I'm packing for Sock Summit. I can't believe it's time! This time tomorrow I'll be in the air, freaking out that I have packed insufficient or incorrect yarns for the week. Oh well, there's always the Marketplace.
I'll be working the Marketplace's "Lucy Booth" (knitting help for a nickel) on Friday afternoon, teaching 9 hours in total and auditing a class with... wait for it... Barbara Walker. Yes, THAT Barbara Walker.
A couple of blogkeeping items:
Happy knitting, all!
While I haven't seen a copy in real life yet, the Internet seems to be buzzing with the recent release of Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns. I'm a little buzzy too, anticipating the moment when I get to see my own pattern in a real, live book.
Meet Pot Pourri:
Photo copyright 2008, Interweave Press
The sample socks were worked by Kristi Geraci in Pagewood Farms Chugiak Hand Dyed Sock Yarn. Quite pretty, yes?
With the release of the blog, Carol and Interweave are embarking on a publicity blitz. I'm pleased to do my part by giving you a little bit of the behind the scenes of my pattern and what inspired it.
I love bright, vibrant handpainted, crazy multicolours, especially watching the various hues fly through my fingers as I work a sock. There's a soothing feeling to that old familiar motion, Magic Looping with a 2.25mm circular, with the added excitement of watching the colours mingle as a sock takes shape.
I, along with ridiculous numbers of knitters, consider Socks that Rock to be the Cadillac of such yarns. The firm twist, the soft hand, and, oh, those colours. However, sometimes I find it hard to do justice to a yarn that is so very special to me.
Ladies and gentlemen, give me complete order and symmetry, or give me total randomness. The inbetween will literally keep me up at night.
Handpaints give me predictably frustrating results: nice, fairly even stripes on the foot, crescent-shaped pooling around the ankle where my gusset increases cause the colour stacking to reverse direction, then nice striping again up the leg. Depending on the stitch pattern and colourway being used, it can look really nice to my eye, or make me want to poke my eye out.
I sometimes use a short row or afterthought heel to minimize distortion in the colourations, but that robs me of the sock knitting process I have come to so dearly love.
When the call for submissions for Carol's latest book came out, it suggested a few means that we as designers may do well to consider: directional changes, changing stitch counts, lacy distraction, etcetera.
Fearing I could never tame the beast of pooling, I used them all.
Pot Pourri changes stitch counts on most of its 7 repeated rows. As well, every seventh row is a terrific yarn hog, as each pair of stitches is wrapped in a double figure 8. This serves to not only deposit colour on the stitches, but to "reset" the yarn so that any tendency to establish colour patterning in the previous rows will be interrupted. The gentle curve of wrapped stitches is too subtle to be a real chevron, but is just enough to keep the eye moving.
It's written cuff-down with a picot edge (the picots are even purled to give a peep of colour from the previous round), eye of partridge heel flap and a toe that is decreased in three wedges. I'd call it an intermediate knit, but a quick one. You may find yourself knitting on just to see if you will find pooling. I believe you won't.
Below is a shot of a finished pair in STR lightweight, Cobblestone County colourway. I can't see the pooling; can you see the pooling?
Buy the book, enjoy what I've heard is a comprehensive set of chapters to help you understand the nature of the handpainted beast, and knit as many socks as you can stand.
But skip to page 88 first, OK?
Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns is en route from the printer and will be available before the holidays!
Interweave have posted the Table of Contents, and it looks really, really good (if I'm allowed to say so).
Put this one on your list for holiday giving, and watch for an excerpt in the upcoming issue of Knits.
My favourite Hallowe'en fiends had an odd request this year.
"Could you knit a smurf sleeper for the baby?"
I suppose I've knitted odder pieces than that. At least this one had a purpose, so the baby would match his smurfy parents at their upcoming Hallowe'en party.
I started from the toes, worked up to the body, added a zipper from the back waist to the top of the head, ribbed face opening, a little stuffed short-row peak, and voila!
Baadeck Yarns has had me knee-deep in embellished silk, and I like it. A lot.
My second design in Tilli Tomas yarn is now available from Baadeck Yarns, free with the purchase Tilli Tomas Disco Lights. Sequined silk is so very, very good.
Her name is Diva, and she comes in three widths. Skinny scarf and scarf each take a skein, while the wrap width takes two. She is worked in the easiest 6-stitch repeat and is totally reversible.
And did I mention the sparkle?
On an exciting note, the Tilli Tomas people have purchased batches of patterns for this and for the Uno cowl, so you should be able to purchase through them anytime soon. Filling my first wholesale order made me feel a wee bit
like peeing my pants legit.
I have really, really missed Baadeck Yarns. Whenever my annual professional conference takes place in Baddeck, I love to go visit, fondle, and spend. After a two year gap, I finally made my way back. Behold the new stash!
Sea Silk in Baadeck Pinks, one each of the dark and light shades.
Discounted Felted Tweed, enough for my very own Tangled Yoke cardi.
Noro Silk Garden Sock, which I've been assured lacks the complete and utter suckage of its Kureyon sibling.
And some Beaded Silk from Tilli Tomas. It's delish.
I did a design for the shop, for a lacy Moebius cowl. It requires one skein of Rock Star, 1 long 5mm circular and the cast-on directions from either of Cat Bordhi's Magical Knitting Treasuries.
The pattern is free from Baadeck Yarns with the purchase of the required yarn, so contact Pat if your little black dress needs a bit of bling.
How's everyone else's stash doing?
It's been a Wicked, Wicked kind of August. Armed with 2 shades of Ottawa, a perennial favourite, I aimed for the perfect, casual fall sweater.
Nixing wide stripes from the outset, I opted instead to alternate colours on each rounds, with the solid on the collar, cuffs and pocket. This prevented both unsightly horizontals and OK-but-unwanted pooling.
These shades were complimentary but had no colour in common. I love the blending effect of the alternating rounds. The "seam" is up the middle of the back, and is only visible if you want to see it.
I joined the pocket a bit differently, working the top edge provisionally and then pulling each stitch through to the inside before binding them off. The result is clean and decidedly NOT migraine-inducing to work.
I love this sweater, although it's still too warm to model it! Here's Amy doing her best.
And how does one celebrate an epic destash but with a bit of an enhancement?
Blue Moon Luscious Single Silk in Spinel, for a February Lady Sweater.
Some Harlot-inspired shades of Socks that Rock for baby knitting.
And a bit of discounted Opal, just because it's Opal.
Allow me to excuse myself; there's silk to roll around in.
Life around here is not quite as it should be. None of it involves huge personal trials, just a bunch of little things that have left me not myself. The mojo, she's left the building. In the spirit of appreciation, here are the small things I am taking comfort in as I ride this blip.
A pattern that I can do in my sleep.
A cool stitch pattern,
that can even be added to a heel flap for the funkiest sandal socks ever!
A yarn that does the work for me
A very tidily [if I may say so] turned heel.
Out of province yarn acquisitions
Book previews, where my name appears with some quite amazing people. [I affectionately call the author's list a "Who's who (them) and a Who's that? (me)!]
Hats that will bring comfort
And readers who bear with me, even when I take myself far too seriously. Thank you, all!