My current work in progress:

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


Everyone Jump in the Pool!

It’s a pool party!

I was pleased to see so many of you commenting that you like the pooling and flashing that handpainted yarns do sometimes.

Don’t know what pooling and flashing is? Take a look at my “Ingrid’s Blues” socks — good example there in the foot of the socks. I love these socks.

So I started the second sock from the Rockin’ Sock Club. Clicky-poo to see it.

View image

The foot on this is striping in a similar manner to the first sock. I really like how it looks.

In answer to comments questions, at this time the pattern and yarn is available to club members only (and membership is now closed for this year). But I suspect both pattern and yarn might be available at some point in the future, because patterns and yarn from last year’s sock club are now available. Well, I know some of the patterns are. Are the yarns available too?

A couple of you have asked how the garter stitch toe and heel feel while wearing them. That I can’t comment on yet, because I just finished the first sock — I won’t wear them til I have a pair, ya know? I tried the first sock on and it fit nicely, but I did not walk in it.

Needle Question

Jenna asked:
Just out of curiosity from reading through your blog, when you say you don’t use straight needles do you mean completely? Like you haven’t touched them in years and wouldn’t consider knitting anything on them?

In the past ten years, I might have used straight needles twice. I guess that’s as close to never as I’m gonna get, huh? I have a set of 10″ straights in ebony that are very nice — I used them to knit a scarf two or three years ago. Other than that, I pretty much use circulars and dpns for everything.

Cromarty Update

Debi asked in the comments if I thought using a cable needle would help when cabling with my splitty yarn. Possibly, but I think if I were using a cable needle with this I’d be going even slower. ๐Ÿ™‚



Lucy woke up to say hello.


But it wasn’t long before she was all “Geez, would ya turn out the light?”



  1. Your cables look so squishy and beautiful!
    What size are your ebony needles and where did you get them?

  2. Yup. Pooling and flashing is fun. I’ve only tried avoiding it once with all that alternating from 2 skeins thing…was a pain. Anyhow, if hand knit socks from hand painted yarns looked like stuff from the store, what’s the point?? LOL I like when the colors have a mind of their own…

  3. just catching up on the whole pooling/flashing conversation of the last post and i have say i’m glad i’m not the only one who likes the pooling! i thought i was a total weirdo (i probably am, but for entirely different reasons) because you only ever hear people talking about how to stop it and how they hate it. yay for pooling!

    ps – lucy is fantastic. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Lucy has the right idea! Blippin’ time change.

  5. Awww! I love the second shot of Lucy. So cute!

    I’m another that likes the interesting things that handpainted sock yarns do. Besides, they mostly only get seen by me! I love knowing that I have funky socks hiding under my shoes and jeans.

  6. Aha, so that’s what pooling is. I like it!

  7. Oh, the kitty mouth! I so wish I’d joined the sock club now seeing that monsoon colorway.

  8. It’s interesting that the pictures of your sock look like they have blue in them whereas where yours seems to be blue, mine are gray. Camo socks as it were. Neither good nor bad, just interesting variations in variegation.

  9. Isabelle says:

    Going back to your earlier post about dividing your sock yarn evenly, why would it matter to knit from the same direction off the skein? Does it have to do with the twist of the plies or the colors?

    About pooling, I like it in socks (like you, I only have to please myself), but I’m not wild about it in garments – depending on where it occurs, it’s not always a happy thing.

    Give Lucy a scratch behind the ears.

  10. I love how hand-painted yarns pool. Every single sock is different, unique, special, wonderful! And very fun.

    Count me in on the group who only knits with circulars or double pointed needles. I haven’t knit with straight needles for, um, about 13 or 14 years now. All the weight hanging out there on the end of the straight needles makes my carpal tunnel act up, then I can’t knit at all, and that’s no good. Thank heaven for circular needles, that’s all I have to say! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Your socks are striping more horizontally than mine. Leave it to me to have cockeyed striping! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. I read your blog all the time, and I’m coming out of lurking. I recently picked up The Celtic Collection from the library, and I was paging through it and saw something that seemed familiar…Cromarty! It took me awhile to make the connection that the pattern was the same one that I had been reading about in your blog. Anyway, I was wondering if you have made anything else from that book? I picked it up for some colorwork inspiration. There are a lot of beautiful sweaters in there. Your Cromarty is beautiful, too, btw!

  13. Cutest kitten mouth ever!

    Personally, I prefer using straight needles over circulars, but that’s primarily because I have yet to find a circular needle that I can afford that doesn’t have too rigid a cable. Though since I plan to be knitting a lot more lace in the future, especially in the form of shawls, it might be wise for me to invest in a pair of Addi Turbos or something. I hear Addi cables don’t have much memory in them. (Shame that it’ll probably take all the spare money I have for a month just to get a pair, though. :/)

  14. “clicky-poo” eh? Funny!

  15. I think last year, the club yarns were available for purchase 3+ months after the club release. This year, I vaguely remember something in the Sock Club agreement that the patterns/yarn wouldn’t be available for a year.

    Cute chocolate snout! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. anne marie in philly says:

    OMG, what’s THAT in the pool?


    [runs away screaming]

    (it’s only a baby ruth bar)

    heh heh heh ๐Ÿ˜‰

    meredith and steven send their meows to lucy!

  17. Wendy- Since I switched to circulars, many moons ago, I find the straight needles very awkward.

    Why do cats sleep with their heads upside down? Maybe I should try that.

  18. If you’ve not done garter-stitch heels before, you’re in for a treat! I made my first pair of socks that way, mostly because it was my first knitted project and I figured that all the wrapping and turning would be hard enough without adding the dreaded purling to it. I’ve since made socks with stockinette heels, and don’t like them nearly as well. Garter stitch heels will take a day or two of getting used to, but if you stick it out, I think you’ll be a convert — they’re very cushy and supportive, very comfortable. I made myself a pair of socks with a garter heel and toe a year or two back for use as hiking socks, and they’re the only socks in which I never got a blister. I wore them to pieces, darned them several times, and finally gave them up when I realised that I didn’t have any of the original fabric left on the heels. (I should say, here, that they also wear a lot longer than stockinette heels. Daily use for about six weeks garnered me a small and easily darned hole — I cringe to think what stockinette heels would do if worn daily for that long!)

    Er, I suppose that I should end my song of praise, but wanted to encourage anyone who’s thinking about trying a garter stitch heel/toe to do so, because they really do feel fantastic.

  19. That Lucy nose!!! Sweeeeeeeeeeeet.

  20. funny, as I was finishing reading the comments, I just happened to look over at *my* Lucy (my 2 yr old tuxedo sweetie kitty) right as she stretched round …and turned her head upside down to nap!

    What I wouldnt give to knit as fast and as well as you do!

  21. Love pooling. Love fraternal twin socks. I totally embrace whatever happens, and mock my friends who get wound up (heh) over non-matching socks. All of this to explain my extreme amusement when I got this from the first club socks from last year:

    And yes, the club colorways are eventually available to non-club members. It’s exclusive for a while (like a month or two?), then non-club members can buy them. They may not be listed on the web site, but then again, a lot of their colorways aren’t either.

  22. Too bad about the pattern. I don’t have the kind of yarn budget that allows for sock club memberships. I hope that pattern is one that they do put up for sale after a while.

    Love Lucy all passed out. Have you seen Cute Overload today? They have a couple of kittens asleep in little sleeping bags. Think Lucy would go for that?

  23. i had the same thought as liz, my monsoon doesn’t feature the gorgeous blue that yours does (not that i’m complaining, but that blue is awesome and much more monsoony than the camo color i got). i’m just hoping to finish 1 sock in the time it takes you to knit 2! your first sock looks great. i really like the way the colors mix in the leg/cuff

  24. I’m on my 2nd sock of the 2nd pair made from your generic pattern – well, the 2nd pair is with the feather & fan leg. You’ve totally liberated my sock knitting!! I was a member last year of the STR club and only finished one pair (I didn’t join this year). With a sock yarn stash big enough to knit about 50 pair of socks, I was feeling overwhelmed. I finally came to the conclusion that I can’t expect each pair of socks to be a masterpiece of complexity. And since 99.9% of my stash are handpainted I’ve realized there is something exquisite in the simplicity of the beauty of the yarns showing through in a simple stockinette! BTW, on the feather and fan sock…as I was knitting the first one I felt like the leg was going to be too small but was in denial. I was right. I had to frog it all the way back to just at the finish of the heel and switched to 1’s and knit about 8 rows stockinette before starting the pattern. I have high arch and instep. I especially like not having to graft the toe or do the heel flap. Thanks for sharing the patterns and freeing me to knit more socks and think about how I can incorporate other patterns.

  25. i also adore pooling. i think it rocks!

    and lucy is STILL messed up by the time change? poor thing.

  26. Heh, I am beginning to think that Lucy and my little feline princess are in cahoots to make all the humans yearn to sleep like they do – curled in a ball, paw or tail across face, deeply, deeply unconscious.

  27. Is “flashing” different from “pooling”? At one time, I would have gone to great lengths to avoid pooling, but your many beautiful sock photos have changed my mind. Now I think that pooling is usually quite attractive.

  28. Gorgeous cables!
    Sometimes I wish I was a cat… sleeping sounds sooo good right now!

  29. I’m with you on the straight needles. I just knitted a scarf on straights because they were used in an opera I went to and autographed by the mezzo who used them. The scarf is a souvenir for her. I kept dropping them and poking them into the arm of the love seat where I knit. And I had to keep the project in my sock drawer because whenever I put them in a bag Trusty sniffed at them in a very suspicious way. He would have turned them into matchsticks in seconds.

  30. I’ve done a garter stitch short-row heel (didn’t do the toe that way due to the pattern) and after the first time of wearing it, it became comfortable. So far, it seems more durable than the rest of the pattern, but the socks are still young, so we shall see….

  31. Gotta agree again, I have one project on a pair of short straight needles, mainly because I’ll never finish it and didn’t want to move it back and forth, other than that, all circulars.
    The weight of straights and the project out away from my body hurts my hands and wrists. As a potter in real life I have to make sure that knitting doesn’t cause any pain. I’ll have enough from the real job.

  32. It is fascinating to see how differently the same handpainted yarn will knit up in the hands of different knitters. My STR is knitting up in large swooshing pools. So, even though we all may be knitting the “same” sock it turns out to be one (or two) of a kind. I think it must be a combo of both yarn variation and individual knitting style.


  33. I agree that pooling is great and that is why I but the hand painted yarns. The colors and patterns are so much better and more natural looking than the machine made self stripping yarns.

    Also thanks for the hint on the very detailed insructions for toe up socks.

    As always you rock.

  34. Oh, Lucy … I want to scratch your chin.


  35. You are tempting me greatly to knit a new pair of socks. Yet, I gave up starting new knitting projects for Lent in an attempt to reduce the amount of UFOs hovering around here. (It’s not working very well; I haven’t started anything new but my knitting time has decreased exponentially. I just can’t get excited about old things.) Because of you, on Easter Sunday, I will so be knitting socks!

  36. I love your blog and am trying your generic toe up sock. I’ve knitted a lot of socks cuff down, but am new to toe up. I had a lot of trouble knitting and purling the wraps and stitches together. Do you have any suggestions to make it easier?

  37. I totally am with you on circular needles vs straights. My first knitting experience was when I was 12. My aunt taught me how to knit. My first project was a baby blanket made on straight needles. So 3 years ago when I learned to knit after a 30 year hiatus, I found an old pair of straight needles and thought I was good to go. What I found was that they were long and awkward. Of course, the fact that most of my knitting is done on the couch may have to do with my dislike of long straight needles. On the couch, I’m often with my cocker spaniel, Mirabel on one side and toy poodle, Sammy on the other, meanwhile my ragdoll, Twyla perches herself on the back of the couch, so she can head butt me and knead my shoulders. When I realized that circulars could be used for most everything, then I started to enjoy knitting. For sock knitting I use DPN and thoroughly enjoy them.

    I won’t say again how much I love Lucy … I think I’m a Lucy groupie:-)!

  38. Forgot to comment on pooling. I like it. It makes our handknit creations more original.

  39. Oh Wendy, THANK YOU for commenting on pooling! And thanks to everyone else for their comments on it as well! (Mary–free-range pooling–pricesless!) I LOVE to see what the yarn’s going to do. Mostly you hear (read) people complaining about it and it seemed almost scandalous to actually LIKE it and here I am crossing my fingers when I dye/paint my yarn that it will pool gloriously! Funky socks are cool and make me happy.

  40. I have some 7 and 9 inch straights that I use to make scarves aor knit blankets for premies ( because they are so small the short straights work fine but for everything else, it’s circular or dpn or it ain’t gonna happen.

  41. OK…I’ve known what pooling is; is “flashing” just a different name or that describe a particular kind of pooling? (enquiring minds want to know). I’ve sometimes thought about breaking up a pool in formation (especially when my Opal Tiger socks really got into that action while knitting the gusset) but ultimately I resisted. I think it started becoming an addiction to see just how long that color WOULD keep piling on in that spot!

    When Lucy sleeps like that with her head upturned, is she stretched out or curled into a “cat egg”? (I’ve always called it the cat “egg” position when mine do that). Way too cute.

  42. I think it’s so interesting that everyone’s ‘monsoon socks’ are so different. My first sock has large pools of color while the second one is striping. My daughter said I should frog one and try to make them the same. HA! I told her that STR is free range yarn and not meant to be penned up.