Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wild child

          Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting a local Holocaust survivor.  "Helen" is ninety-four years young and what an incredible storyteller.  For over an hour I listened with rapt attention while she shared details about her daring escape from an Auschwitz sub-camp, unthinkable hardships she endured with her dear friend, "Greta," and a significant mystical event that led them to safety.
          Someone asked me afterwards, "Did you get everything you needed for your book?"
          I nodded.  "Yes...and a whole lot more."
          After the interview was finished, Helen and I chatted about our lives in Toledo.  She showed me her honorary doctorate that she earned after taking over thirty years of medical classes simply because she loves learning.  As I turned the pages of Helen's wedding album, I was astonished at her incomparable beauty.  Ten years after surviving the camps, she thrived as a young woman and was quite simply the most lovely lady I've ever seen. 
          Over the course of her life, Helen has endured much hardship.  Her mother died within hours of arriving at Auschwitz.  Her father perished in Buchenwald as did many of her cousins.  Only a handful of her family members survived the Holocaust and she is one of three still living.  Helen's husband, whom she met in Israel shortly after the war, died eight years ago and I know she still misses him every day.
          When I asked what her greatest sorrow has been, Helen answered, "Because of the beatings I endured, I could not have any children." 
          Like me, she has countless surrogate children (and in her case, a host of grandchildren as well), but we both know that it's not the same.  Still, after listening to the recording of the interview several times, I've come to imagine had Helen's history been different, she would still be a survivor, no matter what.  Her will and determination are evident in every word she says.  Everything she believes.  Everything she inquired of me.
          "You have children, yes?" she asked as we sat at her kitchen table.
          I shook my head. 
          "No children!  You're married, yes?"
          I shook my head again.
          Helen asked about my parents and when I told her I was estranged from my family, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, "You need to let people love you...and you need to love people.  If I've learned anything, that's what I've learned:  we all need to love and be loved."
          I nodded.  "I'm blessed with a lot of people in my life who love me...people I love.  I've learned that friends can be like family, too...just like you've created a new family since the Holocaust.  It doesn't mean you don't miss your mother or father...or your husband, but we're lucky, Helen.  We may not have had our own kids, but we've help raise hundreds of them, and in some ways, I think if I had children of my own, I wouldn't have been able to find the time to teach or be a part of my friends' lives."
          Helen and I realized we're kindred spirits...and not just by what you can see on the outside.  She's a treasure to be with and I look forward to our next tea party, whenever that might be. 
          As we exchanged phone numbers, she asked, "Do you believe the story about how Greta and I were led to safety?"  
          "I believe miracles happen every day," I smiled.  "We don't have to understand them to know they're real and true."

          Since meeting Helen, I've come to understand a few things about myself.  In light of her life, I've taken stock of my own.  My own past.  My own pain and humiliation.  My own losses and the behavior patterns I'm unwinding in order to create something more real and true.
          That's a miracle in and of itself.
          It may take a little while for what I've discovered to sink in, take root, and eventually spring up above the surface.  I often tell my yoga students, "If you want to know what your body will look like in five years, pay attention to how you're treating it in the present."  I suppose the same is true for my spirit.  What I believe and think and say create my reality in much the same way food and exercise choices create my body.  But while my body never lies and responds immediately to whatever crosses my lips, my mind often loves to spin a tale now and then. 
          It's not that I'm lying per se...I'm just coloring an experience with my projections and shadowy perceptions.  My friend, Becky, gently reminds me that my experiences create my beliefs; my beliefs create my actions; and my actions create results.  But what if what I thought to be true has been reframed based on seeing the vast forest of my life beyond the individual trees of past hurts and losses?
          Truth takes time...and sometimes I need to be ready to accept it before it will be revealed in ways altogether unexpected.  Who I thought I was supposed to be has vanished into thin air.  All the judgements and expectations and pity have disappeared.  All the stories I've been telling myself all these years about why I don't have a life like most of my friends have gone up in smoke.  No matter what happened in my past, I know I'd still be wild and free, for I've finally come to understand that I'm not meant to live a tradition life.
          And I never was.

          I was born to be wild.
         As a child I would run barefoot in the backyard, draping worms over my nose and ears for the sheer fun of it....and to get a rise out of my sisters.  I pretended a little family of fairies lived in a tree stump in the corner and we would play together while I enjoyed endless summer hours happily lost in my mother's garden.  When I was a teenager, I spent most of my time wandering in the wilderness of my journals, novels, and English papers while the rest of my friends were dating and going to dances.  In my twenties and thirties I hiked more deeply into the darkness and took a leap of faith that resulted not in a sound landing, but in growing gossamer wings.
          As my forties dawned, I literally moved to the edge of the continent and lived in a little hut on a craggy cliff, hopeful to allow my inner wild child to live untamed and free.  For a year I walked barefoot in the garden, planting seedlings among the fat, juicy worms that cultivated the soil.  I raised a passel of chickens and a feisty little kitten.  I spent endless hours soaking in the sulfur baths reading Alan Watts and Rebecca Wells and John Irving.  I hiked for hours along the edge of Highway One that led me to enchanted places where I could test my unfurling wings.   Still, one of the greatest gifts of living in Big Sur was learning that it's not always the location which provides the's the willingness and ability to embrace my true nature, no matter where I am.
          Now wherever the future might take me, I welcome the steadfast reality that I was born to be like a wildflower...showing my true colors, delighting in simple pleasures, opening up, spreading seeds of joy...and embracing the delight in being a late bloomer.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The fabulous fifty

          It seems my last blog, "Call me Kate...part two" is really lighting up the Internet this week.  Changing my name (at least in the publishing world) has garnered more attention than any blog I've written this year and it makes me smile.  Last fall for various reasons, I let go of my personal Facebook account, and even though my professional page is still up and running, I watched the number of regular blog readers nosedive by more than fifty percent. 
          How do I know this you ask?  Because whenever I log into my blog I can see how many hits a post garners, the country of origin, the internet source, even the percentage of people who use Explorer vs. Chrome.  Interestingly enough, since December, the number consistently averages around fifty readers.  I'm delighted that people from the Ukraine and South Africa have come along for the ride, as well as readers in Argentina, France, Belgium, England, and Germany.  I know when my friends in India log on and when my friend, Sandy, tunes in from Canada.  
          That's why I wanted to write a blog to thank the fifty fabulous people who regularly check in weekly (or bi-weekly) to read my little missives.  I know how busy life can be.  I know there are endless sources of entertainment from which to choose.  I know that the Internet is chock-full of stuff that grabs your attention.  So I appreciate the readers who've let me know they're out there...that I'm not simply writing in a creative vacuum here in my little house in the Heartland. 

          There's that age-old question, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"  I always thought that was a silly thing to ask.  "Of course it does," was my prompt reply.  "A tree is an entity in and of itself."
          But then I spent the majority of this past year alone -- writing, editing, researching, and writing some more.  Blog after blog was posted that channeled life experiences from my inner circle to larger ones.  Occasionally readers would post comments.  A few would write me personal emails.  Hearing from my readers helps me to know that, yes indeed, I am making a sound...even though you're not sitting right here beside me as I do my thing.  And I've learned that I don't necessarily need a tangible audience to know I'm touching the lives of others.  I imagine that's why in my younger days I much preferred stage managing to stage acting. 
          But these days I'm torn between wanting to be hidden and wanting my books and blogs to move out into the world in ever-widening circles. 

          I write because I simply can't help myself.  Inspiration rises up from many sources, but never because I want to please an audience.  I'm not interested in trying to figure out what Joe Public wants.  I'm more invested in discovering who Kate Ingersoll is becoming and by proxy writing in a way that invites you to ask, "Who am I?" as well.  
          Not that it all has to be serious.
          Forest, Jhoti, and Aditi have all contributed to Open Road and their big sister, Sophia, is waiting in the wings to write her own blog.  In the past I've written a letter to my new bike and a list of  the top ten things I love about a friend from college.  Most recently I've discovered that the silliest things often provide the greatest lessons, and even though I want my life to be rich and meaningful, it doesn't always have to be about diving deep.
          Nowadays I'm ready to rise up to the surface and breathe some fresh air.

          Just this week Sandy and I have scheduled a long-overdue trip to Sedona, a place I've longed to visit for over twenty years.  So for a week in August of 2016, we'll be trailblazing and celebrating my fiftieth birthday.  It's not for a year and a half, but the trip gives me something to look forward to.  Something to plan for... and to anticipate with an open heart.  
          It's much the same feeling I have for my literary work.  I have no idea where it will go.  Who will pass on a blog or a book or a post.  What the future will bring as I blaze new trails in the publishing world...this place that is still such a fabulous conundrum to me.  But if the next fifty years are as meaningful as the last one, I'll be one thankful lady.
          So today I want to thank you for taking the time to read my work.  Thank you if you've written a review online or shared a blog or book with friends and family.  Thank you for your emails, your cards, and your encouragement as I ride the roller coaster of marketing and sales.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and for trusting me with your own life stories that enrich my life as both a writer and a woman.
          Even though I may not know many of you by name...through the intricate and fascinating ways of grace, I'm beginning to know you by heart. 

Feel free to email me at



Monday, February 16, 2015

Call me "Kate" ... part two

          Happy Monday!  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend as winter slowly edges its way toward spring. were very much in my thoughts as the storm blew across your part of the country.  On Saturday I precariously drove through four inches of slush and snow on my way to teach a workshop all the while thinking, "I'm ready for a change of seasons!"  I know most Midwesterners are more than ready as many of us think any temperature above fifteen degrees is downright balmy.
          Still, it's a lovely sunny morning.  The days keep getting longer.  March will be here before you know it.  Change is inevitable.  And for me, in more ways than one. 

          For over a year, I've been contacted by folks who confused me with another self-published author named Katie Ingersoll who writes in a style and genre vastly different than my own.  Even when I added my middle initial to the mix, there were still eager readers who thought her work was mine and vice versa.  Still, Mercury went direct last Wednesday, so I can't blame the confusion over the weekend on the planet of communication moving backward.  
          So it's time for a change.
          As I'm one for clarity right from the start, I've slightly altered the first name under which I'm published to avoid future mix-ups.  As of today, you can find my work on Goodreads,, Barnes and Noble, Facebook, Google, and Pinterest by searching for "Kate Ingersoll" (see links below). 

          From now on, you can call me Kate in the publishing world and beyond.  For all my friends who want to be grandfathered under my old moniker, I'll still answer to Katie.  But please...unless you're my little pal, Satish, don't call me Catherine. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My little cute coop

          Ever truly ponder the question, "Which came first...the chicken or the egg?"  Well, yesterday they both arrived simultaneously in my mailbox.  No...not the real kind, but miniature versions I'll be adding to my indoor fairy garden this spring.  A few weeks ago I found an adorable wooden coop with a lone chicken sitting inside it.  I decided she needed a couple of friends and some offspring, so I ordered two tiny brooding hens and a little basket of brown eggs, complete with straw.  When they arrived along with some leaf-shaped garden pavers, you would have thought I had won the power ball lottery.
          As many of you know from reading my last blog, I'm easily amused.  And why not?  It's nearing the end of winter.  Even though the temperatures are dropping fast this week, the days are also getting longer.  Snow still blankets the ground and here in the Midwest we're often doing what my friend, Bobbi, calls "the old lady shuffle."  I call it the "save your butt from falling on the ice waltz," but it's still a familiar experience here in Heartland as spring takes its own sweet time in coming. 
          The other day I was in the basement trying to stay warm on the treadmill and longingly gazed at the boxes of fairy garden decor stored on a shelf nearby.  In two months, it'll be April, I told myself.  Two months ago it was early December and that went fast.  But these days, time can't pass fast enough so I can dig my hands in the dirt and play in the garden.  Which is why two tiny chickens and a basket of lentil-sized eggs can really make my day...and bring back fond memories of my days when I was a Chicken Master. 

          Seven years ago I lived in Big Sur and one of my responsibilities while working in the garden at Esalen was taking care of the brooding hens and their Leghorn rooster, Henry.  Other than Big Mama, the enormous cochin hen, the other ladies didn't have names, so I gave them each a moniker:  Anais, Merryweather, June, and Angelina.  Near the end of my work-scholar month, Anais hatched a few eggs.  Despite June's best efforts to steal all of the chicks, a couple of them survived, including one little sassy sprite I named Martha.

Anais, Angelina and two new babies
          Martha followed me everywhere...from the hay-stuffed coop to the outdoor cage where all of the hens and Henry pecked at spent lettuce and kale.  She often poked through an errant hole in the chicken wire and toddled over to where I was working to explore a bed of cilantro.  One late morning when Martha was about four weeks old, I distinctly remember her running up and down the dirt paths between the beds.  At one point, she flapped her wings and lifted off of the ground for a moment.  After which, she turned and high-stepped it over to me, then took off running in the opposite direction, so I'd see her fabulous accomplishment.  Again and again Martha flew up and down through the flower beds until it was time for a chunk of squash back at the coop with her less adventurous siblings.
          It was hard to leave the chickens, as I had become fond of watching their charming personalities evolve over time.  Who knew fowl could be so fascinating?  Big Mama was bossy.  Anais was dainty.  Merryweather was a no-nonsense kind of gal who always squawked the loudest whenever someone laid an egg.  Angelina was a prolific mother as she kept laying egg after egg after egg and would sit for hours with her brood once they hatched.  And then there was June -- spiteful and nasty and always ready for a fight.   Even she and laid-back Henry would sometimes go a few rounds before he finally showed her who was boss.  But of course, it was little Martha who was the hardest to leave, knowing I might not be able to watch her grow up into a sassy little hen.
          I needn't have worried.
          Five weeks later I returned to Big Sur, this time as a garden intern.  What a surprise to see that my little Martha had grown into a stunning multi-colored rooster!  A new name was in order, so in accordance with the Big Sur writer's theme I named him Jack (as in Kerouac).  He lived up to his moniker's reputation, strutting around at all hours, pecking here, there, and everywhere.  Deviling the hens.  Fighting with this father.  He even escaped the coop a time or two.  Oh, he was a rambunctious one alright, but I loved him all the more.

My little pal, Jack
          Still, I learned the very difficult lesson that you can't have two roosters in a hen house.  Since Henry had seniority, the garden crew decided it was best to find Jack a new home.  I put signs up everywhere that asked if anyone had a place where Jack could rule the roost, but to no avail.  Big Sur residents came and went, but none of them had room for my little pal.  Day by day things got worse.  Jack pecked the hens and antagonized the new babies.  Henry was starting to get more than a little cranky.
          We all knew something had to be done...soon.
          "Just let him go on the farm," someone suggested.
          I lived in a yurt on the edge of the farm and knew that a pack of coyotes and wild animals of all sorts roamed the place at night.  The last thing I wanted was to find Jack's carcass in a chard bed on my way to work.   I knew Jack was a social fellow.  Even though he was ornery, he still loved the socialization of the other hens and the garden workers.  I reasoned it would be traumatic for him to be set free on the farm, left to his own devices until the inevitable would happen.
          So a handful of the garden workers and I decided to give him a good death in a grove by my yurt.  Surprisingly, Jack was calm and accepting of his fate, as were all of us who witnessed it.  It was sad to be sure, but when my friend, Ken, and I buried him in a shady spot beneath some pine trees, I knew it was the best thing to do for an animal who had both challenged and delighted us all.
          The next day dawned with peace in the garden.  Henry strutted around just like he always had before Jack's arrival.  The hens clucked and chuckled to each other, sharing a bit of granola I tossed to them for good measure.  The little chicks darted here, there, and everywhere hoping that a morsel or two would be left behind.  I missed Jack, but looking at the bigger picture, it was the kindest thing we could have done in the moment.  And I soon learned that life in the chicken coop often reflected my own life in more ways than one.
          Six months after Jack was set free, I flew the coop myself and came back home to Toledo.  It's been here where I've set up housekeeping once again.  Here where I cultivate my little nest in the Heartland.  Here where I brood in the winter when it's dark and cold.  Where I squawk in the springtime as I celebrate the newness of things.  It's here where I work and gather with friends to chat about our day-to-day comings and goings.  Here where I continue to accept the cycles of life, no matter how painful or confusing.  Here where I've found enchantment in the simplest of things.
          So as my indoor fairy garden takes shape in the weeks to come, I'm delighted to create a miniature version of my Big Sur babies.  A colorful vegetable garden will follow, along with a baby bee hive and a couple of birdhouses.  But it's my little cute coop which reminds me that spring is in the air, even it I can't see it just yet.  The cochin hen that is Big Mama's doppelganger brings back memories of nurturing my inner Towanda.  The delicate white and brown hens are Anais and Angelina incarnate, harbingers of my desire to continue hatching new ideas as my life unfolds.  And the basket of eggs keeps me mindful of all the things in my life that have not yet reached their fruition...but are eagerly anticipated.
          I'm reminded of an eloquent quote by William Blake, "To see a World in a Grain of Sand and Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand and Eternity in an hour."   In tending my little garden and chicken coop, I know that every morning I'm reborn to sweet delight.




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Better than socks

          It's a gorgeous sunny day in Toledo, Ohio that's amplified by the mountain of white outside my office window.  We were hit with a major storm last Sunday that dumped over a foot of snow and left three foot drifts swirling around my house.  It was incredibly beautiful though.  While I watched it steadily fall outside the picture window in my living room, I curled up beneath a polar fleece blanket while soft music played in the background.  As snowflakes swirled in air and kids in the neighborhood threw snowballs at each other, my hands were busy winding yarn into neat balls of wool that I will soon be making into a hooded scarf.
          In my little world on a snowy day, there's nothing better than knitting.  And let me tell you, it's a relief to be able to pick up my needles again in the midst of a long winter.  As you might remember, I took a long hiatus last summer when my hands simply wouldn't cooperate.  ("Why I quit knitting...for now")  What I thought would be a week or so away from my knitting projects ended up lasting over four months...the longest I've ever been apart from my wool and cotton blends. 
          Yes, I eventually found other ways to occupy my spare time - not that there's been all that much of it since September.  I spent long hours reading, watching documentaries, researching, and preparing for yoga classes and workshops.  But when the holidays rolled around, I realized how disheartened I was that there were no handmade gifts to give to my friends.  Usually a plethora of hand-warmers or gaiters or toys have flown off my needles and into the hands of my loved ones...but not this year.  
          What a gift to take the time during the winter break and pick up my needles once again...this time to make some socks for my friend and editor extraordinaire, Joyce.  While shopping at a craft store, a couple skeins of purple sock yarn serendipitously found their way into my hands.  Later that night, while Christmas carols played in the background, I eagerly got to work.  Mind you, I hadn't made a sock in over a year.  Still, I found it was just like riding a bike.  Since a yoga student had taught me how to make them ten years ago, I've created more than fifty pairs.  That's a lot of practice, so of course the pattern easily pulled itself from my memory banks as I cast on sixty-four stitches.  Several hours later, I was thrilled to turn the heel and carefully pick up stitches to make the gusset, all the while reveling in how easy it was to pick up where I had left off so long ago.  
          Five days later, the socks were finished, ready to meet their new owner.  As I tried them on to see if they matched, I remembered something a friend asked all those years ago when I was struggling to learn how to make the gusset:  "Why in the world would you spend all that money and take the time to make a pair of socks when you can just buy them at the store for a fraction of the price?"  She obviously didn't know the warmth and comfort of a hand-made wool and alpaca blend.  For from my very first pair, I was hooked.
          And so are a bunch of folks I have gifted in the years since then.

          I have a fond memory of hanging out in the lodge at Esalen, winding up some sock yarn while my friend, Craig, sat dutifully holding the skein of 100% wool across his hands so it wouldn't get tangled.  He had carefully chosen the colors himself and I promised that upon my return to Toledo later than month, I'd dedicate myself to knitting him the best pair of socks he's ever owned...and as there was a little yarn leftover, I made a pair of baby booties he could pass on to a friend who had a little one at home.
          During a phone call later that year, Craig told me, "I think of those socks as a work of art...and I wear them all the time."  That's one of the best compliments I've ever received...and one I always remember when casting on a new pair.  
          My friend and accountant, Lynda, does my taxes every year and I've knitted her a pair of socks in a variety of colors to thank her.  Satish and Danta were given some holiday socks years ago, although I imagine they've long outgrown their snowman and Santa's elf footwear.  I've lost count of how many socks I've made for others and am always delighted when cold weather arrives because inevitably I receive a phone call or an email thanking me for the wonderful gift of warm and comfortable feet in the midst of a wicked Midwestern winter.
          Just yesterday my veterinarian called to thank me for the pair I had made for him shortly after his stroke six years ago.  "They still keep my feet warm and I had to thank you again for making them for me!"  Later in the evening Joyce emailed to thank me for her purple socks and to let me know they're keeping her comfortable as the temperature plunged after a clipper system made its way through Toledo, dropping another three inches in the process.  I smiled to myself as I looked at my own feet, donned in a pair of cheerful green-striped woolies, a pair I had made years ago.  I still remember how excited I was that, even though the stripes were a bit complicated, I could get them to perfectly match. 
          "What does that matter?" a knitting student asked a few years ago.  "Your feet are never together to know the difference."
          "I'm a yoga teacher," I smiled.  "When I stand in mountain pose, my feet are right next to each other.  I like the structure of matching makes me feel more balanced."
          We both laughed out loud and I commented, "As you can see, I'm easily amused."
          And truly...I am.

          It doesn't take much to make me feel at peace these days.  I delight in a nourishing bowl of homemade soup.  A warm bath.  A contented cat sitting on my lap.  A sunny afternoon that lights up my whole house.  A long day of silence which feeds my spirit and opens up a place inside that knows how to be content with the simple things in life.
          Of all the things I can knit, footwear is my absolute favorite.  But what's better than the socks themselves is the joy in making something that is a gift beyond warmth and comfort.  With every stitch, I weave in whatever is happening in the present moment.  The music in the background.  The soft snowflakes falling down and settling on the earth.  The warm mug of peppermint cocoa.  The delicious scent of a lavender candle.  The silly cat playing with the ball of yarn as it unwinds.  So even though they may not know it, when my friends slip into their new socks, they're gifted with the sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and textures of the environment in which they were created.  But maybe they are aware of all of those things..and that's why years later, my friends call or write to thank me for the gift that came from my heart and keeps on giving.  
          Perhaps that's what "made with love" is all about.

For all the experienced knitters out there, here's a simple sock pattern I created...

Socks on Two Circular Needles

Materials2 size 2 or 3 circular needles (I prefer the 24 inch length)
                    2 skeins of Kroy Patons sock yarn, 50 grams each
                    2 markers, scissors, safety pin, and tapestry needle


To Begin

  • Cast on 60 stitches on size 2 or 3 needles. 
  • Divide the stitches evenly between the two circular needles. 
  • Knit in K2 P2 for about one inch (or desired length), then in stockinette stitch until total desired length to begin heel (6 to 7 inches). 

Heel Flap

*Working back and forth on one needle with only 30 stitches. 

Row 1:  slip 1 stitch as if to purl, then K1, slip1, to the end of the row
               ending with k1

Row 2:  slip 1 as if to purl, purl across row to last stitch, knit last 

*Repeat these two rows for a total of 30 rows.   Keep track by using a
                  row counter or by tallying

Heel (When slipping stitches, follow knit or purl in row)

Row 1:  K17, K2 tog, K1, then turn
Row 2:  slip 1, P5, ssp (slip 2 sts.  then purl together), P1, then turn
Row 3:  slip 1, K6, K2 tog., K1, then turn
Row 4:  slip 1, p7, ssp, p1, then turn
Row 5:  slip 1, K8, K2 tog., K1, then turn
Row 6:  slip 1, p9, ssp, p1, then turn
Row 7:  slip 1, K10, K2 tog., K1, then turn
Row 8:  slip 1, p11, ssp, p1, then turn
Row 9:  slip 1, K12, K2 tog., K1, then turn
Row 10:  slip 1, p13, ssp, p1, then turn
Row 11:  slip 1, K14, K2 tog., K1, then turn
Row 12:  slip 1, p15, ssp, p1, then turn
Row 13:  knit 18 stitches

Starting the Gusset

  • Continuing on with the same needle, with a crochet hook, pick up and  knit 15 stitches in the loops along the heel edge. 
  • In the corner between the heel and next needle (instep), pick up one stitch. 
  • Place a marker here.
  • Then continue on with the busy needle (the one with the yarn) and knit across half of the instep stitches (15 stitches).   Now drop this needle and slide the stitches to the middle. 
  • Go to the other end of this needle and slip 9 stitches to the end of the non-working needle (the back end).  There should now be 40 stitches on this needle. 
  • Begin with the other needle.  Knit across the remaining instep stitches (15 stitches).
  • Place a marker here.
  • With a crochet hook, pick up and knit one stitch in the instep, then pick up 15 more stitches from heel edge and knit them.
  • Knit the 9 heel stitches.  You should now have 40 stitches on this needle as well. 


*Knit the initial round like this:  K9, K14 through the back loops, K2 together (marker is here), K 15; go to next needle and K15 (marker is here), ssk, K14 through the back loops, K9.  This is one round.  Place a safety pin in the heel to mark the beginning of the rounds.

  • Round One:  K21, K2 together, K1 (marker is here), K15; on the next needle, K15 (marker is here) K1, ssk (slip 2 stitches then knit together), K21

  • Round Two and all even rows:  Knit the round

  • Round Three:  K20, K2 together, K1 (marker is here), K15: on the next needle, K15 (marker is here) K1, ssk, K20

Continue decreasing on odd numbered rounds, knitting one fewer stitch before the K2 together and after the ssk


When you have 30 stitches on each needle, knit all the rounds until you are two inches less than the length of your foot.  I usually knit until the sock length is to the middle of the big toe.


Round one on each needle:  K12, K2 together, K2, ssk, K12

Round two and all even rows:  Knit the round

Round three on each needle:  K11, K2 together, K2, ssk, K11

Round five and all odd number rows:  Knit one stitch fewer than before and after the decreases.  When you have 10 stitches on each needle, knit one more round. 

Then, knit 5 stitches and shift remaining 5 stitches to the other end of the needle.  Now you are knitting flat as you were at the beginning of making the sock. 

Note:  When you shift, there will be 10 stitches on each needle.  To prevent “donkey ears,” slip the end stitch closest the end of the needle over the stitch next to it.  Do this 4 times, on the end of each needle.

Kitchener Stitch

This stitch is used to weave the two seams together so there is a continuous row of stitches.

The two needles are held side by side in the left hand and the working yarn is broken, leaving a tail three times the length of the seam.  Thread the tail onto a tapestry needle, held in the right hand. 

Draw the threaded needle through the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl but leave the stitch on the needle.  Then draw the threaded needle through the first stitch in the back needle as if to knit, but leave this stitch on the needle also.  Do not pull the yarn too tight.

Work the seam as follows:

  1. Bring the working yarn through the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit, then slide the stitch off the needle

  1. Bring the yarn through the second stitch on the front of needle, but leave this stitch on the needle

  1. Bring the yarn through the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl and slide it off the needle

  1.  Bring the yarn through the second stitch on the back needle as if to knit, but leave this stitch on the needle

**Repeat these four steps until all the stitches are woven, and then weave the tail into the toe to finish.