My current work in progress:

Pitch by Emily Greene, knit from Elsawool Cormo worsted on a US 6 needle

Archives for March 2006

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?


Bob Socks!

The Bob socks are done! The Bob socks are done!


These are knitted from 2 skeins of Regia sock yarn in color #5166 using my Generic Toe Up Sock Pattern, US 0 (2mm needles), and a total of 72 stitches. They are for a man’s foot (size 10 shoe) and I used all but a few yards of the yarn.

That’s one of the things I really like about knitting socks toe-up: you can knit til you run out of yarn to make the leg as long as possible.

I did a pretty good job of matching the stripes on these babies. Here are the toes:


And here are the cuffs:


New Sock!

I started a new sock on my morning commute today. Said morning commute was just long enough to complete a toe:


The yarn is the wonderful Socks That Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The colorway I’m using is Azure Malachite (I don’t think it’s currently available), and the yarn was sent to me by the lovely and wonderfully generous Cara last December.


I divided my skein of Socks that Rock into two (hopefully) equal balls, so that I could, as I mentioned above, knit til I run out of yarn. I first wound the entire skein on my ballwinder into a ball. I weighed the ball.

Then I started winding a second ball from the first ball on my ballwinder, stopping to weigh the first ball from time to time.

When the first ball weighed half of its original weight, I stopped and cut the yarn, thusly ending up with two balls. Their weight is off by just a hair, so I started the first sock using the ever-so-slightly smaller ball.

I’m making the foot plain on this sock, but I’m thinking I’ll do a feather and fan pattern on the leg. I don’t want the pattern extended down on the instep, because k2togethers in my shoes can irritate me. Yes, I am a delicate flower.

Yeah, these socks are for me. I have 64 stitches around at 8 stitches/inch. When I get to the leg, I’ll increase to 72 stitches so that I have the proper multiples for the feather and fan stitch pattern. And because I have fat legs.

So there you have it.

While working the short row toe on the train this morning, I paid attention to how I actually pick up and work my double wraps so I could describe it here.

On the knit side, I slide the wrapped stitch, unworked, from the left to right needle. Then with the tip of my left needle, I pick up the 2 wraps around that unworked stitch and place them on the right needle along with the unworked stitch. Then I slide the tip of my left needle through the 3 unworked loops on the right needle (the stitch and the 2 picked-up wraps) so that the needles are positioned for me to knit 3 together through the back loops, and I work it thusly.

I do the same thing on the purl side, except that when I slide the left needle through the 3 loops on the right needle, it is set up to purl normally. So I do. Purl 3 together normally, that is.

The short rows look pretty much identical on each side of the sock when I do it this way.

Flash Your Stash?

Laura asked:
Wendy…could you possibly show us your knitting stash? In terms of what it’s in, how it’s organized, etc.

That request is based on the supposition that my stash is organized and in something. ๐Ÿ˜‰

My stash is not organized, and it is in a series of boxes, bags, and well, heck, some of it ain’t in anything at all.

Bear Alert!


These are my two bears that I’m sending off tomorrow in support of Phyl’s Bear Drive. I think they are pretty cute!

Lucy Sez:


“I’m cuter.”

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!

Yes, I Do Know That There Is Mayonnaise in Ireland

Do a Google search on “no mayonnaise in Ireland.” Yeah, I get miles of entertainment outta stuff like that.

Take It To The Mountain

Have y’all seen Susan’s lovely Mountain Stream Scarf pattern? And Miriam’s equally beautiful Mountain Peaks Shawl pattern?

Susan and Miriam are hosting a Mountain Lace knit-along for these two patterns here.

Well, yeah, of course I have both patterns. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also have this:


A skein of Virginia-grown fingering weight cashmere yarn, sent to me by L-B last month. (It is available for purchase from Holly Spring Homespun, by the way.) It’s a 300 yard skein — just the right amount for the Mountain Stream Scarf, so I do believe I’ll start that when I’ve completed Dungarvan.

You know. An intermission in the cable frenzy.

In the meantime, I finished the first Bob Sock. And I am working on the second one.


And just for grins, here’s an extreme close-up of the short-row heel:


(By the way, I loathe the Magic Loop technique as much as I loathe making socks on two circs. It’s not you, it’s me.)


There’s No Mayonnaise in Ireland

The astute among you will note that I’ve started a list of book appearances over in the sidebar. The first one is, of course, at my home away from home: Knit Happens. I’ll be signing copies of my book there on Saturday April 29 from noon until you guys get sick of me. Kristine mentions my book-signing event in the spring newsletter — here’s the link to the newsletter in pdf format. Be sure to read it, because Kristine says nice things about me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sock Needles


Ellen asked:
About the socks: are those 5″ or 7″ dps? I have switched to 5″ and really like
them, but they only seem to be available through mail order.

The needles are Addi Natura bamboos, and they are 5-7/8 inches long. They claim to be 6 inches long, but I measured them and they fall short by one-eighth of an inch.

I’ve got some 5-inch Brittany Birch dpns that I love, but they feel just a smidgen short to be using for this sock. It’s a man’s sock, so it’s a bit on the large size.

Some of you may remember how I used to knit all my socks with Pony Pearl dpns. I started this sock on the size 0 Pony Pearls and switched to the bamboos almost immediately. I may have regained some sock mojo, but I have no Pony Pearl mojo.

Miss Sandra asked:
Tell me, I have learned how to use 2 16″ circulars to knit seamless mittens, my totable project of choice, and I believe I learned the technique from,and I LOVE it, I use it on sleeves, hats, you know, small circumferences, but you seem to prefer double pointeds. Any particular reason?

Any particular reason? Is “because I loathe using two circulars” reason enough?

Seriously, though. I tried the two circs method and just didn’t like it. I can move from dpn to dpn far faster than I can from circ to circ. And I don’t like having the ends of the circs flapping in the breeze. When knitting in confined spaces (like squished in a seat on the train), that can be a problem.

We’re Having a Heat Wave

I finished the second sleeve of Dungarvan.


But I’ve not started assembling the sweater in preparation for knitting the bands. It was supposed to have reached 80 degrees today — and 80 degrees is predicted for tomorrow as well.

I’ll wait til it cools down!