My current work in progress:

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



Yesterday I promised you I’d be giving away something good today. Here you go:


This is the new book The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. The link takes you to the publisher’s website, where you can read a brief synopsis of this novel. (It’s being made into a movie starring Julia Roberts, as most of you probably already know).

I have four, count ’em, four, copies to give away. If you’d like a copy, send an email to blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet before noon Eastern time on Sunday March 4, and I’ll pick four of you at random to receive copies. Anyone with a mailing address on Planet Earth is welcome to enter the drawing.

I started reading this book as my lunchtime reading, and I’m enjoying it very much so far.

My usual lunchtime reading (while I knit on my current sock-in-progress) usually consists of mysteries. My current favorite mystery “series” are the Ian Rutledge mysteries by Charles Todd and the Inspector Banks mysteries by Peter Robinson. I’m also a huge fan of Robert Goddard’s mysteries. I think I’ve read all that Todd and Goddard have written so far, but I still have a few by Peter Robinson that I’ve not read yet. These are great books to read while knitting something mindless. The plots keep me entertained and my mind engaged so I happily knit away on the sock du jour.

Speaking of the sock . . .

Well, it seems to be regretting its tasteless behavior yesterday. In fact, it wouldn’t come out of the knitting bag for the longest time. Finally, I saw a toe peep out of the bag.


But then it just wanted to blend into the background. Can you find the sock-in-progress in this photo?


And speaking further of socks . . .

Deb asked:
My local knit shop is having a “learn to knit socks” class that sounds interesting. However, all your commenters seem enthralled by your toe up socks, and this class is just the opposite. I’d like to learn the best way right off the bat. Any suggestions? Which should I start off with, any difference? And would I find your toe up pattern on this site?

I don’t think there is any best way. My advice would be to try both top down and toe up and see which one you like the best.

All my free patterns are linked to from my Knitting Gallery page, which in turn is linked to in the blog sidebar, over to the right.

Books for New Knitters

If you are a new or new-ish knitter, check out the comments to yesterday’s entry for excellent iideas for good books for your knitting library. Thanks to everyone who weighed in with an opinion.


Lately I’ve been getting comments from people who say they can’t find an email link on my blog. It’s in the sidebar — under the “My Knitting and Spinning Galleries” header it’s the last item in the list and it reads “Contact Me.” You do have to look for it, cuz there’s a lot of stuff in the sidebar!

Mojo or Lack Thereof

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve lost my spinning mojo too. I’ve not touched my wheel since early January.

But I do continue to knit on Cromarty — a little each evening. See?


Someone asked if I turn to any other type of needlework when I lose interest in knitting. I used to — but not anymore. I used to be a fiend at counted cross-stitch, and as recently as 5 or 6 years ago had that as my work lunchtime project. The last cross-stitch project I did was a sampler of maritime signal flags that I had framed and gave to my dad for some Christmas or birthday. It was a pretty large project and I think it finally did me in, as I’ve not done any cross-stitch since then. Next time I’m at my parents’ house, I’ll take a picture of the sample, if I remember. I think my dad has it hanging in his study.

I’ve posted some of my cross-stitch pieces in the past. If you go to my February and March 2004 archives, you can see some of my stuff.

In the meantime, Lucy is nonplussed.


Why is Momma taking pictures of my feet?



  1. Awww – I love cat feet. They’re so tiny and perfect! I just ordered that novel and can’t wait to start in on it. What a fun blog prize!

  2. Because they are such fluffy feet!

    Glad to see the sock is showing some contrition.

  3. You’re getting the bestest Lucy pics lately! I think the February blahs have everyone going…maybe there is something to Mercury in retrograde…. Sock as phone mitt — that’ll confuse ‘them’!

  4. I wanted to read that book and I want to kiss those little furry paws!

  5. Wendy- Because cat feet are the best. I love it when they spread their little toes!
    I’ve read the book- you may be surprised how it ends.

    Is the Koigu really that color? It worked out well for that pattern, didn’t it? Really shows up the cables nicely.

  6. Ah, yes, the Jenla De Feet photos, no doubt? Mine will be forthcoming in a couple days. Make sure Lucy’s had a paw-di-cure!

  7. would love to hear your REAL review of the book once you’ve finished it … keep on reading, honeybuns!

  8. Good God Wendy! That is the most incredible photo of Lucy to date. She is a stunner and she looks awesome in blue! You better keep an eye on that one, you’re likely to have the tabby cats pawin’at your door.

  9. OK, OK, did I get this right? You can knit and read at the same time? Sheesh! I am obviously deficient.

  10. Because Lucy they are very cute feet and they make us catless people happy.

    Loved the sock phone, I think it’s a good idea, a slip cover for your Phone, afterall everything should be covered with yarn.

  11. The sock peeking sheepishly out looks so cute! Maybe he’s hungover! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Could you please tell me how you make charts for fair isle to post online? I want to make an image file for my first modest little fair isle hat pattern, and I looked online (and in your blog!) but to no avail!

  12. so, THAT is why my inbox is full of requests for more malamute yarn ;). i’m glad you are enjoying it! cute kitty too!

  13. I think I saw a notice of your participating in an event at a Fairfax County Library some months ago. I don’t seem to find mention on that on the blog so maybe I read about it on the library web site. Do you have any plans for future Fairfax or Loudoun County Library appearances?

  14. oooh, count me in for the book! Its really hard to get a knitting book here, much less in english!

  15. That photo with the phone is funny . . . silly! I like that in a photo!

  16. Ooooh! Lucy tootsies! So very pretty. So very prim and girly.

    You’re in the running.

  17. Kitty feet!!!!

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. I really did too.

  18. Please do tell how you read a book and knit at the same time. I can read the newspaper or a magazine while knitting, but reading a book has been a challenge. (I’d have to put the knitting down each time I turned the page).

    Love Lucy’s picture today. Do you have any tips for taking pics of the pets with the flash? I was trying to take some pics of Henry the other day and he kept closing his eyes each time the flash went off. He has beautiful amber eyes, so they HAVE to be part of his pics.

  19. The book is great, I just finished it and am now half way through “The Knitting Circle” by Ann Hood, it’s also great.

  20. I have just finished reading the book & it’s great & can’t wait to see the movie. In fact, it’s a book that I will want to read again some time… so good of you to share this with other knitters! Now, I am trying to get my hands on The Knitting Circle which is still not available here in Perth, Australia.

  21. Momma is taking pictures of your feet to send to Aunties Jen and La! (We DO get around these days!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. The smug sock is a riot!

    I love reading mysteries. I’ve been working through different authors at my local library. I’ve read all the “Cat who __” books by by Lilian Jackson Braun with Koko & Yum Yum, two very bright siamese cats who help solve mysteries, and often thought of Lucy (although a somewhat different breed, an intelligent cat none the less) when reading them.

  23. Love your cat’s eyes cross stitch. Of course your cross stitch is just as fantastic as your knitting.

  24. I love your Friday Night Knitting Club contest. I’ve been wanting to read that book!

    I did not have time last night to post about your sock with a mind of its own. For the sock on the copy machine: ROF LOL ! That is great. This sock is almost becoming like the various gnome sitings games. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Cathy-Cate says:

    Kitty feet; like baby feet; so delightful! However, I do draw the line at kissing kitty feet because I know where they’ve been…. dig, dig, & cover!

    Naughty sock! But we love it anyway!

    Lastly, here’s yet another ‘tools of the trade’ question: How DO you hold the book open?! I love to read, love to knit, and can certainly knit and read simultaneously, but only manage it with a well-read and well-behaved book that stays open. I’ve thought about one of those book weights or a stand, but don’t know how they’d work.

  26. When your current well of mysteries runs dry, might I suggest the Inspector Jury series by Martha Grimes? Very British, very atmospheric, very cool.

  27. That is a sock with personality. A bit sassy and shy all at once. Although it might have been something in water at work and the poor thing is now recovered.

    My favourite mystery authours, after Agatha Christie of course, are Clive Cussler (Sahara), Jack Higgins and James Patterson (Kiss the Girls, Along came a Spider).

    Lucy is too cute.

  28. Nonplussed and cross-eyed to boot! Lucy is so darn cute, and you’re so darn funny. Reading your blog is just a delight, Wendy. I don’t remember to thank you often enough!

  29. I didn’t even know the book was out yet! You have some seriously mad skilz to be able to knit and read mysteries at the same time! Color me impressed.

  30. entered my name in the drawing – very generous of you! btw, how do you read and knit at the same time? i’ve tried, but it’s not like watching tv – i thought of audio books, but they’re expensive, and i prefer the written word….

  31. Babs Fitzpatrick says:

    Move over Claudette Colbert!……such elegant gams!

  32. I think the best pattern for a new sock knitter is the better than booties baby socks. They are a free pattern form interweave and they are also in the summer 05 printed magazine. They are instant gratification and have an explanation of short row heels. Just a thought..

  33. oh no! the sock is now a phone cozy!
    Lucy looks so adorable in that photo, even her toes are cute.

  34. Ahhhhh someone mentioned something about mercury retrograde… I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels things are little bit “weird” when we experience this phenomena.

    Kitty feet, kitty feet… my Yoda’s feet look (and feel) like velvet!! When he is feeling particularly contented and stretched out in my (or my husband’s lap) he’s constantly flexing his toes/claws.. in….out…in…out…in…out. This cold weather – well, cold for SoCal – is perfect cat-in-lap-with-knitting weather.

    I love the Ian Rutledge books! Just finished a couple, in fact. Peter Robinson and Deborah Crombie are other favorites of mine. I’ve got to look into the Robert Goddard mysteries, I don’t think I’ve read them.

    The Cromarty and the naughty sock are too beautiful!!!

    I’ve entered the contest, maybe I’ll get lucky.


  35. Lucy asks, “Why is Momma taking pictures of my feet?” Because they are so cute of course! Not to mention your face!!

  36. We’ve got the exact same phones where I work. Small world. I’ve never tried putting a sock one one though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Tell Lucy because you can. ๐Ÿ™‚ The sock is coming along and I love the colors. I have a bit of the knitting blahs too. Sounds like it is going around.

  38. Dawne in Canada says:

    Gosh Wendy … knitter extraordinaire … and now knitting and reading at the same time!! I couldn’t admire you any more if I tried ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cat feet truly are the best. My Ragdolls have the cutest bunches of fur coming out the bottoms of their feet, does Lucy have the same?

  39. Lucy has lovely fluffy feet! Fluff fluff fluff. I thought you were knitting a sock, not a phone cozy? I’m so confused.

  40. anne marie in philly says:

    my favorite mystery writers are lawrence sanders (deceased) and lisa scottoline (alive).

    lisa is a former philly lawyer, and all the books have a philly setting, but damn her books hold your interest til the very end! surprise endings too!

    meredith and steven think lucy is betty grable reincarnated! (meow!)

  41. I thinks this book title is GREAT! We have a group here that meets every other friday, we share, food, wine, yarn and knitting. I look forward to those fridays. We are all going to try and plan one of our fridays so that we can go as a group to see it. It will be fun!

  42. As for “The Best Method To Knit Socks”:

    My grandmother taught me to knit socks top-down, 60 stitches, dutch/german heel (We are in Germany, so it is just called… heel…), and a star toe. That is how her grandmother taught her when she was little (Around 1935), and how she knit 5 pairs of sock for each of her brother and her father out of her own handspun. That is how she has kept her husband, her three children, her six grandchildren and her great-grandchild stocked with warm and durable socks.

    So, as Wendy says, it just depends on personal likes and dislikes.

    Some argue that you can use up all yarn scraps by knitting toe-up, but you can do that too by using an accurate scale when knitting Top-down. On the other hand, many loathe the fit of the short-row heel (As I do), but it is not hard to reverse the Dutch/german heel. Then, some think that it is easier to try the sock in progress on – I dont think so. But as always, YMMW. Try that sock class out, and try knitting a sock toe-up – maybe you will discover that you like one over the other, or that you can use both interchangably for different types of socks.

  43. That sock on the phone photo is hilarious! I’m a junior sock knitter, on my third pair and I started with toe-down/short row heel on the first pair and the current pair are toe-up/afterthought heel. Hey, as long as the two of them match, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

  44. I just started the Peter Robinson books and like them very much. When you run out give the Linda Fairstein books a try. She is a NY prosecutor and gives you a pretty good mystery and a lot of New York City facts along with it. Great continuing characters also. I will be sorry to run out of her books. My bad boys, Billy and Neil, send love to Lucy.

  45. Hi Wendy, I figured you would be the expert on this, as you’ve done many socks this way– how do you sew or tack down the cast on row of a picot edge? Thank you if you feel like answering!

  46. I used to be a big fan of counted cross stitch too, but I just don’t feel the love for those little xs any more. It’s a shame because my stash used to rival my knitting one and I’ve gradually sold it or given it away so it’s now down to practically nothing.

    But don’t ask me about quilting ….

  47. Poor little sockie, I know that kind of embarrassment. Someday the feelings will fade, don’t you worry a bit.

    Woe … How did Lucy do that cross-eyed thing. That makes my eyes sore, just looking into her eyes.

    Good luck with your contest!


  48. Have you read any mysteries by Faye Kellerman? I highly recommend her Rina Lazarus/Peter Decker series. Also, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Though the Stephane Plum books might not be the best for knitting–they tend to be laugh out loud kind of novels.

    Speaking of knitting–the sock is gorgeous!

  49. Awww such dainty little feet ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. Don’t make me come up there and kick your knitting/spinning mojo back into place! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  51. My LYS is having a toe up sock knitting class this month and I am so excited! I’ve done a few socks and am thrilled to be able to attend a class and learn this new method.

    And tell Lucy that taking pictures of your pets feet (oh wait, does she know that SHE’S the pet?) is perfectly normal.

  52. I asked about knitting books. Thanks to everyone for their input! I’m familiar with many of the titles, but the “readers’reviews” really helped. I may be a beginning knitter, but already I shop faster than I knit, so I have the beginnings of a very large stash! I hope a few of these books will encourage me to expand my horizons without getting too overly frustrated, and keep the stash in check. Thanks again to all!

  53. Michele in Maine says:

    That’s the funniest Lucy pic yet! And such adorable feet. I love cat feet too!

    I’ve got that book on my nightstand and have been chipping away at it, after I’ve stayed up too late knitting on my “Winter’s Dawn” sock (which I love). Alas, I have not perfected the reading while knitting technique.

  54. Wendy, please be careful when you wear that pair of socks. One foot will be doing what feet do best but the other with the renegade sock maybe trying to go off on its own and that could cause you trouble.

  55. Lucy has adorable paws! I jkust want to kiss them!

    Personally, I would think that toe-up socks might be better overall to knit, since you can knit the leg until you run out of yarn. No real need to measure and calculate how much you’re going to need for the foot of the sock, as when one does cuff-down socks. Of course, that’s just my personal take on it. Other people may prefer to do it differently.

  56. Wendy, Wendy, Wendy – – I can always rely on you for a good morning chuckle and GREAT photos of Lucy. Those crossed eyes are just too cute – – and what fluffy paws!

    Love the socks in progress too. I MUST RESIST BUYING MORE SOCK YARN! However, you make it tough. I did buy some Apple Pie (which I LOVE!) and I’m still dreaming about the last pair you made. I forget at the moment what yarn – – but I know it was purchased at The Loopy Ewe and could figure it out in about, ummmmm, 2 seconds. Like I said – – MUST RESIST!


  57. Umm…I hope that phone was dissinfected recently. No telling where it has been.

    I am sad the Loopy Ewe is out of the yarn pirate yarn. I love those colors!

  58. Barbara Miller says:

    Have you read P.D. James, Martha Grimes or Elizabeth George? Great british mystery cozies!

  59. OMG! I love that picture of Lucy! And her feet are too cute; I just posted all my little feet yesterday.

  60. Kitty feet! I love kitty feet, they’re so cute and little and wonderful!

    I am also curious about your reading method. I can (and frequently do) read while I knit (assuming it’s mindless knitting)but I’m usually stuck reading stuff on the computer because I haven’t been able to figure out a way to keep a book open. What is your secret? How do you keep your books open?

  61. Your daily progress on a project like Cromarty–when you don’t feel like knitting–is amazing.

  62. Ginny Z says:

    Lucy is adorable as usual, from any angle and in any pose. I like to read mysteries too and my favorite is Anne Perry – she has three separate series, two set in Victorian London with a 20-year difference in time and a WWI series that is a continuing story. The stories are complex and interesting as are the characters. Get them as audiobooks from the library and listen and knit while you commute!

  63. Am I the ONLY ONE who likes a rebellious, slightly slutty sock?!?!?!?!?!?

    Lucy’s picture is hysterical, with the crossed eyes taking center stage.

    You’ll get through this time, Wendy …. thanks for continuing to post despite the lack of knitting mojo. Your loyal fans, such as myself, appreciate it.

  64. Lucy’s purrrty paws are sure winners!!! But, what would you expect from a pinup girl?!

  65. Ooo Ooo Contest!!! That is one rogue sock you have there, just everywhere! Lucy’s paws are adorable.