My current work in progress:

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


New Sock Monday

If it’s Monday, there must be a new sock. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Natures Palette 080607

Natures Palette 080607

Yesterday I pulled out some Nature’s Palette sock yarn that’s been marinating in the stash. This sock yarn is dyed using all natural plant dyes. This skein is one of their Odd Duck colorways — #4. I had bought it directly from the creator of Nature’s Palette, but I see they are no longer doing direct sales. Fortunately, The Loopy Ewe has started carrying this yarn and as of this post has in stock a lot of lovely colorways.

It comes in 50 gram skeins with 185 yards per skein. It’s 100% merino wool, with a nice twist, and it is knitting up very nicely for me at 8 stitches to the inch on 2mm needles. Teddy consented to model the sock-in-progress yesterday afternoon.

Sock Toe 080607

Sock Toe 080607

That’s a tiny cable pattern on the sock, so I’m calling this pattern “Cabletini” — you know — like spaghettini is skinny spaghetti, cabletini is skinny cables?

Here it is on a foot:

Sock in Progress 080607

Sock in Progress 080607

Magic Cast-On

There were a number of interesting comments to my discussion of the magic cast-on from yesterday’s post.

Dave (psst! Go to Dave’s blog to see an excellent discussion of the band heel technique) pointed out that the version of the cast-on that I linked to eliminates the starting slipknot, which was present in the version that appeared in Knitty. I vastly prefer this slipknot-less version.

Rosie commented:

As a relatively newbie sock knitter, I’ve just gotten the hang of the dpns. I’m not so sure I want to move over to circulars just yet (although my LYS has offered several times to help). Is there a way to do your cast on on the two circs and then transfer them to dpns?

Absolutely. You can do the cast-on on two circulars, and work a few rows, then divide the stitches over dpns and go from there. A cautionary note, however. If your gauge on two circulars is vastly different than on dpns, you might not want to do this. My gauge does not differ, so I would not have a problem doing this.

In another comment, Denise described how she does the magic cast-on:

I’ve cast on toes using Judy’s Magic Cast On with one dpn and one end of a circular. I put the circular needle on the top and the dpn on the bottom and cast-on as shown in her directions. Then picked up my dpns to start the work, putting the circular on the bottom, pulling through to the cord and working from the dpn. Wendy is right, the looser tension around the circular cord on bottom makes it MUCH easier to execute the first round stitches. Continue around, working from the dpn and when you get to the circular, work the stitches off from it and onto your dpns. This worked really well for me. I’m not even sure that the two needles were exactly the same size, but they were close enough and worked fine.

Samina commented with this link to a page with a video of the magic cast-on technique in the comments. It’s just over 5 minutes long. (Be forewarned — it shows the technique using the beginning slipknot.)

Liesel summed up nicely my feelings about switching to the magic cast-on:

The reason I wanted an alternative in the first place was that I didn’t like how the short row toe worked with stripes and certain variegated yarns.

I found that I like the Magic Cast-on for a couple of other reasons, too. First, I don’t need anything other than the yarn and needles to get started (w/ a short row toe, I needed waste yarn and a crochet hook). Second, once I’m done with the toe, all I need to do to move on is knit, whereas with the short row toe, once you’re done, you have to stop and undo the waste yarn and maneuver the stitches onto the needle.

In the end, the Magic cast-on simplified things and saved me time, in addition to making the toes of striped socks look better.

Okay, time for a question.

the_crocheter commented:

Aren’t you tired of knitting socks?


Lucy 080607

Lucy 080607


  1. I don’t think you could ever get tired of knitting socks!

  2. Love the cables! I might have to do some cable-y socks in the future ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll have to try the cast-on methods you mentioned for toe-ups because I’ve preferred cuff-down due to the fact that I haven’t liked the cast one methods for toe-ups that I’ve tried thus far. Thanks for the great links and descriptions ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. LOL, I had to look twice to realize that Lucy is draped with both legs dangling on each side. Are her hind legs dangling, as well? My Lorelai loves to drape herself like that on chairbacks. I think she fancies herself off in a jungle somewhere, hanging out in a tree.

    Very nice sock and the name is cute.

  4. I’m glad you aren’t bored yet! I am enjoying watching you try out different yarns. You can get through them faster than I can. Then I can see if you have tried any yarns I haven’t, then get on over to Sheri’s site to see if she has any left!!!

  5. Haha! Lucy is Monorail Cat!

  6. All your recent socks are beautiful, I like all the patterns. And I like your Stonehenge wallpaper, too.

  7. The cabletini socks look wonderful. Knitting socks with cables is another thing to add to my someday list.

    Lucy looks great “hanging & dangling”. I don’t think we’ve ever seen her in this position. My Twyla, likes to hang out on the back of the couch, but she doesn’t dangle. But then Twyla weighs twice as much as Lucy … maybe there’s too much to dangle without falling off:-).

  8. If you ever published a sock book I’d be first in line for it! I sure hope you’re going to publish these socks – I love love love them.

  9. Just wanted to let you know that there is a Bohus KAL. Thanks for the link to my blog from yours! I feel famous now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. My cat lays the same way!

    For those that don’t have the luxury of seeing Nature’s Palette in person, even the “solid” colors have lovely subtle variegation. I’m not a huge fan of solids, but I love the NP because of the very nice shifts in the knitted fabric. Try it, you’ll see! (I bought mine at Purl Soho in NYC.)

  11. Great discussion of the cast-on technique…but what I really wanted to say is that’s a FANTASTIC photo of Lucy ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’m glad you’re not bored with socks! I, on the other hand, had to quit doing socks… small matter of a quarter size patch of skin peeling off my thumb. Painful! I can knit other things, but not little needles or dpns. Snif.

    Do you have a way to avoid those horrible skin-peels, short bandages and re-education?

  13. I love it when Teddy models the sock. What’s his history? A childhood toy, a gfit from a dear friend, a dump rescue? Do tell.

  14. anne marie in philly says:

    steven and meredith think that momma must have given lucy too much catnip.

    they send their meows to their cousin.

  15. Love the new socks and cabletinis.

    You must have a very large sock yarn stash to be able to knit so msny pairs of socks.

  16. Tired… of knitting socks? What does that mean? I cannot comprehend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. I am a brand-new sock knitter.

    Question: What do you do if your pattern isn’t toe-up but you want to knit that way?

  18. Thanks for pointing me to a tutorial.

    I hope you don’t get tired of socks. I love your designs. (I vote for a book of patterns.)

  19. I think that position could be called “doily cat”!!

  20. Socks are good times! ๐Ÿ™‚ Lucy, floppin’ out.

  21. Hmmm, that book of patterns is not a bad idea. So Lucy didn’t have much to say today? Does that pose make her an anti-macassar? or only if she drapes herself on the back of the sofa?
    Don’t we just love Nature’s Palette? Especially Odd Ducks? There is something very nice about how that yarn feels. And again, nice socks.

    Sigh, I’m almost finished with still another pair of socks, but with so many wonderful new yarns in the line-up, I don’t know where to start. I’m paralysed with indecision. If I sent you a list of the possibles, would you just pick one? I’m only half joking here.

  22. While I have yet to knit a sock, I can easily see how you couldn’t get tired of knitting them once you get started. There are so many beautiful yarns and patterns you can use/make up that it would be very hard to get tired of them. Ending up with something so incredibly useful is pure icing on the cake.

  23. technikat says:

    Thank you for the link to Judy’s Magic Cast-on. I did my first pair of socks toe up with a short-row toe. I thought it looked kind of messy.
    I started my second pair of socks today using the magic cast on and really like it. It makes a very neat and smooth toe and is easier as well.

    I’ve been lurking for a while and enjoy your blog. I’m amazed at how much knitting you’re able to do and how beautiful it all is. The photos of Lucy are icing on the cake!

  24. After reading your post yesterday, I finally decided to give the magic cast on a try. You also introduced me to short row toe ups a while ago! Even on a very hot and humid afternoon I did it and finished the magic toe! Now I’m thinking of giving up DPNs for socks and trying two socks on two circulars at the same time, this was really magic. So elegant and rhythmic too.

  25. Judy will now live in inmortality in the Land of Knitting as we all adopt her toe-up cast-on. When will Cookie A write a pattern starting ‘cast on using Judy’s Magic Cast-on’?

  26. Theresa in Italy says:

    The socks just keep getting better and better. I noticed that the video of the magic cast-on had the slip knot, but still found the demonstration fascinating—you get a much better idea watching a moving image than a series of photos, no matter how detailed.

  27. Thanks for the great video link, it’s timely as I’m going to start the ‘Widdershins’ socks tonight and was ready to try it. I will probably take Denise’s advice although I am also curious how it might work going straight to DPNs.

  28. I wanted to pass along my two circular needle experience to those of you who may be thinking of knitting with CP Panda Cotton (love this yarn even though it can be a bit splitty).
    I purchased Knitpick circs, and while wool yarn seems to slip over the needle/cable connection nicely, the panda cotton doesn’t work quite as well: it’s a little sticky and therefore requires you to stop and fiddle to get all the stiches onto the needle. So I went back to dpns for this pair of socks. Just a heads up for any future panda cotton-two circular knitters out there.

    I along with everyone else love ALL the socks you’ve knit, and would be in line with everyone else to purchase the book of sock patterns!

  29. Another option for the magic cast-on — for us DPN hold-outs — is to use more DPNs starting with the first knitted row. Do the normal magic cast-on with only 2 DPNs, but when you knit the first row from the original “needle one,” divide the stitches onto two DPNs (knit the first half onto new DPN 1 and the second half onto new DPN 2). Do the same when you knit (tbl) from the original “needle two” (becoming DPN 3 & 4).

  30. Thanks for the various opinions and many hints on toe-up cast ons. I will have to reconsider my feelings on this subject (I generally do my socks top-down).

    I really need to stop looking at your blog, though. Every new yarn sends me reaching for my credit card….

  31. I look forward to seeing how your Cabletini Nature’s Palette socks turn out – so far, very nice! I have some marinating in my stash too…

    Funny, I was just asked on Sunday by a crocheter if I was tired of knitting socks (keep in mind I was working on a sock at the time) and my answer was also “No.” I politely refrained from saying, “If I was tired of knitting socks, do you think you’d be seeing me working on one right now?” I’m always fascinated by what folks will say when they are trying to make conversation.

  32. Alice in Richmond says:

    The real question is: Have you ever crocheted socks?

    I have. The socks were lumpy.


  33. Oh, I like this pattern! And the color is very very nice. I’m agreeing with the other commenters — I think you need to do a sock pattern book!

  34. Ok I’ll admit it! I miss your lace! I miss your cabled sweaters! But I understand the Summer of socks. Heck, I even entered your guess how many pairs I’ll knit contest. On the other hand, are you accumulating a lot of leftover yarn for the log cabin blanket and will that come out of hibernation once the Summer of Socks is over?

  35. I love the magic cast on. The whole provisional cast on is just too fiddly for me. When I got my sister started on socks, that’s what I showed her. I like it because you knit the toe and then just keep going. No undoing or picking up or anything. Just…zoom!

  36. Wendy tired of socks? Hah! Nevah! I also nevah tire of Lucy pics. Good kitty!

  37. Oh, I absolutely LOVE the cabletinis! I’ve been in some kind of irrational cabled-sock obsession lately, and this is just sweet serendipity. Pretty yarn, too.

  38. What! No wacky name for these socks? Like Duckweed!
    I love the colour & the pattern. Beautiful.
    Lucy is doing her Flying Walender act!

  39. Lovin’ Cabletinis!! They look great!

    Lucy just can’t understand that there can never be too many hand knit socks!!