My current work in progress:

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



Liz R. and Katey both asked how to split a skein of yarn into two balls.

This is how I split a skein of yarn into two equal size balls.

Using my swift and ballwinder, I wind the skein into a ball. (You could also easily do this winding the ball by hand.)

I weigh the skein on the digital scale that the KOARC got me for Christmas. (This is a kitchen scale and the KOARC got it at Linens n’ Things. You can find similar ones at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Mine is made by Salter and it weighs in both ounces and grams. I set it to grams for yarn weighing duties.)


I start winding a second ball of yarn directly from the first one on my ballwinder, eyeballing it until the ball I’m winding from looks to be about half its original size. Then I put it on the scale and weigh it, while it’s still attached to the new ball I’m winding. If it’s more than half the original weight, I wind off some more. Less than half, I pull some back from the new ball. Lather, rinse, repeat, until the original ball is half its former weight, then cut the yarn.

Take the new ball off the ball winder and then wind the original ball into a new ball. I do this so that all the yarn is wound in the same direction. That way when you knit the socks, you’ll be knitting in the same direction from each skein.

If you don’t have a scale, it is trickier. My advice would be to hand-wind the skein into a ball, that then wind a second ball from the first ball and compare the two balls in size. You could probably get pretty close this way.

knitopia commented:
I’m intrigued by the garter toe. Is there a similar set of instructions anywhere on the web?

Here is an article in pdf format by Lucy Neatby that discusses garter stitch short row heels. The toe would, of course, be similar.

Even though you don’t pick up the wraps, there are no holes (unless you really stretch the knitted fabric out). Because it is garter stitch, it really squishes together once knit, so that takes care of the holes.

It will be interesting to see how this toe and heel feel when being worn — as well as the ribbing on the sole of the foot. Because the Socks That Rock yarn is lovely and soft, I’m betting it will feel good!

Click the link below to see the completed garter stitch heel.

View image

I know the KOARC often remarks that he likes his handknit socks because the texture of the purl bumps on the inside of them give his feet a little massage.

After dividing into two balls, each ball looks pretty big — I’m betting there will be plenty of yarn to knit a decent size leg to these socks. I wear a size 8.5 shoe and have wide feet, and I have always been able to get a nice length leg on my socks when using Sock That Rock lightweight (360 yards per skein). This sock is knitted in the medium weight, with 380 yards per skein. So much the better!

There was a request in the comments to see what I bought from The Loopy Ewe last week. Here you go:


Clockwise from bottom right, that’s Sweet Georgia sock yarn in three different (unnamed) colorways, 2 colors of Applie Laine Apple Pie (Earthy Delights and Pretty in Pink) and 2 of Perchance to Knit (Breezy and Tartan).

(It’s not all for me!)

And the state of Cromarty:


With a bit of the second sleeve done:


Lucy Sez


“The time change sucks.”


  1. Cromarty is sooo beautiful, very inspiring as well. I am enjoying my Monsoon sock kit, too, the colors kind of remind of Al’s Army uniforms. Gorgeous sock yarn acquisitions, I especially look forward to seeing Pretty in Pink knit up.

  2. ChristyH says:

    I totally agree with Lucy!

  3. Mary Pat says:

    The time change is wonderful. My felines like to get up really early say 5:00 – they were fooled this morning and it was actually 6:00 before breakfast was served.

    On the other in the fall it isn’t quite so nice when they want to start the day at 4:00 AM.

  4. Adrienne says:

    I just wanted to comment that you don’t have to have a nice digital scale to divide your yarn that way. I have a cheapo little one I got in the kitchen gadget section at walmart and it’s served me well for dividing sock yarn. =)

  5. Lucy Neatby’s book Cool Socks Warm Feet has garter stitch heels and toes and other good things.

  6. Oh, the Cromarty is really beautiful! I really can’t wait to see the finished piece now.

    I agree with Lucy.

  7. I have to agree with Lucy, the time change sucks. I love my little digital scale, it’s come in handy a time or two when I wasn’t sure if I would have enough yarn left. I haven’t gotten around to doing socks toe up yet….maybe one of these days. I weight the finished sock then I weigh the yarn I have left. If the leftover yarn weighs more then the finished sock I’m good to go. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cromarty is gorgeous and it looks like quite the nice haul from the Loopy Ewe. I also got the Apple Laine in the Pretty in Pink. My daughter is completely in love with the color Pink.

  8. Not being a morning person, I love the time change! More natural light to knit in. And the cats love that their sunbeams hang out with them longer.

  9. Okay, not to insult the wayward sock still-lifes, but the Monsoon heel pic is a striking shot itself!

  10. Gorgeous yarns… ๐Ÿ™‚
    One of these days, I’ll snag some of the Apple Laine in a color I adore. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have you added to your sock yarn log cabin blanket anytime soon? I’m thinking of starting one from my scraps soon. I’m not sure if I want a solid center square or a variegated center square, though, so I haven’t started it yet.

  11. I agree with Lucy on the time change–I really don’t do well with it. Ben Franklin’s little joke has really gotten out of hand! For me, it’s having to get up an hour earlier every stinkin’ day–once we go back on standard time, I feel much better and am much more functional. Cromarty is looking really good–I’m looking forward to seeing the FO pictures soon! And you may even be able to wear it–unlike here, where we’re suffering in 90+ degree heat and winds!

  12. I divide sock yarn the simplest way: unwind the entire ball, put both ends together, work along the length until I find the middle. Snip. Rewind, making sure the color changes are in the same direction. This also allows a complete check for knots. Now that I have an inexpensive scale, I may try the weighing method, at least for larger skeins.

  13. Cathy-Cate says:

    Aw, who cares about Daylight Savings Time when you have a Cozy Cushion — it’s NAP time! Well, any time is nap time to a cat! (Except breakfast time, o’ course.)
    I picture you up on a ladder taking the Cromarty picture. Or at least standing on the couch!

  14. Marianne says:

    I have to join the crowd & agree with Lucy–this time change is for the birds, when it is 3 weeks early. I liked it much better when it was 3 weeks later, but this is too soon–it’s too dark in the morning for the kids going to school. ๐Ÿ™

    I can’t wait to see your Apple Laine Pretty in Pink knitted up!

    The Cromarty is gorgeous. That color is luscious. I do have to admit that it took me a couple of minutes to get oriented as to what was what in the picture. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It really is nice to be able to go outside without our snow boots on! We have rain forecast for early this week here in mid-Michigan.

  15. I’m with Lucy on the time change opinion – I should have gone to bed an hour early, but then I would have lost an hour of knitting time! So instead morning came too soon… Cromarty’s coming along swimmingly!

  16. I feel just like Lucy about the time change (even though a light evening is seeming nice…).

    Thank you so much for the ball winding tips — twice wound! Why didn’t I think of that. Sounds so simple when you say it!! Truly appreciated…

    Cromarty is looking fabulous! Wonderful!!

  17. I feel just like Lucy about the time change (even though a light evening is seeming nice…).

    Thank you so much for the ball winding tips — twice wound! Why didn’t I think of that. Sounds so simple when you say it!! Truly appreciated…

    Cromarty is looking fabulous! Wonderful!!

  18. Wendy, I’m in awe every time I read your blog (meaning every day.) Your beautiful sweaters with all the lovely cabling. The spinning. The gorgeous sock yarns. The many pairs of socks (naughty or otherwise!) THE Lucy (nothing more to say there!)

    You are my personal hero!

  19. Wendy- Cromarty is almost there. Did you enjoy the cabling? It’s a very flattering design, and the color will go nice with your titian hair.

    Lucy, you can say that again!

  20. Christine says:

    Sock question: When you are commuting, where do you put the extra dpns. How are you storing the working needle during it’s non-knitting time.

  21. Hi Lucy, I think the time chang sucks too cause I lost an hour of sleep. But the good thing is that I get to now start commuting to work on my 2 wheeled yarn transporter.

  22. Im’ in the club, too — question for you.
    I’m not a big fan of pooling and I’m considering splitting the skein and working each sock alternating skeins to encourage as little pooling as possible. Have you done this before? Do you think it’s worth the effort? Looking at how the pattern knits up I’d probably be able to stop doing it once I reach the leg as the pooling seems to be happening only on the foot portion.

  23. The only good thing about the time change is that it stays lighter later. But, blech. I’m with Lucy.

  24. Aww, you wicked, wicked lady! Three batches of Sweet Georgia! Lucky you…mine got swiped from my cart. But I got plenty, including that Lorna’s Envy that I liked so much when I saw it here…and I got a skein of Breezy too – I LOVE it…her colors are even better in person than in the photos. Plus….did you sniff it? It smells sooo good.

    Can’t wait to see the Cromarty all put together – I’m in awe!!

  25. I’ve done a few garter stitch heels and toes and I love them. First, you don’t have to pick up the wraps (which is a concept I didn’t learn about til I followed a pattern), and second, cause they are very comfy. The fact that I don’t have to purl is an added benefit.

    Poor Lucy.. I agree.

  26. No kidding, Lucy! And I get up an hour later (well, 2, if we fuss about timezones) than your momma, so… be extra nice to her tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I don’t know if you have Caribou Coffee ’round there, but today and Monday they’re adding an extra shot of espresso to their coffee drinks for free. Ahhhh…

  27. Shirlucky says:

    I’m thinking you wouldn’t necessarily have to rewind
    the 2nd sock yarn ball. It seems you could knit one
    ball from the outside and the other from the inside.

  28. On the subject of splitting a skein in two. I bought a Shakespeare fishing line counter on ebay for $10.00 and I use it to measure out the yardage. Then I re-roll the ball as you mentioned to have the “spin” of the yarn in the same direction. The line counter is great!

  29. I’m with Lucy. The time change is nice when spring is really here, but with day light savings starting three weeks early the light is just a tease.

    The Cromarty is just amazing. The color is great. I love the way cables link together. It’s a piece that is relaxing just to look at.

  30. Here’s a helpful that your readers who don’t have scales might find useful. I put my skeins on my swift and count how many strands there are going around. Then I wind it off. When half that number have been wound off, I cut the yarn and start a new ball. Voila! Two equal balls of yarn! It works perfectly every time.

    Question about your gorgeous Cromarty: How long is it? It looks really short but I’m wondering if that’s just the angle of the photos. It sure is beautiful.

  31. I agree with Lucy. Just eave the clocks alone, ferhevinnssake!

  32. kelly in new mexico says:

    I would be just soooo sweet if you would consider making a video. You know one about cables, one about socks, one about lace, one about spinning, etc…
    You are indeed a master knitter and I know you’d sale thousands on DVD. I for one would buy them.
    By the way cromary is just beautiful!!!! And your sock of the month is way to cool!!!

  33. I agree about the yardage on the STR yarn. I am getting ready for the cuff as well and it doesn’t look like I have put a dent in the yarn.

    Lucy – I feel your pain. The time change does suck.

  34. Cromarty is looking great. Thanks for the info. on splitting a skein into two balls, it’s very helpful. and yes, Lucy, the time change does suck!

  35. My sock dividing method is similar, but I wind the skein into a ball, *put the ball on the scale*, and wind a new ball from that. When the ball on the scale has lost half its weight, stop winding and cut. Grab the yarn coming from the middle of what’s left on the scale, and rewind that…it’s depleted enough that it’ll collapse too soon. Putting the ball on the scale means I don’t have to stop in the middle of winding.

  36. Nessa Z. says:

    Wendy, what size needles are you using for the Monsoon socks? I’m using #1 for the toe and #0 for the ribbing, but it >looks< too large for my size 8 1/2 foot. They stretched over my DH’s hoof! But I’m not sure if that’s because they’re really too large, or the ribbing is so stretchy. I can’t stand the thought of doing that life-sucking ribbing on size 00 needles. I love the pattern, but hate the gauge.

  37. lucy’s got it right about the time change. yuck.

  38. Lucy rocks!

  39. Thanks for the garter toe info! I got a package from The Loopy Ewe too–my first time with that company and my first time with Sweet Georgia yarn.

  40. My scale gets used regularly for cooking and yarn measurement. It’s most unusual use, however was to balance the rods and pistons for our Model T.

  41. Wow, you really made out at the Loopy Ewe! Those are all beautiful yarns. You can tell Lucy from me that it’s spring break, she doesn’t need to worry about the time change-stay in bed!

  42. I so agree with Lucy!

    I love my scale for yarny purpose but even more so that because of it I never have to suffer the Post Office ever again…Click-n-Ship ROCKS!

    I really wanted to try the Sweet Georgia but now, who knows? Do you think it will appreciate in value like a Picasso? ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. anne marie in philly says:

    ***I know the KOARC often remarks that he likes his handknit socks because the texture of the purl bumps on the inside of them give his feet a little massage.***

    doesn’t take much to make the KOARC happy, does it? tee hee ๐Ÿ™‚

    today meredith and steven had longer warm spots for sleeping on the sunporch, so they say hooray for the time change!

    their mommy, on the other hand, has yet to adjust to the latest guv’mint foolishness. she stands with lucy!

  44. Thanks for the yarn-dividing tutorial, as well as the link to the Lucy Neatby article — interesting! I really love that turquoise Sweet Georgia sock yarn you bought. So pretty!

    It’s funny — I’m drawn to the pretty blue-greens and turquoises and teal-colored yarns, but, I rarely wear socks, and when I do, I go for the most generic-colored ones I can find (white or gray). But who wants to knit with white or gray yarns? Not me….

    I love seeing your the Cromarty progress! Starting to really look like a sweater! ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Wendy,
    I am knitting my second pair of socks, having used your generic toe up pattern for both. I love the short row toe, but I noticed this time (solid colour yarn) that the wrap pickups look better on the purl rows than on the knit rows. Have you any idea how I can improve the knit rows? Do you knit through back of loop or anything?

    Hubby is very keen on his first pair of handknit socks, and I am pleased to have found something I can knit for him. Thanks for the easy to follow and modify pattern.

  46. (Hee hee, “Bed, Bath and Beyond” always makes me think of Will Farrell in Old School… ๐Ÿ˜€ !!)

    Cromarty is looking wonderful, the colour is so lovely. And that sock yarn? I SO would be keeping it all for me.

    Lucy – yup, DST blows all right!

  47. I’m with Lucy on the time change thing. I losing the hour and really wish we could just stay ahead. I don’t like it when it is full dark by 4:30pm in the winter.

    Nice scale. Even nicer haul from the Loopy Ewe.

  48. Just had to leave a note to say that after quite a bit of trying, I’ve finally figured out your toe up sock pattern! Your most recent tutorial was great. I learned doing top down, so for me this was like learning the alphabet backwards. But I love the way the toe and the heel look with your pattern and I felt really good when I finally saw what you meant about the wraps and picking up the wraps, etc… Thanks so much for this – I’m excited!

  49. Cromarty looks great! Lucy has the right way to deal with the time change.

  50. Hi Wendy–

    I am a new-ish knitter and working feverishly on a log cabin baby blanket (the Mason Dixon pattern). I VERY close to being done, but I am stuck on garter stitch intarsia. The two yarns are on the wrong sides. I’ve tried a variety of things to make it work, but I’m getting weird outcomes. Can you describe what needs to be done? I haven’t found a good description of the technique in the books I have or online.

    Thank you,

  51. I am SO with Lucy on this one…
    I tend to wind my sock yarn into a ball, weigh the ball, then keep track of the weight of the ball as I knit. Over time I’ve sort of gained a sense of how many grams I should have left for the heel and foot.

  52. Wendy
    I’m in agreement with Dawn. I’ve started toe up socks with your directions and the purl side of the toe look fabulous but the knit side is not as nice and smooth. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks for all your notes and photos.

  53. as always I enjoy your blog, your work, your knitting content. How is “Knit from your stash” coming along? I was doing OK till I went to stitches west… need I say more? ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. I have a different method of dividing skeins in half… I put the skein on my swift (before I got that wonderful piece of stuff I put it across my knees) and then I count how many wraps there are, divide by half, put a ribbon or something visible on the arm of the swift above where I start to wind, and count as it goes by til I get to half the rounds and divide the ball there. Easy peasy and no winding and rewinding. (I still don’t have a ball winder)

  55. You’re really taking to heart the whole “sock yarn doesn’t count as stash” concept! LOL

  56. Cromarty looks gorgeous!!

  57. Aha! So you’re the one who got my Earthly Delights because I was too slow at the checkout. Well, losing out to Wendy is more honor than anything else I think. I’ll just have to shop faster next time.

    I’m doing the Rockin Sock Club socks too and have a question or two. Are you using size 1 for your toes and 0 for your foot? Are you one of those clever people (yes, probably you are) who can consciously change their gauge to be what they need? While swatching (7 so far) I went down to a 000 metal circular and still only got down to 7.5 sts/in which I also got with my size 1 bamboo doublepoints so I finally gave up on swatching and started with the bamboo doublepoints. But the partial toe I’ve got done so far looks like it might be more than a half inch off in circumference. Any suggestions?

  58. Look at those lovely Canuck wools! I love Apple Laine Apple Pie, and just happen to have a bit of it in my stash too.

  59. To split my skein I weigh the orninal skein to confrim it’s weight (sometimes the bad isn’t entirely correct). I then weigh the center post of the ball winder and hit the tare button on my cheapie WW scale. This resets the scale with the post on it to zero. I then start winding the yarn and periodically take the entire post off the winder, with yarn still on it, and weigh. The weight shown is only the weight of the yarn. When it hits half the amount of yarn, cut and start the second ball. No rewinding to make sure they are in the same direction.