My current work in progress:

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


Picot This

I got some great comments with regard to my whining about how to finish picot edges on toe-up socks.

Vanessa pointed me to this entry on her blog, where she documents kitchenering her picot edges down.

And Elaine in Kentucky emailed me to tell me that she crochets her facings down. She said:

I kind of chain the live stitches through the portion of the garment that you’d normally sew the band to. It turns out nice and stretchy and very neat on the inside, and since you’re not binding off you’re not adding any more bulk than with the usual method. I haven’t actually done this with socks so I can’t promise that it would be stretchy enough for them, but I do it all the time on collars, cuffs, bands, etc…. If you had to, you could crochet an extra chain between live stitches for extra stretch.

These are both excellent suggestions! And from the comments, more good ideas. Hillary commented:
I just made a Rick-Rack bag and it required creating a welt by knitting the current row to one 5 rows earlier.(does that make sense?) It seems like that ought to work for creating a picot edge on a toe up sock too. Just a thought.

Why, yes, that does make sense! And I did that very technique when I made the Nantasket Basket last year. And that’s sort of what was swimming around in the back of my mind when I was thinking that I ought to be able to knit the stitches down. My only issue with doing this on a sock is that I think it would be hard (hard for me, anyhow) to execute this effectively on such teeny-tiny stitches, particularly with this dark-colored yarn.

Anne commented:
I like to knit down my hems to the row before the picot edge starts, rather than sew them. i pick up stitches from that row through the back loops and knit them together with the ones on the needle, binding off at the same time. if needed, a life line running through the row to be picked up might help keep it all straight.

Okay, now, this helps solidify the idea in my head — pick up the stitches first and then knit them together — that might be easier than picking them up one at a time. And a lifeline is a great idea.

So now I’m thinking about decorative cast-offs that might work for socks. Hmmmmmmm . . . can you hear the wheels turning around in my head? Must check out the cast-offs in this book.

Anyhow. I’m making progress on the second sock.


Extreme close-up of the heel!


And . . . I’m knitting along on Deirdre.


Lucy is preening herself, for she believes that a lady should always be well-groomed.



  1. Lucy knows she has an adoring fan club, and feels the need to live up to their expectation, obviously!

  2. Wendy, I am left handed too; it’s what kept me from learning to knit as a teen. My right handed sisters tried to teach me backwards thinking that would help me but it was too awkward. Now I have taught myself to knit the regular way. I do however prefer to knit backwards instead of purling when doing stockinette (on a flat item), get much more even tension that way.

    I wonder if being left handed influences your dislike of Kitchener graft? The only instructions are for holding the tapestry needle in one’s right hand and I am way too intimidated to try to figure out how to do it with my left hand. So I am a total Kitchener klutz.

    A question for you please. What specifically do you like to use for waste yarn in making provisional cast-on for socks. We have some cotton yarn but it is too thick. We unplied it but that was too weak. I am thinking of purchasing some embroidery floss. (or trying non waxed dental floss even.) thanks.

  3. What a fun blog!…….sharing is caring (aka Sesame Street)….and Nicky Epstein’s book is fabulous…….and, oh, oh…..the wheels turning…..too exciting……and big thanks to all the comments re picot……I hear a song coming on!……Lucy: spring cleaning?

  4. Ok, I so wish I had seen this info on the picot before doing mine.

  5. Would it be a sign of laziness if I admit to actually leaving a circular needle cable in as the lifeline? I don’t need to pick up stitches, then, just push stitches back onto the needle. I like to reason that the extra space caused by leaving in the needle cord in (while knitting the next row) will be sucked up when I bind-off like Anne does. It is a bit fiddly but it works well for me!

  6. Thanks for sharing these picot tips, Wendy. I’ve put aside my Trekking XXL Feather and Fan Picot Edge Toe-up sock because I’m not liking the bulge I’m getting when I sew down my picot edge; I’m also worried it will irritate the skin when worn. Also, I think the way the colors change, the top color happened to be a light neutral tone with occasional brown flecks so it makes the picot difficult to discern. I will re-visit this sock a bit later. I make no sense. Heh. But tomorrow is my last day of work. Yay!

  7. I loved the photo of Deirdre’s front languishing on the couch, it kind of looks like a pleated skirt in an inspired way.
    And I am hanging out for the day you get bored with socks… as much as I love your socks, knitting socks and wearing socks. There are just so many socks being knitted on knitting blogs. I love the variety and wonder at your technical genious of your other projects – but a sock by any other colour, is a sock. To me anyway.

  8. Shannon says:

    Just wanted to tell you that I tried knitting my first pair of socks with your toe-up pattern. I have tried several other patterns, only to be reduced to tears, anger, acceptance and frogging the yarn. But your pattern has finally clicked for me and I am almost done with my first pair of socks. I love this pattern! I love this website! I love knitting socks! Huzzah!

  9. I’ve never used circulars as lifelines, but i do use them as stitch holders, going as far as to buy extra just for that purpose. I love that I could just slide them on the needles and continue knitting instead of having to pick up all the stitches first. Usually for knit-in-the-round measure-as-you-go sweaters. ;-P

    Lucy is….spring-grooming! (Not that she doesn’t groom the rest of the year.)

  10. thanks wendy! next time i’ll try the picking up stitches and binding them off 🙂

  11. . . . and does a lady always lay on her back with all her feet in the air too? LOL 🙂

  12. I have to confess that I knit a lace edging onto a toe-up sock once, but it wasn’t quite stretchy enough and I wound up scrapping it. Afterwards, it occurred to me that this would be a good opportunity to make a ruffled lace edging, but I’ve never gone back and tried to institute it.

  13. I started a sock last night using the figure 8 cast on-if your short row heel is equally easy/impressive, I may abandon the top-down method altogether.
    Great discussion on picot hems-I’ll be trying Freecia’s method first, seems the easiest to me.
    Lucy is even lovely and graceful while grooming! She reminds me of my mother’s cat that we had while I was growing up. I have a Petfinder rescue as well, a Collie who is beginning to blow coat-yay! More fiber!

  14. You always take such wonderful pictures of your projects. Do you have any tips? I can never quite get all the detail I want in mine. Maybe I just need to upgrade my camera.

  15. I love the idea of using the picot edging for the top of the sock instead of the traditional ribbed cuff.

    I was wondering if the sock slouches at all without the ribbing, or does the double thickness from the fold-over provide enough “grab” to keep it in place?

  16. I’m doing picots for my next this was a great post! (thx!)

  17. I just had a thought on being able to see the stitches to Ktog. When you finish the picot hem, can you turn the sock inside out to knit two together with the edge therefore seeing the stitches better? I’m working on my first toe up socks, first time two socks on two circs and used your Knitty article to cast on. I’m keeping up with your comments so I will have lots of useful info when I get to the cuffs!

  18. Wendy,
    I just started my first picot sock and found this tutorial for picot edging and it turned out very nice.

  19. Help! I just tried your toe up sock pattern. I think I screwd something up. When I was done, the sides looked terrible. One side had elongated stitches connecting the front of the toe to the back of the toe and the other side just looked like crap. Can you tell me what I did wrong?

  20. CHeck the December 18th issue of my blog ( where I describe the 3 needle bind off that I use to case off the picot edge on my socks… even got a comment from Claudia about it that she doesn’t see any wussies around here… looks like we have a whole bunch of other non wussies here! 🙂 No need to sew down the picot hem, just use some kind of lifeline (circular needle does this the best…for these socks I tried 3 or 4 different ways to cast off to see which I liked best, and the extra circ method was the best one, since I was also doing 2 socks on magic loop)…