My current work in progress:

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


Arrrrgh! Thems That Knit, They’re the Lucky Ones!

Yes, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day.

But that’s enough of that.

I finished the first Hearts for Heidi sock on the train this morning. Behold:

Hearts for Heidi Sock 091907

Hearts for Heidi Sock 091907

Once again, it looks much better on a foot.

Sock on foot 091907

Sock on foot 091907

Or on a laptop!

Sock on Laptop 091907

Sock on Laptop 091907

I made the leg of this sock longer than I usually do. The Fiesta Boomerang is wicked-high yardage, so I just kept knitting.

Here is the lowly start of the second sock.

Sock Toe 091907

Sock Toe 091907

But I’m pretty sure I’ll have it complete by the Summer of Socks deadline, particualrly since I am off from work Thursday and Friday. It’s medical leave, but still — plenty of knitting time.

Several of you have asked if I had been at “full strength” (meaning in normal health) this summer, how many more pairs of socks do I think I’d have completed. I think I’d have completed fewer pairs of socks.

I’ve taken more sick leave this summer than I have my entire career up to this point. There have been many times when knitting a sock was the most strenuous thing I could imagine doing. Had I been feeling what passes for normal, there would likely have been less sock knitting, more of other stuff. I keep telling y’all — I really don’t knit terribly fast. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another Options Question

Willi asked:

In my Options set I do have trouble with the giant needles staying sturdy on cables, why don’t you? Is there some sort of tightening trick (even with the key) that I need to know about?

Actually, I haven’t used any of the Options “giant needles” — I’ve only used the smaller ones. Anyone have any thoughts on the larger needles staying attached to the cable?

Speaking of Options, I think I’ll order the Harmony wood set, now that I know I’m happy with the small circulars I got.

Lucy Sezย 

Lucy 091907

Lucy 091907

“Avast, mateys! What’s a pirate and why am I talking funny? Arrgggh!”


  1. Gorgeous sock!!! Another beautiful blend of yarn and pattern. I hope all goes well with your medical leave, I will be thinking about you.

  2. Lucy’s so much of a pirate, she doesn’t even need an eyepatch to prove it. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Debra in SF Bay Area says:

    I used size 8 in the Options set for a shawl and my problem wasn’t keeping them together, it was getting the needles off the cable when I was done. I ended up wrapping the jaws of a pair of pliers with electrical tape and carefully holding the needle while using the tool to unscrew the cable. Worked without a dent, but one has to be Careful.

  4. The sock is beautiful. What a loving tribute to Heidi. I still need to knit the Kilamanjaro Cat Shawl for my Elsie Boy tribute. I have the KnitPicks Options set plus the additional larger needles. I use them almost exclusively (except for when I need to use 16″ or wood needles). Only once has a join come apart while I was knitting and I feel it was my fault for not tightening the connection enough. Always use the little pin provided, because hand tightening is not enough. Wendy, I am glad you like the Harmony needles as I have the set on order! I hope you can get lots of knitting done during your medical leave and you feel better.

  5. I’m in love with your choices for this sock. Color and pattern work so well together. I think this yarn goes on my wish list. I have 2 granddaughters who would like socks and slippers from grandma.

  6. Lucy, did you see this:
    Don’t worry, Momma won’t make it for you.

    At work today, someone said (in all seriousness, at a serious meeting) that something was “not really binding, more of a guideline” and I couldn’t help but think of the line from “Pirates of the Caribbean”: “the Code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules” and wonder if the speaker knew it was “Talk Like A Pirate” Day. Somehow I suspect not.

    My sock estimate (optimistic, but only slightly) was based on falling off the sock-only wagon (not that you were swearing to be monogamous to socks or anything!), because you most often have a sock and a something going at the same time. Funny how we go through knitting phases. (Socks are easy to take to the doctor’s office, and at your level of experience, easy to knit even on drugs. Not easy to design on drugs, however, I’d think!)

  7. My Harmony set came Monday, and so far I love them!

  8. “I keep telling yโ€™all โ€” I really donโ€™t knit terribly fast. :-)”

    Well, I sure wish I had half your speed! I would be very happy with that :-/

    And I know I sound like a broken record, but I LOVE THE NEW SOCK!!

  9. I have only had problems with the Options needles unscrewing when I didn’t quite tighten them up enough when I first started using them. Now, I sort of gently push the little wire a few times while holding the needle tip. I haven’t had any problems getting them to tighten or loosen since then. I ordered my Harmony set today! Horray!!! The Hearts for Heidi socks are lovely. I want to definately get this pattern and knit some up as memory socks for friends who have lost their beloved pets.

  10. Dear Wendy,
    As usual your knitted things are awesome.
    Do you like your harmony wood needles
    for lace knitting? Are the points sharp?
    I am thinking of getting some sinular
    harmony circular needles.

  11. I’ve no talent for pirate talk, so today is my Talk Like Wendy Day:
    I am gobsmacked by Hearts for Heidi!
    Makes me think of all the good hearts who have commented here this past week.

  12. yo – wendelah – I also have the entire harmony set – ask me about how I’m trying really really hard NOT to be dizzy while knitting with them –

    hope you’re decent,

  13. Belay that cuteness, Lucy! Yer makin me think un-piratey thoughts about kitty toes!

    Hearts for Heidi is a beautiful sock! Such a lovely pepperminty color, too. (“Pepperminty” is a real piratey word.)

  14. The sock is looking great! I have a question about your sock designs though. Do you make them up as you go, or have a predetermined basic pattern that you go by? If it’s the former, how do you go about writing the pattern/chart for the socks in order to sell them? Do you just remember what you did and write it down by memory?

    I’m curious! ๐Ÿ˜€

  15. I really like the side detail on your heart socks. It adds quite a lovely finishing touch. I have learned a lot of knitting from your blog, thank you.

  16. The only reason I don’t cut my wrists over your fast knitting is that I accept that I have no commute time.

    I love you and your socks.

    How many do you have know??

  17. I love all of those socks. I can’t wait until I get a chance to order all of them in one batch from the Loopy Ewe. I guess I’ll get a chance sooner or later (she pouts).

    I know you don’t want to talk about it but , I hope you feel better soon. If you need to (and can) don’t forget to pay your retirement when you go back to work. You wouldn’t want to stay one moment longer than you decide to.

  18. Avast Lucy, argh! Your Cafepress order arrived today. Har har har!!! And smooch, smooch, smooch, you cutie!

  19. I used my Harmony circulars and dpns for the first time today and love them. The join and the cord are both very nice, and they’re so pretty!

  20. You are so intense with the finishing a sock within days. The Heidi sock is so pretty! I love the pink, and I’m not big on pink. Very lovely. Yarr.

  21. My Options tips occasionally need to be tightened down. I notice this seems to happen NOT when I’m knitting in the round, but when I’m using the circs and knitting back and forth so….I suspect that when I flip things around, I must give just enough of a little twist that over time I need to tighten a bit.

    I use an old rubber jar opener “thingie” (it’s just a flat piece of rubber that gives you some grip on a jar surface) to help hand tighten or loosen the needle tips. I use the little tightener provided by Knitpicks, but using the bit of rubber (I suspect a rubber kitchen glove would give the same effect) just helps me hand tighten a bit more.

  22. I have full confidence that you’ll be back to your usual self tomorrow, Lucy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m soon to join you in the happy world of taking more medical leave than I ever have before…

  23. The Options needles, the Denise Set and the Boyle set all have cables that can come undone depending on the way you knit. I have found that I personally cannot use the Boyles even though many people swear by them(I had serious problems knitting a round afghan with 1,000’s of stitches and the needles kept unscrewing. I eventually resorted to superglue). I have only had a Denise needle come apart once and have used them a lot. So far so good with the KnitPicks set but I am convinced it has to be the way you hold & move the needles that unlocks them. The best advice is to test drive them to see if they work for you.

  24. Now THAT sock pattern I’ve gotta get (right off) as soon as you have it ready – as a heart attack/by-pass survivor, I suddenly (7 years ago) became a collector of all things “heart!” Hmm…I wonder why? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Those socks are just perfect! Good luck with the medical stuff, Wendy…I’ll be sending good thoughts your way, along with…

  25. aye, lucy, pirate talk is makin’ me crazy as well!

  26. Lucy, for you of all cats, shouldn’t that be “Arrrrgh-yles!”

  27. Hi Wendy,
    I love those socks!! I have a question tonight. Do you ever break your size 0 and size 1 wooden needles? I don’t do too bad on bamboo but I snap wooden ones like tooth picks.

  28. My mom ordered a set of Knitpick’s Options needles for my Christmas gift last year. I love them. When my mom placed the order the Knitpick’s person on the phone told her they occasionally have had someone report a problem. So she told my mom that if I have any trouble with any of the cables or the needles to call Knitpicks. I haven’t had problems myself. But if anyone does have trouble with some of the needle/cable staying locked I would recommend calling Knitpicks and seeing what their customer service can do for you.

  29. I always miss Talk Like A Pirate Day… The best I can do at this point is Text-Message Like A Pirate.

  30. as a grand finale to the summer of socks, can we get a group photo of all the socks together? like at the last day of summer camp before everyone goes home!

    it would make me feel much better about guessing 18. =)

    there is a partial ball of the ShiBui in the background of one of these photos and it made me wonder if you had enough yarn left from the ends of the skeins to knit a pair of summer of socks “tribute” socks out of the remainders. they would be strange but awesome.

  31. For the Options needles, I use a rubber band or a small flat rubber disk to hold the needle portion steady while I tighten the shank. Since I have a lot of arthritis, and little strength, in my hands, the “tools” help a lot. The nice thing about rubber bands is that they are small and fit in the case, unlike a big jar opener thingy or a rubber glove or some such.
    Just my two cents’ worth. And the Heidi socks are going to be very special!

  32. Hey, I’m new around here, and I was just admiring the heel on that beautiful sock. I recently bought a sock pattern book (Tongue River Farm Socks – so that I could try knitting the cuff-down version of the same heel, and I’m having trouble following the instructions. I realise that you increase for the gusset, but then I’m confused as to how to do the short rows to turn the heel. Do you do a wrap & turn, and then when you come to it again, do a kind of funky K2tog including the wrap? If you have time/inclination to set out a few tips, I’d be really grateful, but I realise this is your own design and that maybe you’d rather not.


  33. Arrr, they be mighty fine lookin’ socks lassie – loverly colour!

  34. I’ve used the bigger sizes of the options for several projects now and have never had them come off. My co-worker however has a problem with them, but it turns out, it’s the way she knits. She does much more twisting with her wrist than I do, so she has to periodically tighten the needles with any size that she uses. I even gave her two of my needles and a cord and tightened them for her just the way I do for myself and she still had to tighten them. They’re wonderful needles, but sometimes they just don’t work perfectly for everyone (thankfully, they do for me!)

  35. Oops. Missed Talk like a Pirate Day again. Damn.

    The socks are beautiful and you do knit quickly although you are right, being home during the day instead of at work gives you more time to knit. I do hope your back heals well and quickly so you can do more.

  36. Is there a non-sock something that you cannot wait to cast-on? Only 1 day to go.

  37. I absolutely love that sock! I’m totally enjoying watching all the lovely patterns you’ve been creating this summer. I hope you feel better.

  38. I have to tell you, I don’t have time to comment very much because I am SO BUSY at work summer – fall, but your blog is helping me get through these times because I get to take little breaks – and I’ve been watching your sock progress VERY CLOSELY because I guessed 19!!!! It’s seriously something I look forward to every day, and I just wanted you to know!

  39. I didn’t see it mentioned but is the Hearts for Heidi pattern one you will be sending to LoopyEwe?
    It is so beautiful! (and a lovely tribute too)

  40. Wendy, your Heart socks are gorgeous and I love the motivation for the pattern. We’re cat people and when we lost our first cat it some ways it felt like losing a child – Rocky was definitely our baby.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you this week.

  41. I love those socks. I covet them. Gorgeous.

    I have the problem with the needles coming unscrewed on my options, one reason I still love my denise needles so much-I hardly EVER have problems with them. It seems like no matter how much I tighten them all the moving around still makes them come unscrewed eventually. I don’t mind it that much, though. I catch it before it becomes a problem.

    I just mostly find the metal needles too heavy, so I’m thinking I’ll get them together, sell them to someone, and trade them in for the wooden.

  42. I love these socks!! Actually, I love all your socks. Sigh.. so many socks, so little time!
    I went to the Loopy Ewe, but could only find Crotalus sock patterns available. Am I missing where to look for the other patterns??

  43. dee near Berkeley says:

    I have never had any problems with the Options set, whereas I had *horrible* problems with a Boye set I borrowed years ago. I use the key and a piece of that rubbery mesh stuff that’s used for shelf lining and for small rugs as a non-skid rug mat. I hold the needle tip with the rubbery stuff and the key with my other hand. I have a good grip and it stays screwed in. It’s good, since my hand strength has gone the way of my memory.

    Hope this helps.


  44. I’ve used the 4.5mm needles with no problem,but am now on the 5.5 where I’ve had to use the key supplied. This has worked a treat but I’m now concerned about undoing the cable when I’m finished!

  45. That is a gorgeous Lucy pic. And what will you be starting once the summer of socks is over?

  46. Barbara McCall says:

    I love the creativity of your socks. You inspire me! What heel did you use on your current sock? I’d like to try it.

  47. chickwhoknits says:

    Barbara, I read that Wendy always uses a short-row heel.

    This is off the topic, but does anyone know why kid mohair is so expensive?? I have found a pattern for a truly beautiful sweater with an English flag design on the front, but after looking for the GGH Kid Mohair the pattern calls for, I realized it would set me back about $120. Anybody have a good substitution?

    P.S. That’s a really good shot of Lucy.

  48. I find that if I don’t use the Key on the larger Option needles they unscrew themselves. Just that extra second of sliding the key into the hold tightens it up more and then like magic it doesn’t come undone.

    How many sets of sock needles do you have?

  49. Ahoy mateys! Shiver me timbers that’s a fine pair of coverings for me peg leg. An old sea dog like me could do with a new patch for me eye – any patterns for those? Aaarrrrr!