Saturday, December 22, 2012

Solstice Winner

There were 90 entries for the solstice book and the random-number generator picked #2: Eileen Brokaw, who wrote:

Solstice, Solstice, thank you for celebrating!
I already have several of your books, & love so many more, but... I would especially love to own my own copy of KNITTED GIFTS!
Congratulations Eileen! Email me your mailing address and I'll get the book in the mail.

Wishing you all brightness and light!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Solstice Celebration

The winter solstice is upon us and I couldn't be happier. It means that the days will get longer (if only infinitesimally) and spring and new growth will eventually come. Where I live in Colorado, the weather hasn't exactly been cold and we've yet to have a legitimate snowfall, but recent events have generated a sense of deep, dark sorrow.
So, to celebrate that things will get better, I'm holding another raffle. Respond to this post and tell me which of my print books you'd like (sorry, electronic versions are not eligible), and I'll draw a winner the morning of Saturday, Dec 22.
Here's to brighter days ahead.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Coping Mechanism

Some people call it a spinning wheel; this week I'm calling mine a coping mechanism. As yet another horror unfolds in the news, I've taken to my wheel for calming monotony. I'm working on fleece that I started spinning during my class on spinning for knitting at SOAR this fall. I'm planning a three-ply yarn that will likely become some type of vest if I can every bear to wear something that currently represents such sadness.

As I spin (or knit), I'm grateful for the process and again I think that the world would be a much more peaceful place if everyone spent a bit of time in quiet contemplation.
I wish you all peace.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Something's Amiss

My plan today was to respond to the comments regarding my last post about a substitute yarn for one of the sweaters in the modified-drop shoulder chapter of The Knitter's Handy Guide to Top-Down Sweaters (this chapter is presently only available in the electronic version of the book, by the way). I just clicked on the comments to remind myself what was said.

Imagine my surprise when I found anonymous comments had been added by people affiliated with inappropriate websites, and Louis Vuitton bags and Uggs Outlet Store in the UK! Does anyone know how I can remove these from the comment box? I'm mortified.

Regarding the yarn substitution, I wanted to explain that yarn companies donate yarn for book projects in the hopes that people will buy that same yarn. The fact that Briar Rose Fibers could no longer obtain the base yarn for the Legend used in Unisex Zip meant that they lose out on that advantage. That's why I wanted to knit an alternative in Glory Days, which is available. But your comments got me thinking. Instead of knitting the same sweater, I'll use the yarn for a completely new design, following the charts for one of the sweater styles in the print version of the book and I'll post about my decisions and progress along the way Stay tuned.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Unisex Zip Revisited

It's happened again. Soon after a book gets published, it seems that a yarn gets discontinued. The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters is no exception. The base yarn for the handdyed Briar Rose Legend that I used for the Unisex Zip is no longer available. Fortunately (I guess), this sweater is in the modified-drop shoulder chapter that is currently only available in the electronic version of the book (that chapter was cut from the print copy due to page constraints), so many of you may not even be aware of the problem.
I learned this sad news from Chris Rosien, owner and dyer of Briar Rose at Clara Parkes' Knitter's Review Retreat last month. But, there is a substitute! Glory Days, which is 100% bluefaced leicester (500 yards/8 ounces) should make a perfect match.
To test it out, Chris sent me four (4!) skeins of a beautiful handdyed red.
I plan to knit a substitute with it. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sneak Preview

I've been hard at work putting together another book, which has to be turned in to Interweave next week. Although I can't reveal the particulars yet, I can tell you that it is scheduled to be available in the summer of 2013.
Here's a photo of the projects:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!
Whenever I think of the many things I have to be thankful for, my life as a knitter is always at the top of the list.
Although I didn't realize it at the time, my parents set the stage by taking the family to live near Zurich, Switzerland, while my father (a university professor) was on sabbatical during the 1968-1969 school year. During that year, I attended a local school where boys and girls were separated one afternoon a week to learn gender-specific skills. That's where I learned how to knit. It's also where I learned to hate having my picture taken after my father snapped the photo below. Nobody is more surprised than me that such an awkward gangly girl was destined to become the luckiest person in the world.
In the spirit of giving thanks, I've made a donation of fiber animals to Heifer International in the hopes that others will discover the joys of knitting. Feel free to join me.
Think of how much better the world would be if everyone spent a little relaxing time knitting!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Classes, Classes, Classes

I can't believe that my last blog post was October 26 -- that was more than three weeks ago!

In my defense, I've been on the road teaching and having too much fun dining and conversing with other knitters into the late hours. Since the beginning of October, I've been at:
Interweave Knitting Lab in Manchester, NH
Wild Purls in Billings, MT
SpinOff Autumn Retreat (SOAR) in Tahoe City, CA
Interweave Knitting Lab in San Mateo, CA
Knitter's Review Retreat in Canandaigua, NY

Happily, I'm home for the next couple of months. But I've got some exciting workshop trips already planned for 2013, including:
Knit and Ski in Steamboat, CA (January 24 - 27)
Loopy Ewe in Fort Collins, CO (April 18 - 21)
Toronto Downtown Knit Collective Knitter's Frolic in Toronto, Ontario (April 26 - 29)
Belle France Tours in Montpellier, France (September 16 - 22)
Knit East in New Brunswick, Canada (September 27 - 29)

I'll post other engagements when they become finalized. I look forward to meeting a lot of you on my travels!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters -- Modified-Drop Shoulder Style

The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters has been out for a few months now and I continue to get questions about how to get the chapter that was cut from the print version (page restrictions, don't you know) but included in the eBook (no page restrictions). The chapter in question addresses modified-drop shoulder silhouettes, which, we agreed, is a style that most knitters might prefer to knit from the bottom up.
Still, the chapter includes instructions for 15 sizes at 5 different gauges, or 75 more sweaters (not counting cardigan and neckline variations). Plus, and perhaps more importantly, the chapter includes three additional patterns--two by me and one by Kristen TenDyke. And both of my designs were photographed on men to demonstrate that all of the instructions include men's sizes.
Here's the Unisex Zip (worked with Briar Rose Fibers Legend at a gauge of 6 stitches/inch):

Here's the Weekend Retreat (worked with my very own handspun at a gauge of 4.75 stitches/inch):

And here's Kristen TenDyke's Basket Case Cardigan (worked with O-Wool Balance at a gauge of 5 stitches/inch:
At present, you can only get these patterns and the modified-drop shoulder chapter if you purchase the downloadable eBook. But that seems excessive if you've already purchased the print copy and all you want is the missing chapter. I've been asking Interweave to make this chapter available as a single download for those who don't want to buy the complete book a second time. If you agree, it might help if you contact Interweave's customer service to let them know.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Counting Rows

Whenever I teach a class, I can be fairly certain that I will come out learning something myself. This has never been truer than my recent sock class at Wild Purls in Billings, Montana. I was explaining how to count slipped edge stitches along the selvedges of a heel flap when Joyce Fletcher mentioned the method she developed out of desperation.
Unable to convince herself that she could tell the difference between slipped and knitted stitches, Joyce turned to the wrong side of the flap (shown here on a completed sock) hoping that the slipped stitches would be more visible than on the right side. On first inspection, they're not.
But Joyce took a spare needle and poked around to find that it was pretty easy to slip the needle under the horizontal strand associated with each slipped stitch.
Joyce stumbled on a foolproof method that had the rest of us in awe. There are 8 rows of slipped stitches in the heel flap in this example and I can assure you that they are much easier to count from this perspective. I hope you can make use of Joyce's trick next time you have to count rows of slipped stitches.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet

I don't normally review books or products on my blog, but today I'm making an exception.
Hunter Hammersen has self-published a book of patterns inspired by 10 vintage botanical illustrations. Called The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, this book contains an exceptional collection of mostly lace socks, hats, cuffs, shawls, and cowls, including a variety of heel flap and edging patterns. The image below provides some general information, the book's cover (top left), and other selected projects.

Unlike some self-published books, The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet is a visual treat in terms of photography and layout and is printed on quality paper. I haven’t tried any of the designs yet, but I definitely will.
The book sells for $26.95 and is available through Unicorn Books.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Montana Socks

The third class I taught at Wild Purls in Billings, Montana, was Toe-Up Socks. I don't normally take photos of students, but they gave me permission to click one to share here. Notice the lively walls and displays -- this shop is a visual treat.
Here's a sample of the miniature socks that were knitted for the class. There were 20 students, but I managed to gather only 16 of the socks. (Note to self--don't use a red background for photos.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Montana Socks

I'm in Billings, Montana, teaching at Wild Purls for a few days. The shop is a visual delight in addition to providing lots of great yarn, including a great selection from local producers.
On Friday, I taught top-down sock basics in which everyone knit a miniature sock to learn the old Norwegian (also called the German or German twist) cast-on, a round heel, picking up gusset sts (and eliminating the hole at the top of the gusset), a wedge toe, and the dreaded Kitchener stitch (which everyone left understanding!).
All 20 students finished their sock, but I only managed to get a photo of a few of them. And I forgot my camera so I had to take the photo with my phone.

Yesterday I taught mitten basics and forgot to take a photo altogether. Today is socks from the toe-up. I hope to remember my camera and remember to take a photo of the completed socks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Teaching Circuit

Fall is a busy time for knitting instructors. I have back-to-back engagements for the next five weeks and I spent last week in New Hampshire at Interweave's Knitting Lab. If you get the chance to go to a Knitting Lab, I encourage you to do so -- you'll find lots of classes from loads of teachers and you can't help to learn something in every class.
The one and only Barbara G Walker was the keynote speaker Saturday night. Although she's currently more active in feminist causes than knitting, she remains a source of inspiration to knitters. Plus, she's simply delightful.

I leave for Billings, Montana, tomorrow to teach socks (both top-down and toe-up) and mittens at Wild Purls. I've never been to Montana so I'm looking forward to the chance to wear heavy sweaters.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Here it is -- about 180 yards of three-ply from my Enchanted Knoll Farm Polwarth/Silk blend. It only took me a couple of hours to ply it, but it took days to find time to snap a photo.

I had planned to use this yarn for socks, but, given all the socks I've knitted in the past year,  I'm wondering if it might not be more fun to knit some sort of shawl/cowl thing.
Right now, I'm happy just to admire the skein.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spinning Again

I'll be teaching at SOAR (SpinOff Autumn Retreat) next month--Spinning for Knitting a sweater, Socks at any Gauge, and Sweater Design Basics--and I started to get nervous that I haven't sat at my wheel for several months.
To get reacquainted with my wheel, I decided to spin up the Enchanted Knoll Polwarth/silk top that I bought at SOAR last year. It's a gorgeous combination of browns, burgundy, blue, and purple called "haunted." I bought it with the intention of spinning three-ply yarn for a pair of socks.

It took a while for me to figure out how much tension to put on the break band and to get into a rhythm, but once I did, the fleece seemed to spin itself! I forgot how much I enjoy spinning. I divided the fleece into thirds and spun each third onto a separate bobbin.

I hope to ply the singles tonight.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pussy Willow Stockings -- Done!

I completed Cat Bordhi's Pussy Willow Stockings this week. It looks like the temperatures are beginning to drop so I might get to wear them soon.

The next (and final) pair of socks in Sock Knitting Master Class are the Toe-Up Travelers, which I designed and which I still have.
Here they are a little closer up.

I was going to ask you dear readers if I had to reknit these to officially say I've knitted my way through the book. But I was worried that you might vote that I did need to knit again. I need to move on to other things, so I made the executive decision that once was enough. 
Here's my "ring of socks," representing more heels, toes, cast-ons, bind-offs, directions of knitting, and knitting techniques than I can count:
I need a bigger sock drawer!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pussy Willow Stockings -- Making Progress

I labored this weekend on Cat Bordhi's Pussy Willow Stockings from page 160 of Sock Knitting Master Class. The socks begin with a most interesting toe, then the gusset increases are worked in a five-row pattern that includes two rows to form a three-stitch eyelet followed by three rows that are worked even. This causes a three-stitch increase every five rows in a diagonal pattern across the instep.

After the heel (which includes a firm heel flap that's worked by slipping stitches through the back loop), the eyelet pattern changes direction and decreases are added to keep the stitch count constant.
The hardest part for me was keeping track of the three rows worked even between the eyelet increases along the foot. I put a removable marker in a stitch just below the needle on the second eyelet row, then worked even until there were three rows between the marker and the needle.
This pattern is so much fun that I even made great progress on the mate, which has the eyelets travel in the opposite direction (it's difficult to get a good image while the stitches are on needles).
My only changes to the pattern have been to use double-pointed needles instead of two circular needles and to work a few rows of k3, p1 ribbing instead of allowing the sock to roll at the top of the leg. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Birthday Winner

Thank you all for the warm birthday wishes. I had a marvelous day knitting followed by dinner out and a movie with my husband (I highly recommend Hope Springs).
The random-number generator chose #90, which is Barbara who commented at 1:19 pm:

Barbara said...
Top-Down Sweaters is at the top of my current wish list.
Barbara, email me your mailing address and I'll put the book in the mail.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Birthday Wishes

Tomorrow (Sept 1) is my birthday and I wish to give away a gift--any of my print books or the new cast-on/bind-off DVD.
Respond to this post by midnight Saturday to tell me which you'd like (only one entry per person, please) and I use the trusty random-number generator to choose a winner Sunday (Sept 2) morning.
Click here for a list of books.
Unfortunately, I don't have access to eBooks, video downloads, or apps so they are disqualified from this offer.
Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pussy Willow Stockings -- Getting Started

I'm getting pretty excited as I approach the end of Sock Knitting Master Class. I am now to Cat Bordhi's Pussy Willow Stockings (page 160).
Following Cat's genius for placing gusset shaping wherever she likes, these toe-up socks are shaped with three increases every five rounds to form an openwork pattern that travels around the instep and front of the leg. Except for keeping track of the increases, these socks are a fairly mindless knit.
Cat worked hers with Fleece Artist Somoko at 8 stitches to the inch on two circular needles.
For my version, I'm using Huckleberry Knits Willow (80% Bluefaced Leicester, 20% nylon; 420 yd/4oz) in a beautiful handdyed blue called Spindrift. I'm getting gauge on size 2.5 mm double-point needles. As many of you already know, I much prefer working with double-pointed than two circular needles. (I'm sorry, Cat...I just can't get used to the needle ends flopping in my lap.) But I think Cat's most interesting design and construction are more important than the type of needles used.
Stitches emerge from a wide horizontal band to form what Cat calls a moccasin toe. I haven't worked this type of toe before, but it's easy and a nice alternative to the more common wedge toe.
So far, this promises to be one of the easiest pairs of socks in the book!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Half-Stranded Socks--A Finished Pair

I finished Anna Zilboorg's Half-Stranded Socks from Sock Knitting Master Class. The colors I chose are a bit more muted than Anna's originals so the pattern doesn't show up quite as well, but I like the understated look.

Next up are Cat Bordhi's Pussywillow Stockings.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DVD Winner

Including the people who weren't able to respond to the raffle post and emailed me separately, there were 106 entries in the raffle. The winning number is 50, or Quinnspins, who wrote:
"I would love, love to have this!!! I am the technique geek at my shop, and this is right up my alley."
Congratulations Quinnspins!
Email me ( ) to give me your mailing address and I'll get the DVD set in the mail to you.
If I don't hear from Quinnspins in two days, I'll pick another winner.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Notes on The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters

I'd like to answer publicly to a few queries and comments about The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters. Let me know if you have other questions!

No Male Models
The reason that there are no sweaters photographed on men is because both men's sweaters were included in the chapter on modified-drop shoulder styles that was ultimately cut from the print version (it is available in the eBook download). I even knitted one of the sweaters out of my own handspun yarn (Weekend Retreat) to demonstrate how well the instructions work when you don't have a "standard" size of yarn. And it looked great on the guy who modeled it!
Saddles Worked in the Wrong Direction
The saddles for the saddle-shoulder instructions are knitted from the neck outward to the shoulder edge, then the stitches are incorporated into the sleeves so that a cable or other pattern can be continuous from neck to cuff. Veronik Avery chose to knit the saddles in her Zigs & Zags in the opposite direction, aligning them with the stitches of the front and back instead. Because she knitted them in a contrasting color and stitch pattern, they are quite visible and many readers have assumed that all of the saddles are worked Veronik's way.
Error Reported
One of the reviewers on mentioned that she found an error but she did not identify what or where it was. If you find a mistake, please, please notify me. I want to correct it!
Adjusting for Sleeveless Styles
To adjust the patterns for sleeveless styles, you'll need to adjust the shoulder widths to allow for an edging to be added around the armholes. You may also want to work deeper back neck shaping--work the back much like the front in two sections to the base of the neck shaping.
If you want to convert the seamless yoke or raglan styles into sleeveless sweaters, you'd need to stop increasing for the sleeves and bind off the sleeve stitches before you finish all of the yoke shaping. Fortunately, you can try on the yoke as you go and determine when to do this. Then you'll need to work the back and front(s) back in forth in rows until you reach the desired armhole depth.
To make the set-in sleeve style sleeveless, you'll want to cast on fewer stitches for the back to allow for narrower shoulders and the desired amount of edging to be added at each armhole.
To make the saddle-shoulder style sleeveless, you'd knit the saddles to the desired shoulder width, allowing for the desired amount of edging to be added at each armhole.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Another Raffle!

Want a chance to win a copy of my 2-disc DVD on cast-ons and bind-offs?

Just respond to this email by 6:00 pm Mountain Time Aug 22 and I'll use a random-number generator to choose a winner, who I'll announce Aug 23. If I don't hear back from the winner by Aug 25, I'll choose another name.
Good luck!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cast-On/Bind-Off video and DVD

Back in June I taped a two-part video of cast-ons and bind-offs. It is now available for immediate download as regular and high-definition video, as well as a two-disc set.

The video or DVD set includes everything I teach in my cast-on/bind-off workshop, plus a whole lot more. If you've every struggled with the Kitchener stitch, this video will make you wonder why. If you've ever wanted a decorative cast-on or bind-off, you'll find it here. Worried about cast-ons and bind-offs that are too tight? Worry no more! And delight in cast-ons and bind-offs that preserve ribbed textures.

I'll add this DVD to the books and apps available through my website soon, but for now, you can order the DVD by clicking here, and you can order the video in standard definition by clicking here or the video in high definition by clicking here.

I hope you find a happy beginning and ending to every project you tackle!

Half-Stranded Sock--First Sock Completed

Here's my first Half-Stranded Sock.
I love the way the patterns work together--I didn't make a single change to Anna Zilboorg's pattern (page 152 of Sock Knitting Master Class).
I've already cast on for the mate, with the colors reversed to give a brown background with red pattern.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Half-Stranded Socks--Sole

I finished the top of the foot (instep) of my half-stranded sock and started to pick up stitches around the toe and sides to work the sole, but miscounted the stitches and ended up working the sole at an angle.
I ripped it all out and placed markers at even intervals on each side to ensure that I'd not make the same mistake again.

Here's the bottom of the foot (sole) worked EVENLY to the beginning of the gusset increases.

The next step is to increase one stitch at each side every other row until I reach the base of the heel.
I am loving this sock!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Half-Stranded Sock--Top of Foot

Staying up late, I finished the top of the foot, or the instep, of Anna Zilboorg's Half-Stranded Socks.

I think I've mentioned before that I knit much tighter than I purl. So much so that I use a larger needle for knit rows than purl rows. For these socks, I'm using a 2.75mm needle for right-side rows and a 2.50mm needle for wrong-side rows. This keeps my stockinette looking even. (When I work with interchangeable circular needles, I put different size tips on each end of the cable.)

You might want to try this trick if you find your stockinette has a stripy appearance from the stitches being different sizes on alternate rows.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Half-Stranded Socks -- Getting Started

I'm counting down on the last few pairs of socks from Sock Knitting Master Class.
This week I started Anna Zilboorg's Half-Stranded Socks--"a peculiar construction that enables a stranded color pattern to be worked on the instep alone." This keeps the foot of the sock thin enough to fit comfortably in a regular shoe. For fun, Anna reversed the pattern and background colors for the second sock to make a "fraternal" pair (no second sock syndrome).

Anna used Simply Socks Yarn Company's Simply Sock Yarn Solids (80% wool, 20% nylon; 175 yd/50) in cranberry and camo (1skein each).

I happen to have been given some Simply Sock Yarn Solids from the company for this pair of socks. I chose chocolate and merlot (two of my favorite flavors), which are a little more sedate than Anna's colors. So far, I'm fascinated with this construction. It begins with a narrow strip around the toes, then the stitches are picked up from this strip for the instep. The instep is worked back and forth in the color pattern.

I'm anxious to see how the sole is attached so I stayed up late last night knitting.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Terpander Socks--A Finished Pair

I found myself completely alone this weekend--our eldest son has flown the nest, the twins are away being camp counselors, and my husband went to his 40th high-school reunion. I took advantage of not having to cook, clean, or do other daily chores and spent the weekend knitting. It's been a while since I've devoted so much time to knitting and it was pure bliss.

After what seems like ages, I finished Melissa Morgan-Oakes Terpander socks from Sock Knitting Master Class (page 144), ending with very little yarn left over.

Knitted from the toe up, these socks include ribs, cables, and a little bit of lace. The originals are knitted with a luxurious blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon called Classy Sox from Dye Dreams. Sadly, Dye Dreams closed before the book came out, but I happened to have some of their yarn in my stash--Luster Sox, which is 100% superwash bluefaced Leicester.

The biggest adjustment I made is that I didn't knit these two at a time on one longer circular needle. I can't help it -- I get so annoyed with the way the balls of yarn get tangled that I just can't do it. I used my very pointy Signature double-point needles instead. They make quick work of decreases and cabling without a cable needle.
The yarn I used is a bit thinner than the Classy Sox recommended so I added a couple k1, p1 ribs at each side of the leg, working the foot on 80 stitches instead of the specified 72 stitches. I wanted to make sure the socks would fit my big feet (and they do!).
I increased the gussets to 120 stitches (instead of 108) and worked the heel flap until 78 stitches remained. This eliminated the k2 panel that Melissa had along each side of the leg. I worked these stitches in k1, p1 rib instead.
To make the leg a tad longer, I finished the chart on Row 3.
For a little more interest in the ribbing at the top of the leg, I continued the 4-stitch cable/lace patterns all the way to the bind-off edge.

Next up are Anna Zilboorg's Half-Stranded Socks.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Proof that Knitting is on the Rise

I went to a baby shower last weekend for a soon-to-be grandchild of one of the owners of my local knitting/weaving/spinning shop. Normally I knit a wee sweater for children of good friends but this year I've gotten myself a little overextended. Feeling guilty, I purchased a stuffed animal--but I wrapped it nicely in a silk bag decorated with gold thread and sequins. I sat in the back and made myself small.

To everyone's delight, the first gift the mom-to-be opened was a sweater. So was the fourth. Then again a few packages later and few packages after that. In all, the baby received six (6!) handknitted sweaters (well, one was crocheted), three blankets (again, one was crocheted), three hats, and a pair of socks. I should have known--most of the guests were employees of said yarn shop.

I left feeling smug that I had the foresight to be different and give a toy!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An Invitation

I'll be teaching at the 4th annual Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, this September 14 and 15 (that's a Friday and Saturday). The fair includes classes, a marketplace, demonstrations, book signings, fiber animals, food vendors, music, silent auction, and more, including guided tours of Brown Sheep Yarn Company.

This year, I'll be teaching a two-day class on Sweater Design and Finishing. 
In this two-day workshop, you’ll make a miniature pullover (suitable for a teddy bear or, perhaps, an infant) following the pullover instructions in The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. Your sweater will be worked in four pieces—one back, one front, and two sleeves. To minimize the amount of class-time knitting, all students will work a small sweater in worsted-weight yarn. To prepare for the class, students will knit the four pieces to the armholes according to instructions that will be provided at the time of registration. 
In the class, you can choose between drop-shoulder, modified drop-shoulder, and set-in sleeve shaping, and between round and V-neck shaping. So, even though you will knit only one version, you'll lear the others. Best of all, you'll leave with a completed sweater and all the knowledge you need to design, knit, and finish your next sweater beautifully.
You will learn:
  • determining the correct garment size
  • measuring a gauge swatch
  • calculating even spacing of increases or decreases
  • centering a pattern stitch
  • working selvedge stitches
  • paired increases and decreases
  • picking up stitches around a neckline
  • an elastic bind-off appropriate for ribbed necklines
  • seaming
  • blocking
  • tips and tricks along the way
I've been assigned a large classroom and there's lots of space available. For information, visit I hope to see you there! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Raffle Winners

Thank you for your eager anticipation for The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters. I hope the book won't disappoint.

The random-number picker I used must like the East coast because both winners appear to be from the NYC area. The winners are NYCKAY and Jersey Shore Deb: Congratulations! Email me at to let me know your mailing addresses, and I'll get the books in the mail.

For the rest of you, thanks for participating and keep visiting my blog -- there are sure to be more raffles in the future!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Raffle Time!

They're here! The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters arrived at the Interweave warehouse. Of course, this momentous occasion needs to be celebrated with another raffle. I'll use a random-number generator to choose two (2) names from those that respond to this post by midnight (mountain time) Wednesday, July 25 and send those winners a complimentary copy.
Sharpen your needles!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Catching Up

I am currently backed up against a number of deadlines, and as Murphy would have it, every time I open my inbox, there's at least one message that requires some action and puts me further behind. I bet most of you can relate.

For example, I recently got a message that there was a typo in my last blog entry (dated around July 2) about the complete and corrected version of The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweater e-book now being available. Instead of correcting the error, I managed to delete the entire entry. (Here's the link if you want to order a copy for immediate download). I finally gave up on trying recover it and was so fearful of deleting anything else that I've been hesitant to post another entry. Hence, the long gap since I last wrote.

But I have made some progress on the Terpander socks from Sock Knitting Master Class. I'm about halfway up the leg and plan to finish the first sock this weekend (really!).

When I announced that I was going to knit every pair of socks in the book, I expected to complete them all by the one-year anniversary of the book's publication. Given that the anniversary is just a couple of weeks away and there are three more pairs (as well as the mate to this one) left to knit, you can be sure that this day will come and go without fanfare.

In the good news department, I've received an advance copy of the book version of The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters. And in the really good news department, the slow boat from China docked and the shipment is due to arrive at Interweave on Monday (July 17), a couple of weeks ahead of schedule!

Just for the record, I do NOT plan to blog about knitting every sweater in that book!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

150,000 Winner

Thank you all for you very kind words about my books--I'm blushing.
The winner of the drawing is sparkeespud, who wrote: "I have to say I've been lusting over the Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters...". Well, sparkeespud, you can stop lusting and get ready to knit! Just email me at so I'll know where to send the book when it arrives, which is expected to be in about 4 weeks.

And for the rest of you, you'll get another chance to win this book next month -- I'll hold another raffle when the slow boat arrives from China.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today's the Day

The little counter at the base of my blog page just hit 149,900 hits. At this rate, it will reach 150,000 by midnight. But in case it doesn't turn the corner until the wee hours of the morning, I'll allow entries until 12 midnight on Wednesday, June 27.

To enter, just respond to this post and tell me which of my books you'd like. You can see a list of all my books by going to my website and clicking on Books and Apps in the upper right-hand corner. All books are fair game, including the yet-to-be released Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters.

Aime Shawl

Remember back in April when I posted a photo of a shawl I was blocking?

Well, check out the Quince & Company website -- the pattern was posted for sale today ($6). Named Aime, after one of the authors of the Estonian lace book the main pattern came from, this shawl takes 5 skeins of Finch (shown in frost #103) and is knitted on size 7 needles for a blocked gauge of 4 stitches/inch. The main pattern repeats over 8 stitches and 16 rows. There is a 5-stitch nupp (rhymes with "soup") in the center of each motif, which makes a lovely low-relief bobble with an interesting texture.
I had a lot of fun knitting this shawl; I hope you will as well!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Closing in on a Milestone

I just noticed that the counter at the bottom of my blog page has passes 149,000. That means that it will clock 150,000 very soon. This is an event worthy of celebration. Because giving away books is so much fun, I'll hold a raffle the day that the counter hits 150,000. On that day, just write in to tell me what book you'd like (the new top-down book will be eligible) and why, and I'll draw a winner.

The only catch is that you have to check my blog counter and post a comment on The Very Day that it hits 150,000. I'll give a hint -- there are usually about 200 hits per day. But I expect that number to go up as people check in more often.

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Terpander--Getting Started

I finally got back to Sock Knitting Master Class this weekend and started the Terpander socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. These socks are a lesson in working two socks at a time (from the toe up) on two circular needles. You get a pretty great cable pattern, too.

For the socks in the book, Melissa used Dye Dreams Classy Sox, which is a luscious blend of 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. Sadly, Dye Dreams closed down last year and this particular yarn is no longer available. But, I happen to have some Dye Dreams Luster Sox (100% Blue-Face Leicester) in my stash, so I decided to at least stay with the same company for my version.

Now, I have a confession to make. I detest working with two circular needles and I detest working two socks at a time--too many needles and strands of yarn flopping around and getting tangled. It slows me down, takes the fun out of knitting, and makes me grumpy. So, I decided to follow Melissa's most excellent pattern, but work the socks one at a time on my cherished Signature double-point needles. These needles make quick work of stitch manipulations, such as decreases and cables without a cable needle. To avoid the "second-sock syndrome," I'm going to knit the second sock first ;-).

To make socks that have some chance of fitting my big feet, I'm working at at gauge of 18 sts/inch (rather than 19) on size 2.5 mm (about 1 1/2 in U.S. sizing) needles and I added 8 sts to the pattern--one k1, p1 rib at each side of the instep, and one k1, p1 rib at each side of the back of the leg (for the foot, I just added 4 sts to the stockinette-stitch sole). Consequently, I increased the toe to 80 sts (40 sts each for the instep and sole). So far, it seems to fit. I'll just have to be careful not to make the foot too long.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sock Diversion

As some of you have noticed, I came to an abrupt halt in knitting my way through Sock Knitting Master Class. I do intend to get back to it--Melissa Morgan-Oakes cabled Terpander socks are calling to me--but I've had a few diversions.
Besides taping a video of cast-ons and bind-offs for Interweave Press, I've been working on some socks for Quince and Company. The More Better Baby Socks were posted last week:
I'm well into the pattern for adult socks, which should be posted later this summer:
As soon as these socks are finished, I'll get back to the four socks remaining in Sock Knitting Master Class. My hope is to have them done by the book's 1-year anniversary in July.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Video

I don't know what possessed me, but I agreed to do a video workshop on cast-ons and bind-offs for Interweave. I've spent the last couple of months researching techniques and knitting endless swatches in preparation for the taping last week.

Interweave has a pretty good method to organize the tapings--the materials (in my case, swatches, needles, etc.) are grouped in trays in the order they are to be presented. So that I could keep track of what was what, I did the cast-on swatches in red:

And the bind-off swatches in blue:

We taped more than 30 cast-ons and more than 20 bind-offs, including variations. I don't think I've ever talked so much in a single day!

I believe the video will be available in August, but that probably depends on how much editing needs to be done. Hopefully, there will be something left after all my bloopers have been removed. If you do have cause to watch the video, be kind. I'll never get used to being in front of a camera (or three!).

Friday, June 8, 2012

Discounted Books!

Great news! The "hurt book" sale begins today at Interweave Press.
This is your chance to get slightly damaged (but still perfectly useable) book at discounts up to 70% off the cover price. There are "hurt" copies of almost all of my books.
In addition, there are deep discounts on eBooks for those of you who have made the leap away from paper or just can’t wait to get the print versions in the mail.
Click here to peruse the possibilities now.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

More Better Baby Booties

Check out Quince and Company's website for the five designs that I've added to the Better-Than-Booties Baby Socks, originally published in the Summer 2005 issue of Interweave Knits.
From feminine ruffles and lace to boyish ribs and stripes, there's a pattern that's sure to perfectly adorn the feet of the newest addition to your clan.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Quintet of Baby Socks

The Better-than-Booties Baby Socks that I designed for Interweave Knits back in the Summer of 2005 continue to be a favorite among Ravelry users. So, just for fun, I decided to play around with the design to come up with five new versions.
The pattern, given in two sizes, uses fingering-weight yarn (Quince and Company Tern is shown) and will be available from the Quince and Company website this month. I believe they will divide it into a couple of posts--I'll let you know when they do.
I'm sure their photos will be much, much better!