My current work in progress:

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


I Have a Little Problem

It all started last week when I heard about a contest to post a photo of the stuff you keep in the cabinet over your fridge. (Contest ended on April 10, btw. Yes, I am slow in mentioning it.) The prize was a skein of Socks That Rock so I figgered a chance at that was worth opening up that cabinet, right?

Small problem. This is what is on top of my fridge, blocking access to the cabinet.


Do you think this is indicative of a larger problem? Wait . . . don’t answer that.

But I’m not the only one with a problem. First thing this morning when I went to the snack bar to purchase Diet Coke and bottled water, there was a man in line in front of me buying a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino and a Cadbury’s Caramel Egg. I almost said “Hey, breakfast of champions, huh?” but at the last minute decided that a total stranger might not appreciate my making judgmental comments about his breakfast.

Yeah, I’m tactful like that.

Sockie Love

Here is the new love of my life, basking on my office radiator in the morning sunlight.


In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that last night I stopped knitting on Kerry at 7:30 pm and turned the heel of this sock instead.

See the little gold colored pin near the top of the sock? That is my high-tech measuring device.

Although I claim to be a process knitter, I also like to see progress. I move the pin before each block of sock-knitting time so I can see the progress I’ve made. Hey, it makes me happy.


Some sock-related questions . . .

Nancy J asked:
I was wondering if you wear your handknit socks all year, or just in the cooler seasons?

Just in the cooler seasons – it’s too hot and humid in the Washington DC area in the summer for wool socks.

And that segues nicely into the next question:

Leisel asked:
… have you ever knit cotton socks? I have some lovely cotton yarn I was planning on using for socks… I knit a swatch, measured it, and was getting 8 stitches to the inch, and the overall width of the tube seemed perfect. Then I tried it on, and it was HUGE. I let it relax and remeasured, and it was 7 stitches to the inch. I was hoping you might have tips on knitting socks out of cotton… do I just need knit at a smaller gauge, or is this doomed not to work out?

And Debi responded:
As an aside to Leisel, living in Florida I knit lots of cotton/cotton blend socks. They do not have the memory wool does so I find you need a nice firm rib of some sort to give the pattern memory since the fiber has little. Coincidentally, I just designed a simple lacy rib for Mountain Colors Bearfoot (which has a high mohair content thus less memory) which I also tested in a Cotton Fine. It’s a gift for a friend with a birthday in early May and once I send the gift I’ll post the free pattern on my blog. It’s a nice rib that holds it shape even in cotton so if you can hold out a few weeks I have just the pattern ๐Ÿ™‚

Debi, I’ll look forward to seeing your pattern! The only cotton socks I’ve knitted were from Regia — and those were a cotton/wool blend. And they didn’t have a whole lot of memory, as I recall.

April asked:
I’m nearing the end of my very first toe up sock, and was wondering about this “sewn cast off.” Where can I find the directions? Any hints about keeping it loose enough to get on my foot – and snug enough to not fall off?

The instructions for the stretchy sewn cast-off can be found here. It’s the Elizabeth Zimmermann Sewn Cast-off.

When I use this (and I do for pretty much all my socks) I make an effort to keep it as loose as possible — but not so loose that you have big obvious loops of yarn at the top of your cast-off. It just takes a little practice. Keep stretching the top out as you sew to make sure that you are leaving enough slack in the yarn as you thread it through the stitches so that the sock can stretch out to its maximum.

And about cotton Arans, Carol commented:
Your cotton aran looks great!!! Do you find that aran patterns in cotton help prevent the dreaded Grow-itis that cotton sweaters are prone to after repeated wearing? I’ve almost sworn off 100% cotton because, even knitted on smaller needles with patterns like seed stitch, they become misshapen before the first summer ends. I’ve just get more mileage than that for all my work!!

Debi responded (in the same comment quoted from above):
ASC is one of my favorite yarns and yes, tho it does stretch out a bit with wear, a quick wash and the microfiber in it bounces it right back into shape.

Debi is correct — All Seasons Cotton bounces back nicely, due to the microfiber content.

In general, I think the more texture you put in a cotton knit, the better it will hold its shape. Eons ago I made a sweater that consisted of an all-over twisted rib pattern (why, yes, I am insane — thanks for asking). I knit it in 100% cotton and it kept its shape beautifully.

Even more eons ago, I knit a “sampler” type sweater out of Sugar & Cream yarn. Laugh if you like, but that yarn was fabulous! The sweater was a combination of cables, texture and openwork and was actually quite pretty. It did grow a bit after wearing it, but I’d throw it in the washer and dryer and it obediently went back to it’s original size.

And Jasmine asked:
What is the chance that you might bring Kerry into KH and I could sneak it away from you while you were knitting and chatting?

Not on your life, cupcake. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tomorrow Night

I’ll either be late or absent from blogging, because I have an important date to meet these lovely ladies and get them to sign my copy of their book. Can’t hardly wait!

Lucy Sez


Does this mean my dinner will be late? Huh?


  1. We had a similar problem with photographing the cupboard above the fridge, though it is a bed tray and our travel mugs and some beverage mixes (hot cocoa and chai) blocking the cupboard.

    I love the funny things people buy. You showed so much restraint in not sharing your thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I don’t think you or the top of your fridge has a problem. Thoses bottles look pretty full to me!

  3. Hrm…what you see as a problem, I see as an opportunity!

  4. I’m surprised to hear that a viable sweater can be knit from Sugar ‘n Cream…that’s what I use for my dishcloths! ๐Ÿ™‚ But let’s face it, I have a whopping three sweaters under my knitting belt (one of them an abject failure), so that tells you what I know about sweaters. But I am about to embark on my first lace shawl, if that gives me any street cred.

    The cupboard over my kitchen sink has the same problem as the top of your fridge. Not that it’s a problem; we all need a whiskey sour every now and then!

  5. Could this be the resurfacing of dishcloth cotton yarn? First, I read about all of the fab projects in M-D Knitting using Peaches and Cream and now the great Wendy makes a sweater with Sugar & Cream, too! I love it… my pocketbook might, too.

    Have you ever knit with Lion Brand Cotton-Ease? I love it. Is it similar to ASC?

  6. I’m pretty sure that the cupboard above my stove looks just about like the top of your fridge. Seems normal to me. Have a great time tomorrow night.

  7. I still see liquid in those bottles, so it can’t be a problem.
    It’s only a problem if it interferes with your knitting. They sometimes don’t mix well. Can make the knitting look, well, shaken, not stirred.

  8. milk and eggs…hmmm..that sounds like that guy was having a nice wholesome breakfast…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Wendy, the yarn that I won in your contest has arrived! Thank you so much – it’s beautiful. I’ve taken the liberty of putting pictures up on my blog.

    P.S. Do you colour coordinate what you drink with what you’re knitting?

  10. Note to Liz on Cotton-Ease versus ASC: they are similar in cotton to acrylic microfiber content, but I find less twist and elasticity in the Cotton-Ease than I do with ASC.

    I much prefer ASC as it makes a somewhat “denser” fabric with a nice, soft hand.

  11. I have a crocheted cable sweater in 100% cotton that hardly stretches at all. (I throw it in the washer and dryer as well.) However, it does flake and fuzz (Paton’s Bumblebee that I got at Smiley’s.)

    I also made a t-shirt-shaped sweater of Lion Cotton and a bag of Sugar ‘n Cream, but found they fuzzed after one washing and looked as if they were several years old. (One was crocheted, the other knitted.) I haven’t tried ASC yet, but I’m sure I will some day soon as I love cotton sweaters, even in winter.

  12. Do you the the bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino was to go in the bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino?

    I would love to see a picture of your Sugar n Cream sweater.

  13. kelly in new mexico says:

    Wendy I have a question…..How long have you knitted straight without stopping except for a break?? You produce Aran’s so quickly it’s mind boggling!?!?!???
    Just wondering at the speed and the amount of time since you could give a knitting machine a run for the money!! Thanks and Happy passover and Easter….May God Bless!

  14. I’m sorry I meant the cadbury egg into the Frappuccino.

  15. Wow, your cupboard over the fridge obstructions are pretty darn good!

    Poor Lucy… She’ll most likely fade away by the time you get home…

  16. Wildflower DK has become my favorite summer yarn. I love it. I knit Ann Norling’s basketweave shell pattern from Saucy and it grew and looked like a maternity top during the first summer. I tried the Shapely Tee in Cotton Classic – loved the yarn and the sweater, but been afraid to wear it enough to test it out!! Can you imagine – I’m afraid to wear my sweater!!

    I’ll have to calm down and wear my Shapely Tee.

  17. Cotton: ok…….confession……it’s HOT here in the summer……so I decided to knit (as done in the 20’s & 30’s)……towels……yes, towels….and the Sugar & Cream was / is lovely……and the towels: hand, finger, and yes….I did knit bath towels…..are frankly various textures….soooo luxurious & decandent…I even did kitchen hand towels that are prized by the special girls in my life…..even used to towel off the dog…..cause it’s soft and the dog is o-l-d…..(we spell as not to hurt feelings)…..some of us will do any thing, doncha think/knit?

  18. Try Cascade Yarns Fixation or Elann’s Sock-it-to-me cotton yarns with a little bit of elastic for socks. The elastic makes the socks hug your feet and the cotton makes for good summer footwear. Plus the elastic makes the yarn a pleasure to knit. There’s a great pattern for Fixation socks on

  19. hmmmm I don’t have a cabinet over my fridge. I don’t have any bottles on top of my fridge either, but I don’t see a problem with that. My bottle of Southern Comfort resides under my computer desk. Keeps it within easy reach when I start getting all jealous when I see all the yummy yarns and gorgeous projects that people keep coming up with. hehehehehe

  20. Silly girl, don’t you remember from Saturday Night Live during the Belushi era? It’s little chocolate donuts that are the breakfast of champions. ๐Ÿ™‚ Cadbury eggs and frappuchinos are for dinner. That guy must have his days and nights mixed up.

  21. CottonEase is to All Season’s Cotton as hamburger is to filet mignon. Yes, they are both from the same animal with similar make up but one goes down a whole lot smoother ๐Ÿ™‚

    CottonEase is discontinued anyway.

    All these mentions! I’m starting to feel like a star on the Wendy and Debi show!

    Have fun tomorrow night!

  22. Have fun tomorrow night! Let’s feed Lucy early :)…and not a frappucino, heheheh

  23. Thanks, Wendy, for posting the answer to my comment on your main page, so I didn’t forget to check for an answer.

    And thanks to Debi for responding. I’ll be anxiously awaiting your pattern.

  24. I do the same thing with the pin!! I don’t know why but for some reason it makes me think the sock is working along faster ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Leftover Sugar ‘N Cream cotton is the perfect waste yarn for a provisional cast on. It is tough and smooth.

  26. Don’t let the bottles on the fridge bother you. Discerning taste demands variety.

    Now if you had, say, four half-full bottles of Wild Turkey or something, we’d have a problem ๐Ÿ˜‰

  27. And who can forget the breakfast of ex-champions, a la Hawkeye Pierce? “Give me a beer and a bowl” (Pours in rice crispies, followed by beer.) “Ahh, snap, crackle and burp.” Mmm, knitted cotton bath towels…

  28. I used to start each day with a Little Debbie Nutty Bar and a Diet Pepsi. Back in the day when me and my waistline were both invincible!

    The bath towels sound truly luxurious–Must try that! I use S&C for lots of things.

  29. I think our “problem” is worse than yours… The only bottles that accumulate are things we don’t like. Althout now that I say that, I don’t see any tequila or margarita mix up there… ๐Ÿ™‚

    The Spanish Moss socks look gorgeous! You’re going to have some seriously happy feet with all these fabulous socks.

  30. anne marie says:

    all I see are some excellent quality top-shelf liquors. if we descended en masse to wendy’s house, she would serve us the best drinks! and lucy would have plenty of playmates!

    I hate to say it, but on top of my fridge are 2 pasta pots and some paper plates for cookouts; no booze (sobs).

    good to see you are coming to philadelphia; I am trying to arrange a day off work to see you. btw, if you happen to read the mason-dixon knitting blog, the ladies had a good time at loop. after all, we ARE the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection! so expect the best from us!

    anne marie in philly

  31. I usually have an orange and white cat blocking the cabinet above my fridge! And she doesn’t like it when I move her! *lol*

  32. Inquiring minds want to know: What’s your average progress on a sock between pin movements? ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Woah Wendy! I totally did a double-take when I saw that picture! Had to check the URL to make sure I hadn’t typed it in wrong. . . you know how sometimes if you type one letter wrong you get to a porn site? That’s what I thought! ;o)

  34. Great suggestion about the pin. I too am a process knitter and like to ‘measure’ my progress.

  35. Coffee and nutter butters are my daily breakfast of champions! Yum!

  36. A question about knitting with 100% wool sock yarns. I have knitted many pairs of socks for relatives in the past, and they have been with nylon/wool blends, but I recently bought a stash of koigu yarn, and thought I would finally knit myself a pair in a really pretty variegated colourway. I did, and they are great socks, so great that I wore them so often that I walked right through the heels in about a month. Is this a common occurrance? Should I have knit on smaller needles to make a more dense fabric? Any tips about this would be great!

  37. While you’re in VA, can you keep heading south, and come to NC?

  38. Clearly not the sign of a larger problem.

    They’re full.


  39. Thanks! I’ve got a sock done and the next started!

  40. Wendy, glad to see you’re going to be at Knitting Sisters! Will have to come and get you to sign your book. Does Wendy like catnip?

  41. I just love your generic sock pattern. I was never much of a toe-up fan, but you’ve converted me. I’m on pair #2, using some Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino…stash yarn I purchased with a gift certificate from last year’s room parents. Teachers do get perks now and then! Anyway, thanks for enabling me to make a tiny dent in my sock yarn drawer. Of course, there’s still the box in the back of the closet. I guess that’s what summer break is for.