My current work in progress:

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


Sock Yarn is Not the Problem. Rather, It Is the Solution.

Thank you, Bakerina, for those words of wisdom.

This good advice was running through my head when Blogless L-B (hee hee!) emailed me to let me know that Blue Moon Fiber Arts updated their website. Be still, my heart.

There is a distinct possibility that there is more sock yarn heading my way.

But, as Wenders pointed out (and very astutely, I might add) “just like broken cookies, sock yarn TOTALLY doesn’t count!”

I liked Phyl’s comment too: “If there were a 12-step program, we’d need a new pair of socks for each step, right?” Phyl, I think you are on to something!

Anyway . . .


Here’s my first Claudia Handpainted sock (Sarah, it does smell ever-so-slightly of lemon dish soap!).

I did a little lace-ribby thang around the top — like the lace pattern on my last socks, but threw in some purls for good measure.


It’s a 6-stitch pattern repeat:

Row 1: (p2, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, p1) around.
Rows 2 – 4: (p2, k3, p1) around

Phoebe asked:
I have a question for you. When you’re making socks for someone else, is there a formula or percentage you use to work the heel and toe (to know how many stitches to work down to)? Or do you just eyeball it?

I just eyeball it. I sometimes think that future sock recipients wonder why I stare at their feet — heh! Generally, I make the toe and heel about one-third of the total circumference of the sock.

In the comments last week, Pam asked:
A question about knitting tension. I noticed in the Virtual Yarns FAQ the opinion expressed that knitters should be able to control tension (which I assume = gauge?)with their hands, rather than changing needles. I’m a very tight knitter. I thought knitting tight or loose was a given, like being short or tall. But maybe not???? You’ve knit so many beautiful Starmore designs. What is your experience?

I can control my tension with my hands. I find it pretty easy, but that might have something to do with my pick-up-and-wrap style of knitting.

Anyone else care to weigh in?

Turn On, Tune In, Spin Out

Dudes, Cara is getting all 1960s on us! No doubt you’ve all seen her announcement for the Spin Out on June 24th in Central Park. How I wish I could be there! But I did order one of her freaked out t-shirts (follow the links from her blog entry to buy swag!), and donated to Heifer International via her registry page. You can too, and there are prizes to be had, people! Heifer International is one of my favorite charities, so I am so pleased to see them benefit from this event. All hail Cara!

I Finished My Flower Basket Shawl

Here it is, in its pre-blocked state:


I just finished blocking it, but will save the blocked photos for tomorrow. Tune in then!

Lucy sez:


“Gee. I can hardly wait.”


  1. Blogless,but not lurking L-B says:

    So much for resting up before next weekend’s book-signings! Such a busy girl! I hope you left some Lemongrass for me at BMFA!

  2. karen from georgia says:

    My current theory is that you should knit the same tension all the time, and control gauge (when possible) with the needles. Then your knitting is faster because it is more consistent. Also, you don’t have to remember how you were knitting a piece when you pick it up. But – some stitch patterns and yarn materials require a certain tightness or loseness to work, so that sends my theory down the drain! Maybe I could say it is easier *if* you can knit the same tension all the time, but you can’t always do it.
    My brain is on holiday, but my knitting is not.

  3. Thanks for the plug! You will be missed. That Bakerina is a genius.

  4. Marti J. says:

    Oh Wendy, what have you done to me!!?? I just checked out the Blue Moon link and promptly order four skeins of yarn from them! And I’ve only just started knitting socks, and yet I’m ordering all this yarn!!! I’m sure glad sock yarn doesn’t count as part of my stash; because otherwise, I’m in serious trouble! (good trouble, admittedly) Love your lace ribbing … maybe on my second pair?

  5. Good heavens! And here I thought I was just being wacky and sock-yarn-enabling. Thank you, dearest. ๐Ÿ™‚

    At the risk of sounding like the Logrolling In Our Time column in Spy Magazine…all hail Cara, indeed. The more I learn about Heifer International, the better I like it. My check is on the way. And the shirts…phoowargh! Love those shirts, I do.

    I can’t wait to see the Flower Basket in its blocked state. I had my first blocking adventure ever yesterday morning (on the Mountain Peaks shawl). I’m still so amazed by the coolness of the very act of blocking. It makes me feel like I’m back in kindergarten again, wanting to show everyone my fingerpaints.

    I love the new ribbing pattern. I guess it’s time for me to learn how to do my socks toe-up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Oh, yes, there is Blue Moon wending it’s way toward me as well… saw the updates on the KAL last week. Funny how several of us are abuzz about this exact conundrum this morning… Have you seen Scout’s button? It’s in the air I guess. Love the broken cookie analogy though… I’m right there with you.

  7. I’ve never been to Blue Moon’s website…I may have to head over there. I’ll list all of y’all as enablers when I enter my 12-step program – and Phyl had the best idea about 12-step programs! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I certainly hope Lucy helped you block your shawl. I can’t block anything without my Grace’s help! Totally helpless without her, I am. She frequently tells me so.

  8. Oh goodness, those colors, so pretty! Sorry, lemme just go wipe the drool off my chin.

  9. “pick-up-and-wrap style of knitting”? What does that mean? I knit continental — learned it from Falick’s Kids Knitting book — and am realizing that the right sides of my stitches are fatter than the left. But my oldest son, who learned at Waldorf school, does something I would describe as “pick-up-and-wrap.” I’m not sure what it is — before every stitch, he sticks up his index finger, loops the yarn around and boom, has a stitch. All his stitches end up twisted … but how much of a problem is it, really, for a 13-year-old boy? Anyway, I wonder if there’s something to that tension-managing thing with pick-up-and-wrap, so I’m curious what you mean.

    I will not click the Blue Moon link, I will not click the Blue Moon link ….

    Love your blog. First comment — thanks for being out there. Hope to see you in Richmond on the 4th!

  10. Dratdarndammit. These Blue Moon Fibre Arts people are trying to bankrupt me!!!!

  11. I’m pretending I didn’t read about the Blue Moon business.

    Lovely shawl! Looking forward to seeing it blocked – and it appears that it matches Lucy’s eyes – good job. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’ve ordered my Spin Out shirt, too!
    Bakarina IS a goddess…I can’t wait to meet her!

  13. Thanks for the invitation to “weigh in” to comment about controlling tension with your hands. I too find it is easy. Usually it is just a matter of thinking it, without paying attention to my hands. On the other hand, I recently knit a sweater one needle size smaller than recommended on the ball band because I wanted a denser fabric than normal. As I progressed through the sweater, the thought occurred to me at one point that the knitting felt just right, not slightly tight at all. When the thought recurred, I stopped to measure my gauge, and sure enough, my hands had compensated for the too small needles, and my gauge was just what it would have been with the recommended needle size.

    By the way, I knit continental style (the combined eastern uncrossed method, which means you do the purling the “wrong” way and knit into the backs of the sts on the next row, thus uncrossing them), but I use both continental and American style for color work.

  14. Am over the moon over Blue Moon…….and my word… are an enchantress re yarn!……

  15. My knitting group utilizes the mantra “socks don’t count”. They’re like the diet snack food of knitting. Broken cookies are the perfect comparison, I think ๐Ÿ™‚

    Socks can come anywhere. They break up the baby blanket that has been stealing hours of your life. You can have one in the desk drawer at work, one in the glove compartment of your car (because you never know where you could end up) one in your book bag, and you know what? They don’t count. You don’t even have to add them to your “things on the needles” list. They are our secret, the one we don’t have to share unless we choose to.

    Sock yarn, therefore, also doesn’t count. For those of us who won’t buy yarn guilt-free unless we know exactly what we want for it, sock yarn is a liberation. What are you doing with it? You’re making socks. End of story, purchase justified.

    So shop and knit on, Wendy. Socks don’t count.

  16. gorgeous shawl!!

  17. The FBS is lovely; I can’t wait to see it blocked!

    Sock yarn is easy to buy and you always know pretty much exactly how much you need. Since it will be on your feet, you can try colors you probably wouldn’t ordinarily buy for something like a sweater.

  18. Betty J says:

    The colors on that shawl are just gorgeous! Simply gorgeous!

    I am finishing the second sock in my first ever attempt at socks. Using your toe-up pattern, of course. Yay me! I am working a k3p3 ribbing at the top and have found that the third knit, just before the purling, is very loose. In fact, there is a wide space of yarn connecting it to the purls that looks like a little insect could climb the ladder. I am a tight knitter and have tried to knit that third stitch even tighter, which is making it very difficult to finish as the stitches are not sliding on the needles. Is this something that will work itself out during wear, or is there a little trick to use between the knits and purls? I have tried tugging the yarn a bit before making the stitch when I put the right needle in to purl, but that doesn’t appear to help. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  19. Jocelyne says:

    Most of the time, i knit in the right gauge (what is written on the ball) โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ but when i’m angry, or anxious, i knit too tight : We are not machines !
    Blue Moon, you said ? ARGH !
    Can’t wait to see Flower Basket blooked !

  20. Brigitte says:

    Oh, hello Blue Moon FiberArts. Meet Visa, my good friend the Credit Card. She magically allows me to buy stuff in both US and Canadian dollars. So get acquainted.

  21. Why did you have to tell us there were new colors at Blue Moon….?

  22. For continental knitters, the gauge can be adjusted by holding the yarn closer or further away from the needle. The closer to the needle, the tighter the stitch.

  23. Now I’m confused. What is this “the combined eastern uncrossed method” that you mention? I learned to knit as a teenager from a book (continental style) and stopped because the women at the yarn shops said that I knitted “wrong” for a right handed person. Depressed I quit. 21 years later I have started again and even though the person who encouraged me is a “thrower (English method), my instincts still led me to hold the yarn in the left hand. I literally can’t do it the other way.

    I also knit tightly – always. I assumed it was because I was a control freak? I always thought that when my stitches were becoming a little loose, it was time to stop because I was tired.

    BTW, I won’t let all of you entice me to the sock yarn website. I’m on my first sock and it travels with me whereever I go and people talk to it, ask about it, and call it affectionately sock. Sound familiar from another blog?

  24. I’ve been lurking, but that shawl inspires me to say something. Thank you for posting the blocked and non-blocked photos of the shawl! I’ve tried lace knitting several times before without progressing to the blocking stage. Even though people tell me that blocking changes lace (and I do believe them), it’s nice to see proof at last. Thank you, Wendy.

  25. I can change gauge, but I have a ‘comfort zone’ that I’ll keep going back to if I’m not paying attention… and trust me, I’m not going to be conscious of every stitch in a sweater, so I change needle size!

    btw – to the Steph two comments ahead of me – I’ve only knit continental, and I am very right handed! Any way you knit is right as long as you like what you make. Personally, I think throwing looks to be a lot more work, but I will try it in order to do the two handed fair isle.