Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Entering the Digital World

Who'd believe it? A couple of weeks ago Interweave turned my handy guides to yarn requirements into iPhone apps and now they tell me that my books are going to be available electronically as well! You'll be able to purchase the eBooks alone or as a set with the print version--called a Collection--through the Interweave Store and, in just a few days, through my website (click on Books and Apps).

The following are available now:
The Best of Interweave Knits eBook and Collection 
Getting Started Knitting Socks eBook and Collection 
Knitted Gifts eBook and Collection 
The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns eBook and Collection
The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns eBook and Collection
Knitting Green eBook and Collection

The rest will be available in the coming weeks.
Favorite Socks: 12/8/2011
Sock Knitting Master Class: 12/15/2011
Bag Style: 01/20/2012
Color Style: 01/20/2012
Lace Style: 01/20/2012
Simple Style: 01/20/2012
Wrap Style: 01/20/2012

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twisted-Stitch Stockings Upper Foot Completed

These socks have me intrigued. I've never knitted a moccasin sole and it's a little hard for me to envision.
That's why I've been knitting like a bandit these last couple of days.
I finished the instep and the heel "flap" this morning.
It begins with the center 8 heel flap stitches put on waste yarn, then the upper foot is worked back and forth in rows while maintaining the twisted cable pattern on the instep and decreasing stitches each side of the held heel stitches. Then the instep is worked straight to the toe, which is shaped with decreases. The remaining toe stitches are placed on a holder.
Here's what it looks like when viewed from the wrong side of the instep. The two orange markers show where the heel decreases ended.
Next, the held heel stitches are worked (in pattern) while stitches are picked up along the shaped edges.
Here's what it looks like after the heel is completed. I've removed the two orange markers. (The color difference between the two images is because one was taken at night under artificial light.)
Tonight I hope to work the sole.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Twisted Stitch Stockings--Getting Started

My knitting journey through Sock Knitting Master Class has brought me to Meg Swansen's Twisted Stitch Stockings (shown on page 86).
I love twisted stitches and have been looking forward to this pair of socks for the pattern. But I have to admit that I'm a little intimidated by the moccasin foot shaping. It requires that the upper foot be knitted back and forth in rows, then the heel "flap" is worked back and forth in rows while it is joined to the back of the instep. Finally, the sole is knitted in the round, shaped with decreases, and finished with a length of Kitchener stitch along the center of the foot. There's not really a way to try on the sock and check for length until it's completely done. But the advantage is that the sole can be removed and completely reknitted if holes develop.
Not wanting to mess with perfection, I ordered two skeins of Vuorelman Satakieli from Meg at Schoolhouse Press in the same gray-blue color she used (#631). But instead of using two 32" circular needles, I chose to knit mine using the magic-loop technique with a 40" circular.
Everything went smoothly for the first few inches. But then I realized that there was an error on Row 3 of Chart A (the braided pattern). The chart says to work a left traveler on the center two stitches of this row. But the pattern is a little more elegant if these two stitches are worked as a left twist instead. The difference is that both of these stitches should be knitted through the back loops as for a left twist. A left traveler has one of them purled, which doesn't flow as nicely into the embossed braid pattern. (I will notify Interweave of the correction on Monday.) Fortunately, this is a minor error visually and you really can't see where I changed the way that these two stitches were worked.  
I'm anxious to get to the instep so I can try my hand at the unusual construction. If things go as I plan (but why should they?), I'll get to the instep tomorrow.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Rose Ribs Completed

I had hoped to finish the second Rose Ribs sock (page 80 of Sock Knitting Master Class) at the Knitter's Review Retreat, but there was just too much going on. Instead, I finished it on the plane home on Monday. I love the yarn I used for these sock--Plucky Knitter Primo in Sticky Toffee. It's a nice round yarn with plenty of stretch. And in a fiber combination of 75% extra-fine merino, 25% cashmere, 5% nylon, it's a dream to knit with and should be heaven to wear.

Those of you with eagle eyes might notice the slightly darker toe on one of the socks. That's because I didn't remember to take my gauge swatch with me and I needed that yarn to complete the second sock. Fortunately, I found a few yards of a similar yarn at the Retreat.
Next up are Meg Swansen's Twisted Rib Stockings.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Feeling Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving, and stuffing and pumpkin pie aside, it's become my favorite holiday because it's the day that I reflect on all that give me cause to be thankful.
Right up there with my family and my health, I'm thankful to all the knitters (and spinners) who make my world a better place to live.
To you, I say a heartfelt thanks for giving me the opportunity to turn my hobby into my living.
I wish you all well (and lots of cashmere).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Knit Handy and Crochet Handy

The wizards at Interweave Press have just converted The Knitter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements and The Crocheter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements into handy iPhone apps.

Called Knit Handy and Crochet Handy, respectively, these apps will let you determine how much yarn you'll need for basic garments and accessories knitted (or crocheted) at a variety of gauges for a wide range of sizes. Crochet Handy also has conversions single, half-double, double, and treble crochet stitches. All of this is available at the iTunes store for just $0.99 each.

For more information and an official press release, go to:

For Knit Handy, go to:
For Crochet Handy, go to:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two New Classes

Today I fly the friendly skies to Rochester, New York, where I have the good fortune to teach at Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review Knitting Retreat this weekend.
I've developed two new classes this year, both of which will debut at the retreat. It's fair to say that I'm a little nervous. But I've made handouts and have knitted swatches so at least I'll have something to show.
On Friday, I'll teach shadow knitting. This is a magical technique where you manipulate garter ridges in two colors to create patterns that seem to appear and disappear, depending on the angle at which the fabric is viewed. Very cool!
On Saturday, I'm scheduled to teach "Conquering Kitchener Stitch". In three hours I hope to make 30 people comfortable with Kitchener stitch, whether it's used for stockinette stitch, reverse stockinette stitch, garter stitch, or ribbing. And as a extra bonus, we'll master the invisible ribbed bind-off, which has its roots in Kitchener stitch. Want to place any bets on whether or not everyone in the class will leave feeling at peace with this most misunderstood grafting stitch?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rose Ribs--First Sock Completed

I've been traveling a lot lately and have been afraid to bring my extra-sharp Signature needles in my carry-on bag in case some TSA employee decides to take them away from me. That means that I've been making slow progress on my Rose Ribs socks. But I finally completed the first one and got through about half of the leg of the second last night.
I followed the instructions for the larger sock, casting on 70 stitches on size 2 (2.75 mm) needles. I worked four pattern repeats, then changed to size 1.5 (2.5 mm) needles to narrow the calf. I followed the instructions in the book (pages 81 to 85 of Sock Knitting Master Class) for the heel, but I picked up the gusset stitches through the back loops and then worked those picked-up stitches through the back loops on the first round. This helped tighten the join between the heel flap and the foot. The little safety pins mark every 20 rounds of knitting so I'll be sure to make the foot on the second sock the same length as the first.
The Rose Rib Lace pattern is a relatively simple alternation of yarnovers and left-leaning (ssk) and right-leaning (k2tog) decreases. Every other row is worked as the stitches appear so in the 8-row repeat, there are only 4 rows that need attention. The pattern is not charted in the book because we thought the instructions were so easy to follow written out in rows. Still, I managed to lose my place and more than once skipped a pattern round. I finally noticed that the eyelets are outside the medallions for two pattern rows, then inside the medallions for two pattern rows. Rnd 1 forms eyelets on the outside, Rnds 3 and 5 form then on the inside, and Rnd 7 forms them on the outside again. The decreases are worked so that k2tog decreases and ssk decreases are aligned for two pattern rounds, then they trade places. I've probably just made this sound more complicated than it is. Give it a try--the socks are definitely worth the effort. If you prefer working from charts, you can easily chart the 7-stitch, 8-row repeat for yourself.
I hope to wear these socks when I teach at Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review Knitting Retreat this weekend.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Arwen's Yarn

Early this summer I visited the alpacas at Stargazer Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. I left with some fleece from Arwen.
I've blogged about my trials in cleaning and carding the fleece, but now my efforts have paid off. I have 875 yards of sportweight alpaca in a luscious chestnut color. I photographed this yarn while waiting for a wardrobe change at a recent photo shoot for an upcoming book that will be published by Interweave Press. (I'm the editor of this book but am not allowed to disclose information about it yet.) Encouraged by the amount of yarn I produced, I'll probably knit it into some sort of warm lace shawl.
The photographer's assistant, Scotty, was suitably impressed with my yarn and modeled it for me.
Now, there's an fashionable look!