My current work in progress:

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


When is a Sportweight Not a Sportweight?

When it’s a worsted weight.

Operakatz posed the following question in the comments last week:

I’m confused…the Boomerang I have is worsted weight…I know the Baby Boomerang is more fingering weight…is there also a sport weight?

Yup, Boomerang is worsted weight. I’m looking at the label as I write this and it states:

Gauge: 18 stitches = 4″, 25 Rows =4″, Needle size 8.

Sounds pretty worsted weight to me. But when I used it to knit my socks, I used a 2.75mm needle (U.S. size 2) and got 6.5 stitches/inch, which sounds pretty sportweight. And it makes a beautiful sock fabric at that gauge — nice and firm but not too stiff. Boomerang is incredibly soft yarn and the socks I’ve knit from it feel wonderful on the foot.

Speaking of using worsted weight yarn to make sportweight socks, I just got a skein of Dream in Color Classy — their worsted weight — from The Loopy Ewe to test-knit at a sportweight gauge to see how that works out for sportweight socks. I’m betting it’ll work just fine!

Classy 111107

Classy 111107

Speaking of Dream in Color, here’s the first Diagonal Lace sock, made from the Smooshy sock yarn in the “Strange Harvest” colorway. Yum.

Diagonal Lace 111107

Diagonal Lace 111107

And a close-up:

Diagonal Lace Closeup 111107

Diagonal Lace Closeup 111107


There were a couple of questions in the comments about my favorite cast-off for toe-up socks, and a question about cast-ons for top-down socks.

The bind-off I always use is a variation of a Russian bind-off. I execute it loosely as follows:

K2, slip these 2 sts back to the lefthand needle, K2TOG, *K1, SL 2 sts on righthand needle back to the lefthand needle, K2TOG *. Repeat from * to *.

I’ve seen it stated that you work it in purl all the way around, or in knit all the way around. When I am doing a ribbed cuff on a sock, I do the bind-off in ribbing, so I knit the knits and purl the purls. When it comes to working the 2 stitches together, I work it knit or purl, depending on what the second stitch of the two is.

I always use the same size needle as for the rest of the sock and I never have any problems with it being too tight.

As for cast-ons for top-down socks . . .

In the past five years I have knit exactly one pair of top-down socks, and for those I did a picot edge that used a provisional cast-on. So y’all are on your own there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lucy’s Preferred Kitty Bed

Shazza asked:

So does Lucy not like her Cozy Cushion so much any more? I am cat bed shopping and was just curious…

Lucy has two Cozy Cushions, and she loves them both. She also loves her kitty bed. Which one she chooses depends on her mood and proximity to my current position — she likes to hang out near her momma whenever possible.

Lucy’s current position:

Lucy 111107

Lucy 111107


  1. Pretty Lucy! ๐Ÿ™‚

    When I knit socks top-down, I always use the long-tail cast-on, but on a needle one size bigger than I’m knitting the sock with. (That was very bad grammar, but the cast-on works, honest. Nice and stretchy!)

  2. Top down I always use the Old Norwegien cast on for extra stretch. It feels like your fingers are doing aerobics at first but I kinda like the dance after a while. Makes it fun.

  3. Speaking of Kitty Pi Beds, I’ve made one and it’s nearly flat as could be. The sides are not going up at all no matter how many times I’ve put it through the washer. Any suggestions in blocking that might help or do I just have a jumbo size coaster?


  4. I use the cable cast on for top down. I like the looks of it and its neat. I did socks with Boomerang (Now my favorite yarn) on a size #3 and got 7 sts. to the inch.

  5. When I make top-down socks here is what I do for the CO: I take two of the needles I’m going to knit the socks with and hold them together. Then I use the German Twisted Cast On (a stretchier variation of a long tail CO) over both needles held together. I have never had a problem with the top of the sock being too tight when I do it that way.

  6. Lucy looks very cozy in her Kitty Pi. My cats prefer clean laundry to sleep on but have been known to choose black pants (white cat) and white sweaters (black cat).

  7. The Diagonal Lace socks are gorgeous ๐Ÿ™‚ So is lucy curled up in her bed, now that’s the good life!

  8. i think the heavier Boomerang knit to the tighter gauge gives the stitches more definition in your sport weight designs, Wendy. i knit your Southwestern Socks in Mountain Colors Bearfoot (“real” sportweight) and the decreases don’t pop nearly as much. at first i thought it was the slight fuzz Bearfoot has, but i think it has more to do with the yarn’s density when knit to the sport gauge.

    for those that are curious about what i mean…

    The next time i use Bearfoot, i think i will try knitting it with a fingering weight pattern.

  9. Long tail all the way! I don’t change a thing, needle size, number of needles -nothin! Works fine for me.
    Toe up bind offs I have done but a few, but EZ Sewn bind off is easy and functional.

    Now the picot cast-on is one thing I cannot master. I try and try. They all suck ๐Ÿ™

  10. Thanks for sorting out the cat bed preferences. Mine like to spread the love a bit as well, but since I found the Cozy Cushions on sale, i thought I would pick them each up one. And you have gotten me back in the mood for sock knitting, too, so a double thank you!

  11. Cathy Johnson says:

    I love Smooshy for baby sweaters, hats–gifts. Have you tried Jitterbug? I noticed that Loopy ewe will have some soon…

    I lost my kitty Kiki, the wonder kitty, this past week. She was only four and succumbed to fatty liver disease.
    The moral: Enjoy Lucy every single minute; life and kitties– aka Kiki’s– go fast.

    Hope you are well. I do enjoy your intellect.

  12. I love those socks. They are beautiful!! Hope you had a wonderful weekend & thank u for sharing so much

  13. Love the new diagonal sock. Is there a pattern in the future? Sally

  14. I have a problem with knitted socks – they fall down arund my ankles and then into my shoes, I have found 2 patterns that don’t do this, Jaywalker & Charade, but get bored knitting these same 2 socks. Any suggestions?

  15. For your bind off, I think your asterisk is in the wrong spot, the ‘K2tog’ should also be in the repeat.

    I like the sewn bind off for toe-ups, and knitted cast-on for toe-downs.

    Love your blog, knitting, Lucy, and glad you’re on the mend.

  16. Thanks for the technical info, Wendy. It really helps.

    I have knit a couple pairs of socks in the Fiesta Boomerang, one of them being your Southwestern socks, with size 2’s. I got a great-fitting sportweight sock–cushier, perhaps, than with a designated sportweight yarn, but still very flexible. I noticed that they softened up a lot after a washing in Soak, which made them even nicer.


  17. I love Fiesta Boomerang for socks. I also knit it on US2’s. Side by side with STR Middleweight, I’d go for FB every time.

  18. I have 2 cozy cushions for my 4 cats. There is always somebody on it. I put them on furniture and then when guests come, I remove them. It keeps the kitty fur away from the furniture.

  19. Absolutely. Positively. Without. A. Doubt. The Best. top of sock bind off.

    I was contemplating (gulp) not doing my socks toe-up because of the bind off/fat leg/circulation to my feet missing issue.

    Wendy saved my life. Okay, perhaps just my “knitting socks Exactly how I want” life, but still……

    (Where’s Teddy these days? I miss him.)

  20. Dr. Jackie says:

    Well, I have my Knitpicks 16″-ers…and I’m working on some plain vanilla socks for husband. So far so good, the hardes part for me to get used to is the short little needle parts (I feel like part of my hand is holding onto the cord). Thanks for the bind-off info…I’ve been doing the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind off (which has been working great…) but I’m looking forward to trying yours too (maybe on this pair since they are now turning into a Wendy-esqe experiment for me!).

    What I’d like to ask about is your heel turn…I’ve been using a modified Widdershins variation that I’ve pieced together from info online. What do you do? And is it written down anywhere?

  21. Jody, aka farflegirl says:

    Love the diagonal lace sock–my LYS is getting Smooshy in soon and I’ll definitely be checking it out! As if I didn’t have enough sock yarn in the stash…sigh.

  22. Love the green yarn and thanks for the Q & A, I am learning a lot as I read.


  23. Just found your website, looking for things to knit for cats, yes, I am owned by 3 rescue cats, Tai, Junior and Ashley. Kisses to Lucy and thank you for the pie shell, as I already have the filling!