Sunday, August 30, 2009

Signature Cables and Twists Sock: Available for Purchase

Now available at Patternfish - the Signature Cables and Twists Sock.

You'll notice that the left and the right socks differ. This is starting to become a bit of a thing with me - odd socks. Because really - who says they need to be exactly the same?

They're worked top-down, in a 4-ply sock yarn (28 sts/4 inches). Suitable for intermediate sock knitters.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Contest! Copy of Joy of Sox!

I have an extra copy of The Joy of Sox. I want to give it away.

After my stunning performance at the Stitch and Pitch - would it be possible to look more bored? - I want to hear your stories about knitting in public.

Please leave a comment or email me (email address on the right hand side of this page... ) with your best knitting in public story. Best/most amusing/most embarrassing knitting in public story wins the book. 2 runners-up will get a selection of my sock patterns.

If you enter, you agree to let me publish the story here - so consider the embarrassment level. Entry deadline: midnight EDT September 4th. My good friend, marketing goddess and shameless knitter-in-public, MMJ (on Ravelry, on Twitter) will help me judge.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Knitting in Public: Stitch & Pitch 2009

Apparently, there was a baseball game on.

Me, I was knitting.

Hilarious photo courtesy of Stashaholic.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Books!

It's cool enough to get free knitting books in the mail - but then when you discover that you're in them...

These two arrived this week. The Joy of Sox is a rather tongue in cheek twist to sock knitting...

My contribution is the Peek-a-boo Pedicure sock. An improvement on some popular pedicure socks in that they have a little thong, so they actually stay in place.

And then there's "It's in the Bag", a book on travel knitting. The idea behind this book is projects that are suitable for travel - both in terms of portability, but also results that are travel-friendly.

My European Tour set has everything you need for a trip around Europe - a jaunty scarf, because you need a scarf to fit in; a vest/tank top for the all-important layering; and a pair of ankle socks for keeping your feet warm on the plane.

It's in the Bag features my giant-green-plastic-cable-needle-in-the-cleavage-at-Heathrow anecdote. All I'm going to say is that it did explain the very funny look I got from the passport inspector.

Both books have some fun projects - have a look next time you're browsing in your favourite book source.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Update on Shrug Rant & Garter

One commenter tells me that she likes the garter front edge on the shrug.

Perhaps that's the bit I'm missing - that people like how it looks. Do you agree?

I like garter stitch, don't get me wrong. My complaint here is that it seemed out of place when the upper and lower edges were ribbed. If the garter edge is good, then it would have looked better, IMHO, if all the edgings were in garter. Keep it harmonious?


Friday, August 21, 2009

Pet Peeve - Garter vs. Ribbing for Front Edges

I was going to blog about something else, but then I tripped across this... Mind if I rant and rave for a minute?

(I'm usually fairly polite and reasonable, so I hope you won't hold this one lapse against me.)

I keep seeing this pattern. The Knitting Pure and Simple Bulky Shrug.

This drives me mad for a couple of reasons...

I have something that looks very much like this in my pattern repertoire. (As do others, I'm not claiming it's such an innovative idea).

but more to the point... I think that it has a fairly serious design flaw.

Now, this is absolutely not intended to be a personal attack on the designer or the publisher or anyone (or indeed the other designers who have created something similar).

But come on -- a garter edge at the fronts, when the upper and lower edges are ribbing? Ick.

How hard is it to work the front edges in ribbing?

Like I did here?

It's not like you have to pick up stitches or anything to work the ribbed edge - you can still work it in one piece.

I think it makes a much more attractive finished result. If you click to enlarge the photo, you'll see that the front edges are smooth and subtle. The garter edges on the other version stand out too much, in my opinion.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Is there something really great about the garter bands that I'm missing?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Toronto's Creativ Needlework Festival: Oct 16-18

I'm thrilled to announce that I will be teaching at the upcoming Creativ Festival in Toronto this October.

I'm teaching introductory classes on Socks and Entrelac and look for some late-breaking news about a Lace class in a week or so. Details on the website, and in the brochure.

I will also be spending some time in the A Needle Pulling Thread booth, and chances are you'll see me at the Yarn Cafe, sponsored by my girls from The Purl.

I've been going to this event for years. The breadth of the event is remarkable, but it can also be a little frustrating for that - but this year they have worked hard to increase the quantity and quality of the knitting and crochet content. I'm looking forward to it very much.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Update: The Naked Sheep

There are two yarn stores in the world called The Naked Sheep. One of them is right here in Toronto, one is in Bennington, Vermont. There's been some confusion out there because of an email that went around about a closing sale.

The Naked Sheep in Toronto is definitely NOT closing. In fact, they've just posted their September and October class schedule. They've got some great new yarns coming in for the fall, and they are having a special sale on current inventory to celebrate Lisa's first anniversary as the shop owner.

Toronto's Naked Sheep is very much alive and well.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sock Summit - Just About Recovered

(Photo courtesy of Glenna C.)

That's me, chatting with Jess of Ravelry. Sitting beside me - a little obscured - is the lovely Cathryn Bothe of Signature Needle Arts. I was their demo bunny at the show. The Signature team - Cathryn, Laura and Danielle - were a joy to work with, and they made me feel so very welcome. I was honoured to be helping them out.

I spent the weekend doing three things - talking to knitters in the Signature booth, drinking coffee, and buying goodies. I hardly got any actual knitting done (Cathryn was entirely correct on this score), but I had a marvelous time anyway.

The people I met. Ann Budd. Cat Bordhi. Jess of Ravelry. Jeni C of the cast off (you'll know more about this soon). Judy of Judy's magic cast on. Judy Sumner. Amy Dentjen. Lucy Neatby. All lovely lovely people.

For those of you who weren't there: It was awful. Really. Had a dreadful time. Nothing good to buy. The pizza in the convention centre was oddly floppy.

Actually, that's really the only bad thing I can say about the entire weekend. Floppy pizza.

As to what I bought... I think I was pretty restrained.

On the yarn front:

All sock yarn, naturally.

The aforementioned Cake or Death.

A skein of Blue-Face Leicester from British Yarns. In a colourway called United.

A skein of Yak from Bijou Basin.

And a Zauberball. This is an odd duck - another single with nylon, like the Noro. Unsure how it will wear, but I love the long lengths of colour.

For tools, I bought this lovely antique darning egg. As much as a showpiece as anything - I just like the idea that there is a tool specifically to help you darn socks. And beside it, the Wanda (scroll down on the page). Very clever. A combo crochet hook cable needle thingy. I've been told these are genius for picking up garter stitch. I think it's an elegant solution for when I don't want to carry my big toolkit.

And the best $5 of the show - a Stitch Saver from 5elementknitr. A little (both in length and diameter) crochet hook on a keyring that attaches neatly to your project bag. I used it within an hour of buying it to pick up a dropped stitch. It hasn't left my side since.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sock Summit - Day Three

Wow. What a day.

It's all about the wacky sock names. You've already seen Cake or Death. Clown Barf, anyone? Colourways named after the Seven Deadly Sins, and poisons.

Even the coffee at the Convention Center is good. God bless the Pacific Northwest.

And Ann Budd likes my work. Squee!

Haven't actually shopped much - yes, I know, I know. Will try to get some more today. Because really, I need more sock yarn.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sock Summit Day One: We're Going to Run Out of Cake At This Rate...

There are some seriously great sock yarns here at Sock Summit, with some seriously great names...

but this one has to take the... err... cake.

Cake or Death.

Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs. They rock. I already have a design in mind.

I also bought a vintage darning egg, since that seemed rather lovely and appropriate...

There is very good beer here in Portland, too.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Signature Cables and Twists Sock- Free at Sock Summit

As mentioned in Cathy's blog post, I'm unveiling a new design at Sock Summit... the Cables and Twists Sock.

The pattern will be free to purchasers at the Signature booth - even more reason to come by and say hello.

The right and left socks differ - the cable elements are reversed.

I'll be working on the left sock in the booth. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Enroute from Seattle to Portland for Sock Summit

Sock knitting and hot drinks on the train.

Not shown in picture: laptop for viewing of Doctor Who episodes - just as important as the hot drink.

Socks, Eh?

To celebrate Sock Summit, I've put together a list of some of my favourite sock designs and links to the various patterns.

Free Patterns
Knitty Socks 101 - a template for creating a sock to fit any foot, with any yarn.

The Basic Ribbed Sock - Women's sizes - a 3x1 ribbed sock designed specifically because I find k1 p1 ribbing oddly boring, and it doesn't look good in a self-patterning yarn; k3 p1 ribbing runs all down the leg and the foot
The Basic Ribbed Sock - Men's sizes

The Reverse Basic Ribbed Sock - because in some variegated yarns, the reverse side of k3 p1 ribbing looks better.

The Christmas Sock - they don't have to be for Christmas - they look just as good in a single colour, or in other colour combos. Mock Cable rib all along the leg and down the foot make them fit well, and look a bit more special than your everyday socks. And no cable needle required!

Available for Purchase
Exploded Ribbing Sock- Patternfish link; Ravelry link

Midnight Sky Sock -Patternfish link; Ravelry link

Spring Blossom Sock - Patternfish link; Ravelry link

Summer Sock Wardrobe
- Patternfish link; Ravelry link

April Showers Sock
- exclusive to The Naked Sheep - Ravelry link

New Designs - Not Yet Published

Gansey Sock I - stay tuned for news on this one

Gansey Sock II

Patterns Published Elsewhere
Northern Lights & Winter Forest Socks - Festive 2008 issue of A Needle Pulling Thread
Irish Spring Sock - Issue 13 of Yarn Forward; Ravelry link
No Sweat Socks in No Sheep For You - Ravelry link
Fancy Fair Isle Socks in Tops & Toes

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sock Summit - See you there!

I'm excited - and yes, perhaps a little nervous. I'm heading west this week, to Sock Summit in Portland.

Excited about all the great people I'm going to meet, all the amazing socks I'm going to see, and all the fabulous things to buy in the marketplace.

Nervous? Yes, nervous about how much money I'm going to spend. As I've mentioned, I've already got a fairly sizable sock yarn stash - about about 40-50 pairs' worth, depending on whether I use up partial balls.

And I know damn well I'm going to end up coming home with more. Am taking my magical expanding suitcase.

I will be in the Signature Needles booth (#301) in the marketplace. Come and say hello!

As I've already said, I love their needles, and am honoured to be part of their demo team at this event.

I'll have a couple of new sock designs with me to show off - and I may even have some patterns available. Stay tuned for news on that.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I Qualify for Two Categories

See the Purple Purl Newsletter? Specifically, the Scavenger Hunt part?

I am eligible for two categories - teacher, and faces from the calendar.

Come and find me!