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.