The details of a sock-in-progress

I remember once describing Cat Bordhi’s directions for making short rows – wrapping stitches and then picking up the wraps – as being worth their weight in gold. The neatness and tidiness hasn’t ceased to amaze me, even though I’ve used the technique several times now. Of course I have to share the result with you:


Do you see what I mean? Each and every time, perfection. You can find the full instructions in Ms. Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters on pages 14-15, if you’re so inclined.

The beautiful pattern accompanying those beautiful heels is the previously mentioned Punctuated Rib socks from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn. The yarn? Madeline Tosh superwash merino in Lichen. I think we can all agree it’s another winner in this sock equation.

I’m tempted to say that I’m knitting these socks without any modifications to the original pattern, but that’s not entirely true. It’s just that my changes don’t alter the original intent of the design at all! A different cast-on, wrapped short rows instead of yarn over ones, fewer plain rows above the heel, I’m mirroring the left and right socks, and I’ll probably finish with a different cuff because I don’t want the top of the sock to be too tight… miniscule details, the pattern is fab!

You may have noticed that I have my sock-in-progress on a length of waste yarn (the few yards I have left over from the Dolphin lace scarf, to be precise). Nothing’s the matter; I’m just being indecisive about how tall I want to make these socks.

As many knitters do with their toe-up creations, before starting I evenly divided the skein in two. So, all of the yarn hanging off of the sock-in-progress can potentially become a part of the first sock. We’re talking 2″, easy, if not more. But instead of committing to a leg height, I put the first sock on hold and started the second:

Oh, so lovely! Leg height decisions will wait :). Also, didn’t the designer recommend that we use larger needles for the leg portion of the sock? I guess I can think about that, too, at least for the calf portion of the sock (the ankle part is done). All of that only when the second sock reaches the same point as the first – for now, I just knit, no thinking ;).


33 thoughts on “The details of a sock-in-progress

  1. Marissa

    Those are very pretty…you’re making me want to try out a short row heel. I’ve only ever done eye of partridge (she says, proud as a peacock to know the name for it). Love that color!

  2. Erica

    I love the green! And Cat’s wrap and turn is fantastic, too. I’ve tried Japanese short rows, but haven’t really gotten the hang of them. Always come back to Cat’s method.

  3. Jakkimitch

    Well, Desiknitter took the words right out of my mouth! Absolutely Gorgeous socks!!

    I’ve had problems with toe-up socks (only have done a few) and about decided never to do them again. But, I may give Cat B’s method a try on your advice! 🙂

  4. tantej

    Just gorgeous! I’m so happy I have that colorway sitting in my stash! I’m still struggling my way through the short-rows, even Cat’s leave with me holes. I just tried the no-wrap heel with fabulous results but I wish I could master this one!

  5. Kate

    Your knitting is so neat and tidy. I love that colorway, I have some fruitloop socks in progress in Lichen right now 🙂

  6. Julie

    I always buy two skeins/hanks/balls of sock yarn. That way, no matter what I do on the first pair I can make a 2nd pair toe up and just knit till I run out.

    Pretty pattern, this Punctuated Rib. A new book isn’t in the budget at the moment, but I think I can copy that alternating cable idea on my next pair…

  7. Karen

    Oooo Pretty socks. I love the color. Also loved the blue scarf. I just started a neck warmer in some lovely bright colors for the same reason–it’s grey, black and white here in Yonkers and Boy thought I needed a splash of brightness so he bought me something beautiful.

  8. Cat Bordhi

    Your sock is gorgeous and I love the texture of the yarn. And I love how you are “knitting the project, not the pattern.” This phrase comes from a knitter who was taught to knit by her Uncle Howard, who was taught by his Norwegian mother, and means to make things your own – to be in charge of what you really want, which of course describes you, Grumperina, quite nicely. I also want to let your readers know that video instructions for my method of working wraps and turns, and concealing them, can be found on Youtube, along with many other videos that support my books. Here is the link:

    This is part one, and you’ll find part 2 waiting for you in the list to the right. So even if you don’t have my book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One, you can learn this right away, and get those wraps to do their job without being seen. Enjoy!

  9. Renee

    Love the green colour! Your stitches are perfect, thanks for the heads up on the heel ~ I’m going to check out Cat’s method. 🙂

  10. Carol

    Amazing. This info on short-row heels is exactly what I need right now. Last night I was looking through sock patterns for my next project and encountered several descriptions of short-row heels. None made much sense to me so I was going to select a top-down pattern. Now I’ll watch Cat’s videos and re-read the patterns. Thanks so much Kathy and Cat! I’m psyched to learn a new technique!

  11. Kat

    Long time reader, first time commenter…. (actually I know you because I worked at Woolcott for a while). Being a sock enthusiast, I often look to you for tips and tricks – the striped Lorna’s Laces socks were brilliant and your striping method was life-changing. Now this: “before starting I evenly divided the skein in two. So, all of the yarn hanging off of the sock-in-progress can potentially become a part of the first sock.” I’m knitting these, and that is that is excellent advice! I did divide my yarn into two balls, but in the absence of a scale I didn’t know how I would ensure that each sock got the same amount of yarn. Now I know! Thanks. That color and pattern is stunning, BTW!

  12. Shelda

    What flippin’ gorgeous socks! Wooooo, thanks for sharing those. I thought they were lovely in the book, but these… well… these are magnificent!

  13. TracyKM

    Very pretty! Since learning how to knit two items at once on one circular needle, I’m so tempted to start another pair of socks, or even rip out one I started in the summer that is dragging on…

  14. Melissa

    My problem with short rows comes when, after finishing the heel, you knit across the top stitches and then reconnect with the back portion. I always get a really big and unsightly hole on the side. Do you ever have that problem?

  15. Natalie


    I hate knitting socks with a passion- but every time I see a beautiful pair, I get sucked right in. I just ordered some yarn to try these 🙂

    As always, you have beautiful work!

  16. tiennie

    Those are so pretty! I really do like them. I haven’t done enough short rows to see if I like them or not. I’m going to have to check out her instructions.

  17. Kittie

    I may have to break down and buy that book. *sighs* I don’t care what I do…if it’s a wrap and turn short row, I will have holes. If she can manage to eliminate holes from my short rows, it would be worth the $29 for the book, IMO.

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