Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Up-Down Entrelac--Getting Started

I'm now about to tackle the toe-up socks in Sock Knitting Master Class. The first pair is Kathryn Alexander's Up-Down Entrelac socks (page 122), which are technically knitted both from the top down and from the bottom up.

These socks involve about a million colors (well, 30 to be exact) worked in a combination of stripes and entrelac. If I hadn't committed to knitting every pair of socks in the book, I probably would never knit these socks. I love the kaleidoscopic look of the colors but for years I've said that you'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to knit entrelac--all those ends and all that fussy knitting back and forth!

I decided that if I knit these socks, I want them to be every bit as sharp as Kathryn's originals. So, rather than digging up lots of mis-matched sock yarn leftovers, I ordered the yarn as a kit directly from Kathryn's website (you can see kits on her website, but you have to contact her directly to purchase them).
The yarns are so beautiful that I'm a bit reluctant to start knitting with them (maybe I'm just procrastinating the entrelac...).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Slip-n-Slide: The Last of the Top-Down Socks

I just finished the second Slip-n-Slide sock and they are already on my feet. Every now and then I see a glimpse of bright green peeking from under my jeans and it makes me optimistic that spring really is on it's way. Even though February is the shortest month, it always seems to drag on with cold, gloomy days.

With the completion of this pair, I have worked through all of the top-down socks in Sock Knitting Master Class and I have ten (10!) outstanding pairs of socks to prove it. I've been reluctant to wear most of them because I keep thinking they'd make nice gifts. But, I wonder, will anyone appreciate all the nuances of technique and design as much as me?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Reader's Choice Awards

I've just been notified that Sock Knitting Master Class made it into the finals for Best Book of 2011 in the Readers’ Choice Awards! Voting is open from now through March 21; you can vote in each category once a day. The direct link for voting on books is here: and the full list of categories can be found here:

Vote early, vote often!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blowing in the Wind

Yesterday we had winds that clocked close to 90 mph. High winds are not uncommon during the winter along the Colorado Front Range and we are accustomed to flying bits of debris and even sections of fences, roof shingles, and branches breaking in these winds.
Yesterday, this hit close to home. A large spruce tree in our front yard snapped about 15 feet off the ground. I must be the luckiest person alive because the part that fell missed the house and only did minor damage to a neighboring tree.

What does this have to do with knitting? Nothing. But I'm sure if I had been at home when it happened, the crack and crash would have made me drop a few stitches!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why I'm a Spoiled Brat #18

While I was working away on my computer, the doorbell rang and the UPS man left a box at my front door. It isn't my birthday, but when I opened the box, I felt as though it was. The box was packed with yarn from Quince and Co. I'll be knitting a variety of projects over the next few months in each of their six wool yarns (ranging from fingering to bulky weight). If you haven't tried this yarn yet, you are in for a treat--it is locally sourced and spun and it comes in the most beautiful colors.
Clockwise from upper left: Finch in Frost, Tern in Boothbay Blue, Chickadee in Chanterelle, Finch (again) in Clay, lark in Twig, Osprey in Pomegranate, and Puffin in Bird's Egg.

Look for my projects on the Quince and Co website later this spring and summer!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Slip-n-Slide, First Sock Finished

Ahh. I finished the first Slip-n-Slide sock from Sock Knitting Master Class and I'm very pleased! The pattern was easy to memorize and creates beautiful texture.

The originals (pictured on page 108 of the book) were a little small for my feet so I added 6 sts and I made the leg and foot longer.

Here's what I changed:
  • I used Solstice Midsommar Sock yarn (75% superwash merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk) in Scottish Moss. Yum!
  • I used size 2 needles and worked in the magic-loop method (described on page 13) so that all of the front-of-leg/instep sts were on one half and all of the back-of-leg/heel/sole sts were on the other half. This made it easier for me to keep track of the pattern
  • I added 6 sts to the circumference (1 st to each of the six k2 colums of sts, working them as k3 instead) to give a cast-on of 68 sts, to fit my wide size-9 feet.
  • Set up pattern as follows, then continued the k3-columns as established:
    • Rnds 1-7: *[K1, p1] 2 times, k3, p1, k1, p1, k3, [p1, k1] 3 times, p1, k3, p1, k1, p1, k3, [p1, k1] 2 times, k1; rep from *.
    • Rnd 8: *[K1, p1] 2 times, small smock, p1, k1, p1, k3, p1, ssk, k1, k2tog, p1, k3, p1, k1, p1, small smock, [p1, k1] 2 times, k1; rep from *--64 sts.
    • Rnd 9: *[K1, p1] 2 times, k3, p1, k1, p1, k3, p1, large smock, p1, k3, p1, k1, p1, k3, [p1, k1] 2 times, k1; rep from *--68 sts.
    • Rnd 10: *K1, p1, k7, p1, k3, p1, k5, p1, k3, p1, k7, p1, k2; rep from *.
  • Work heel flap on 33 sts.
  • Work the first row of the heel turn as: Sl 1 pwise wyb, k17, ssk, k1, turn. Then follow the instructions as written to end up with 19 heel sts.
  • Pick up an extra st at the boundary between the heel flap an instep for the gussets for 14 sts picked up each side and a total of 82 sts
  • Decrease gussets to 68 sts. 
  • For toe, decrease every other rnd to 32 sts, then dec every rnd to 16 sts. Graft 8 instep sts to 8 sole sts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Slip-n-Slide, Getting Started

I finally started the next pair of socks in Sock Knitting Master Class. The last pair of top-down socks in the book, Chrissy Gardiners's Slip-n-Slide use slipped stitches to create embossed patterns down the leg and heel flap and across the top of the instep.For her version, Chrissy used Shalimer Yarns Zoe Sock, which is a soft three-ply 100% superwash merino.

I don't have any Shalimer yarn in my stash so I'm substituting Solstice Yarns Midsommar Sock (75% superwash merino, 15% cashmere, 10% silk), which is also a soft 3-ply. I obtained this yarn in the colorway Scottish Moss at Sock Summit 2011 in Portland, Oregon, which is where the yarn is hand dyed. I get gauge on size 2 needles. For this pair, I decided to use the magic-loop method (described on page 13) and began with the old Norwegian cast-on (described on page 39).
The socks in the book are a bit small for me so I added 6 more stitches by casting on 68 stitches instead of 62, as instructed. I "hid" the extra stitches in the six k2 columns; working each as k3 instead. This means I'll have to refigure the heel, gusset, and toe instructions. I'll outline what I do once I get there. The pattern is easily memorized and the yarn is heaven in the hands so I expect I'll be done in no time!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Complimentary eBook

Thanks for everyone's interest in my books and for all the kind words. The random-number generator says that LIZ is the lucky winner of Simple Style. 
On February 10, Liz wrote: Ann, I have most of your books and love them all! But I don't yet have Simple Style and would love to add it to my collection. I noticed lots comments from knitters wishing for your handy book of sweater patterns. I think it's a "must-have"!
Liz, contact me at so I can make arrangements to have the Simple Style eBook sent to you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

eBook Raffle

It's been a while since I raffled off a book and now that all of my books are available as eBooks, I think it's time to give one away.
Respond to this post by telling me which eBook you'd like and why (I find this information very useful). Check out my website and click on Apps and Books on the righthand side of the page for a list of all my books. Only books that are currently in print are eligible (sorry, the upcoming top-down sweater book is not included--I'll hold a raffle for that one when it comes out).
On Monday, February 13, I'll announce the lucky winner. If I don't hear back from that person, I'll draw another name on Wednesday, February 15.
Good luck!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters

Pre-orders are now available for The Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters! The books won't be in the Interweave warehouse until sometime in July, but if you click here, you can secure your copy now. Tee-hee ... imagine if there were so many pre-orders that they had to go back for a second printing before the first one arrived!

By the way, all of my other books are now available in both electronic and print versions. So, if your print copy is wearing out, consider clicking here to order another copy or an electronic version that won't wear out. If you order through my website, I'll get an additional 10%!