Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters Now Available in e-Book Format

Although the print version is on the literal slow boat from China and won't be available until late July, the electronic version of The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters is available for download right now at the Interweave Store. Click here for information on how to order yours for just $19.95. The electronic version will include the same instructions for circular yoke, raglan, set-in sleeve, and saddle shoulder sweaters as will be in the print version, as well as an exclusive chapter on modified-drop shoulder sweaters and three additional sweater designs.
Color me excited!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bigger Ruffles

I have it on very good authority that expanded sizes for the Ruffles cardigan will be available this week (May 31, I believe) from the Quince and Company website. The original, made available last year, was written for size 9 to 12 months. The new version has sizes ranging from 3 months to 6 years.
I'm working on a pair of booties to match.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stealth Argyles--A Finished Pair

I finished my version of Eunny Jang's Stealth Argyles from Sock Knitting Master Class.

These socks were a lot of fun to knit--shadow knitting is really quite fascinating!
Here's what I did differently from the instructions in the book:

  • I used Biggan Design 4 Ply Merino First Cross yarn (100% merino) in three colors.
  • I got gauge with size 2.75 mm Signature needles.
  • I started the heel after Row 31 of the second repeat of the charted pattern. 
  • I worked Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' yarnover short-row heel (described on page 20 and used for the Bulgarian Blooms on page 130 and Toe-Up Travelers on page 166), working the first half until there were 8 unpaired stitches in the center, instead of Eunny's wrap-and-turn method.
  • I stopped the argyle pattern when I had worked three full 56-row repeats.
  • I finished with the tubular bind-off (described on page 121) instead of the decrease method (described on page 120) that Eunny used.
Unfortunately, the feet are more than an inch too long for the snug fit I like. They measure a whopping 10 3/4" long from the back of the heel to the tip of the toe, which is appropriate for a U.S. woman's size 10 shoe. I'll either have to give them to someone with big feet or rip out to a shorter foot length (about 10 rounds shorter) and reknit the heels and legs. This is what I get for not trying on the socks in progress!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Stealth Argyles--First Sock Completed

Here's my first sock of Eunny Jang's Stealth Argyles from Sock Knitting Master Class.

I made the sock a little shorter--it measures just 8" from the base of the heel instead of 13 1/2"--and I used a contrasting color for the toe, heel, and cuff (I can't imagine an entire sock--or much of anything else--out of this acid green color).
I also deviated a bit on the short-row heel. Instead of following the wrap-and-turn method that Eunny used, I substituted Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' yarnover method that's described on page 133 (for Priscilla's Bulgarian Blooms).
And, instead of using the decrease bind-off specified in the pattern, I used the tubular method described on page 121.
On to the mate!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Pieced Sock

Last night, I sewed together the for sections of the sock for Piecework's upcoming Knitting Traditions special publication.
The seams involve working a whipstitch to join the bind-off edge of one piece to the cast-on edge of the next. Fortunately, each piece has the same number of stitches so the pieces are sewed together stitch for stitch and no easing is involved. I tried to sew fairly loosely to maintain the elasticity of the knitting, but the seams do make tight areas that are a little more difficult to pull over a heel.

I can convince myself that the seams make decorative design elements, but I can't say that the practicality of being able to replace the heel and toe are worth the fuss. I'd rather knit another pair of socks!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Sock Detour

Jeane Hutchins, editor of Piecework Magazine, asked me to knit a historic sock for the upcoming Knitting Traditions special issue. She showed me a pattern for a sock in an old issue of Weldon's Practical Needlework, a Victorian ladies' magazine from the late 1880s to the early 1900s, and asked if I could replicate it.
The interesting thing about this particular pattern is that the sock is knitted in four pieces that are sewn together so that the heel and toe sections can be removed and replaced when they become too worn for darning. When the socks are knitted, an extra heel and toe are knitted so that they will be on hand when the time arises. I suppose Victorian knitters had ways to prevent themselves from losing these unattached parts.
Here are the four segments, knitted out of Brown Sheep NatureSpun Sport on size 4 needles at a gauge of 7 sts/inch. I used contrasting yarn for the heel and toe for emphasis.

I still have to sew the pieces together and knit another heel and toe. And that's just for the first sock.
Hmm. I think that by the time I do that, I could have knitted another complete sock. But the purpose here isn't efficiency of time, but conservation of yarn. Yes, the yarn will go farther if the heels and toes are replaced.
But I wonder about the comfort factor? If yarn becomes so scarce that I have to use and reuse the legs and feet of my socks, I think I'll use an afterthought or short-row heel and toe that can also be replaced without seams!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stealth Argyles--Making Progress

I've been traveling to teach workshops more that usual, which has definitely cut into my knitting time. But I am making progress on Eunny Jang's Stealth Argyles.
I've just changed to larger needles for the upper leg. If I could focus on the sock, I could probably finish it in a day or two, but I expect that things will get in the way and it won't be done until next week. Too bad. I really like working this pattern and I'm anxious to see how the argyle motifs look when I have them on my feet.