My current work in progress:

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


Picot! Picot! Picot!

When I tore the page off my Stitch ‘n Bitch calendar this morning, I found that today’s page is about picot edging. Very timely, as there were a number of picot comments on yesterday’s blog entry.

How I do my picot hem:
A picot edge is done over an even number of stitches. You work stockinette up to the “turning row” where you work k2tog, yo around. Then you work a few more rows to form the hem. You fold your hem down to the inside along the row with the yarn overs and loosely sew down your hem to the inside of your sock.

And Sarah posted a comment yesterday to tell us she just put directions for picot hems in her Knitting Wiki. Thanks, Sarah!

Frarochvia asked:
How many rows do you do after your yo k2tog row, just out of curiosity?

I do 6 rows. Too few and your picot edge flips out, too many and the top of your sock is too thick. For me, 6 is just right.

Reluctantmango had a great idea:
For those who are scared of the slouchy picot… could you not rib the inside of the fold-over to give it a little grip?

Yes, you totally could. I’ve seen it done here and there.

A non-picot sock question from Rebecca:
When you are designing a sock how do you figure out how many stitches to go down to on the heel?

Ah, grasshopper! That depends on the width of the heel for which you are designing!

Me? I go down to half the width. Say my sock is 64 stitches around. I will work the heel on 32 stitches, so I go down to 16 “live” stitches in the middle of the heel.

If you are making a sock for someone with very narrow heels, you can go down further. Wide heels, don’t go down as far.

Which brings me to the subject of toes. I also go down to 16 stitches on my sock toes, but I see patterns that go down much more to make a far pointier toe than I do. All you sock knitters out there: What do you all like to do? How pointy do you like your toes?

The Sock In Progress

I’m afraid it is now lying on the couch, doing nothing. It has put headphones on and has lapsed into sullen teen-aged silence. All because I took away the car keys and grounded it.


Book Report

I finished reading The Friday Night Knitting Club at lunchtime today and I pronounce it a very nice, very readable book. It’s sort of what you would expect with a title like that, and what you might not expect, unless you are really good at figuring out where the plot is headed, which I am. (That’s one of the things I like about mysteries — I’m pretty darn good at figuring out the end before I get there.) Well-written with good three-dimensional characters, and compelling enough to make me finish it pretty quickly. I’ll look forward to seeing the movie when it comes out.

Speaking of Books

Heather (of the gorgeous All Things Heather hand-dyed yarn) is taking part in a drive in conjunction with her daughter’s school to get books to children in a school in South Africa. There’s a raffle and prizes to be had, so head on over to Heather’s blog and read this entry to get the 411 on this worthy effort.

Lucy’s Coat

Lucy is a typical Ragdoll — she doesn’t shed a lot year round but she does molt in the spring. Clearly she is going by the calendar and not the outside temperature because it is wicked cold outside and we’re supposed to get some snow tomorrow.

Still, as she is a pampered indoor princess, I don’t think that matters to her one way or the other.


Gotta run — Cromarty is calling!



  1. I understand completely about the sock. I had the same trouble with a hat and mitten set. The three of them would sit and whisper and giggle and then look over at me and grin. I’m just glad my mother is able to keep them under control.

  2. I’m going to have to try a picot-edged sock. They look like a very pretty alternative. Thanks for the tips!

    And I’m sure that if Lucy wasn’t a pampered indoor princess, she would be a pampered OUTDOOR princess, with lots of knit blankets and things to keep her warm.

  3. Your timing is perfect Wendy. I’m preparing to embark on my first socks and I was just about to search your blog for picot edge instructions.

    As for that sock of yours, it looks a lot like some of the kids that ride my bus. Don’t let it anywhere near the seatbelts in your car . . . Socky there will either take up webbed macrame or use the buckles as weapons against Cromarty.

  4. Thanks for all the tips. Nice explanations.

  5. I see Lucy’s been practising looking like Yvette Guilbert again

  6. Thanks! I had the insane idea of doing a 10 row picot cuff cuffdown on size threes… With worsted yarn. Last week. Note to self: don’t do harebrained things whilst sick. Because? It turned out about as well as you’d imagine.

    Matisse ragdolls in solidarity with Lucy! Still, I think March is early for the molting don’t you think? Or maybe it’s an annual bit of denial… Still, I don’t remember him molting this early last year.

    Bad sock! No biscuit!

  7. I don’t like pointy toes, for my own socks. They just feel too tight. I go down to 1 more set of wraps than 1/2. However, my husband has very long toes, so, a pointier sock is better for him. Otherwise, there is too much fabric that gets bunched up and uncomfortable in his shoes.

  8. Wendy- If Julia Roberts plays the main character, that would be par for the course. She always croaks in movies.
    Oh, yes, I hear the voice- that must be Cromarty.

  9. Isabelle says:

    Too pointy a toe makes the sock look “Dr. Suess-y,” particularly in self-striping yarn. Besides, it’s not all that comfortable. Isn’t the point of knitting your own socks that you can make them *exactly* to your liking? Does that make me a bad-ass knitter?

  10. “Molting” is such an excellent way of describing how some cats “shed!” I have one of those too (two shedders, one molter).

    Wendy, did you join in the yarn feeding frenzy at Loopy Ewe last night? I sort of had visions of you online trying to snag yarn too!

  11. I don’t like pointy toes…maybe if I were a Delicate Flower, but I’m definitely more of a Sturdy Peasant. ๐Ÿ™‚ I knit my toe-up socks on 60 stitches, on #1 needles, so I work the toe and heel over 30 stitches and work down to 14 live stitches in the middle. It makes a fairly rounded toe and heel, and I find them very comfy.

    That poor sock is so misunderstood. It didn’t ask to be knit! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Regarding the naughty sock: I wouldn’t leave your laptop unattended. That rebellious sock may start emailing and posting very inappropriate things just to spite you for taking the car keys.

    I have two teenagers; I can’t wait until they have kids of their own. I’m going to have SO MUCH FUN!!

  13. Valerie says:

    In spite of its sullen attitude, I notice that your sock is still wearing its elegant sterling silver Celtic Swan needles, so it can’t be a completely lost cause yet. I purchased some of these needles, largely based on your recommendation and they are the best! Thanks for the review of them.

  14. In my experience, pets shed according to the sunlight and the days are getting longer!

    On toes, I do decreases every row toward the end (cuff down knitting) and that rounds the toe nicely so I only graft 8 stitches. They don’t seem pointy to me. But now I’m doing my first toe up socks and the pattern called for only increasing every other row. I didn’t think this through and now these toes are quite pointy because I started with 8 stitches! Oh, well.

  15. At first glance, I thought Lucy was laying on her side reading a book.

  16. Cromarty is really starting to grow in size now. I can’t wait to see your finished product. And I would have to say that my main complaint about the sock patterns I’ve used so far is that the toes are too pointy. I’ve been making socks top down and I usually use the yarn that I’m weaving in and pull the points more into the sock to make it more rounded.

  17. Well, I have pointy toes, so I go down to 10-12 stitches for me. More for the Husband, maybe 14-16.

  18. I stopped doing short-row toes on toe-up socks because I don’t like the toe shaping. I much prefer the shaping that you get on cuff-down socks (decrease every other round until you have half the number of stitches, then ever round until you have half that number). This gives a toe that is rounded a bit, but not flat. So, on toe-up socks, I approximate this shaping using what Charlene Schurch calls “easy toe”. I cast on 8 stitches (assuming fingering weight yarn and 2.25mm needles), purl one row, knit one row, then start going around. I increase four stitches per round until I have 32 stitches, then four stitches every other round until I have the desired number (64-72, depending on pattern and gauge).

  19. Is the NAUGHTY SOCK a gift or are you intending to let it lead you into it’s rather rambunctious activities.

  20. I love to do picot edges on my socks. I knit 7 rows, do the YO K2tog row then knit 7 rows. When I knit the next row I fold the hem to the inside and catch the cast on row of stitches so that I don’t have to go back and sew the hem later.
    As for my toes, I go down to 1/2 the stitches doing the decreases on every other row, then 1/2 again decreasing on every row.

  21. That’s so interesting that you do only 6 rows. For my manly picot-edged socks, I do 12 rows. I mean, I don’t want them floppy, and they seem to stand up better that way. Of course, maybe the hairy legs are what’s keeping them up? Not sure. Now I’ll have to try fewer rows and see if that works. You’ve given me somehting to ponder now…

  22. On a side note, have you noticed the number of blogless commenters? Is there a movement going on? Should we be afraid? WWLD? (What would Lucy do?)

  23. martha in mobile says:

    I do toe-up socks – start at 6 st per needle and inc every other row until I have 13 st per needle. I also make pretty pointy heels since the three people I make socks for (myself, my mom and my daughter) have identical, pointy-heeled feet.

  24. Nancy J says:

    I do top down sock and kitchener my toes with 12 on each of the 2 needles (24 total) because I don’t have super pointy toes and I use ‘0’ needles. If I’m using larger needles, then I kitchener fewer sts.

  25. I really want to try to make your socks using the easier pattern. If I ever make it to the top I’d like to try the picot edging.

    Go Cromarty, Go!

  26. I do the Knitty Magic Cast-On for my socks. Usually I start with 14 stitches/needle and increase 4sts every other round until I get to 60 or 64 (or whatever, depends on the gauge and all that)

    I do my heels on half the stitches and usually do 7 or 8 wraps so that’s 14 or 16 live stitches.

    Better keep an eye on that sock! It seems like it’s right on the verge of running away from home!

  27. ameliemello says:

    who needs real kids with socks like that?

  28. I suppose that lovely sock is giving you dirty looks and informing you what an embarrassment you are?
    Loving your cromarty, girl!

  29. I hear that sock is getting a gang together; they’re looking for leather jackets on ebay!

  30. Ha ha! Mary likes to sleep underneith lights, her own personal heat lamps. I like my sock toes at least 8 stitches wide (16 total) – I just make Cookie A’s Pomatomi, which go all the way down to 6 (12 total) and though I do love them they are very (oddly) pointy!

  31. i actually go smaller on my toes than i do on my heels. i have found that when i do a shortrow toe, 16 stitches is too many. in fact, i just gave away 2 pair of socks because i wasn’t happy with how the toes turned out. (they went to afghanistan)

    and i did the south african thing, lol.

    gotta hate those teenagers (whether human or socks, lol).

  32. That sock needs to learn some respect. LOL

    Thanks for the info on the picot edging.

  33. For the life of me I can’t remember whether or not I already asked this, so sorry if I’m being repetitive.

    These “shoulder straps” on cromarty intrigue me. I have a general idea of how they fit into the finished sweater from other bloggers’ finished cromartys, but I can’t say I’ve seen another garment or pattern that uses them. Can you enlighten me?

  34. Bad sock Bad sock. My Maine Coons are starting to… molt? This time of year I come home to kat hair fluff bunnies the size and color of baked potatos.

  35. Theresa in Italy says:

    I’m fairly new to sock knitting; I follow your generic toe-up pattern to the letter (or the number, as the case may be) and, as I have short toes, it works fine for me. And I love the ballerina slipper-look of the flat toe.

    That sock looks exactly like my older teenager, slouched on the bed with the earphones on. Don’t let it know where you hid the car keys.

  36. PICAdrienne says:

    My darling daughters have dainty narrow feet, AA width, they get pointier toes than sonny boy, who (at age 9) wears a mens 7.5 EEEE (yeah, that is 4 e’s). His toes are a bit on the blunt side.

  37. When doing heels, I always go down to a third – it’s what the first book I looked up heels in told me to do, and I’ve never felt a reason to try anything else. I also do star toes, which basically mean that every other row I evenly decrease 8 stitches (in the same spots, so they form lines spiraling to the center) down to 8 stitches (it really helps to use a multiple of 8…) then kitchner stitch them together. It actually gives me a semi-circle at the toe rather than a pointy one, and I really like the way it looks.

  38. I don’t like pointy sock toes at all. My big toe, second and third toes are all roughly the same length, so the front of my foot looks almost square. I do toe-up with a width of 12 or even 14 stitches to start. I’m still learning about heels; I’ve only knitted 6 pairs of socks so far!

  39. Next thing you know, the sock will be raiding the fridge! You have to watch these things…Cromarty is so gorgeous, I’m loving seeing it grow. Lucy realy knows how to handle the weather for sure!

  40. I have the SnB Calendar too and was amazed at how easy the picot edge is created. Is there a way to directly apply a picot edge without the hem?

  41. Oh oh, next the sock is going to start using drugs…

  42. Yes but isn’t there a picot edge that doesn’t involve a double thickness of fabric? I had to cast on with a picot edge but it was a slow process of making little knots, more like bobbles. It was a Louisa Harding pattern.

  43. I think you need to think about a “Wendyknits Socks!” book. We would all appreciate it!!!
    I’m working on your toe up sock pattern with Regia Stretch, from my stash of course. I love it. I struggled through the figure eight cast on & I’m so glad I did. I LOVE it! And so did everyone at my “KnitNight Group” last night.

  44. Are your new socks drinking water right out of the tap? It might explain their odd behaviour.

    My cats are also indoor cats and they go through a shed every spring too. Although the indoor/outdoor dog sheds another dog every spring.

  45. Trista R. says:

    I’ve been enjoying the sock escapades. (Sockscapades?)

    If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you might consider naming them Fred and George, after the twin mischief makers in that series. If not a fan, please don’t mind me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Have you thought about how they’ll behave when complete? The sock recipient might need to be warned… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  46. Your sock has secretly been talking to my sock. I just know it. If either disappears, the first place to check will be the mall.

  47. Wendy – you are a clever girl aren’t you — too funny about the sock! Do you think you will write another book? I loved your first one, enjoy reading your blog and would run, not walk, to a book store if you were to write another.


  48. Just letting everyone know that ribbing the inside hem of a picot topped sock works great. I’m wearing a pair right now. It also works for sweater hems to keep them from rolling up (instead of going down a needle size).

  49. My sock toes are usually 15-18 sts, depending on the yarn. My toes are happier if they have room to move around. If I make the socks too pointy, my toes become Rather Unhappy.

  50. I like my toes more squared off. I am short with little fat Flinstone feet so pointy is uncomfortable. More squared off works for my more squared off feet.

    My cat is molting now too. Hair, hair everywhere!

  51. I do love a picot hem…I don’t know why I don’t do them more often. Well, maybe it’s because, as Margene says, I hardly ever KNIT. Hahah.

    Your Cromarty is looking lovely.

  52. Yikes! What happened to Lucy’s head?

  53. I love how you’ve made the sock an animate object! LOL When check your blog feed I am eager to read about what the Sock has done, or what the sock is interested in doing. So fun!

  54. I think Cromarty is getting ready to swipe the headphones from the sock.

  55. I learn so much good stuff at your site, Wendy. Thank you for sharing so generously with us.
    The Sock reminds me of me when I was a teenager :).

  56. Question for you all: I love making socks toe-up with short row toes and heels, but find them to be a little snug around the heel for people to pull on easily. Does that mean I should make the heels more pointy, or less? Or is there another adjustment I should make? Has anyone else had this issue?

  57. sock toes? I tend to make “footed” socks — as in one right and one left. I suppose this makes them wear out sooner, but whatever. I have wide feet w/ wide toes I guess, so I avoid pointy toed socks. I’d much rather have a many stitch graft to face, than have pointy toed socks. When doing toe up, I tend to start w/ 12 on a side, not 8 (so 24 sts) in the finer yarns.

  58. Christine says:
  59. ksfishgirl says:

    I love the picot edge at the top of a sock, it’s pretty much all I use nowadays. As for the toe, I tend to go with less pointy – as I have wide, hobbit-like feet. No pointy-toed shoes (or socks!) for me…

  60. Michele says:

    Hi Wendy,
    I have been reading your blog for awile and last weekend I decided I had to try your feather and fan toe up sock pattern. (I have always knitted socks from the ankle down) I turned the heel last night and the jury is still out on whether I like it better then ankle-down-sock-knitting. If anything, it kept my mind completely occupied while walking on the tread mill.
    Love your blog and my cat, Gremlyn, says hi to Lucy.

  61. Your adventures with that unruly sock keep making me think of Delores and Franklin. That is a good thing.