My current work in progress:

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


Welcome Back, You Sexy Penguins!

(Can you tell I’ve been watching late-night television?)

We continue to bravely sock on. The heel has been turned on the second Pagoda Lace Sock.

Pagoda Lace Sock 062707

Pagoda Lace Sock 062707

(That’s my hand inside the sock, not a deformed foot.)

The heel is poised to be turned on the second Double Eyelet Sock.

Eyelet Sock 062707

Eyelet Sock 062707

I was unable to knit on this on the commute home because the train was packed and the a/c not working. Hence, it was fifty million degrees on the train. Approximately.

Exciting, no? Well, rather then filling you in on my adventures as I attempt to telephone my shoes (Rabbitch, have you found that area code yet?), let’s address some stuff from the comments.

Kristin asked where she could find the double eyelet stitch pattern.

It’s available in a number of places, but the only one I have at hand fer-shure-right-now is the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year calendar. The double eyelet rib is the pattern for June 14 (but I winkled mine just a tad so it’s a little different).

Several of you asked if it was the KOARC who guessed I’d knit 218 pairs of socks. Nope, his guess was much lower, but still outside the realm of reality, methinks. But you never know.

Some heel questions . . .

Lena asked:

Do you have a sock pattern recommendation for someone with a small foot. Size 5.5-6? All the single socks I have made have ended up with a huge saggy heel and Im not sure how to adjust it so I was thinking to find a kids pattern? I was thinking for something plain.

If a regular gusseted sock makes a saggy heel, try a pattern with a short row heel — it’s not quite as roomy. Anyone else have any ideas?

And Elizabeth asked:

After two tries knitting toe-up socks and making the foot too long before starting the heel (but not realizing this until the heel was KNIT), I’m now wondering if knitting a short row heel and eliminating the gusset would solve my problem. I figured you’d be the best person to ask! Any opinion?

Well, you could start the heel sooner. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes it takes a few tries before you find the exact right length to knit the foot before starting the heel. Or you could do a short-row heel, as it does take up less real estate than a regular gusseted heel.

About That Scaffolding and Those Workers . . .

Nope, I am not taking photos of them. Nope, I haven’t even seen them. The scaffolding is not directly outside the livingroom window, rather it’s in front of the balcony, which is next to the window. The curtains in front of the balcony are firmly closed and I do not wish to expend the effort to actually get up and look.

Besides, Lucy has looked and she says they are nothing special.

I had a notice stuck on my door today that says the work is done on my balcony, so no more scaffolding.

Lucy seems a bit miffed.

Lucy 062707

Lucy 062707


  1. Lucy, your expressions are priceless!! 22 beautiful!

    Yes, I understand the weather back east is hot. It’s kissing 90+ sweltering degrees in Southington CT (where I grew up); so DC can’t be far behind.

    Your socks, as always, are lovely. Can’t wait to see them finished. P.S. I think you might need to speed it up a bit for me to win ๐Ÿ˜‰ luv.m Hope your back is feeling better!

  2. I know what Lucy is going through…i have cicadas landing on my balcony…grrr…the pets have been going wild too.

  3. To make a sock that is not so baggy in the ankle area, try shortening the heel flap. I wear a 5.5 or 6 narrow. I make my heel flaps 2″ and the socks fit me fine.

  4. Deformed foot – that was funny!! I love late night tv & as easily influenced as I am I’m surprised that I don’t own a Gazelle, centrifugal-gear changing bike or anything that Ron Popeil sells!

  5. What is that gorgeous yarn for the first sock? Second sock is also lovely, but the first one has my heart palpitating!

  6. yes, i can tell. have you been watching craig ferguson, perhaps?
    “hello, my naughty little donkeys… sit down, relax, take off your pants, you too, ladies.”

    he is my faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavorite. so cheeky. such a lovely accent. sorry, did you say something about socks? (and my apologies if you were referring to something else and have no idea wtf i’m talking about)

  7. Alice in Richmond says:

    You have a balcony? Do you ever go out there? I think I would. But not today maybe!

  8. Uugh! Its hot here, I can’t imagine that while actually being crammed in with other people! I plan on attempting my first toe-up with gusset this weekend for Hubby with some Duets he picked out from The Loopy Ewe! I plan on using your tutorial. So thanks in advance!

  9. Thanks so much for advice on saggy heeled socks. I am a 6 and have had this problem with every heel flap I’ve knit. I’m going to try substituting the short row.

    By the way, sock knitting is very habit forming. What are the signs of a true addiction?

  10. Hi Wndy, Hi Lucy,
    I have a question and it is one that has probably been asked of you already. Do you ever wear or purchase any “store-bought” socks, or do you just wear the beautiful and wonderful handmade ones for work, running errands, taking a walk, keeping cold feet warm at night, etc.? Just curious about this. I have just begun to sock knit, and I can’t wait to wear a pair!

  11. Cathy in Northern VA says:

    I decrease on every row of the gusset on my socks. My feet are not small–they are fat and flat– but the every-other-row decrease makes a sock that is too loose and floppy around the heel and ankle. I also agree with the shorter heel flap suggestion; a heel flap that forms a square is too deep for my foot.

  12. Annette says:

    Well, I am interested in your needles. What brand are you using? They have a lovely hot pink cable!

  13. Glad you explained the “deforned foot” picture. I looked at it twice trying to figure out the fit before I read the caption. Thanks for the smile.

  14. I have a small foot, women’s size 5 shoe, and don’t have a problem with too-roomy heels. I usually knit top down and usually do a gusset flap heel. I do the flap until I can flip one lower corner to the opposite top and the two lengths are equal – so it’s not so deep. For me on size 0 needles, using 60 stitches for cast on for fingering weight yarn it’s usually around 42 rows for the flap. If the reader who asked the question likes top down socks she might try Lucy Neatby’s book Cool socks warm feet (I think that’s the title) as she gives a generic top down pattern which can be adjusted to the size of any foot. :-). I’m currently knitting one of her older pattern socks, fiesta socks which are very cool (but not in that book).

  15. Hey you guys, take a look on the sidebar entitled ‘2007 Completed Work’ and count the socks!!!!! Since there was a lot of lace and other neat stuff, I think the correct “answer” is right there, staring us in the face! Heh heh. Lucy, you grow more gorgeous by the day!

  16. Hey you sexy penguin – have you read “Between the Bridge and the River”? It’s Craig Ferguson’s latest book – The description sounds VERY Craig F. I think it will be my next book.

  17. Marianne Y says:

    I can’t imagine having to ride an unairconditioned commuter home on a hot summer day! I do hope the windows were open?

    I am working on Monkey socks, using your generic toe-up pattern. It’s a little bit big in the foot. I tried it first on size 2 needles, like the Knitty pattern calls for. I ripped that, and am now using size 1-1/2 Crystal Palace DPN’s. I figure if I go down to size 1’s, the sock will be too small, based on the differences in needle circumferences. The yarn that I’m using is Lorna’s Lace sock yarn, in Tickled Pink colorway. I love that yarn, & it does tolerate ripping out, which I have actually done several times! Since the Monkey socks pattern calls for a multiple of 16 stitches, that doesn’t make it easy to fudge on stitch count. Am I better off living with socks that are biggish, or am I better off ripping it out again & going with 1’s, that will probably be too small? Is Lorna’s Lace Sock yarn stretchy enough that it might make it ok?

    I did not get a chance yesterday to thank you for your suggestions on this project. Thank you! The other pair of socks that I made is with the slip stitch heel. Those came out fine–this will be my first attempt to knit a heel with a gusset. Many thanks for all of your help! Hugs to Lucy!

  18. Wendy- What am I missing by going to bed early? Sexy Penguins- that’s funny.

    Miffed- Lucy does indeed look miffed.

  19. Thanks for the title. It made me chuckle ๐Ÿ™‚ My sympathies about the heat but you sure are funny when over baked.

  20. Lena, I don’t think that the size of your foot makes the heel sloppy-big; it’s probably the depth of your foot. I have flat feet and adjust the heel of a top-down sock in two ways so that it fits properly. I make the heel flap a touch shorter than square and I decrease the gusset more quickly – I decrease two consecutive rows and then do a non-decrease round and continue these three rows for about 2/3 of the gusset, then switch to the standard one decrease and one non-decrease round until gusset is done. I also have narrow feet so continue the gusset until I have fewer stitches for the foot than I had when starting the leg. Something else to keep in mind to snug up the heel is to use a slip-stitch heel flap rather than a stockinette one.

  21. Lena if only the heel is baggy. You might want to try using few stitches when you turn the heel.

    regular heel
    10 stitches left flap, 10 center stitches, 10 stitches right flap

    Narrow heel
    12 stitches left flap, 6 center stitches, 12 stitches right flap

    Another thing you can do is drop down a needle size or two just for the heel. This wont throw off your pattern but still tighten up the heel.


  22. I just recently started reading your column and I keep coming back because (1) I’m amazed at the progress you make on a sock in a day and (2) I absolutely adore the Lucy comments.

    I recently made my first sock (on 4 dpns), a very pretty, way too big sock and while I know what I did wrong, it left me sort of crabby on socks for the moment. (and it won’t ever have a mate, I’m mad at it, story is in the blog if anyone cares) I am fascinated by the toe-up concept though, although I’ve seen it with two at a time on circular needle. It looks like you are working them singly, is that true? If so, that encourages me. I’m a little confused on this two at a time thing.

    Anyway, love the blog and will keep coming back!

  23. Poor Lucy! There goes her entertainment… Guess you’ll have to leave Animal Planet on or something…

  24. My math might be off here, but let me give it a shot: If you are knitting a toe up sock (I’m assuming a short-row toe, but I’m sure you could do it a different way) then the easy way to make sure you don’t knit the body of the sock longer than you want it should be as follows: 1. Knit the toe (short row). Measure what you just knit. 2. Measure your foot. 3. Theoretically, the body of your sock should be: LENGTH OF FOOT- (LENGTH OF SHORT ROW TOE X 2).

    I’m basing that on my experience that short row toes are knit on the same number of stitches as short row heels and should thus be approximately the same length. For the pattern savvey you might want to decrease that measurement a little bit (Negative ease, baby) to avoid saggy spots later on.

  25. 218 pairs of socks? Someone either has the time frame all wrong or some mighty big faith in the speed of your needles. I bet you could do that in a year if you did virtually no other knitting and perhaps a bit of no sleeping.

    Love your new socks. Lucy is so calm for a cat with strangers on the balcony. Mine would go hide until they left.

  26. Did they get that smell out of your office? Hope so. The train today must have been just lovely. Something is strange. Canada is having a heat wave, you are super warm, it is low 80s in Texas and pouring rain. Who turned the world upside down???

    How does it feel to have the world counting every stitch in your socks to see how fast you are going to be?

  27. Okay, nothing special to comment except that I LOVE the title of your post. I promise next time I have a comment, it will actually have a basis to it that somewhat relates to knitting =)

  28. Ha! She does seemed miffed!
    Wendy, I actually DO come here for the knitting, but the Lucy photo gets me every time!

  29. Ah-ha, love that Craig Ferguson! There’s something about a Scottish accent that makes everything funnier …and sexier. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I highly sympathize with Elizabeth. I’ve been knitting socks for over a year now, and I don’t think I’ve gotten the foot length correct the first time on any sock that I’ve knitted. Toe-up, cuff down, it doesn’t matter what pattern. I think it’s a mixture of my never checking row gauge (or patterns never giving row gauge) and my toes being rather claustrophobic. My pinkie toes in particular hate being smushed and the most frequently used sock toes seem designed to do just that. I need to go back to using your short row toe. I like it a lot. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Good morning Lucy … when Wendy gets home from work would you tell her I stopped by to wish you both a good day.


  31. The train I first got on yesterday had a broken AC too! So I switched to another car at the first stop. The AC goes down on individual trains on Metro.

  32. Boston has been so hot too. Like you, I am still knitting socks, and I don’t care if people look at me wondering what I am thinking knitting wool in this heat!
    The socks look gorgeous, Wendy.

    Caroline, the SockPixie

  33. Hi! I have size 5.5 feet w/narrow heels, so I find that heel flaps are usually too big (for some patterns, even the instep is too big!). My rule of thumb for top down socks is to make the heel flap a few rows shorter than directed but keep the heel turn the same. That ususally works for me! The short row toe up heel is perfectly fine for me; I have not yet tried a toe up gusseted…as I usually prefer the top down sock. Also, if the instep is looking too big, either go down a needle size (if possible) or just decrease the sole portion a stitch or two to make the foot a little snugger.

    I had to frog a whole monkey sock because of this! But I am not giving up! Since Monkeys say to use size 2 needles, I just went down to 1.5’s.

  34. I’d be interested to know just how many people asked to see photos of the workmen!

  35. I love the Metro when it’s functioning well…but when ANYTHING goes wrong – yuck. Don’t blame you for not wanting to pull out the sock in that!
    Another gorgeous shot of Miss Lucy! And I’ve put the 365 Knitting Stitches a Year on my wishlist!

  36. They have a double eyelet rib pattern here:

    Just click on the “D” and browse through those pages. They don’t have a picture for it, but since I’m doing the single eyelet rib which is quite similar the stitch pattern looks correct to me. They have stitch patterns for a lot of stuff there!

  37. Ah, so it wasn’t just my imagination-the short row heel is a little snug. I was starting to knit it over more sts and add plain rows and all.
    I got a kick out of your “but you never know” comment. I love hearing you get ambitious :~)
    Your current sock yarn is so pretty. I’m gonna have to make myself a wish list.

  38. Well, if Lucy is miffed because the workers have moved on perhaps there was someone worth looking at?

    Your socks, as always, look great.

    Your back must be better if your back on the commuter train.

    How is that whole stink thing going in your office? It sounded horrible but your way with words, the story cracked me up.

  39. Went to the knittingfool site that Sara listed for the double eyelet rib. OMG the number of patterns listed there! Question for anyone. Would you have to switch the wrong side rows (purl for knit and knit for purl) if you are knitting “in the round” as in four dpns or two circulars? I know that I could actually practice the pattern, but who wants to waste knitting time on practice?

  40. I have a size 8 foot and a wide ball-of-my-foot area, a high instep and a very narrow heel. I also tend to wear through the heel part of my socks first, but I use the toe-up and then narrow it a bit for the foot area, and use an after-thought heel. I can make the heel any depth I want so that it will fit my foot and that I can easily unravel it out and put in a new heel when the original wears out.

  41. Thanks for answering my question! I’m going to try the math formula Courtney came up with and see if it works. I’ve been knitting socks with handspun and (as you can imagine), I want to use every last bit, so I MUST conquer toe-up! Thanks again.

  42. Denise,

    Yes you would change the knits for purls and vice versa, however I do believe you’d also have to flip the order of the wrong side row to make it a right side row (i.e. the end would actually be the beginning and vice versa)
    On my single eyelet rib pattern it didnt’ make a difference but I’m sure it would on others

  43. Another thought for Lena, I first learned to knit socks toe up with both a short row toe (with a provisional cast on) and a short row heel. I liked the toe, but wound up with this weird pointy heel. Since my heels aren’t pointy, this annoyed me.

    So this time, I didn’t make the heel as deep as the toe. (So, if for the toe I wound up with 7 live stitches before picking up wraps, I stopped with 9 stitches before beginning to pick up wraps for the second half of the heel.)

    It worked great, and is shaped much more like my foot. That might help fit your heel better if you want to try a toe up pattern.

  44. The sock is a beauty and thank gawd that’s not your foot! Lucy cracks me up ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Maybe the workers *did* roll themselves in catnip!!

    I love the 365 Stitches thingy (I won’t enbarass myself by admiting I can’t spell the word “calendar” without looking it up.)

    (Except I just did admit it. And had to look it up anyways. Oh crud… the heat is melting my brain!)

    Hopefully you’re all staying cool down that way! Or at least, cool enough to knit!

  46. You had MEN on your BALCONY and you didn’t take photos for your blog?!?! Some of us (i.e. me) have been ‘going without’ for quite some time. Photos of men working on other people’s balconies is all we (i.e. me) have!!

  47. Kevin and I are rabid Craig Ferguson fans. We record the show and then watch them on the weekends. Craig always makes me laugh. We have tickets to see his standup routine in July. We can’t wait!

  48. I read this post last night but somehow missed the Craig Ferguson quote. When he comes on I know I’ve stayed up too late, but then I always watch the whole monologue. Is anyone else upset that they drastically shortened his theme song? Who decided that? Naughty little monkey.

  49. I’m quite slow reading rss feeds, but my size 5 (33/35) foot is happiest in a short row. i’ve tried altering the flap but the short row just works best for me.