My current work in progress:

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


Yeah, It Is Still About Socks

My knitting time seems to have evaporated into thin air this week. Highly annoying, I must say. (I just had an Ed Grimley moment there.)

So, my work in progress consists of this sock.


Sad, really. But the sock is not sad. No no no. I am very, very pleased with Feather and Fan done in Lorna’s Laces Gold Hill. Yes, indeedy, I am.


Shelda had a question:
One question about Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. Do you think it wears as well as other sock yarns (say Opal or Regia)? I love my LL socks, but I think they pill a bit more than the average sock, and perhaps shrink a bit more too. I have several pair that are two to three years old and seem to be showing their age. I’m thinking perhaps I’m going to stop drying them in the dryer.

Before this sock, I’ve knitted two pairs of socks from Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, and gave both of them away, so I don’t have an answer for you.

Any other sock knitters care to weigh in?

Maggie asked:
I just started my first toe up from your pattern and actually I mostly wanted to tell you that I am totally in awe of this type of construction. So simple, so fascinating, so… cool. The only thing I had problems with was getting the provisional cast on unzipped. Is there a trick to it that I am missing or is it just practice? (This is only the second time I have done a provisional cast on, so there is that…)

Maggie, check out my Knitty article on toes for toe-up socks from way back when. It describes the provisional cast-on (with pictures!) in a bit more detail.

And don’t feel bad — I’ve had problems unzipping my provisional cast-on from time to time. A couple of things that help me — use a smooth, not fuzzy, yarn that’s about the same weight of your sock yarn to make the chain, and use a crochet hook a bit larger than you would normally use for the yarn. I find that it is much easier to knit into larger looser loops. And if your yarn is non-fuzzy (cotton would be good), you have less chance of splitting it or committing other atrocities that make it hard to unzip.

But if you have a chain that does not want to unzip, take the scissors to it — carefully, of course!

Oh, and P.S. to Jon — the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn I pictured yesterday is the Winterberry colorway.

Which brings me to another question:

Karen B. asked:
OK, so is that a picture of your current sock yarn stash or the additional fiber babies who’ve come to roost?

Um . . . that would be a photo of some of the new fiber babies . . .

And what a perfect segue to . . .

The Sock Yarn Stash of Epic Proportion!

I might have mentioned once or twice that I have a sock yarn stash of epic proportion. In order to clear out space for my new sock yarn stash, I want to send my old stash out to good homes. So . . . I’m sorry, but some of you guys are going to have to take it off my hands.

Rather than take photos of it and list it on eBay (or some other equally rational method of sock yarn disposal), here’s what’s gonna happen. Please read the following carefully!

Send an email (one email per person, please) to The Official WendyKnits Contest Email Address with the following information:

1. The most entertaining/creative/compelling reason you can think of why I should send you some of my sock yarn stash. (I reserve the right to share these missives along with whatever name you authorize me to use in said email — and blog link if you’ve got one — in future blog entries.)

2. Your snail mail address (this information will be shared with no one but the postal service, in the event of my mailing sock yarn to you). Please feel free to send me an email if you live outside of the U.S., by the way.

Please have these emails to me by Sunday March 26, 2006, 3:00pm EST. If you can’t click on the link for the email address, please leave a comment and I’ll respond and email the address to you.

I will pick the emails that entertain me the most, and send the authors care packages of sock yarn until I run out of the old sock yarn stash.

What you get will be a surprise — I’m going to make up grab bags of different yarns so you’ll probably get yarn for several pairs (how many will depend on how many creative and entertaining entries I get). Each separate yarn will be enough for a pair of socks though.

Ah, down-sizing. It’s so uplifting!


Lucy agrees. She thinks there will be more room for her catnip mice.


  1. I don’t suppose the blue yarn on the laptop in your previous would happen to be some of that lovely RYC Luxury Cotton? I’m using it to make Vanessa out of the RYC Classic Art book and it is devine to knit with for a cotton, a fiber I normally loathe.

  2. Oh yum. Wendy cast-offs! The LL sock is gorgeous – I really like that colorway. Your progress is amazing considering your claims of no knitting time. Frankly, I’m suspicious. I can see that Lucy is too.

  3. Wendy, this colourway is easily the most beautiful one I have seen so far in LL. While I ooh and aah over it, I also had a specific question: how does the Feather and Fan stitch hold up in the sock? Do the socks slide down to the ankles a lot without any ribbing at the top?

  4. D’OH! I “weighed-in” to yesterdays post cause great minds think alike ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your Gold Hill sock is gorgeous!

  5. That feather and fan pattern on your socks is very pretty. Lucy’s eyes look particularly lovely in her picture today.

  6. juliette says:

    Those Lucy eyes are be-uuuuu-ti-ful.

  7. That gold hill is such a beautiful colorway, so pretty, and what a lovely pattern.

  8. About the LL pilling problem: don’t dry your socks in the dryer! I learned that the hard way with a pair of knee socks in Baby Ull. They are pefect except for the pilling that occurred after all the washing and drying in the machine and it’s breaking my heart. I actually try to wash all my socks by hand now, just be safe, but I always, ALWAYS, hang them on a line or lay them flat to dry.

  9. this is too good to resist! i’ll take a stab- please send me your e-mail.

    i LOVE that you’re knitting socks again- the feather and fan is gorgeous!

  10. Love the Gold Hill socks! The Feather and Fan really distributes the color nice. And the contest, Brilliant!!!

  11. Couldn’t click the link, so if you could send me your contest address I’ll try to come up with something clever!

    Thanks, and love the socks AND those beautiful blue cat eyes.


  12. Very pretty socks, Wendy!

  13. I agree with desiknitter, that is the best-looking LL sock I’ve seen!

    I’m not a big fan of their wonky pooling, but with the right pattern it really is gorgeous. I’ve had my eye on a few of their colorways, I think you’ve given me the impetus to finally try it! I’ll wait to see what others have to say about its durability, though.

    p.s. – Since you seem so pleased with it, is there a pattern for Dungarvan in the works? I’m crossing my fingers…

  14. Your feather and fan sock is beautiful. I love the colours of the yarn…so very pretty!

    I’m still a relatively new sock knitter, having only learned this past January. I’ve made 5 pair so far, though 3 have been for children.

  15. You are my inspiration, Wendeeeeee……..and from what movie was that song as sung by Rock Hudson???????

    great socks……..purrs to Lucy……

  16. I’m noticing that my LL socks pill quite a bit, even though I have what I *think* is a perfectly reasonable gauge (9.5 sts/in, 14 rows/in). I only hope that they will wear well; I’ve only had them finished for a couple of weeks.

  17. My LL socks don’t seem to pill much, but I haven’t knit any socks in LL for quite a while. Last pair was given to my mother, but they seem to be holding up just fine.

    I have sent you the PERFECT contest entry. At least it’s worthy of posting to your blog or mine in its cuteness. Mewella says you can’t beat that with a drowned catnip mouse.

  18. You are inspiriong me to try the feather and fan pattern nextt with my STR. And I think that Lucy is thinking that mommy needs to make her some more catnip mice with all of that yarn so she can fill all of that room.

  19. Agreed, this is too good to resist! My proposal is on its electronic way to you now!
    Same question: Does Feather & Fan hold up well? I’d love to use it.
    Lucy seems to be contemplating something.

  20. those socks are just amazing – exactly what lorna ordered for the striping. I love feather and fan, anyhow.

    now, if I can find which box has the LL in it…

  21. Love the new socks! The color is fab too. I can’t click on the link – can you email me the contest address? Will try to be as entertaining as possible. Thanks!

  22. I love that colourway knitted up, don;t like it much on the skein though. Perhaps that’s why I’m a bit hopeless with variegated yarns… and I have to see it knitted up before I can decide. another wendy contest… can I submit entertaining fiction?

  23. I throw all my superwash socks in the washing machine _and_ dryer and Regia has held up the best, hands (feet?) down. I have a pair of Regia socks I knit about 5 years ago and they still look great after multiple dozens of machine washings & dryings.

    My Lorna’s Laces socks on the other hand… they look terrible. If I ever bother with LL again I’ll baby the socks and handwash/airdry them to hopefully cut down on the pilling and wear.

    A LYS worker recently told me that one of her customers was very upset that LL looked bad after just one washing, she felt it had ruined her project and that yarn ain’t cheap.

  24. Alas, I can’t get Yahoo to recognize your email address. I’d like to enter please, if you’ll drop me a note to contact you.

  25. re the LL sock yarn, my first pair of socks I ever made from it 2 yrs ago, NEVER pill?? what’s so funny is that they accidently got thrown in the regular wash(I usually hand wash) AND dryer, and still hold up NO pilling.LOVE the colorways.BTW, I am coming to KH for your book signing!!!!!

  26. I have sent in my entry. That was fun! Thanks for the contest, and good luck to everybody!

  27. I have never had good luck with Lorna’s Laces. The yarn wears thru during wearing faster than anything I have ever used.

  28. I love your socks — you are a huge force in my new sock obsession… Now if only my other necessary knitting would knit itself, or there’d be more hours in the day (hours where my kids were napping of course), so that I could still knit socks every day while finishing other projects!

    The feather and fan is a beautiful pattern. I’ll have to try that one soon!

  29. Oh wow, Wendy.. that sock really IS gorgeous!

    ::big sigh:: But now look what you’ve done.. it’s SO gorgeous I’m going to have to go get some size 0 dpns.. and here I was all that and a bag of chips because I finally graduated down from using size 2s to size 1s *grin*

    AND just because of the gorgeousness (is that a word?) of that sock, I’m also going to HAVE to get me some Lorna’s Laces too…… yeah, I’m really gonna punish myself and buy more sock yarn.. boo hoo.

    So is that pattern your own.. and do you have plans to share it with us some day? *wink*

  30. Seems like there are some varied opinions on LL sock yarn. I vote in on the positive side. I have several pairs – some several years old. I machine wash them on delicate in those lingerie bags and then line dry and they are holding up just fine.

  31. Louise in Maryland says:

    I have had no trouble with LL sock yarn, I throw my socks in the machine with cold water/delicate and dry flat. Once I discovered how hand knit socks feel, I wear them all the time (with the result I don’t dress up for work as much as I used to, but my feet feel great.)

  32. Could you email me your email? rycrafty at myway dot com
    Now to plan my letter…. ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. I love your fan & feather socks…I can see that these need to be added to my to-do list.

    Put my entry in for your stash-reducing contest! Wish I could do weight-reducing the same way…any takers?

  34. that almost makes me want to rip out my LL Gold hill from the Jaywalkers to make as Feather and Fan… ALMOST hahahahahaha.

  35. I’m tempted to send you a contest email saying that you should send me yarn because 3 of the five members of my craft night group are making socks now, and one is looking interested, and I am the only one who is firmly gripping her crochet hook and saying, I am not going to make socks I am not going to make socks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Though it occurred to me this morning that my spouse likes really thick soft socks and I wonder if he’d like homemade ones?


    I am not going to make socks I am not going to make socks

    but if I were. .. I would love using your method from the knitty article.

  36. The only Lorna’s sock yarn I ever bought was in Jungle Stripe, and it just didn’t knit up in a way I found pleasing, so I passed it along. I’m encouraged though that YOUR colorway looks good knit up; I haven’t bought any more since because I didn’t want to go through the same vexation ๐Ÿ˜€

  37. I love knitting with LL and have not had problems with pilling. I never dry my socks in the dryer but hang them on the line to dry. I do wash them in the washer on the most delicate setting. Mine have gotten a little fuzzier but no pills and they are 5 years old.

  38. I would love to enter your contest but the link doesn’t work for me. Can you e-mail me directly? Thanks!

  39. I’ve had success with both Baby Ull and embroidery floss as the waste yarn for toe-up sock cast on. I use the embroidery floss as it unwinds from the hank and watch what I’m doing so that it doesn’t split.

    For drying socks – the Jabba dryer from IKEA rocks. It looks like a red octopus with clothespins hanging from his tentacles. The legs stretch out for drying and in for storage (it hangs nicely on a shower curtain rod). A sodden sock might stretch, but I roll mine up in a microfiber wicking towel to get almost all the water out and then hang them to dry.

  40. Is it OK to send a picture with our entry?

    Your feather and fan socks are pretty! It shows off the colorway nicely.

  41. I wash my LL socks in my front-loading washer but air-dry them. I don’t see pilling however my LL socks have been worn the least of my hand knit socks but look the most worn. They are just not holding up to the wearing. – the yarn is fuzzy wear my feet come on contact with my shoes. The sock legs look fine so I don’t think it is my washer.

  42. I really like the toe up pattern and am giving it a go, relaly fascinating and it means far less finger twisting for me. I have squarish feet so I am hopeful that the fit will be neater. Thanks so much Wendy a real inspiration.

  43. Oh lordy. I hope you’ve braced yourself for the onslaught of e-mails you’ll be getting.

    What? Of course I’m going to send you one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The color of Lucy’s eyes is incredible in that picture. Give her kisses for me!

  44. Brenda in NZ says:

    There’s something very satisfying about making socks, isn’t there? Your LL feather and fan look lovely. I can’t get the link to work, so could you please send me the address directly?

  45. Stephanie Millsap says:

    Hiya Wendy,

    I’d like to share my amusing (hopefully stash worthy) story, but clicking on the link doesn’t work. I’m hoping you will send me the appropriate email address.


  46. wendy- i tried sending an email to the link but its not working…:(

  47. Dang. I tried to click on the link but it didn’t work. Also dang, I got the enail address before I started reading your blog. I thought about changing it, but everyone I know has this address for me! Not trying to step on your anything, honest. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. MamaLana says:

    I love Lucy!!

  49. MaryB in Richmond says:

    I can’t read your contest email address, and some odd thing with my laptop when it’s at home (instead of work) means I can’t just click on it.

    Pretty please can I have the contest email?

    Thank you!


  50. MaryB in Richmond says:

    I can’t read your contest email address, and some odd thing with my laptop when it’s at home (instead of work) means I can’t just click on it.

    Pretty please can I have the contest email?

    Thank you!


  51. Wendy, I sent you an email but then resent it because I had forgotten to put my blog name in the first email (sorry).

  52. Wendy,

    I am a college student living in Michigan and a rabbid knitter. I would like to enter into your contest, however, I can’t seem to find your e-mail address. Can you please send it to me via the e-mail I have given you? That would be great! Thank you very much!


  53. Just had to comment on your f&f LL socks. (Who but us would understand the previous sentence?) I love the way the pattern shows off the colorway. My LL shepherds are my favorites. I don’t dry them but wash them in a lingerie bag in the washer. They’ve softened big-time and haven’t pilled at all but instead have gotten “fuzzier-softer”, if that makes any sense at all.