My current work in progress:

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


Let the Games Begin!

Welcome to summer. Well, summer where I am, anyway. It is now officially the Summer of Socks.

(Insert trumpet fanfare here.)

True to my word, I did not cast on for my first sock until approximately 5:10am today. And here is that first sock:

Sock 062107

Sock 062107

The yarn is hand painted 50/50 silk/merino blend from All Things Heather, in the “Passion” colorway, purchased from The Loopy Ewe. When I checked earlier today, there was still a nice assortment of colors available in this yarn. I advise you to go buy it immediately if it is still there. It is fabulous!

Although it is described as light sportweight, I am knitting it on US 0 (2mm) needles and getting my usual 8 stitches and 12 rows to the inch. And it looks fabulous, too.

Look at that toe.

Toe 062107

Toe 062107

Do you know what that is? That’s Judy’s Magic Cast-on for Toe-Up Socks. I was practicing it last week when I wasn’t knitting socks.

I used the Turkish Cast-on for my last couple of pairs of socks, but wasn’t happy with it. No matter how carefully I did it, I always had loose stitches at the toe that I had to go back and tighten up by inserting the tip of a dpn in each stitch and winkling the yarn tighter. So I got out some sportweight yarn and 2 circular needles and practiced the Magic Cast-on, and found I am far more successful with it. While you can do the cast-on with dpns, I find it much easier to execute on circulars.

So . . . do you like this stitch pattern?

Eyelet 062107

Eyelet 062107

It’s a double eyelet rib, and I am liking very much how it looks in this yarn.

As soon as I post this blog entry, I will be working on my at-home sock. You’ll be able to see my progress on that in Sunday’s post. I started it:

Another Toe 062107

Another Toe 062107

Sock Contest

Don’t forget — you must have your guesses in to me by Sunday at noon eastern time. See yesterday’s entry for information on the contest.

So far 478 of you have submitted guesses!

Because I truly have no idea how many pairs of socks I will churn out during the Summer of Socks, I too have made a guess. I told it to L-B so I can’t cheat and change it later. If I guessed right, I’m going to award myself a prize too. Oh, and L-B will win a prize too, as the Keeper of Wendy’s Guess. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The KOARC submitted a guess that shows a touching if somewhat unrealistic level of faith in my ability as a knitter. But he specified that he’s not entering the contest.

Oh, and there will be no book giveaway this week, as I don’t want to get the contest emails mixed up with book giveaway emails. The book giveaway will return next week.

Lucy Sez

Lucy 062107

Lucy 062107

I’m making a guess — do I get a prize too?


  1. Ho Ho !! I might the first WendyFan to congratulate you on your choice of colors AND the pattern. You mean that ain’t the hard one? I’m impressed. Gorgeous yarn, absolutely fabulous. Looks 2 2 2 2 2 silky – like the lovely Lucy’s face!

    I confess I have been jumping from your site to work stuff just to see the first sock. I wasn’t disappointed.

    Will enter the contest tonight once I am home. Enjoy your knitting weekend! luv.m.

  2. Ok, Wendy, love that stitch pattern I’d like to try it for one of my Summer of Socks socks. Is it in anyone’s stitconary or is it yours?

  3. Wendy in Cambridge says:

    Your sock is beautiful–love the colorway and the stitch pattern! Did you design this sock, Wendy?

    I hope you give Lucy lots of prizes!

  4. The sock looks lovely. And Lucy should be allowed to guess. Of course you might have to bribe her so that she will keep quiet. I think she wants her belly rubbed.

  5. I love your win-win guessing contest rules with L-B! Michelle ( and I just had a good-natured bet and it was one of those win-win types, too. =)

    And the Passion socks (pattern and sock yarn) are fantastic!

  6. Wow, it looks like you are off to a great (and gorgeous) start!

  7. Hey, love both your socks and that cast-on is just magic. I’m going to practice it too.

  8. The color and the stitch pattern is great. A winner all around.

    As is Lucy- she deserves a special prize.

    Off to check what that cast-on is all about………………

  9. Love the socks in progress and that magic cast on method is my favorite.
    Did it once and was hooked from then on.

  10. Those purple socks look great. I’ll have to try that yarn…I’ve used the All Things Heather merino/tencel blend, and it was awesome. And the colorway of the other secret pair of socks looks gorgeous, I can’t wait to see more.

  11. Wendy………You will be unbeatable. I’m intimidated just reading your posts. I think I must abandon the sock I started prior to June 21 and begin anew. Good Luck…but I do not think you will need it!!!

  12. I have it on good authority that Lucy cheats! She has counted your stash and should you start to go over her guess, she’s going to steal the rest of it. She gets a prize anyway, doesn’t she?

    Love the new socks. They will be gorgeous.

  13. Oh, I’ve been using Judy’s cast-on with great and constant success. Cat Bordhi taught it at Sock Camp and she was hilarious. Once you’ve seen her demo, you will never be able to do it without laughing.

  14. I should have estimated higher – you’ve gotten more done in one day than I can in a week! I’d love to see a video of you knitting so we can see how fast you go!

  15. I love the sock pattern! Please share when you get the chance.

    If possible, could you report on the range of sock pair guesses after all guesses are tabulated? I’m just curious about where I fall in the continuum.

  16. NICE TOES!
    Why, yes, Lucy, of course I meant you!

    (Shhh — socks, I like your toes too!)

    My variation of the Magic Cast on idea is that I cast on to one needle tip and one circular needle CABLE instead of two needles — a la Cat Bordhi, I believe. This lessens the looseness. (How alliterative!) Although, as I look at it better, I guess what I do is more like the provisional cast-on with waste yarn (what Meg Swansen calls the ‘twisty-wrap’ ) except using a second circular needle (cable) instead of the waste yarn. With that method, you just need the one needle tip instead of two to cast on, so you CAN use the cable instead of the needle.

    I suppose you could use a smaller needle for needle #2 in the Magic Cast-On at the beginning if looseness were a problem. (Wendy, you’d have to go to 000s, though!)

    For two circ knitters like me, with the way I do it, after casting on it’s all set to go with no extra steps to pick anything up, but even for DPNers, it’s easy to knit onto the DPs after being set up with the first few rows.

    I hope any of that made sense, I’m confusing myself so I’m a little pessimistic.

    Socks are looking good, though — now to enter the contest!

  17. Alice in Richmond says:

    “…winkling the yarn tighter”? I like that.

  18. You’ve certainly hit the ground running!!

  19. I used ATH for a pr of socks. It’s in the ugliest colorway: ugly greens, browns, etc. Kind of like a forest floor. But when it came together as a sock, it was lovely. Isn’t it amazing how a pretty sock pattern can change the way the wool looks? And ATH is so pleasant to work on.

  20. The “commuting” sock is beautiful. I’ll have to give that magic cast-on a try.

  21. Um… what was the number you told me? (just kidding!)

  22. Maureen says:

    Well, I clearly didn’t guess high enough, based on your less-than-one-day’s progress. However, I’m banking on your being easily distracted later in the game, when you’ve gotten bored with socks, socks, socks.

    When does the fall Interweave Knits come out??

  23. Love the colors of the at home sock – I will be looking forward to a better look at it!

  24. Yes, that stitch pattern is lovely. It looks fantastic with the yarn you are using. And may I just say that after seeing how far you got on your first sock IN ONE DAY I am seriously embarassed by my guess in your contest. Em-bar-assed. Oh, well, it will still be fun to see how it all proceeds!

  25. I do love the Passion colourway and the rib pattern. Very nice.

    IWendy, I aimed rather high for my guess on the # of socks you’ll knit. I think it works out to 1 pr every 2 days, so I hope you are not planning on working, eating or sleeping until Sept. 22nd :))).

  26. The pattern is exquisite……do share……..and perhaps a prize for the highest number of socks!!

  27. There’s a 5:10 AM? Did you get up that early on purpose, or could you just not wait until sunrise to start the socks?

  28. The sock looks great. Yeah I do like that pattern. It looks really fun.

    Lucy, I think you should win something just for looking cute. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. Hey I picked that stitch pattern today too for a pair of socks, Great minds think alike! For commenter Chris who wants to know where to find it, I found it In the knitting pattern a day calendar–its June 14. I’m sure its in all the major stitch dictionaries.

    In the round its a simple 4 row repeat.
    Over 7 stitches p2, k5 for rows 1,2 and 4
    on row 3 you p2, k2tog, yo, k1, you, ssk

  30. I just learned Judy’s toe cast on myself, and I can’t stop staring at the inside of the toes on my socks. I keep showing them to my husband and saying, Look, you can’t tell which row is first……
    It really is magic!

  31. OH MY. THAT color is gorgeous. And I, too, would love that stitch pattern.
    (of course, I may never knit another sock as long as I live…the sewing machine is hummming!!!???!!! Thank you, again!)
    Sweet Lucy, can you be bribed? How many socks do YOU think your momma’s gonna knit?

  32. Theresa in Italy says:

    I’m glad I haven’t entered the contest yet; I’m still crunching the numbers….

    Love the colors of both socks, and that stitch pattern looks really nice.

  33. I absolutely love the double eyelet rib and would love to know where to find it!

    I came across this link for a video of the Magic Cast – On . Very helpful for those of use that need visual aids! Thought you might like to see it too.
    I love the First sock!
    I just ordered from Loopy Ewe for the first time & I’m very impressed. I also sent a photo to the Vacation photo gallery of the Va Tech sew-in at Blacksburg. What a fantastic day it was! Gina at Mosaic did a wonderful job of bringing it all together.

  35. The magic cast on is my alltime favorite with toe up socks. I like it with DP, since that’s the way I knit my socks. I wish you luck to reach your goal! ;o)

  36. Melanie says:

    While I like the magic cast on, I don’t like the little bump that I get from the remnants of the slip knot. Have you figured out a way to either avoid the bump or use the magic cast on without a slip knot?

  37. How ever many pairs of socks come off your needles, they’re all going to be beautiful. I look forward to them all! Maybe Lucy should get a knitted mouse for counting the complete socks :=) Since it’s Summer of socks, I’m starting a pair of my own in semi-solitude.

  38. What a gorgeous colorway!!

  39. Question: I have always wanted to try toe up socks, but I am never happy with my increases since M1 often leaves a visable hole. What techinique do you use for increases?

  40. Hey Wendy,

    I am another magic cast on fan, and have used it for things other than socks, too. I had a pattern for a rectangular placemat that started in the center, and it called for eventually sewing a seam in the middle. Instead, I cast on using the magic cast on, fudging a corner stitch on each side to start the short ends of the rectangle. The center looks SO much better, and no grafting was involved.

    My sock is one of the new Wendy socks, the gusset heel version. It was fun to do that heel!

    For Babs. You need to knit into the back, or twist, the stitch you pick up in a M1 to avoid holes. My gusset heels look very nice thanks to doing this.

    I also like to to slanted increases in spots where they are appropriate. You go into the side of a stitch in the previous row, and the new stitch “grows” out of that one. So far for most toe-up socks, though, M1 seems fine.

  41. Wendy, I have a few knitting books that Idon’t think I’ll ever use, and was wondering if you’d like to give them away as prizes for one of your contests. I havebeen a loyal lurker on your site for about 6 years, and am constantly surprised by your generousity — both in information and material and in contest prizes. You are truly an inspiration (although I haven’y caught the sock fever).

    Anyway, back to the point — I am getting rid of:
    – Alice Starmore — The Celtic Collection
    – Alice Starmore — Fishermen’s Sweaters
    – Jaeger Hand Knits — Magazine #4 (16 patterns)
    – Debbie Bliss — cotton denim aran (12 patterns)

    I would love to pass these along to other knitters, but nobody in my group is interested….

    Let me know if you have any interest in these books, or if you would like them as contest prizes.

    my utmost respect and regards,
    Joanne Fogarty

  42. Beautiful pattern and yarn, as always!!! I absolutely love visiting your blog every day. You are such an inspiration. In fact, I just cast on one of your sock patterns this past weekend!

    This leads me to a question. Is that the Turkish cast-on you use in the most recent sock patterns you have offered for free? Boy, after not knitting on double points for a very long time, I was all thumbs! But, I succeeded and am now happily knitting around and around. It is kind of like riding a bike. I see many socks in my future!

    Thank you for sharing your world with us, Wendy. You just don’t know how much it is appreciated!!!!

    P.S. Our kitties adore Lucy as do I!

  43. Wouldn’t it be ironic tho if the KORC was actually right? ๐Ÿ™‚ I dunno what number he picked, but it can’t be too far off considering your normal knitting speed.

  44. I went over to the KOARC’s site to see if he had posted his guess. I’m very grateful for the link to the Chipotle nutrition calculator that I found on his site!! I’m a Chipotle fan, and that info is going to help me in choosing burrito ingredients and improving my follow-through rate on my resolution to save half of my Chipotle burritos for another meal! I’ll be selecting the Burrito Bol more often now as well! Thank you, KOARC!

  45. Wow. Both socks look gorgeous. I’m impressed with how much is finished on both of them already. I know my number will be low. And so early in the morning to boot! I had trouble standing upright when I got up at 7.

  46. That pattern is great! Summer of socks, huh? Too cool. I may have to try that cast-on – all the others I’ve tried have left me with holes in the toes, but then, I’m not a good sock knitter. I do much better with sweaters – maybe I should make my summer the summer of sweaters?

  47. I can’t seem to log onto your Summer of Socks site to guess how many pairs of socks you will knit. Will you take a number in a comment? I will not post my guess in the comment section until you say it’s OK.

  48. Marianne Y says:

    I love your stitch pattern in your new socks! It’s gorgeous! I would like to know how to do it, so that I might be able to use it in my next pair of socks.

    Wendy, do you know if a pattern exists for toe-up monkey socks? That’s the other one that I might use for my next pair, if I could find a pattern.

    I really love your new web site. The one thing that I wish it would do is hold our name & email address for us, like your old web site did. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Many thanks for all of your help! Have a great weekend!

  49. And you’re off and running! Hee. Gorgeous first pair you’re making with that Passion. I DO like the stitch very much.

  50. Mmm, I love double eyelet rib! It’s one of the few patterns that I’ve knit repeatedly, fun to knit and strong enough not to get lost in busy yarn.

    Since we’re talking about ways to start a toe-up sock, I thought I’d ask — does anyone else double-knit them on two needles? This has become my favorite way to do them, especially when I’m starting them in public and don’t want to be doing something insanely fiddly. If you use the Italian tubular cast-on, it doesn’t take any waste yarn or anything.

    I expect Wendy’s probably familiar with the technique, but if anybody else isn’t and wants to try it, there’s a tutorial here:
    However, I’ll note that since writing that, I’ve decided that doing it with a purl-faced fabric (do the slip stitches with the yarn still in back, not in front, otherwise the same — and just turn it right side out once you separate the two faces) is superior; it’s faster because you’re not moving the yarn, and it also gives a fabric that’s approximately the same gauge as knitting in the round on the same needles, whereas the knit-faced version tends to run a tad loose.

  51. Oh, that first sock is already gorgeous! Love the yarn.

  52. I probably guessed too low… very pretty sock in progress (probably done by now).

    So – what was the lowest guess, and what was the highest?