My current work in progress:

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


Summer Doldrums


You know you’ve hit “high summer” when the humidity is such that knitting a sock outdoors at 5:00 a.m. is unpleasant because of said humidity.

Yep, I knit socks outdoors at 5:00 a.m. Well, 5:05 a.m., if you wanna get all technical about it. Because that is the ungodly hour at which I reach the train platform for the morning commute. Go on, pity me.

(You may also envy me as I sashay outta the office at 3:00 p.m. most weekdays. I do so love me some flex-time!)

Over the past few days, a number of you have left comments or emailed asking for the pattern for the feather and fan socks I make. I’ve been emailing people individually, pointing them in the direction of the blog entry where I talked about what I do to make a feather and fan sock. But I have to search my blog archives every time because I forget which entry it is every single time.


So. Without further ado, I present to you:

Wendy’s Generic Toe-Up Feather and Fan Sock Pattern — pdf format

Don’t say I never gave you nuthin’. ๐Ÿ˜‰

About socks . . . some questions from the comments!

Erika asked:
What brand of sock yarn do you find easiest to work with? The yarn I’m using right now seems to split very easily.

So . . . many . . . sock . . . yarns . . .

Some of the ones I’ve found easiest to work with are Socks That Rock lightweight, Fleece Artist, Claudia Handpaint — you know, all the nice sproingy squishy yarns. I’ve not had any problem with splitting on any of those.

April asked:
Any suggestions for a sock pattern using very dark blue variegated yarn? I think a lace pattern might get lost so perhaps cables?

If you think a lace pattern might get lost, cables might too. Just sayin’.

You might want to consider an all-over texture pattern. Check out your favorite stitch dictionary and swatchy, swatchy, swatchy whatever seems alluring to you! If you have the 365 Knitting Stitches calendar, that’s another great source for stitch patterns.

And a non-sock-related question, from Barbp:
I’m kind of wondering out loud here about why patterns or accomplished knitters (such as yourself) put stitches on “yarn” to keep them live. Would I be able to put the stitches on a stitch holder? Is the yarn just more flexible for moving the stitches around without stretching the stitches?

For me, it’s simple. Here’s a picture of the stitches threaded on yarn, along with the smallest stitch holder I have.


If it’s just one or two stitches, I’ll use one of these:


A coilless pin. But the 8 stitches would be jammed uncomfortably on the pin.

Hence the length of yarn. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

This morning I heard that Syd Barrett died. So sad.

And at the exact moment I was over leaving a comment on Shelley’s blog to let her know, she was leaving a comment on my blog to let me know. As Shelley said in a subsequent email, “Pretty cosmic there lady!”


  1. Yeah, our household was sad to hear of Syd Barrett’s death, too. I even had a bunny that I named Syd (Harett).

    That’s a bummer, but David Gilmour’s recent solo album is very nice.

    Thanks for the .pdf of your lace pattern. You’d think I could remember a 4-row repeat, three of which are KNIT, but I have memory issues. I do keep looking up the post where you announced it (and subsequently smacking my forehead for not being able to remember a 4-row repeat of which 3 rows are KNIT), but now I can just open the file.

    Also, your description of short-row heels is nice and comprehensive. I’d give two thumbs up if I weren’t already typing, holding onto a sock, and holding a cat in my lap.

  2. Yep, I knot socks on the bus. I knit until my hands get too sweaty and slippery and my wool it so wooly I can’t stand it. (at least I’m still in bed at 5 AM though.)

    How long till fall?

  3. Thanks so much for your answer to my question.

    I don’t commute to a city, just a nice size university town (not enough shopping for my taste, but one terrific yarn/spinning store where they sell spinning wheels … shhhh don’t tell my husband).

    I’m generally at work by 7:30am and when I commute with said husband I always think I should have my knitting needles in hand but alas, it’s a coffee mug.

    Thanks for the feather and fan pattern, and condolences on your feelings of loss.

  4. I was sad to hear about Syd Barrett too. I read somewhere his songs described as fragile and melodic. I thought that was a good description. Amazing how one person can have so much impact – most of Pink Floyd’s later work was about Syd. Funny that you had such a Syd moment today!

  5. Poor baby!

  6. So, woman…do you have your address posted anywhere that one might…uh…reasonably find it and stalk you…er…mail you things?

    Just wondering. No particular reason or anything.


  7. Love Pink Floyd! My favorite: Learning to Fly. Wish You Were Here was played at my late son’s viewing. I’ll always think of him when I here that song.

  8. Raye, mother of the other Capricorn Wendy, in NYC says:

    Thanks so much for the pattern. I’m doing Koigu socks, toe-up and couldn’t decide what to do on the cuff, so your feather-and-fan cuff directions just appeared at the right moment!

    Keep cool…February’s on its way (soon I hope).

  9. Mary Pat says:

    Shame on you for not realizing that you give of yourself every time you post. Your BLOG is just a beautiful piece of art in and of itself.

    Talking about leaving on the 5:00 AM train reminded of way back when – I was still working the 7:00 AM shift and had to get up extra early to read your morning post before I went off to work. Now that I am retired I have to stay awake late enough to read your evening post ๐Ÿ™‚

    Many thanks for sharing!!

  10. Sheri in St. Lousi says:

    5 am?? Oh MY. I must say, not for a job, and not even for knitting. Now 2 am? You might just find me knitting away.

    Thanks so much for the feather and fan pattern. Can’t wait to try it on my next pair of socks and I’m glad it’s posted here so that I can come back and reprint it when I lose the first copy. sigh.

  11. I just wanted to say ‘Thank you!’ for all your helpful comments, pictures of work in progress (and Lucy) and, most of all, your toe-up sock patterns. Or perhaps I shouldn’t thank you: I have caught the sock bug badly, knitted my first pair about 2 months ago and simply cannot stop. I finish one pair and immediately cast on for the next. Having made the last pair cuff-down, I know it’s your toe-up technique that does it. I absolutely and completely love the way that the two little groups of cast-on stitches grow into tiny boats, then pockets big enough to take my toes, then envelop my feet and continue growing to become socks. Even better (worse?) it’s contagious. I show my Socks In Progress to anyone who looks remotely interested; I passed the bug onto someone else last night! Like Eliza, I’d like to send you stuff to thank you properly.

  12. Hey, thanks for the feather/fan sock pattern! Oh, and scrap yarn stitch “holders”? That’s all I use… The last plastic holders I had were chomped up by some little wee kittens…

  13. Wow, commuting. No wonder everyone else gets more socks made than I do. My commute is about 20 yards to the pottery studio. I guess there are ups and downs to everything. And not having a TV to knit in front of. It’s amazing that I ever get any projects done.
    ….Swimming in a fish bowl…

  14. Yeah! Thanks for the feather and fan pattern.
    And 5am is really, really early. Makes me glad I don’t work in the city. Beltway traffic is an easy trade for an extra hour of sleep.

  15. How very thoughtful of you to write up the pattern and make a pdf file for all of your fans out here (and chart therewithin)! Thank you!
    Another thought for April’s deep blue yarn and knitting socks might be a pattern I finally found to go with some variegated cotton/lycra toe-ups I’m knitting. It was originally in the IK Socks book pamphlet, but reprinted in Knitter’s Socks book. Basically it’s a k3,p3 rib all the way around, and the pattern says you can just do this through the heel as well (essentially not constructing a heel, but this will wrap around as the heel). Since I’m using a multiple of 8 stitches (56 on size 0s due to the stretchiness of cotton/lycra), I’m working up a k4, p4 rib. Sadly, it’s fairly indistinguishable in the variegated yarn. After seeing your photo of the feather and fan, I’m considering frogging. Dunno. But your feather and fan in the Fleece Artist yarn really popped. The colors actually move differently in a noticable way in the FA yarn, whereas I hadn’t noticed that in the other feather and fan socks you’ve posted. Very cool.
    I don’t know if the yarn I’m using would do what the FA yarn did, so I’ll probably still plug away at the k4,p4, but that feather and fan is particularly intriguing for certain yarns, isn’t it? Fun to knit as well.

  16. Another reason to use yarn to hold live stitches: it doesn’t require getting up to look for a stitch holder. BTW, have you tried Austermann Step sock yarn? It is like Trekking XXL, but treated with aloe and jojoba oil. I don’t know how it will hold up in the wash but it is wonderful to knit.

    Your knitting blog is a present every day!

  17. That was probably the same moment I was e-mailing Shelley about it too! I think that calls for a Keanu Reeves style “Whoa!”

  18. Talk about heat? I live in S Fla, we have 2 seasons: Hot and hotter. Thanks so much for the pattern! I printed it & will put it in your book.
    Poor Syd, just too young.

  19. Liz in NoWhere PA says:

    “Some of the ones I’ve found easiest to work with are Socks That Rock lightweight, Fleece Artist, Claudia Handpaint — you know, all the nice sproingy squishy yarns. I’ve not had any problem with splitting on any of those.”

    If you’re ordering off the internet or from a catalogue, how do you know if you’ll be getting a sproingy yarn? How do you know if a pattern in a book requires a sproingy yarn? Living without a LYS, I can’t really touch all the yarns mentioned to know if they’re stretchy. Do I assume that a 100% wool superwash is stretchy and that a 75/25 blend won’t be?

    I’ve just donated two pairs of patterned socks to the Dulaan Project because the yarn I used wasn’t stretchy enough and I can’t rip a perfectly good sock. (But two girls with size 3 feet will be really happy.)

  20. Wendy, I’m now a sock knitter! I bought your book at the book signing at stix-n-stitches, along with the appropriate needles and yarn, and now I have the most wonderful pair of handmade socks. I want a drawer full. Socks are very fulfilling to knit – my granddaughters were shocked that someone would or could knit their own socks. I’ve started my second pair and have yarn for three more waiting in the wings. Thanks for the most excellent pattern.

  21. Thankyou for the sock pattern. My niece is coming this weekend and can’t wait to share it with her. I taught her to knit socks and I am really excited to show her your technique even though I haven’t done it yet myself. I have lots of Koigu varigated yarn and maybe I’ll even share my stash. Your blogs are full of many treasures. It’s like buried treasure, you have to go hunting for it but that’s the fun. Thanks

  22. They make larger coilless safety pins too. Almost the perfect size for underarm stitches. I found mine at the Fairfax Total Crafts.

  23. Oh no! Syd! ๐Ÿ™ I’ll paly Piper tonight for him. Poor bloke.

  24. I love that photo of Lucy. You just know that with this heat she’s totally thinking, “Aaahhh. Floor so nice and cooooold. Must not move.”

  25. Thanks for the pattern. You are most generous. That Lucy – she cracks me up.

  26. Ann Rose says:

    Dear Wendy, I notice that you knit a great many highly textured garments (Keelan looks like a nice blend of cables and seed stitch — elegant simplicity), and I’m wondering if you would choose a jumperweight yarn over a worsted or Aran weight for something like a full-on traditional Aran sweater. It’s always been a fantasy of mine to design and knit an Aran, so I could have the cable designs I love most AND have the sleeves fit my short arms, but I don’t yet have the necessary experience to know what weight yarn would be best.

  27. End of Day Socks. That’s the answer to little dabs of leftover sock yarn. I made a pair for my friend, Fred, and he wore them every Saturday for over a year. He reminds me frequently they need replacing.
    “End of day” is a term in glassmaking. It is any item made by the glassworkers on their own time at the end of the day using up the remaining molten glass in the pots. The result is often beautiful, always unique.

  28. Hi Wendy, thank you so much for posting the feather & fan pattern in a pdf file…I went looking for it just the other day ’cause I knew you had posted it, but, as I’m rapidly becoming more feeble minded, was unable to locate it. I was also ashamed to admit my stupidity to you and was afraid to write. Since I’m now in full confession mode and have no pride (or intelligence!) left, if I wanted to do F&F on a cuff down sock would it/could it work?????

  29. Kathy Wert says:

    Thanks so much for the f & f pattern. How did youi know that this was to be my next pair of socks. And especially thanks for the bind off instructions. I will try it on the next pair.

    Your blog is a daily must read for me. Thanks for everything.