Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sock Knitting for Beginners Online Class

UPDATE: We've shifted the start date to accommodate my travel and some other administrative things. Will now be starting October 14th.

If you haven't knit socks before, or are a newer sock knitter looking to build your skills, you might be interested in my upcoming online Sock Knitting for Beginners class, coming in the second week of September.

The class is a sort of modern correspondence course, run using Interweave's Craft University platform. It is a slightly different animal than many online classes. It's not a video class, it's not a lecture class - it's like an old-school distance learning class. There are lessons in the form of text, video and pictures, of course. And there are patterns and handouts and lots of reference material included. The platform's main feature focuses around discussion forums. And the class is all about that: discussions for learning. It's the next best thing to an in-person class. Through the discussion forums you can ask me lots of questions, and I can provide detailed real-time answers. When we've run this before, it's been an excellent way for me to give real-time feedback on your questions: students can ask text questions, but also upload pictures of their work, and I can provide detailed answers - in text, in pictures, in video format.

You can get more info and sign up here.

If I may be so bold, students get the most out of the class if they work along with the material, and engage in the discussions. If you're just looking for a tutorial or lesson you can read through at your own pace, I can recommend a book.... :-) When we've run this class before, I've had feedback that it's been particularly helpful for students who have perhaps tried socks and have had technical issues, or are uncertain about whether their skills are up to scratch, or are just looking for help problem-solving, and a bit of hand-holding.

If that's you, this class is for you! It starts October 14th  September 8th, and runs for a month.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Custom Socks: And it's out!

Thursday August 13th was the official release date for my Custom Socks book. The response has been terrific already - I'm grateful for enthusiastic reviews on Amazon, and on external websites.

I love Rohn Strong's perspective, as a crochet designer.

Felicia of Sweet Georgia has lovely things to say.

And the Knitmore Girls confess to being a little worried about the math, but generally are into it.

In one of those lovely coincidences, yesterday I also received a Ravelry message about my Socks 101 article on Knitty. Published ten years ago, in the Spring 2005 issue, this is what kicked this whole thing off for me. Although a little cruder - and with my trademark truly awful photography - the message is the same: sock knitting is fun, and socks should fit well. Even then, I was using the same basic recipe, although I was firmly on the side of Top Down at the time.

My perspective is a little broader these days: I go both ways, and I'm absolutely over my fear of stranded colourwork (I didn't mention that, did I?).

Thanks to everyone for supporting me, and buying the book! If I can dispell one knitter's fears about sock knitting, if I can make one knitter more confident about sock knitting, if I can make one pair of feet happier in their handknit socks, I figure I've achieved my goal.

By the way, I've started a Ravelry group. Come and join me! It will be a good place to ask questions, chat with me, learn more about what I'm up to. I thinking of doing a KAL for one of the book socks: what do you think?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Custom Fit Socks Launch Events & Webseminar

So much sock stuff going on at the moment... it's all very exciting.

If you're in Ontario, there are two launch events coming up you might be interested in: the evening of Thursday August 20th at The Purple Purl, we've having a bit of a party and class. And then Saturday August 22nd we're having a whole day of classes, activities and shenanigans, with special guests including the madpeople of Indigodragonfly.  The Shall We Knit team is VERY good at Shenanigans.

If you're not in Ontario, don't feel left out!

Wednesday August 19th, 1pm Eastern Time, I'm doing a webseminar on the topic of Custom Fit Socks. A nice adjunct to the book, I'll be talking through my custom-fit sock pattern formulas, and easy ways to customize them for particular fit needs.

As with my other webseminars, you can listen live or wait and listen to the recording at your leisure. The great thing about attending live is that there's always time for a Q&A at the end. If you've got questions about the book, or about my sock formulas, this is a good opportunity to chat with me.

Register at the link above.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Fall KnitScene: Featuring me. Twice.

I know, I know: this probably reads like humble-bragging, but I promise it's not. It's amazement and gratitude and maybe a teeny-tiny bit of what feels like unseemly pride.

Any knitter who reads the magazines knows the thrill of perusing the latest issue of a knitting magazine. And there's something special about the fall magazines. Fall is the knitter's favourite season: the promise of cooler weather and being able to reintroduce our favourite pieces into our wardrobes. (Although my commiserations for my friends in the UK who have been wearing sweaters a fair bit this summer.)

And so my copy of the Fall 2015 Knitscene arrived, and I did what I always did: eagerly flipped through it, for ideas and inspiration and to learn about new designers and new products and oogle the eye candy.

And oh yeah, and then bam: there's my name. TWICE.

As is always the case when you write a book - well, particularly when wordy-ol'-me writes a book, you write too much, and stuff needs to be cut. In this case, we had to cut two designs - the Prewitt slipped-stitch colourwork sock, and another one about which more news later.

I was a little sad to see these designs go, as I'd worked hard on them, and was proud of both of them.  But the lovely Amy Palmer came to my rescue: she likes a good sock design, and was happy to take one of the orphans on and publish it in her magazine, KnitScene.

The no-longer orphaned Prewitt Sock.
And so there it is, in the pages of KnitScene. Not lost at all! I love this sock, as it's a great way to introduce a bit of interesting colourwork into your knitting, without driving yourself insane. In my classes, I like to call slip-stitch colour knitting 'the cheater's Fair Isle', as you get the same effect, but with much less stress. You work with multiple colours, but only one at a time. Love it. And this pattern stitch is one of the easiest you can do. I like the faux-plaid effect. File under that rare but important category of "manly-but-not-boring".

But wait there's more!

This issue of KnitScene introduces a new column: Pattern Play. And guess who's writing it?!

As a teacher, I know that one of the biggest challenges knitters have with patterns is in reading them. Knitting patterns are written in their own (sometimes arcane and mysterious) language, using strange notations and abbreviations. Learning to knit is one thing - a thing for which there are classes and books and all sorts of online resources. But reading patterns is an entirely different skill. And it's a skill for which there are relatively few resources. This column aims to rectify that. In the first one, I talk about how to read the yarn information in pattern to make sure you're buying the right type and quantity of yarn for your project. In future issues I'll explain what the fuss is about gauge and what it actually means; I'll explain common pattern writing conventions, how to read schematics and charts and all sorts of goodness. I hope that knitters find it helpful!

If there's a topic you'd like me to cover, let me know!

Print edition; digital edition.