my foot better than a heel made the traditional way with gusset. The heels on my handknit socks are holding up just fine, after repeated machine washings.

I’ve made a few pairs of socks with short row heels for The King of All Remote Controls, and all his socks seem to be faring well too. As it happens, I conducted a KOARC sock inspection just last weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

For the bind-off, I often use Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Stretchy Sewn Cast-Off.

Ooh, look! My Chibi is ready for St. Patrick’s Day!


Lucy doesn’t seem very impressed, does she?



  1. OK! Where did you get a GREEN CHIBI??

  2. Such a cute chibi!! That colorway is looking fantastic. And thank you for the cast off suggestion. I was pondering to myself which one I should try to use!

  3. Damn! Barbara stole my comment! Very cool green Chibi!

  4. A green Chibi!!!! How fun! My Chibi recently lost its case in a tragic fight with the dog – I came home and Chibicase clearly lost. But the needle was a champ!

    The socks are looking wonderful! They are on my list, since I’m a sockapalooozer, and I’m trying to sock up as much info since I’m new at the sock game.

    Thanks for the postal scale tip!

  5. Lucy looks inscrutable as always, but hey, I am impressed by that Chibi! Do tell.

  6. I use a Weight Watchers scale. It runs around $30, but is measures precisely, tares, and can switch between oz and grams. I recommend it. I also use it for food!

  7. rosesmama says:

    Sock yarn ends become doll clothes in our house — tiny little sweaters and dresses and socks. The sock yarn is just the right scale to look like worsted weight for dolls. Also most doll clothes in stores are of dubitable quality, so children you know get to have the best dressed dolls.

  8. I bet Lucy looked perkier when you were typing “catnip mice” but then became disinterested when typing turned to different things. She’s such an expressive girl.

  9. great pattern on socks…….great day when you answer questions too……..I use a Pelouse gourmet scale…..which is used in another life for those european baking recipes…..imaging a work / job description that combines chocolate truffles & knitting!

  10. You can also make flowers with your leftover sock yarn. Save up a bunch and use them to trim a bag or such.

  11. As for the leftover sock yarn: besides baby socks, you can make

    mini sock, mitten or sweater ornaments

    wrap it around a small styrofoam ball, stick toothpicks in it, with a bead on the end, for an ornament that looks like a ball of yarn (I’ve seen pictures online, but I can’t find the link now)

    or even smaller sock bookmarks (I’m sure if you wanted to, you could make up something similar that looks like mittens or a sweater):

    or earrings (I’ve also made stitch markers from this pattern):

    or heart sachets from this pattern from Interweave Knits:

    You could do the entrelac bits on Cut Your Teeth Socks from knitty:

    or just wind them up into pretty little balls and put them in a nice bowl to display.

    And as for the green chibi… I really have to find me one of those… I love it!

  12. I just had to crack up at the thought of standing in line at the Post Office with ball winders and asking them to weigh the yarn. It sounds like a great deal of fun!

  13. martha in mobile says:

    I was hoping today would be a question and answer session, especially about the scale. I’m going to check out the Weight Watcher scale right now!

    I have a Lucy question which I hope is not too odd. I notice she is a bit cross-eyed. I am a little cross-eyed, too, but with minimal effort I can see “single” instead of “double.” Do you think Lucy makes an effort to see single, or sees double and works with that (since it would be the norm for her)?

  14. Wow, could Lucy look any more bored? She’s so great!

  15. love fan and feather ๐Ÿ™‚ that’s my favorite cast off also, i use it for nearly everything.

  16. I love the socks – they rock! Socks That Rock! I really like that yarn and the women who run the company are super nice.

    One thing to be aware of is that the skein length of Socks That Rock has recently increased. The 325 yard skeins weren’t quite enough for some people (yes, people with big feet) so they are now sold with 360 yards. If you have a “short” skein, I definitely recommend the toe-up method. I’m speaking from experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I have to ask, what IS a chibi?

  18. Leftover idea: I made knee-hight left-over socks and I love them:

  19. still love the blue and am wearing green cause hell yes I am half Irish! Now to find me one of those green chibis ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS- Melanie as swim had a great idea of sock leftovers- she knits little squares of them and will make it into a blanket once there is enough.

  20. As for using up scraps of sock yarn, try Googling “Stashbuster Spiral Socks”. It uses three or four colors at once, spiraling around to make lots of little thin stripes.

  21. Caroline M says:

    I’ve just got to the bottom of the comments to add mine, only to find that Tracy just beat me to it. I make my leftover sock yarn into Stashbuster spiral socks, you can knit them toe up or cuff down because it’s the way that you make the jogless spiral that’s important, not the pattern. I think that I used the leftovers from 6 balls of Opal to make a new pair of socks. It’s also a good way of making a skein of something lovely go further, by making it a two stripe sock using a complementary solid.

  22. I sometimes combine my sock ends with a worsted or chunky yarn to make colorful pet blankets. Or I do a sock yarn afghan. I donate the pet blankets to animal shelters.

  23. Hello, as for leftover sock yarn, there are lots of ideas floating around in German blogs lately. Many of them are using two different leftovers held together. Use appropriate needle size (about 4 to 4.5 mm). You can make scarves, blankets, and thick socks that way. We also knit “monster socks”, it doesn’t have to be knee socks, but the concept is the same. Other things I’ve made are baby, Barbie, or doll clothes, socks and hats for premature infants and mini socks for decorative purposes. I also do mosaic knitting with leftovers.

    The last use the leftovers get is teaching people how to make socks. I teach using baby socks made with 10 stitches per needle – small enough to teach sock knitting within a reasonable time frame without the needles falling out of too few stitches. My pupils can choose from my really not small stash of leftovers. They usually make two or three pairs of baby socks before venturing off to bigger sizes, so they can exercise the difficult bits of sock knitting in a shorter time frame.

  24. I think STR yarn is wonderful – it is worth the price!

    I think Lucy would have been more impressed if you had something GREEN for her – doesn’t she look a bit Irish to you?

    The luck of the Irish to ye, Lucy!

  25. What sock yarn would you recommend for someone who is allergic to animal fibers? Wool, mohair, and therefore most of the lovely sock yarn is out.

    I’ve just finished my first pair of socks with Moda’s ‘Sassy Stripes’ yarn, but I’d like to find something finer and sproingier to work with.

  26. another idea for leftover sock yarn is baby hats — preemie caps in particular. — oh, just scanning above, I see someone already said that. Well, it’s there. I’m not removing it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Cool green CHIBI for St. Patty’s day!

  27. Joan Cole says:

    Have you ever done a Kaffe Fassett sweater with your love for color? I installed 1 whole wall in my yarn room with cabinets and a counter, floor to ceiling, now I can see all my stash at once. It cost about $600 with a kit and my son’s help. I am doing a kitty pie for my Minnou, as he loves wool.

  28. I use an electronic scale I got at Target. It’s flat, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space. I don’t think it was as expensive as the Weight Watchers scale. I’m pretty cheap, so I don’t think I would’ve spend $30 for it.

  29. Thanks for the cast-off info — my socks are always tight at the top no matter what I try, so this will be my next step. I really like the feather and fan leg — have to keep that one in mind.

    Have a great St. Patty’s day, and knit something green!

  30. As for weighing little bits, I use a food scale. You can do grams or oz. and they’re not terribly expensive. I use it for all kinds of things–except for actually weighing my food portions, ahem.

  31. catherine says:

    Handknit Holidays has a pattern for Christmas tree ball ornaments made out of sock yarn. Knit a sphere and stuff with batting. You can add beads, fair isle, stripes, etc. I-cord a loop for hanging. Dead simple and very quick to do.

  32. If you want a really cheap and small scale, try a handheld postage scale. You can get them for like $2 and they measure up to 100g/4oz which is usually just enough for our purposes.

    Here is one:

    The sprial socks look great, thanks guys for posting it! I have several partial skeins of koigu floating around.

  33. I make little sock earrings (on 0000 metal needles) to match each pair of socks. A pair takes a few yards. Luckily, I usually have that much left from splitting the ball unevenly. People are more impressed by the earrings than the socks! Done in red and white they make cute X-mas gifts.

    I have tried the sewn cast off, but it usually ends up looking very sloppy on top of the ribbing. I probably just need more practise. Sigh. (Are there any tricks people can pass on? Hint.)

  34. Stephanie says:

    Polder makes a nice digital scale that weighs in 1 g or 1/8 oz. increments. I don’t think ours was very expensive (under $50). Also useful for baking and homebrewing.

  35. I don’t know if anyone said this already, but major knitter is collecting sock yarn ends for charity.
    Her site is and she’s collecting through the end of March. Each ball enters you into a contest for more yarn. Always a good thing.

    Love the socks, btw! Very cool.

  36. I used a bunch of my sock yarn ends to make a thin (but very long) spiral scarf from “Scarf Style.” It’s not very practical to keep you warm, but it’s a fun accessory for spring or early fall.

  37. For a somewhat stretchier bind off, try my “Elastic Bind Off” method (I think I invented it, but maybe someone else came up with it before me?):

    K1, *K1, YO, slip both sts over YO stitch,* repeat between *โ€™s until all sts worked, pull yarn through last stitch to complete bind off.

    I prefer to work this from the WS so the purl side is showing, but it looks good from either side.

  38. I use a kitchen scale I bought at Target for about $20. It measures to hundredths of pounds or tenths of ounces and can be zeroed with a container on the scale if you need it.

    I find it quite useful for weighing skeins of yarn, loose wool for dyeing or measureing the dye ingredients.

    My son borrows it to weigh out clay, he uses a different type of wheel, a potter’s wheel.

  39. Thanks for all the great ideas for leftover sock yarn…I see a lot of monster socks & baby socks coming out of this!

  40. I use a digital postal scale I got at office max. It was $30, it takes a 9 volt battery and measures in grams and ounces! It’s great!

    I have green chibi envy! My orange sock chibi is jealous! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love EZ’s sewn cast-off for toe-ups too!

  41. Joanne Conklin has a wonderful sweater pattern that uses leftover sock yarn. I haven’t made it but it looks interesting.

  42. I love the green chibi – now I need to convince them of the need for a red one for St David’s day… I love the feather and fan pattern for a sock – I’ll be looking forward to seeing the finished item. A.x

  43. historicstitcher says:

    I use a method for measuring skein weights I’m afraid I can’t recommend for everyone. I work in a chemistry lab, and I take it in on Fridays when I’m the only chemist and do my weighing on the scale there at lunch: weigh, hand-wind, weigh, hand-wind. It works for me, I just have to remember that the 5th decimal place is insignificant for my purposes! ๐Ÿ™‚