My current work in progress:

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


Happy October

Wow, it’s hard to believe that it is October already, huh? September just whizzed by (thankfully).

Here’s the latest sock:

On Hold Socks 100107

On Hold Socks 100107

This is knit from Shibuiknits sock yarn. The color is #3115. I’m calling this pattern “On Hold Socks.” Why? Because I doodled up the design while I was waiting on hold on the telephone.

I just love to multi-task.

Mystery Fibers

Here is this week’s installment of mystery fibers from Miss Clara.

Mystery Fibers 100107

Mystery Fibers 100107

What do they look like to you?

(At the end of the game, all fibers will be revealed, fear not!)

Earth Shoes!

Yes, I am a fan of the Earth shoes. The negative heel does take a little bit of getting used to, but I’ve been wearing Earth shoes exclusively since last spring. The ones pictured yesterday are the “Dharma” style, which I also have in black. I have the “Allure” style to wear to work. In a couple of different colors.

Earth Shoes 100107

Earth Shoes 100107

Can you tell I like ’em? For someone who is having back issues and has difficulty walking, I highly recommend the Earth Allure shoes. The strap is elastic, so they are slip-ons (no bending to buckle a strap). And they stay on your feet. Gotta love MaryJanes!

A Needle Question

Michelle asked:

What type needles do you find last longest, are most durable, and yet nice to knit with?
I currently use #1 and #2 inox…. which I do like alot, but continually bend… I recently purchased a lovely set of #1 rosewoods. They cost me $19 and lasted 4 days before 2 of them snapped. I have used the knitpicks but I find them to be a little heavy. I know it seems silly that these little things seem heavy… but arthritic hands feel each mili-ounce Any suggestions?

The needles that last longest and most durable? From looking at the picture on your blog, I’d guess you are asking about dpns. I don’t have a lot of experience with metal dpns — very rarely use them. But I can tell you that I used Pony Pearl dpns exclusively for sock knitting for a long time — and never even bent a needle. They were very durable.

What do you all think?

Lucy Sez

Lucy 100107

Lucy 100107

“My Auntie Mary gave me another wonderful toy!”


  1. woo-hoo, I’m first, I think. I love your shoes, but,alas, until they make them in size 12 wide, I’ll have to admire yours

  2. The socks look like October blue skies! Not that we have much of those today here in Wisconsin. Rain this morning.

    To me, the mystery fibers look like linen on the top, and either cotton or hemp on the bottom. Just a WAG.

    2 circ knitter here — but do the new KnitPicks Harmony needles come in DPNs too, I bet? That laminated wood should be more durable yet lighter than metal.

    Lucy looks so happy and busy.

  3. Linda in Chiagoland says:

    I wish Cal, my kitty, liked toys. Alas, she only like a bit of the nip.

    I think I like my 4″ addis best, but always willing to try something else.

  4. Love the new sock!

  5. me again, to weigh in on michelle’s question. I have used clover bamboo alot and brittany birch only recently and have had very little trouble. I’ve only had one bamboo split at the end and I’ve used them for about two solid years. I just recently converted to addi circs and have a pair of the new knitpicks harmony circs that I haven’t used yet. To answer Cathy-Cate’s question, yes they have them in DPN’s also,cause I just ordered a set.

  6. The sock looks fantastic… the photo really does them justice! Another gorgeous project… thank you for sharing.

    I’ve never tried Earth Shoes, but know how you feel. I’m into Birkenstocks and have a “slew” of them. When your feet feel good, so do you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Okay, the mystery fibers look like cotton or cotton blend embroidery floss… I probably just need new glasses! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. The fibers look the same to me–either linen or hemp.

    And *boy*, did I enjoy that video of Lucy and the ring!

  8. j’adore shibui!
    This week’s mystery fiber is hemp. I love those colors together!

  9. Lovely sock! I agree that Pony Pearls are great dpns — no breaking, but plenty of flexing.

    I just can’t get used to the negative heel on the Earth shoes. Mine actually cause me pain! Very frustrating to spend that much money on a pair of comfort shoes to have them be horribly uncomfortable. I have better luck with Danskos and good ol’ Asics running shoes.

  10. Wow, those shoes look really good.

    I’m constantly on the lookout for shoes that don’t irritate my back, but I have odd feet so they’re hard to find. I’ll have to see if these are what I’m looking for.

  11. Cute little Lucy with her fun toys! A girl’s gotta love inexpensive pleasures.

    I’m finding that I really like the new KnitPicks Harmony wood dpns. Before that I used Clover bamboo dpns, and while I haven’t broken any, they just don’t feel as nice.

  12. With the Earth Shoes, are they really so easy to slip on? I was in a car accident and can’t reach my shoes to put them on. I’ve wanted a pair of Earth Shoes and if they’re that easy to get on, I might indulge myself.

  13. I think the mystery yarn is a hemp yarn. I recently used Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy and it looks like that.

    I love your shoes!! I’ve been looking for some comfy mary janes since I’m just getting into knitting socks.

  14. I think I’m going to be the first fiber guesser. I’m guessing hemp and/or linen (or a blend)

  15. I highly recommend Finn Comfort as another brand with an orthopedic design. I have a pair of mary janes called Stanford and they have a velcro strap across the top that lets me adjust the fit depending on whether or not I’m wearing socks. (It got close to 100F here today. No socks. Not until it gets under 70!)

  16. My guess on the mystery fiber is Linen or a Linen blend.


    I like the socks!


  17. In case you’re still in the mood for SOCKS, you should think about joining Lolly’s Socktoberfest. Another excuse to knit socks for a bit longer!

  18. The Earth shoes look pretty and very comfortable. They’re kind of expensive, though. Do they last a long time?

  19. It couldn’t be Llama silk could it?

  20. I’m currently sold on Crystal Palace dpns for socks. They are nice and smooth, light weight, treated with resin so they are more durable than the Clover dpns. I’ve also used Brittany Birch dpn’s, but didn’t like them as much as the Crystal Palace. They are not as smooth. I’m thinking I want to try the Knit Picks Harmony dpns though. They are a few $’s cheaper. The Crystal Palace are about $9 a set, and like the Harmony come in US 1.5 (2.5 mm) which gives me the gauge I like for some of the lighter weight fingering sock yarn. After 3 yrs of steady sock knitting (20-30 pairs per yr) I haven’t broken any of the Crystal Palace, although I have lost a couple needles here and there.

    I stick with wood because the metal dpns make my joints ache with the cold, especially in winter (my house is cold, that’s why I wear my woolies!) Wood needles warm up in my hands and retain the heat.

  21. Inox makes a metal dpn they call a “sock and glove” needle. It’s 6″ long, and a lightweight metal (not sure what it is. They do curve, but never really bend) My guess is that they’re steel, with a grey coating of some kind. Details, I don’t have! They’re great needles, if you can find them. Unfortunately they don’t make a wide range of sizes (or at least I’ve never found them). I have 2mm, 2.5mm, and 3mm sets. An embarrassing number of 2mm sets, actually. At one point they were $3.10 US/set of 5, and for some reason I bought out every store where I could find them!

    I use them mostly for knitting lace edgings with 3/2 perle cotton, which makes for pretty tight knitting, and they’re the only dpns I’ve found that stand up to that sort of abuse.

  22. Tigger's Mom says:

    I’m guessing the green yarn is hemp and the pink (purple?) is linen.

    I just tried the new KnitPicks DPNs in a 2.25mm and I don’t care for them. I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t notice they are made of birch, which isn’t my favorite. I use Crystal Palace DPNs (also in a 2.25mm) and love them! And I’ve never broken one.

    Cute shoes, and your socks get to show too! Kisses to Lucy!

  23. My current favorite needles are Knit Picks metal double points, sizes 0 and 1. I am a very tight/tense knitter, and these haven’t bent. I’ve been knitting with them constantly for about 6 months. I’d like to try their Harmony dpns, but am afraid I would just snap them in two just like I have the bamboo and birch that I’ve tried.

  24. I have Lupus and a lot of trouble with my
    hands. I use Bryspun double points and have
    them for years. They go with the warmth of
    your hands and are very good for arthritic
    fingers. I hope this helps someone out.
    Happy knitting.

  25. Earth Shoes are very hard on achilles tendons — they over stretch them and can lead to all sorts of nasty injuries. IF you are prone to tendon injuries.

    i’m just sayin’

  26. Mystery Fibers: Linen on top and cotton below.

    Earth Shoes: I loved my Earth shoes! (Which I had an extremely long time ago. High School, I think, maybe.) I thought they stopped making them since I couldn’t find any for decades. Now I know to keep hunting.

    DPNs: I found the Kinki Amibari bamboos distributed by Unicorn Books and Crafts to be a good price/sturdy ratio. I’ve only had one break (and I think the dog helped that one along) and the others only bent a bit even when I was working on my BMFA RSC Inside Outs which were the tightest knitting I have ever done on purpose. And they’re fairly inexpensive I think. At least they seemed a good buy here.

  27. On DPNs — being still a novice knitter (6 pr sox, 2 sweaters, 1 lace shawl), I’m at the Susan Bates level — it’s nice being able to replace all the small needles I bend and more for 5 or 6 bucks for 20 assorted (discounted at a craft store). I mostly bend #2’s, though, and they’re maybe $2 for 4. Maybe someday I’ll try less slippery and more expensive needles, but I can barely slide my stitches off Susan’s sticks.

  28. Great looking shoes!

    Are those yarns a silk? Maybe a silk blend? Very glossy and pretty ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Love the trilobites!

    As for needles, I like Brittany Birch (but find them delicate – my LYS recommended to go with non-wood needles under size 2) and KnitPicks (but find them heavy, especially before I’ve got much sock to work with). My old standby needles are Crystal Palace Bamboo, for much the same reasons SheilaZ mentioned — they’re a good combination of smooth, flexible, and light. I’ve got about 5 sets in various sizes, and only one tip has split a little bit.

  30. Teresa (NC) says:

    I use the Crystal Palace DPNs and have never broken one. I love the smoothness and pointiness of these needles. Lately I’ve switched to 2 circulars and magic loop to see how I like these methods. I’m really liking both methods so far.

    I love the earth shoes and am always looking for comfortable shoes. So far Birkenstocks have been my shoe of choice but they don’t look nice enough for work. I may have to give these adorable Mary Janes a try.

  31. Hey Wendy! Your Earth shoes reminded me that a long time ago you mentioned having a cowboy boot collection. Is that still in the works?

  32. NewJerseyLaura says:

    love, love your shoes!!!
    about dp and long lasting: I have some boye and aero dp needles that were my grandmother’s. 50-? years of knitting and still straight and strong enough to give a good stab at a stitch (and those infamous blog snarkers)

  33. I’ve broken both ebony and rosewood needles, breaking a little bit of my heart each time! I love the Knitpicks metal dpns, but agree that the Pony Perl’s are a good, non-metal, flexible, un-breaky choice. Another that I didn’t notice in the comments, which I LOVE and probably use most are the Susan Bates Sock Set. They only go “up” to a 1, but the set also includes 0’s, 00’s and 000’s. I’ve never bent them (and can be accused of a little sock-knitting “vigor” at times) and they are super reasonably priced. I think they are 19.99 at Joann Fabrics, and if you can use a coupon, they get cheaper still. I’m prone to try lots of things, and do love the new Knitpicks Harmony needles, but if you want metal, I’d give those Susan Bates a try…

  34. Knitters are da’ bomb! Wendy thank you for airing my comment… I read through the comments and appreciate the suggestions. I think I’m going to give Crystal Palace a try.
    love the shoes!

  35. Lucy’s new toy matches her eyes! Such a pretty girl. I love the “on hold” socks. I am knitting a scarf that I work on only while waiting in doctor’s offices; it’s almost done! I call it the Waiting Room Scarf.

  36. If you call or e-mail the company that makes the ebony and rosewood d.p.s they will replace the broken ones along with an extra. I find C.P. to be an excellent needle. Am just learning magic loop now, so far I like it. Love your shoes I have Earth shoes, but prefer Birks. Beautiful socks Wendy. My goodness you are a great fast knitter. The new Addi Lace needles have a terrible odor to them and they made me sick to my stomach, the smell just stayed on my hands. I returned them.

  37. Earth shoes good…but not wide enough for “fred flintstone” feet like mine. VERY wide, high arch and instep. Have u tried Crocs yet? GREAT GREAT GREAT
    ok, i know, TMI. ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. I am an earth shoe lover too. Although I don’t have a collection, yours has inspired me!

  39. Regarding needles – have you tried Comfort Zone? Their site is Super pointy and flexible, made of polymer and come in sets of 6. My only complaint is that their length is a little annoying when knitting socks and apparently they can’t make them in shorter sizes. I use them when I need the flexibility, but usually use Brittany birch. Brits are also replaceable when broken and they also send an extra.

  40. I am using the Knit Picks Harmony DPNs. I like them a lot! They are light, but they are pretty strong. (I know. A three year old stepped on one) I have used them for my first two pairs of socks, and plan on only using the sock set.

  41. I have a pair of Pony Pearls that I bought at the beginning of my knitting career, before I realized anything about materials, pointiness, etc. They are now my least favorite sock needles. I find them good for plain jane socks, without any patterning, but their bluntiness has caused me to rip out a few socks that required any sort of needle acrobatics. I do love my Clover and Crystal Palace bamboos, though. And I’m intrigued by the Knit Picks Harmony and their apparent pointiness.

  42. I was extremely disappointed when I began using my long-awaited Pony Pearls. The plastic-y finish got scratchier & scratchier the more I used them, to the extent of snagging my STR Club fiber! I replaced them with Knit Picks steel DPs and haven’t looked back.

  43. Barb Edison says:

    I have used the Hiya Hiya dbl needles and I just love them. They are sturdy, no bending, and they are smooth as silk. They come in 5″ lengths and are perfect for my little 6.5 size foot. Longer lengths are available.

    Love those shoes, Wendy. You love comfort. I do, too.

  44. i like those shoes. what are negative heels? and i have flat feet. do they have good arch support?

  45. I think magic loop is a good option for someone who is looking for a light-weight alternative for sock knitting. I know it’s not the same as DPNs, but if the lightweight ones break and the stronger ones are too heavy, I would make fast friends with ML.

  46. There goes my pocketbook. I guess I’ll be getting some Earthshoes!

  47. Theresa in Italy says:

    Earth Shoes have certainly become more stylish since my first pair, back in the 70’s (I think)!

    Love the On Hold sock!

  48. Love the new socks (and your shoes – me being a personal fan of Mary Janes myself). I also love the Stonehenge background in the pic……..

  49. I love Allure shoes too! I have the green ones in the top left of your photo.

  50. I find the Bryspun needles to be extremely confortable as well as rather flexible for negotiating complex patterns. I have bought many sets because I tend to lose needles when I travel. The Bryspuns are inexpensive, and cone in my favorite 5″ length. When one became permanently curved, I heated it in the microwave and it straightened right out!

  51. i use the old steel needles exlusively. i used to bend the others. and found a few sets at our local thrift shop. i have since found more on ebay. i love them.

  52. Betsy Stone says:

    I LOVE the mitered sweater. Are you thinking of writing a pattern? Please, please,please!

  53. I like by Brittany birch needles. I used Clover bamboos before that, but over time the points spilt. I’ve also gotten a set of Susannes ebony and a set of rosewood, but I haven’t used them yet. (This was my “poor man’s” attempt to see if it was worth investing in sets of Colonial dpns, which I think are close substitues.) But, my dpns don’t get the workout that yours do–I’ve been working on sweaters and shawls all year, and I’ve been using circular needles for them (Addis and Inox). Has anyone tried the new wooden needles that Knit Picks is featuring?

  54. Great sock! I don’t have any advice on needles, as I’m still working on finding my perfect ones. I used bamboo for a long time — it took five years for one to break. Now I’m on two circs — Addi Turbos. I really like your shoes. I bet they are great for showing off your socks too!

  55. I had one pair of Earth shoes in junior high school and really liked them. Now, my shoes of choice are Birkenstocks, including some from their Footprints line which are Mary Jane-ish looking and nice enough to where to the law office I work in. I have some foot issues to deal with….narrow feet, heel spurs, flat feet and the resulting plantar fasciitis. I asked the podiatrist about wearing Birkenstocks because my feet felt better in them. He told me that a “shoe” was not going to solve my problems and then promptly prescribed a Spenco Walker/Runner insole to wear in my athletic shoes and told me to wear them as much as possible. Okay, the Spenco insoles are nice in my athletic shoes, but the stiff, ergonomically designed Birkenstock sole really does help.

    When I first got back into knitting, I used some Bryspun double pointed needles and really like them. I’ve never seen them in small sizes for knitting socks. The Bryspun needles warmed to my hands and felt nice. I’m a two circs kind of gal for sock knitting.

    My guess on the fiber….when I first looked at it I thought of bamboo or soy….but maybe hemp is it.

  56. Great looking socks, Wendy! I’m delighted that you are still in sock mode :~) I’m in sweater mode myself and must stay there for another week. My sock yarns are calling, but I am standing firm! I’m planning on purchasing some Harmony dpns once they become available again-could be a while after this blog post, eh ;~)
    I worked up one pair of socks in the Pony Pearls and then my interest waned. Maybe too much flex for me. I think I gave them away in some sort of trade. I typically use my Knitpick’s metal circs or sz 2 Plymouth bamboo dpns. I have broken one of my sz 1Brittanys-one day I’ll get it replaced-if I ever get around to it. It’s no problem for me to use four until then.

  57. Hi Wendy! I like those shoes, and Lucy looks so cute withher new toy!

    I’m weighing in on the dpn-needle lasting discussion. I used a set of Pony pearls (size 1) to knit one pair of socks. I liked them okay, but the tips are very blunt (bad for stitch pick up, but at least my yarn didn’t split as much using them). They were flexible and my hands hurt less using them, however into the knitting of the second sock, I broke a tip off of one needle and the metal piece inside fell out, rendering the needle useless. That was okay because I use 4 needles and didn’t need the 5th one anyway. Well, I used these needles again to a pair of child socks and into the first Ktog of the gusset of the first sock, I broke another tip (it was already bent and weakened). So my needles didn’t last through one sock project before one broke. Personally, I like Crystal Palace dpns the best. They have lasted through multiple sock projects for me. When I used Knitpicks, nickel plated dpns on one pair of socks, the nickel plating was flaking off, creating a rough tip and metal flakes on my project — bleh! Perhaps, I am hard on needles??

  58. Oh Lucy looks so cute!

    A friend who has arthritis told me about needles she got online – called nature’s knitting needles – that feel very comfortable in her hands. As for me, I have many needles in my cache. I swear by my Lantern Moon ebony needles. I’ve stepped on them; had them in suitcases that the airlines trashed, and even used one to jam open a door — and never had one break or split. My birch come a close second.

    I was going to guess the top as flax and the bottom as a cotton/hemp, but my neighbor leaning over my shoulder thinks the top looks like it has some silk in it, so I’m going to go for a silk/linen blend there.

  59. I could go on and on about needles, but I agree, the knitpicks metal DPNs are too heavy. I use Susan Bates DPNs, they are metal, and very nice, but mostly I use crystal palace bamboo. They have never broken, one set did split on the ends, but the company replaced them no questions asked. I just ordered a set of Harmony DPNs that I’ve heard great things about, can’t wait till they arrive, so I can get a pair of socks going! Oh, the mystery yarn? Looks like cotton, but I know you’re not crazy about cotton, but that is my guess.

  60. What? Not one mention that Knit From Your Stash officially ended September 30? Aren’t you relieved? (Have I asked enough questions?)

  61. I’m loving all the socks, especially the yarn. I keep thinking of how beautiful the sock yarn log cabin blanket is going to be (hint, hint…)

  62. I have rheumatoid arthritis which is totally in remission after excluding ALL foods known to cause flareups in anyone (yep, they all affect me). Believe me, the diet is worth it to knit without pain. I think the new KnitPicks Harmony needles are very good though and wood might be more gentle for your hands.

  63. How long were you on hold?!?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But seriously, love the new design and the color of that yarn! I have a pair of Earth shoes too, Mary Janes as well. I do find that they bother my knees a bit if I wear them too much though, but my back feels awesome when I wear them. You definitely have quite the collection!

  64. Alice in Pittsburgh says:

    I really like the Inox needles, they have the slipperiness and flex of metal and the quiet movement of wood. But if they are bending, isn’t that a sign that you NEED to have a bent needle? I mean, once they are bent to a particular curve, aren’t they then perfect for the way you knit? It would make them something in between a straight needle and a circular needle. Is bending necessarily a bad thing? I’m just saying…

  65. Just curious: on the snarkiness issue, do you delete rude comments, or leave them up? What is your “line” for what’s OK to say to you, but not necessarily to leave up for other readers to see? Or does it all hang out?

    totally unsolicited advice: if you like Earth Shoes you also might like Keens. They’re a bit less office-friendly, but I teach high school and am on my feet all day on tile floor and I had back surgery when I was 23 (Long Story) and my legs and back feel great after a day in my Keens.

  66. To me both fibers look like an alpaca merino blend. I love Mary Janes, but mine are Wolky. The Earth Shoes even in the widest width were not wide enough for my square feet! (5to 5.5 extra wide) I wear a size 36 in the Wolkys. Super on feet as well as the back.
    I break the wood needles also. Snap!! But I have found the bamboo to be the best for me. I use the 5″ ones.

  67. Wendy, I was so happy when I stumbled upon a link to your site. I remembered your knitting from several years ago when I saw a selection of your Fair Isle sweaters. I am thrilled to see that you have moved to socks as well. I stopped knitting strictly sweaters when I became guardian to four small girls. The end product satisfaction is needed even when you don’t have much time. I am just setting up my blog on knitting but have not posted yet. I am also on Ravelry and will link it there when it is up. Your shoes have perked my interest. I assume they do not wear out socks???

  68. Hemp. Both. Hemp.

    Best wishes to ya, at Stitches East…May you recuperate smooooothly…as smoothly as possible. Bad backs are a Big Bear…sorry yours is ailing.

    –EyeStamp, in Ohio

  69. I’m making my guess before I read everyone else’s, although I really have no idea. They both look like they have some sort of cellulose fibers, and they look like linen to me. The top looks more like 100% linen, and the bottom a linen/cotton mix (or could be ramie/cotton , hemp/cotton, etc., but I’ll go with linen/cotton).

  70. I like Comfort Zone dpns. They’re made of nylon and they bend nicely to conform to the hands. I can see how that might annoy some knitters, but it keeps me from squeezing the needles too hard and hurting my fingers…

  71. Wow, the mystery yarn looks just like the Mirasol Cotanani in my stash. It is 60% Pima cotton and 40% merino wool. And I have that same Shibui in my stash. It looks so lovely knit up!