My current work in progress:

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


For the Love of Yarn

One morning last week, as I was reading through blogs, I came across this post by Sachi. Scroll down to the last photo in the post. Um . . . yeah.

Upon seeing that photo, the yarnies among you will start to drool and shake uncontrollably. I know I did. I clicked over to Sachi’s new shop, Sachi’s Purls, as fast as my mouse would take me. Luck was with me that day — that handspun yarn was still available!

And now it is mine.

Sachis Purls 071007

Sachis Purls 071007

It is handspun superwash merino sock yarn, in the Rhodochrosite colorway. The skein is 4.3 ounces, 17 wpi, and 396 yards, plenty for a pair of socks. Except I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do anything with this yarn except pet it and admire it. I’ve spun my own sock yarn, but my handspun doesn’t begin to compare with this. This is the most beautifully spun handspun I’ve ever seen. Sachi, you can outspin me with one hand tied behind your back!

Sachis Purls Closeup 071007

Sachis Purls Closeup 071007

I’m sure I’ll break down and knit a lovely pair of socks from it, but for now, I just can’t stop looking at it.

Speaking of socks, the first Asparagus Cables is done.

Asparagus Cable 071007

Asparagus Cable 071007

A close-up of the ribbing at the top:

Asparagus Cable Rib Detail 071007

Asparagus Cable Rib Detail 071007

I started to do a plain k2 p2 ribbing all around, but changed my mind and decided to leave the baby side cables intact all the way up.

Penny T. commented:

I recently asked whether youโ€™ve gone over to gusset heels for good, and you said maybe. One reason I asked involves the look of each kind of heel. IMHO (as they say), the short-row heel is more attractive, and I especially think that your otherwise beautiful asparagus socks would be even more gorgeous with a short-row heel. Have you any thoughts on this issue?

Of course it’s a matter of opinion which heel you think is the prettiest. But in the case of the Asparagus Cables you need a gusseted heel. The gusset adds more room around the heel and instep, and you need that to counteract the lack of stretch of the pattern stitch. I think with a short row heel you would not be able to get these socks on over your heel. Of course you could do a combined short-row and gusset heel.

Tonia asked:

Do you pick patterns that you like out of a stitch dictionary then apply them to your socks or are you making it up on the fly?

Both. ๐Ÿ™‚ I flip through stitch dictionaries for inspiration and sometimes will use a pattern from one. Sometimes I’ll revise one slightly to use. Sometimes I “make up” a pattern stitch from memory.

In the case of Asparagus Cables, I am using a cable/texture stitch I used on a sweater I made about a year ago.

I am writing these patterns up as I go along, but they are being carefully proofread and test-knit before I do anything with them.

Okay, I’m posting early today as I’ll be away from my computer during my usual blog-post time today, And I’ll likely not be posting a blog entry tomorrow. I’ve got something fun planned for tomorrow during blog-post time — a special guest! No time for blogging! But I’ll be back on Thursday.

Lucy sez . . .

Lucy 071007

Lucy 071007

“I wonder who our special guest will be tomorrow evening?”


  1. Oh – I’m first! That yarn is yummy – I’ve started buying sock yarn to make scarves, just because the colors are wonderful (as I can’t knit socks without holes to save my toes!).

    Wonder who the guest will be?

  2. Imagine my surprise at your early entry today!!!!!! You threw us a curve fer sur!

    Here’s hoping you are feeling a LOT better. Am looking forward (as Lucy obviously is) to the “mystery” guest!

    Isn’t fiber wonderful? Just by itself it is a work of art! And what a delight to have it slipping and sliding through one’s fingers!

    Kitty hugs to nurse Lucy, she must be all tuckered out! luv.m.

  3. I just lurve the new yarn, it’s beautiful!

  4. Patricia says:

    Oooh- a lunchtime surprise! I came over to read through the archives and found the new post!

    Yes, yummy yarn! Is it pinker than it looks in the photo? I have a pendant with rhodochrosite (at least I think that’s what it is) and it’s pretty darn pink.

  5. maybe while you are entertaining your mystery guest I shall sneak in and spirit away your new yarn— it is FAB! Beyond drooling! So I’m jealous (in a kind and sweet way of course) of the asparagus sock, of the new yarn and of an exciting guest. Tomorrow during any kind of time, blog or otherwise, I will not be doing anything exciting at all!

  6. Pusherrrrr!

  7. Wow, that yarn is scrumptious. I had to click through, but I have to restrain myself right now. On a related note — your site’s photo feature really is great. When I clicked on the pictures of the yarn the image just screamed at me!

  8. The sock is so pretty!!! I love the fact that you left the baby cable to flow up into the ribbing.

    Thanks for answering my question. I thought that you made some patterns up in your head. They are always so lovely.

    Have a great time with your guest.

  9. That Sachi – she has serious spinning skills. And I don’t think she’s been spinning more than maybe a year. Amazing, no?

  10. Yum. Gorgeous yarn, but those socks are to die for!
    We’ll miss you!

  11. agreed with Patricia–must be our monitors. When I was learning rocks in my grandfather’s collection, I could always do rhodochrosite because it looks like raw (well, very rare) meat. Well-marbled very rare meat. Agreed with all, the yarn is to crave and scheme for.

  12. That is absolutely stunning, handspun sock yarn! I’m going to have to watch her store for more. : )

    I sure hope you are feeling better and have a wonderful time tomorrow!

  13. some yarn is truley just better to look at then to knit with, because it’s just so pretty in its un-knit form. Not to say it doesnt knit up pretty, but it’s just SO pretty not-knit lol! I have some yarn like that ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I love that you kept the little cables in the cuff. So cool.

    Have fun with your guest and try to stay healthy!

  15. If I had a tail like that I too could drape it across one eye and make myself beautiful and mysterious. Since that’s not available, I’d just like to spin such amazing yarn. I also want to play cello like Ma and first base like Youkilis.

  16. Wow, that yarn sure is lovely!

  17. mmmm, Love the asparagus socks. Maybe more than the veggie . . . no nasty side effects.
    That yarn is stunning and I covet it terribly.
    Lucky Lucy, another admirer for her court for the day tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I love the detail on the cuff of the asparagus socks. A little whimsy, to be sure. I’ve resisted toe-up socks for eons (and cabled socks, too), but I may fall down with this pattern.

  19. Lucy looks to be saying, “Only the Shadow knows….”
    Have fun tomorrow! Despite your pesky back (hope it’s feeling a bit better).

  20. i love those socks so much, i might actually be induced to make a pair toe-up! and i see i’m not the only one. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Sachi’s yarn does indeed look yummy! I can’t wait to see what it’ll look like when it’s all knit up!

    And you know, every time I see a blog entry that involves spinning in some way, it makes me very tempted to get out my drop spindle and actually learn how to do it myself. Alas, laziness usually wins that internal debate . . .

  22. You know… You can still look at the yarn, even when it is a sock. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. Congratulations on your most excellent yarn score, Wendy!

    I adore the way you carried the baby cables up to the very top. Even before seeing that detail I was impressed with these handsome socks, but the babies make it. You truly do have a designer’s eye.

  24. I love the Asperagus Cables socks! Looking forward to your posting of it. The baby cables in the ribbing is a nice touch. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    Also, it’s very helpful when you share your designing process. It makes me think about what to do when I’m planning a pair of socks. Thanks!

  25. I really like the way you carried up the baby cables up to the top, too. It makes for a neat little unexpected touch.

    I love Lucy’s blue eyes. Even when just a small bit peeps out, they are electric. And the gorgeous plume of a tail is just right touch.

  26. Wendy- Lovely yarn. What a great find.

    Is KOARC knitting socks now? Do we get to guess how many he’ll have done?

    He’s such a good sport!

  27. Love the asparagus! Is it L-B who’s coming to dinner? Whoever it is, I hope Lucy enjoys it. Have fun and get well.

  28. anne marie in philly says:

    lucy’s auntie l-b, I betcha!

    I would say the KOARC, but …not that he’s not special, mind you, but auntie l-b is about due for a visit, right?

    enjoy, lucy and mommy!

  29. Renee from Louisa, VA says:

    Re: Knit Happens … OK, you got me onto them through your (first) book, but what is happening now? They are sold out of everything and their website is not working. Hard to believe that they wouldn’t be more than viable in this current knitting crazed market.

  30. Beautiful yarn! You scored big there.

    Have fun and enjoy your guest tomorrow. I’m sure Lucy will enjoy the extra petting.

  31. Very pretty sock there, those asparagus!

  32. Wendy, I’m so very glad that you are pleased with your yarn. I hope that it’s every bit as soft and squishy that you expected. That’s the professional side of me speaking.

    The personal side of me is running through the halls screaming, “OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!” I am completely overjoyed that you like your new pretty and I’m blushing from head to toe. I don’t know what to say other than to thank you a million times over.

  33. Hah! I go off and slack on vacation for a few weeks, and you finish *millions* of beautiful socks while acquiring new yarn. Go, you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Wendy,
    your Asparagus is gorgeous. I do love that new yarn you bought. Can’t wait to see what design you use with it.
    hi LIcy! ^.^

  35. I love how your ribbing flows out of the cable pattern. So many designers (sweater esp., but also sock) just slap two patterns together with no thought and there ends up being an odd jog where the two meet up. It’s one of my pet peeves.

  36. I love the baby cables in the ribbing at the top of the sock and how that combines with the pattern. I also think the heel looks stunning! I’m going to have to get that colorway! ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Robyn (Australia) says:

    I love the yarn and pattern you are using for the Asparagus
    socks. They really look good.

  38. You read my mind. I was just thinking that I’d love to see the ribbing on the sock, I scroll down and there it is. Beautiful as always.

  39. I wanted to tell you a funny story about my cat. He is gray 10 month old. He loves yarn. He has been seen running around the house, up and down the stairs with a hank of yarn in his mouth. I was looking for some recently recieved sock yarn. Imagine my surprise when I found a pile of hanks behind the couch…..stored for future use. Oh well, cecilia

  40. I am definitely a short-row heel fan. I much prefer the look to that of a heel flap, plus I’m a toe-up girl. But I have had trouble with socks fitting properly over my high instep. I’m intrigued by this combined short-row and gusset heel of which you speak.

  41. You have compelled me to try knitting socks with two circulars. Heretofore, I was perfectly satisfied to knit with dpns. But all of a sudden I’ve got to try the 16 inchers from KP. Have you gone over to the dark side for good do you think?

    Also, I was trying to finish up some UFOs that were languishing, but your “summer of socks” has inspired me to cast on yet another sock (hopefully a pair), though I am not nearly as fast a knitter as you seem to be. I am showing very poor judgement…..

  42. Wendy in Cambridge says:

    I love the Asparagus socks, especially the ribbing. They are great, and I like the colorway so much that I ordered some of it myself!

    Have a great time with your special guest tonight!

  43. I love Lucy! Especially the silly antics.

    It amazes me how fast you can knit a sock and it’s beautiful! I love the Asparagus cable. And I really like the colors of the Spocks, I didn’t really notice the details until the up-close pictures. (and yes, I’m a few days behind on reading!) I do want to know how to cable without a needle, I saw that mentioned here and in your book and I’m curious. Book mentions a tutorial but I can’t figure out where it is!

  44. I’m a daily reader of your blog. I had to step out of lurkerdom to tell you that I *adore* the Asparagus sock! The cables are so cute, especially the cables in the ribbing at the top – fabulous. I wait with great anticipation for the release of the pattern.

    Thanks for the many hours of reading pleasure your blog has given me ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Theresa in Italy says:

    Well, since I’m a day late and a dollar short (or should that be a euro short?) I’ll just chime in to say I hope you and your guest (and Lucy) had a lovely time, and I, too, really like the look of that baby cable carried up on the cuff of the asparagus sock. Hope you are feeling better!

  46. I drool over most of your socks but so far these asparagus socks are my favorite! Love the color, pattern and name ๐Ÿ˜‰

  47. I love your asparagus socks! Please, please, please post the pattern soon, I have some really cool Lorna’s Laces Ravenwood that would look amazing in that pattern!

    Have a great time tonight, and remember to kiss Ms Lucy on her cute little nose before you leave for the evening, lest you get the dreaded “cat talk” when you get back home.

    Glad you are feeling a bit better (or at least I hope you are), but will continue to keep you on my healing list for good health juju.

  48. Love the new yarn and the asparagus cables. I’d love to see the pattern once you have it pulled together.

  49. I love your socks! The first pair I ever knit was from your generic toe-up pattern in your book – you inspired me to try it.

    I tend to do short row heels mostly because I know where to start them (on my foot at least) but I have avoided doing gusset heels on toe-ups because I can’t figure out how to measure where to start them. Do you have any good ways to tell others how to determine where the starting point is for the gusset?

  50. Your Sachi’s Purls yarn made me drool! And reminded me of these other dyer/spinners that are still running a pretty small and not very well-know business, but wonderful all the same. Amazing two-plys, not to mention everything else. Enjoy!