My current work in progress:

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


Of Clown Socks and Heating Pads

Peggy commented:
Do you think you could send me the specifics of the clown sock? I don’t have measurements for my brother’s own clown foot, so it would be very useful to know how many stitches to cast on, how long the foot should be, how much yarn I really need, etc.

I figgered I’d post the specifics here, in case other people were interested. This is for a man’s size 14 Wide foot. I use my generic toe-up pattern, dk weight sock yarn, and a US 2 (2.75mm) needle. I’m getting about 6.5 stitches/inch. I make a sock that’s 56 stitches around, so with the provisional cast-on, do 28 stitches to start and short-row down to 14 for the toe. I work the foot until it is 9.25″ long before making the heel. Then I knit the leg until it seems tall enough or I run out of yarn — whichever comes first.

I can tell you that a single 150 gram skein of Opal 6 dk weight yarn (458 yards) is plenty for a pair of socks made in this manner, with a little bit left over.




Thank you to everyone who weighed in on options for keeping Lucy warm! While the kitty heating pads mentioned look like a good idea, I know I’d be far happier with an item that does not require electricity. Call me an over-protective mom. I’ll investigate getting her a heating pad that can be heated in the microwave, then tucked under her blankie.

But of course if there is a human in the house, Lucy will opt for lap time. But I like the idea of her having a pre-warmed place to snuggle when she’s home alone.

Of course, the temperature will probably go up in the 80s by the end of the week, so it won’t be necessary.

It’s Snowing!

Alert the media.

A perfect day to stay indoors and knit on Maltese lace. However, I’ve got a sore throat and am feeling like I’m coming down with something, so I don’t really feel like knitting. so the Maltese lace will remain in this state:


And I’ll knit on a clown sock should I feel like knitting later on. Carry on without me, okay?


  1. Feel better. we shall miss you but focus on good health.

  2. Don’t worry. I’ll be guzzling tequila in your absence. Of course, I can usually be found guzzling tequila, but hey, any excuse, eh?

  3. Thanks for the clown-sock specs…my dad and my brother both have really big feet, and I suspect my son is on his way to GiantShoeLand too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Feel better soon!

  4. hi wendy;
    at the knitting (, mary has been amassing sock statistics for several years. any knitter can look up a shoe size, and get information on foot width and length, as well as cuff height for men (up to size 17), women (up to size 12) and choldren

    it is a very helpful tool when making socks for gifts, because it includes stats for 3 widths (narrow, avg, wide), and measurements for heel and ball of foot as well.

  5. Aussie Rosemary says:

    Go to bed and rest[take Lucy with you ,of course].I use what is called a wheat bag for my cat.It is heated in the microwave and is really meant for humans to relieve aches and pains.

  6. Brrrr. Glad you don’t have to go anywhere with snowy weather and being sick. Feel better soon!

  7. I hope you are feeling better, soon, and that Lucy is taking good care of her Mom.

  8. Although I threw it out as a quick suggestion, I agree animals shouldn’t be on something that plugs in. I hate to think of little teeth biting a live electrical cord. A friend made me a heating sack filled with white rice (uncooked of course) that goes into the microwave and retains heat for a good period of time. It smells really nice when warm and she says it’s really easy to make another when the rice wears out. If Perry were home alone during the day she’s probably have one of those.

    I hope you feel better – warm tea with honey may help.

  9. Take care of yourself!!! The cold that got me has been with me for weeks. Use all your favorite remedies and nip it in the bud.

    Happy resting.

  10. Feel better soon. Stay inside…it is cold out there! I don’t like electric for my cats either…I worry about them chewing the cord. The microwave wheat bag might be a good idea.

  11. I have a cat that is self-blanketing. Ricky will jump on the bed and dig his way under a quilt that I leave out for him. Sometimes, he successfully finds the edge and can get himself completely underneath. Other times, he flips the corner of the quilt over and has to settle for sleeping in a quilt nest. When we go to sleep, he’ll jump up shortly after we turn the light out. One of us will hold up the edge of the quilt, he’ll crawl under and sleep with us for the rest of the night. He’s a really good foot warmer.

  12. just out of curiosity, do you always rewind the yarns even for simple socks? I have been caught out by the occasional knot but I’m much too lazy to even consider rewinding it.

    size 14w… wow.. that sounds like a lot of socks

  13. Isis loves having a heating pad in the house, and in fact I have one that I keep just for her. It’s kept in a drawer of my desk .. the bottom one .. and has its own cover, then a snuggly blanket over that so she won’t get over-heated.

  14. There’s one upside to the central heating system in my apartment. When the cats are cold, and the heating’s on, they lie on or near the vents. Keeps ’em nice and cozy. Either that or they curl up on the bed and snuggle against blankets and pillows. Of course, I’m also lucky enough to have two kitties, so they cuddle with each other on the exceptionally cold days.

    Hope you feel better soon. Illness, even a minor one, is no fun. If you like tea (regular or herbal), a mug of that mixed with generous amounts of honey soothes a sore throat like you wouldn’t believe.

  15. wow – you’re a bit under the weather and don’t feel like knitting? sounds like something serious. better curl up on the couch with lucy and watch some cheesy dvds ๐Ÿ™‚

    (when I’m sick I love staying home from work with a day of uninterupted knitting!)

  16. Hope you’ll feel better soon. Isn’t it frustrating when you feel too awful to KNIT??

    I’m sure Lucy will take good care of you. And not just because she can curl up and suck out all the warmth … ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. Hope you’re feeling better soon, Wendy. Rest and fluids, as they all said before me. And a generous application of Lucy wouldn’t hurt, either.

    I seem to recall you made a Mermaid jacket some time ago. I’m trying to work out the sizing and ease. My vital measurement is 100cm (40 inches), and the sizes are 98cm (38.5 inches) or 106cm (42 inches).

    How much did yours block out? I’m worried the large may be too big on me, but I don’t want the medium if it’s going to be too snug.

    Thanks in advance,

  18. I swear by Zicam. Feel better soon!

  19. Hope you’re feeling better soon! Thanks for the info on the clown socks; I love the Opal 6 ply for my own (women’s 12+) clown feet! I envy all those of you with dainty feet, who can cruise through a pair of socks without the endless slog of inches and inches of foot to knit!

  20. My kitty Hank lounges on a heating pad that I’ve fitted into his Kitty Pi bed (I knitted a “pocket” from the same Lopi that I knit his bed of and seamed it to the bed). I don’t turn it on except when I’m in the room but it has worked wonders…Hank is a bit, um, lively…and the warmth just turns him down a few notches. He’s never shown any interest in biting it or any other electrcal cord/appliance but I would still not leave it on while I was away. It is a real boon to me when he is wound up…

  21. I saw this over on Dogged’s blog: she made herself some microwaveable Bed Warmers this week:

    Might work for Lucy.

  22. Size 14W! Holy smokes — you’re not kidding! That’s true sisterly love :).

    You must feel terrible if you’re not knitting. Curl up with Lucy, some hot tea, and a knitting DVD. Ice cream is also theraputic. Feel better soon.

  23. Feel better! Here’s some {{chicken soup}} Maybe you can hire someone to sit on the sofa all day so Lucy always has a warm lap available;) I ordered 2 skeins of Lucy today!

  24. A friend of mine has an ancient 18 year-old cat and found this leopard print pad that seems to be warm up when the cat is on it. But when it really cold and Groucho is feeling achy, she prefers a heating pad on warm. I’ll see if I can find out where my friend bought the self-heating pad.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  25. We’re looking into a self-heating blanket for Baby Kitty. No plugs or anything, it has a thermal layer in it that reflects the cat’s body heat back onto it self, thus self-warming. He’s been having trouble keeping warm and comfy with his sprained leg and we didn’t want to get something that we couldn’t move around a lot.

  26. I have a bag I heat in the microwave that is filled with dried corn kernels. It retains heat longer than the rice ones do, and my kitty loves it.

  27. your maltese shawl is stunning Wendy, curious about your kidsilk colorway … are you using fondant or grace? feel better and thank your lucky stars that you’re not up here in Canada cuz it’s a crazy -24 C tonight ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. ooops! I guess the cold weather is causing my brain to freeze as well. I just read back and discovered where you nicely stated what colorway your kidsilk haze is. So please ignore my silly question ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. I’m sorry you’re not feeling well Wendy. I’ve been feeling a similar way. Maybe this will cheer you up. This is a photo of my sister’s beautiful Ragdoll kitty, Prussia!

  30. Oh – a sore throat. I’m so sorry! I had it last week – I know how you feel. Gargling with salt water takes the pain away and actually helps it to heel faster. I swear by it. Maybe you ought to take the week off from work? ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Lisa Wakely says:

    Check out and look up their Cozy Cushion for Cats product #9B-13563. I think that this might be what you are looking for.

    Get better soon.

  32. I have an old lonely sock of my husband’s that I filled with long cooking rice and microwave for a minute (or more depending on how cold and achy I am). Maybe something along that line could be tucked under Lucy’s blankie. When the rice starts to get a little funky smelling, I dump it and refill it. I hadn’t thought of using it for my kitty’s since they seem to prefer sleeping tangled together in front of the furnace registers, but I know they would love it.

  33. I tried to post a link to a picture on Flickr, of my sister’s Ragdoll kitty. It wouldn’t go through for some reason. Oh, well, I just wanted to cheer you up. Feel better soon!

  34. Have you had any experience with replacing the heel of a sock? I am trying to solve the problem of a heel that is too deep on socks that are already knitted. They were knitted toe-up and took a long time to finish (size 13’s). Now I am trying to think ‘outside of the box’ but I have limited experience.

  35. Your Maltese Lace is lovely. I hope you feel better soon.

  36. Both of my Yorkies like a hot water bottle. When it’s really cold, they like to lay on it when they come in from a trip outside. I like to use it too when I have a cold or respiratory crud. If you hold it on your neck, under your ears, it is soothing.

  37. Dear Wendy:

    Gosh, I am sorry that you are sick with a sore throat. And Lucy has the heating pad? I sleep with one all the time. Since my last kitty passed away, and I won’t let my huge Shepherd on the bed, I use a heating pad for myself. And sleep in the first clunky socks I made. Comfy.

    I hope that you are feeling better tomorrow. And I have found that I now have another addiction. Socks! The Maltese is really beautiful.

  38. hey wendy get well maybe a shot of whiskey would help. my Grand daddy used to make horehound drops.
    as to the heating disks i bought 2 of them years ago i heat them up and then place them under the feather comforters and thermal blankets on my bed towards the foot and have found them to stay warm for over 20 hrs. which is great as they kept Tristan and Isolde warm as well as my feet. the more insulation around them the longer they stay warm.

  39. Thank you so MUCH for posting the specifics on the “clown” sock. My boyfriend wears a 14W shoe and wanted me to knit him a pair of socks. I kept thinking “there’s no way I’m knitting those puppies on size 0 needles!” ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. My Very Spoiled Cat likes to lounge on her Cozy Calming Mat, specially imported from the States to Belgium! And she likes to chew on the streamers too, see following link:
    I do hope the only bug to bother you is the sock bug!

  41. Another thing to consider is a “house” for Lucy. Pumpkin has a kitty condo in which the bottom level has a hole in it to form a sort of cave. If Lucy had something similar she could hang out there and the small space would conserve body heat plus you could line it with a kitty pi or a non-electric heating pad and she could stay cozy while you’re not at home.

    Take care of yourself and feel better!

  42. Hi, Wendy, Lucy’s a great kitty! I agree the heating pad could be dangerous. Do you have a sewing machine? Or a friend with one? The tutorial in that earlier comment looks good, though you can skip the cover if you want and just use flannel or polar fleece or terrycloth (since Miss L already hangs out on terry towels). You can use any uncooked grain (rice, wheat, flax, beans, etc) that’s hanging out in the back of the cupboard. For best results, I’d make a bag at least 12×12 inches (big enough for her to recline on) with 3 or 4 channels to keep the grain from all going to one side. Or maybe a hot water bottle in a cozy cover (knitted? LOL) would work.

    Feel better soon!

  43. Lucy TLC is just what the knit dr. would order!

  44. Can you tell us what knitting magazines you read/subscribe to regularly? I only get Intereweave Knits and Vouge Knitting — I know there are other knit mags about, but I find their patterns to be a bit less-challenging, on the whole.

    Feel better soon — and enjoy a sick day or two while you’re at it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  45. Usually, if I’m making socks for myself (and I’m often making socks for myself) – and being a man – I like to be very conservative with the number of stitches I cast on for a sock. Partly because I like snug socks and partly because I don’t like my socks falling down, I’ll usually work the same cast on as for a woman (60 sts for a regular sock – fingering weight, 45 for koigu – that’s uber conservative – but I’m loosey goosey with koigu, and as few as 39 or 36 for something like a dk weight.

  46. Hope you feel better soon! I look forward to reading your blog everyday. I make a rice bag which gets heated in the microwave and is wonderful for warming feet or kitties. Start with a tightly woven terrycloth hand towel, fold it in half and sew up 3 sides. Fill with uncooked white rice and sew the top closed. Heat in microwave on high. Mine takes about 90 seconds to warm up, but that will vary with microwaves and the amount of rice in the bag. Keep warm!

  47. Trust me, no lace knitting while not feeling well. I found this out by having to tink five rows of Hidcote when I felt better. Hope you do feel better soon!

  48. I use one of those NASA-inspired space blankets under Heidi’s arthritic hips. The material reflects back about 80% of body heat. But,not sure if Lucy might want to chew on it.

  49. Feel better soon. I agree about not using an electric thing a ma jig for Lucy when she is home alone. I found a small pillow with corn kernels in it in the linen closet here on the farm, and I just thought it was a cute little pillow. Later, I found a sheet of paper that had instructions for nuking it for five minutes to make a hot pillow.

    My duaghter uses it all the time … Lucy might like one too. I have no idea where to buy one, but it is an awesome source of moist heat.

    Stay warm Lucy; feel better Wendy.


  50. Hot water bottle! Tuck it under several layers of towel or blankie and it’ll stay warm for a long time.

  51. I hope you feel better soon.

  52. Hope you start feeling better soon. I think I’m getting the same thing – scratchy throat, wheezy cough, yuck.

    Make yourself some hot tea and snuggle up with Lucy!

  53. There are pressure activated heating pads. There’s no electricity, something about weight makes it get warm. My husband has one that was designed for hunters and campers, and my brother found one for his cat’s outside box, so maybe pet stores as well. I can ask him where he got his if you don’t have any luck googling.

  54. Hope you feel better soon, Wendy! I bought a couple fake fur “purr pads” from Drs. Foster & Smith, and my girls like those…there’s reflective material that sends a kitty’s own body heat back to them and the whole thing washes in the machine…(type purr pad in their search engine and it’ll pop right up!)

  55. dulcinea47 says:

    If you don’t feel like making a rice filled pad for Lucy, google “Snuggle safe”- it’s a microwaveable disc that should keep Lucy toasty warm for hours. Brilliant!

  56. GET WELL SOON! Love to Lucy! Also, enjoying the snow here in DC. What a surprise!

    Your blog is such a great source of information. Thank you and thank you.

    Now, (this is your Jewish mother speaking) you take care of yourself – there’s a bad cold going around – chicken soup have been proven to help!

  57. My 20-year-old kitty, Ethel, insisted on her warmed bed — on the kitchen island, no less. We used a large plastic puck-shaped thing that was heated in the microwave for 6 minutes or so and would stay toasty for 12 hours tucked under her bed cover. She would be waiting for us first thing in the morning for a re-heat! This link to a “Snuggle Safe” from PetsMart looks like the same thing but in a better package — a soft squishy material. Can’t vouch for the current iteration, but the old hard body worked like a dream for several years. You are a good Mom … I wouldn’t trust the electric cords either. Hugs to Lucy …

  58. My kitty Puma loves to sleep on her large heating pad, set on low and covered in a double layer of cheetah-patterned polar fleece. Sometimes she shares it with me! Feel better soon!

  59. Hi Wendy, I had some problems posting a comment to the post below, so here I am with a comment on the previous topic.

    I’ve had problesm with two knitpicks needles, where the join came completely out of the needle. Not just unscrewed, but a gluing failure. Of course Knitpicks has wonderful customer service, but that aside, I’d be really nervous knitting complicated lace or fairisle on them.

    The lace is beautiful,

  60. I just don’t get it. I tried your generic toe up sock pattern and I keep getting holes along side of the toe. I tried it twice and got the same results both times. Arrrrggghhh.

  61. Wendy,
    I hope you are feeling better very soon. It’s that time of year for bugs of all sorts to be spreading. Take care of yourself and stay warm.

  62. The icky throat thing must be going around ’cause I’m in the same boat. Hope you feel better soon!

  63. For Lucy warmness: get 100% cotton flannel fabric. Seam the edges of square, turn inside out, put about 4-5 seams through the middle end-to-end, fill loosely with rice, and sew the final seam shut. It can be easily microwaved and put under Lucy’s blanket and holds heat for a long time. My cats love them, even though the rice bags are supposed to be mine.

  64. Hope you are feeling better and will be back to knitting soon. Beware of microwaving rice bags. They do this in vet hospitals for pets recuperating from surgeries. The bag can get intensely hot in the center and pet can get skin burns – no kidding. Of course these animals are on pain meds or coming out of anestheia so they don’t know they are getting burned. Often it does not show either as it’s under the fur. The best thing is to just throw a towel is the dryer to warm it up and then put it in their bed. It does not last but you can train any pet that it’s now time to lay down and snuggle.

  65. I know how you feel about electricity+pets, but after doing a LOT of research (and finding absolutely no negative comments/reviews) I bought my elderly short-haired kitty one of these last month:

    Got ours on Ebay, but you can find them lots of other places. It has a thermostat and warms up to a maximum of what is normal cat body temperature when a cat is in it. Uses the same amount of electricity as a nightlight, so it isn’t very wasteful. Our darling now spends at least 20 hours a day in the thing, and actually looks comfortable as she sleeps, instead of being curled up into an impossibly tight ball as she tries to stay warm.

    This way we don’t have to feel guilty about turning down the heat a little when we’re not home.

  66. I think Corningware makes those “On the Go” casserole dishes that come with a microwaveable heating pad. If it works for Gramma’s greenbean casserole, maybe it’ll work for Lucy. And if it doesn’t, you’ve still got yourself a casserole dish.

  67. They now sell a product geared towrds elderly pets. But they forget that kittys especially any with a drop of Siamese blood in them are heat seekers. I will try to find a link to it, will have to refind it.It’s a fiber pad that somehow conducts heat when the pet lays in it. no electric. no potential accidents. and can kinda be washed. I wasn’t happy with the results of throwing it in the washer and dryer. But at the time had two elderly cats with severe nasal congestion……sneezing all over it. ick. They didn’t take well to the relocation to a completely different area of the US.

  68. Delurking to laugh about the Giant Clown Socks. My boyfriend, his father, and my father all have size 13+ feet, so I too know the hilarity and time that go into these things. My mom knit some socks for my dad out of some heavier yarn, but he picked up one of my Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock socks (knit on US0’s) this summer and said wistfully, “Can I have some like this?” At least this warm DC winter has held off any requests from my boyfriend thus far, because my dad is getting a pair (on US1s, I’m not that crazy!) for his birthday in April. I hope you feel better soon!

  69. Another Labor Girl.. says:

    I think the knitting from your stash is killing you…You are stirring up way to much dust pulling the stash apart to see what is in there. I think an outing is in order to restore your health!

  70. Debra in NC says:

    Hope you’re feeling better real soon! There’s a pad that some of the pet stores sell that have a reflective material sandwiched in between furry material. I bought one for my diabetic kitty and he absolutely loved it! He and his sister would always snuggle up on that pad every night. No electricity involved, it heats up using the kitty’s own body heat…..pretty neat thing.

  71. I’m sure someone has already mentioned this, but we keep our girls warm when we aren’t home with a doona (down/feather quilt?), they can make wee nests on top of it or burrow under it when it’s really cold. The down holds the warmth from their bodies really well.

  72. I’m sure someone has already mentioned this, but we keep our girls warm when we aren’t home with a doona (down/feather quilt?), they can make wee nests on top of it or burrow under it when it’s really cold. The down holds the warmth from their bodies really well.

  73. OK…first time doing this blog thing…
    I’m going to be a grandma in June (it’s a boy), so I’ve been knitting baby socks (top down). I am going to attempt toe up Wendy style next for my husband. Got some Opal 6 ply. My question is: He has very large calfs and wide feet. He can’t wear boots of any kind and socks “pool” at his ankles. Can I make socks that are huge at the top and decrease at the ankle or just make ankle socks? It would be a clown sock of a different sort, right? Also I was a little confused about the ball winding for the pattern of the Opal yarn. Thanks for any help.