Saturday, March 15, 2014

#sockjournal is catching on; my photo spot

I'm thoroughly enjoying the #sockjournal posts on Twitter. I love that it's catching on. This one makes me happy: a pair of the My Vampire Boyfriend socks - my design! -  knitted by Ariel, who is no slouch in the sock designing department herself.

Here's the ones I'm wearing today: my Top Down Wollmeise Birkenrinde pair. Wollmeise is a legendary German sock yarn - prized for its colourways, but also its feel. It's multi-ply - 10 or 12, I believe, and although wool and nylon, has the coolness and softness of cotton. This colour, "birch bark" in English, is a wonderful sophisticated take on black and white, and grey and purple highlights. The name is perfect.

Someone asked how on earth I'm getting these photos. Here's my setup: two pieces of white foamcore set up in our wide front window ledge. I sit on the ledge to get as much light as I can, and take a shot. The window is north facing, so the light is reasonably bright but diffuse, so it works quite well.

A quick note

Ever wanted to take a class with me, but couldn't? Interested in my Blocking Class? Now's the time!

Craftsy is offering a big sale this weekend, with discounts on all their classes, including mine. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

#sockjournal & Neon Sock Yarns; Shall We Knit classes

I'm having lots of fun with my #sockjournal project on Twitter. Every day I'm posting pictures of the socks I'm wearing; sometimes also pictures of the socks I'm knitting. I love that others are playing along, posting pictures of their own socks. And I love even more that I've apparently inspired a couple of knitters to take up sock knitting.

In particular, EmStar has blogged about her two projects on the go... A Bigger on the Inside, and a pair of my Basic Ribbed sock in a fantastic neon yellow.

photo shamelessly borrowed from EmStar's blog

All the grayness outside has me craving neon coloured sock yarns. I've fallen rather in love with this new line of Regia neon sock yarns. Seriously, they're fantastic.

Would be kind of great over black tights, no? 

I'm also rather loving Blue Moon's Socks that Rock Psychobarbie colourway. They have it in stock at Shall We Knit. 

And here's where I fall down. I'm off to Shall We Knit for a weekend of classes March 22 and 23rd. I adore going there - I love the shop and the team and all my Waterloo friends, both human and canine.

I'm teaching four classes:

  • Continental Knitting - get faster, get stronger, get ready for colourwork
  • Colourwork Bootcamp - ready to add a second colour? We cover stripes, Fair Isle, Intarsia and slipped stitch colour knitting.
  • Heels and Toes - for sock knitters looking to expand their knowledge and toolkit
  • Fixing Mistakes -because it happens to everyone

Kim and Ron of indigodragonfly will also be there, teaching classes and doing a trunk show. Likely also eating cheese.

More info here.

I'll let you know what I end up buying.

And yes, for those of you who were asking, I've dug out the pattern for that cabled sock I featured last week, and hope to have that ready for publication in the next week or so. It was very very old, a design from 2008, and I've had to recreate the charts from a corrupt file. I've sent it off for a full review and tech edit. I know I wasn't nearly as good a pattern writer then as I am now.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

"Today's Socks" #sockjournal

I've started an informal series on Twitter... "Today's Socks".

Have you been following?

Just about every day I'm tweeting a picture of the socks I'm wearing. Some are plain. Some are new. Some are old. All of them live in my sock drawer.

These are today's.

They're worked in Shelridge Farms's Ultra Heather sock yarn, a nice hardwearing mix of wool and nylon, just the way I like it. These must be seven or eight years old, one of my first published designs. They appeared in Canadian magazine A Needle Pulling Thread.

The copyright has reverted to me, I think I should republish them. The yarn is still available, and I'm pretty proud of them.

It occurs to me that I should add a hashtag for easy searching - will do that starting tomorrow. In the meantime, you should be able to see them all here, mixed in with various other photos.

Update: we have a hashtag! #sockjournal. Join in if you want!

If you're not a twitter user, or you haven't the faintest what a hashtag is, or are just confused, no worries. Just click on this link and you'll be able to see my socks. And hopefully others', too.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Reader question: for Barbara W.

A reader left a comment on one of my blog posts. It's possible that I'm missing out on a clever feature in Blogger, but I can't honestly figure out how to reply by email. Although my correspondent created an account for commenting, I can't figure out how to email her back. (If I am missing something, I'd love a pointer, please!)

So, a reply in a blog post instead.
how do you garter stitch in eastern knitting without getting tight twisted fabric if you knit thru back loop every row?
from barbara w

Back in 2011, I wrote about blog post about combination knitting, a method that personal-hero-of-mine Annie Modesitt espouses.

Combination knitting is blindingly fast and easy and creates a very even fabric, in stockinette stitch worked flat. The downside to this method is that it's not really well-suited for working in the round, or garter stitch. My reader is entirely correct, if you work garter stitch this way, you get a twisted fabric. For garter stitch, I work in the more "conventional" method, knitting into the front loops of the stitches.

UPDATE: A smart Combination knitter left a smart comment on the post - go read it! She's entirely correct in what she says. It's actually an interesting thing. Ultimately, you can do anything you want in anyway that you want. That's one of the reasons that I love knitting so much.

The answer to the question is both "yes" and "no" at the same time. If you work a straight, unmodified Combination knit - that is, always knitting into the back leg of the stitch, then your fabric is going to end up twisted, as Barbara states. If you work the stitches so that you're knitting into the right loop, regardless of where they are mounted, then the fabric ends up entirely the way it should be.

How that plays out in reality is that to make that work for garter stitch, you either end up working into the front legs of the stitches, or changing how you wrap.

(Too much detail? Try it!)