My current work in progress:

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


Apple Pie Socks

It’s a dreary and drizzly Sunday afternoon. The temperature is hovering a few degrees above freezing, so we’ve got rain, not snow.

I finished the Apple Pie socks.


The pic I posted on the second sock in progress showed a coilless safety pin pinned to the sock. Vickie asked in the comments:
Can you tell us what the coilless safety pin is for in your sock? I know I use them to count every ten rows so that I don’t get carried away. Do you use it for counting rows?

Yes, it’s my measuring device. Because I knit socks on the train, it’s not always easy to lay them flat and measure them. So at intervals, I measure them and put a pin in to mark the length. Then I know I need to knit, say, 2 inches beyond the pin before doing the next shaping or whatever. It’s much easier to measure 2 inches on a moving train than 8 inches. Or, I just count rows up from the pin because I know how many rows per inch I’m getting.

Oat asked:
I notice that you knit your socks toe up. Do you have a special way to bind off? Whenever I make toe up socks my bind off is always too tight. I bind off as loose as possible and have gone so far as to UNbind off and rebind off several times to try to get it as loose as possible. Any tips would be appreciated.

One nice loose bind-off is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Stretchy Sewn Cast-off

I used to use that technique on all my toe-ups, but lately I’ve been doing a variation of a Russian bind-off. The technique (worked loosely):

Knit 2, slip these 2 sts back to the lefthand needle, k2tog, *k1, slip 2 sts on righthand needle back to the lefthand needle, k2tog*. Repeat from * to *.

I’ve seen it stated that you work it in purl all the way around, or in knit all the way around. When I am doing a ribbed cuff on a sock, I do the bind-off in ribbing. I generally do k2 p2 or k3 p3 ribbing, so I knit the knits and purl the purls. When it comes to working the 2 stitches together, I work it knit or purl, depending on what the second stitch of the two is. And the top edge looks just fine to me. And it’s stretchy enough for me, too.


In other news, I have at long last finished the center panel of the Maltese Lace shawl.


Now comes the task of knitting on the edging. It always surprises me how long it takes to knit an edging on a shawl and this one will probably be no exception. It’s an extremely long shawl — the center panel is 528 rows long.


So I’ll hunker down and do the edging a bit at a time. And try not to moan about it too much.

I did start another sock . . .


And Lucy still loves her cozy cushion!



  1. Ooooh, love that red yarn – details! Don’t leave us hanging too long!

    Hurray for the center panel! Did it keep your interest?

  2. Ditto on the red yarn….love that colorway, can you tell us more about it?

    Thanks for the details on toe-up bind-offs. As soon as I finish my first pair of socks, I’m using your toe-up pattern for the second pair.

  3. Wow. That shawl is just amazing. I love the shot with it laying across the chair, it is almost invisible it’s so light. I love lace, can you tell?? Oh, and I see I’m not the first person to wonder about the new red sock. What’s the yarn? It looks yummy!

  4. Josa Craft says:

    That shawl is just amazing! Awesome job!

  5. Love the socks (both the apple pie and the red) I can’t wait to see more of the lace. It intrigues me. Your weather is better there. 14 today with snow flurries. brrrrr.. 14 was the high. Hope you’re still feeling better!

  6. The apple pie socks really pretty. That’s an attractively subtle colourway. And you’re not kidding about the size of that shawl are you? It’s enormous!

    I use the same bindoff for toe-up socks as you except I do k2togtbl rather than k2tog. I’ve never really considered why, but thinking about it, it avoids the need to slip the stitch just knitted back to the lh needle. Like you I knit the knits and purl the purls. Alternatively if I’m feeling flirty I use a picot bind off.

  7. Love the color of your just completed socks. The up close really makes the colors pop. The shawl is amazing and more amazing the chair it’s on is identical to my wing back in a pink brocade (but due to kitties) due for a recover very soon.

  8. I have a question about sock length. Do you knit the socks so that they fit a bit tight? I found that when I blocked my first sock it grew a bit – any recommendations on making socks fit?

  9. I am amazed at your Maltese shawl and look forward to seeing the edging in progress. Could you tell us where you got that pretty red sock yarn?

  10. As usual, I’m amazed at how much you get accomplished in such a short time! Some day I’m going to get enough nerve to try toe-up socks.

    Lucy convinced me that I should get a Cozy Cushion for our kitty Abigail. She is somewhat sickly, and I thought it might not only help keep her warm, but cheer her up. Thanks Lucy!

  11. Wendy, what yarn are you using for the new red sock? I LOVE red and that color looks great!

  12. I can only stand in awe at the quantity of beautiful knitting you produce. You got real talent, girl.

    I tried to figure out the gorgeous red yarn in your new sock by looking at how you named the jpg – but I couldn’t make any sense out of “SIP”. Do tell.

  13. Is the red the Ruby Slippers (STR)? I hope so, I wanted to see it worked.

  14. Catching up on a backlog of your blog posts. Oh my, that Apple Laine website is incredibly enticing! You always do this to me, Wendy, you evil temptress — you link to something fantastic and make me covet it for the next two weeks! Maybe that’s why I’m behind on reading your blog!

    Oh, and the cat warmer thing — you’re making me think I need two of those, as well. I’m eager to read Lucy’s review….

    Hope you’re feeling better.

  15. Debra in NC says:

    I’m so glad to see that precious Lucy likes her cozy cushion so much! It’ll sure chase away those chilly temps for her. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I agree that the red yarn looks so yummy.

    Lucy looks a tad bit annoyed at being interupted in her relaxing. heh

  17. oooh, that red toe is like a big kiss! love it! what yarn?

  18. Wow, I love the color you’re doing the socks in! Your shawl is coming along quite beautifully!!!

  19. For binding off my toe-up socks, I knit the last round on a larger needle (a 2 if the socks were knit on a 0), then bind off in pattern on the larger needle. It looks odd until you wash/wear them, and then it’s fine.

  20. Your apple pie socks look so yummy and the red socks are a beautiful red.

    Good for Lucy, finding such a cozy cushion ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. What a beautiful stole!

    I’m not a sock blocker user – I don’t get it. They’re going to be on your feet and that stretches them kind of perfectly. Maybe you can help me out with this. Why the sock blockers?

  22. I’m not much of a brown lover but your new socks are delicious (get it? delicious apple, yuk yuk yuk)

    Love the new red ones too!

  23. The Apple Pie socks are beautiful. And the shawl is huge and beautiful. Red socks are lovely. I can’t believe how incredibly fast you knit. You amaze me.

    Hopefully, the flu bug is beating a hasty retreat.

  24. The lace is AMAZING!!!

    Your Kitten is DARLING!!! I adopted my Harmony 5 months ago and my life will never be the same… she has very similar markings but medium length fur… check her out on the Harmony page of my blog!

    PS today I came home to find my house “TP’d” with my blue yarn from my new knitting project. She looked so happy and content it was hard to be mad!

  25. I could be wrong, but that red sock looks an awful lot like the ‘Ruby River’ colorway of Bearfoot yarn, which is what I’m using in a pair of socks for myself.

  26. Just to say that I have had your book for a while, but this is the first time I have tried your toe up sock pattern – what a revelation – I love it! More power to you.

  27. Is there an advantage to knitting socks toe up instead of toe down or is it simply a matter of personal preference?

  28. Yeah,taunt me with the new socks, you Slayer!

  29. Love your blog! Where do you find the coil-less safety pins? I also live in the DC area, and I can’t find them anywhere. Thanks.

  30. New Jersey Laura says:

    Love that read sock yarn. I’m making red sock, too. Doesn’t it make you feel cheery after being sick ๐Ÿ™‚ And great pin-tip. Thanks.

  31. I can’t believe how fast you are able to do socks with such tiny yarn on such tiny needles!!! I know you have way more experience than I do (I’ve only been knitting a couple of months), but I feel like socks on tiny needles are my “black hole”. I keep knitting and knitting it never seem to get anywhere! I am superfast at flat knitting, but still a bit slow on the size 0 dpns. Frustrating! I can finish an adult sweater faster than one measly pair of socks.

  32. Wow! Those socks are gorgeous! I’ve just finished my first sock of my first pair…they aren’t as bad as I thought….maybe I’ll start cranking socks out like you! My kitty says “hi” to Lucy!

  33. the shawl looks fabulous!!
    i love it. even without the edging.
    and lucy as always looks comfy.

  34. Thank you for answering the sock question for me. I will try one of those bind offs next time I am doing a toe up.

  35. Maybe this will help others who are as tight a knitter as I am… I bindoff in pattern with 10.5s. Yes. Not a typo. Anything smaller doesn’t work. It looks weird at first but with a wash it’s blessedly happy. Fitting, anyway.

  36. Mmmm…. lots of beautiful knitting but everybody is crazy about the red sock teaser! Did L-B just give it away… is it the “Slayer” colorway by SweetGeorgia? I’ve got a skein that I’ve been saving until I knit some socks for myself.

  37. Love the color of the new sock! The stole is beautiful….you can wrap up in it many times over!

  38. The thing I hate about knitted on edging is that you have to do almost twice as many rows of edging as you have edge stitches.

    Mostly I try not to think about it, or I get too overwhelmed to continue. ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. Wendy, as always your lace is beautiful and reading about your sock knitting keeps me going when I get stuck on my socks. Actually, I have a question about the Sharon’s new book – I checked out the website you linked to. Did the shipping cost almost equal the book cost when you ordered? It is a gorgeous book – I love the historical background portion of books as much if not more then I enjoy the knitting patterns.

  40. Oh Yes, I’ll second the request of the colorway on the red sock! What IS that gorgeous stuff!
    Beautiful lace…(and Lucy, too, of course…)

  41. Love your Maltese Lace shawl. Beautiful!

    And thanks for the sock bind-off advice. I just suffered this exact problem making my first pair of socks. It’s good to know there’s help for me with my second pair. (now, if I can just relax my death grip on the darn things….)

    And OMG, is that red sock yarn Sweet Georgia’s Slayer?! Right on.

  42. The new red sock yarn is gorgeous! Can’t wait to see what it is.

  43. I know you have probably already answered this question, but where did you get the adorable sock stretchers? Hanging mine up in the bathroom just isn’t doing it for me anymore…

  44. New Jersey Laura says:

    P.S. It looks like my Bearfoot Ruby River sock, but I think my Sock Yarn guess will be: Apple Pie MacIntosh?

  45. What IS that red yarn? It’s gorgeous!

    Maltese looks… long. Really long. Good luck with that edging. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  46. Is the new sock Mustang Sally? Are you in the BMFA club?

  47. Lucy’s cozy makes me feel a bit sorry for our kitties. One of them has taken to sleeping in our kindling box; which is actually an empty clementines box from the grocery store.

  48. Those apple pie socks are lovely! Lucy looks especially beautiful too ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. I’ve never posted before, but you used the word “indulge” to refer to housework. I’m pretty sure there is legislation against this. Or if not, there ought to be.

    I like your lovely red sock. Better yet the way you photographed it on that (k)nifty sock form thingy; I’ve seen enough photographs of knitters’ pudgy ankles to last me a lifetime. Not that my ankles are any better…