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!