Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Miss Marple Sock Pattern

You've been so patient with me, many thanks for that! I am finally ready to unleash this exciting new pattern on you (with pictures!): Miss Marple!

NOTE: This pattern includes a BONUS Mystery/knitting themed crossword puzzle at the end! Seriously, people. You read that right.

Miss Marple

This sock was originally designed as a mystery, with the pattern divided into clues. The mystery design was inspired by Miss Jane Marple, the fictional crime-solver created by Agatha Christie. She’s sharp, clever, and a knitter, of course. Now the pattern is complete and ready to knit as a whole… the only mystery left is to unlock the crossword puzzle at the end!

Miss Marple

What is mosaic knitting? Describing mosaic knitting is harder than actually doing it. Barbara Walker named the process of slipping stitches while alternating rows of color “mosaic knitting” because it naturally lends itself to geometric design.

Unlike stranded knitting, you only work with one color at a time. You will slip stitches to give the illusion of colorwork. In this pattern, you will work 2 rows of one color across the round, slipping the stitches that are indicated as the second color, then work 2 rows of the other color, slipping the other stitches.

Miss Marple

Pattern Details:

Sizes: Women’s Medium, Large

Foot circumference:
7 (9) inches (17.5, 23 cm) unstretched. Will stretch to fit 9 (11) inches (23, 28 cm).

Gauge: 32 sts/48 rows = 4" in st st

Needles: 1 set US #1/2.25mm 32” circular needles or double pointed needles, or size to get gauge.

Yarn: Knit Picks Risata Sock Yarn [42% Cotton, 39% SUPERWASH merino wool, 13% Polyamide, 6% Elite Elastic; 196yd per 50g ball]; colors: Seedling: 2 balls, Cocoa: 1 ball. (Or any fingering weight yarn that gives you proper gauge) You will need two contrasting colors. You will need more yarn in the MC than the CC. You’ll need at least MC: 75-100g (300-400 yd) CC: 25-40g (120-175 yd). The lower numbers are for a medium foot and the larger numbers are for a large foot. The length of your foot will impact the amount of yarn you need.

The best part: The pattern is only $1.99!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Miss Marple, Clue 4

The dramatic conclusion!

Download all 4 clues now.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Miss Marple, Clue 3

Do ya wanna see what happens next?

download now

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Miss Marple, Clue 2

Okay party people, here is the second clue:

Download Miss Marple clue #2 now

Please please please do not be scared of the charts. You can totally do this.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Miss Marple

I love a good mystery.

Miss Jane Marple is a fictional crime solving old lady who knits while sleuthing. Obviously she's a role model for me.

When I was asked to design a mystery sock for Sock Knitter's Anonymous (a huge Ravelry group) I was honored and set right to work on the mystery theme.

So, no pictures yet. But if you want to knit along, here is the first clue:

download Miss Marple clue #1 now

The pattern will be released in 4 clues, one a week for the month of November. Sometime in December it will be reformatted with pictures and available for sale for $1.99. I'd suggest you take it while it's free, if you prefer.

And, because this is a blog, I'll link to the Miss Marple Wikipedia page. I wasn't going to but it's standard operating procedures.

NEW: Sorry - links not active anymore. Use this instead:

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Emerald City Mitts

New pattern alert! Available now to members of Fresh From the Cauldron's Wizard of Oz club, available to everyone else in early 2010.

Emerald City Mitts

The Emerald City beckons with these arm-warmers inspired by the stylized buildings of OZ. Gothic Lace starts on cuff and flows into twisted lacy cables, ending on the hand with a motif that echoes the silhouette of the Emerald City.

Wear these when you need a dose of the magic of OZ.

Emerald City Mitts
Look at my beautiful friend Emily, modeling these armwarmers! (Thanks Em!)

Yarn: Fresh From the Cauldron MCN Sport Yarn [80% Merino, 10% Cashmere 10% Nylon; 250yd/229m per 113g/4oz skein]; color: Emerald City; 1 skein.

Needles: 1 set US #4/3.5mm 32” circular needles (magic loop), 2 sets of 24” circulars, or double pointed needles, or size to get gauge.

Gauge: 24 sts/32 rows = 4" in st st

Wrist circumference:
7 inches (17.5 cm) unstretched. Will stretch to fit 10 inches (25.5 cm).

Emerald City Mitts

This pattern is the third of four in a collection inspired by the Wizard of Oz. I'm swatching the last design now and will share it with you in December. I'm a little sad to be nearing the end of the series but also looking forward to starting on the list of projects I get to design when these are all done.

I keep thinking That I want to write a whole book of patterns inspired by the Wizard of Oz. Actually, I have about a dozen pretend books I want to write. I usually keep this to myself because in my fantasy I may one day knock them out, one at a time. I guess I better start knocking out those proposals, one at a time, and see if any click.

2010: a year of more dreams, including a starting knitting book? I guess I should put on these mitts and drink in a dose of the magic of Oz.

$4.99 for the pattern

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Sweater Curse - broken!

2009 has been a year with big dreams, goals and breakthroughs.

Glee Sweater

One such goal was knitting a sweater that fits. Yes, a simple goal, but one I had failed to achieve until this year. How embarrassing to admit!

I've cast on and frogged dozens of sweaters in my life. There was always a Problem. Sometimes it was the yarn, sometimes the pattern. Often it was the knitting. The story is nearly the same every time.

It was three years ago I attempted to make a simple cardigan.

I wanted a raglan style cardigan that I could fall in love with. A sweater that I would end up wearing every day. A simple, natural, old fashioned, plain-and-tall hand knit cardigan. Alas! It was not meant to be.

If I could pinpoint where the sweater went wrong I would say it was in the expectations phase. I wanted the sweater to be what it could never be. I was looking for the stuff only dreams are made of... cozy, soft, perfect, timeless, classic, flattering, etc. I may as well been hoping to knit a unicorn. That was the first problem.

I had enough natural wool to make the project, but there were many questions. Could a girl my size, shape and complexion look okay in a bulky knit shapeless, colorless sweater? Probably not. Was my gauge consistent? Not especially. Did I knit the whole thing anyway, including seaming and weaving in the loose ends perfectly? Of course. I'm no amateur.

Put kindly, the sweater could have fit a small horse. More honestly, it would have fit a full grown alpha-male gorilla. I wore it around the house for a day or two, in denial. I kept checking the mirror to see if it looked okay, and it never did. I posed like they do in knitting magazines when the shaping on a garment is bad. I hugged myself, I reached for an apple in an imaginary tree, and I twirled around, laughing. It helped a little, but the sweater was hopeless.


It was The Stupid Sweater. I undid everything and returned the wool from beast to balls, which now live in a rubbermaid container in my closet. In January I made leg warmers out of 2 of the balls:

Koolhaas Leg Warmers

Knitting the yarn into something new helped erase the memory of the ugly. But what about some new yarn, a new pattern, and a new start?

Pattern: Glee by Zephyr Style.

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Heavyweight in color Mossay.

Strong start:

Glee Sweater

I started this new sweater in January. I cast on for the medium size but eventually I discovered it was too big, so I switched to making the small size partway through with some creative decreasing. I convinced myself this was a smart decision, considering my personal shape and curve locations.

So, it fits me funny, which totally my fault.

Glee Sweater

It’s roomy, and that’s fine. It will be nice in the winter over a long-sleeved shirt. If I make this one again I’ll make the small. I have a hard time knowing what size I am.

Glee Sweater

If I had made the small all along I would have had enough yarn to make it longer; that would have been nice too. I just knitted until I ran out of yarn basically.

Glee Sweater

I learned a lot on this sweater. In fact, I have since made two more sweaters (yes, I'll show them off too) and have the 4th on the needles right now. I know, it's really fantastic!

2009 was a very big year for me in many ways big and small, including the breaking of a life-long specific knitting curse. I'm going to dream a bigger dream in 2010: designing sweaters... Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Randomness and a contest winner

Dice image belongs to MissTurner, used here thanks to a creative commons license

I often like to use this blog to share random collections of thoughts or ideas that swirl around my life in the moment. Now that the seasons are changing I find myself back in a contemplative frame once more. It's a natural transition from lazing about, daydreaming with posicles to preparing yourself for the impending chill and burying nuts, like the squirrels are doing under the lavender plant in my front patio.

We call those kind of thoughts random, but that actually wasn't a random thought at all. Maybe none of my so-called random thoughts aren't really random?

Today I've been thinking about the very idea of randomness. I don't really know what I am talking about and I'm certainly not going to bust out the Schopenhauer or anything, but it is interesting to think about the ways we interpret randomness, as well as the ways the seemingly random is influenced.

This all started when I consulted the mighty random number generator to pick a contest winner. I had a thought that it might be nice if someone local won, to save on postage. Then I immediately felt guilty for having this thought. It flat-out isn't fair for folks who live in other places. So I let the random number generator decide, as promised.

This is what's known as a tease.

This is the book I am giving away. Check it out here, by the way:
The Joy of Sox: 30+ must-knit designs

A word about the random number generator, a concept I am always entertained to ponder... In fact, as a ridiculously bad math person I do secretly love numbers. In college, I took statistics because it was the closest to philosophy of numbers someone like me could handle. I challenge you to read the basic introduction to randomness here and still not find all of this terrifically interesting.

But really, you're here to see if you won the contest. So, okay. You've waited long enough.

They say patience is a virtue. It's easy to say things like that when you're the one demanding it of others. Thanks to all of the people who entered the contest to win a copy of The Joy of Sox. I'm happy to announce the winner today:

Lobug - who said, "I love socks b/c of the seemingly infinite variety of techniques you can use to knit them!" The winner was randomly chosen, yet lives locally. I assure you I did nothing to influence the number generator. But it made me think about if it was possible somehow. Which made me write this ridiculous wordy blog entry about nothing.

Lobug, get in touch. Leave me a comment with a way to contact you!

I loved reading each and every comment about why you love socks. I'm going to quote many of you here over the next few weeks to share the love. Very inspiring!

I'll end now with a final thought regarding randomness (sort of):

Oh, many a shaft at random sent
Finds mark the archer little meant!
And many a word at random spoken
May soothe, or wound, a heart that's broken!

Sir Walter Scott, Lord of the Isles

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Joy of Sox, with contest too!

The Joy of Sox: 30+ must-knit designs

Have you seen it yet? Joy of Sox has hit the market and it is good, people.

There are over 30 patterns in this book and I'm really impressed with the diversity of designs and overall awesome-ness of the package. I'm a huge fan of the hardcover with spiral binding too, which makes it a very practical book as well.

Girl's Best Friend

Have I mentioned that I have a pattern in there? It's called Girl's Best Friend and they are thigh-high socks with a lace panel, worked from the toe-up.

I kind of think hand-knit socks are better than real diamonds. You don't have to agree with me.

Girl's Best Friend

Do not let the length of these socks or the mohair content of Schaefer Anne scare you, or the size 0 needles either. I have fallen in love with these socks after having some doubts initially. Love is like that, if you can get past the crazy and the fear you'll be warm and fuzzy in all the best ways.

Girl's Best Friend

This brings me to the contest: I'm giving away a free copy of this book! This contest is open to everybody. To enter, simply leave a comment (see below) here by the end of the day, Saturday September 26th. I'll let the mighty random number generator decide the winner. Details:

1. Include your name and a way to contact you. If you don't include a way to contact you, be sure to check back to see if you've won and then contact me! We'll sort out your shipping address privately.

2. In the comments, tell me one thing you love about socks.

3. By leaving these comments, you are giving me permission to blog some of my favorite responses. I'll give you credit, of course.

If you're curious to know more, the first review on Amazon is pretty fantastic:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great sock book!, August 31, 2009
By Anne -
"I own just about every sock knitting book ever written. I had to review this one because I like it so much! It has great sock patterns, a lot of patterns (32), beautiful photographs, and a spiral binding. What makes it unique is that it has little narratives and fun statistics sprinkled throughout that make it a sock book that you can actually read. The "Joy of Sox" double entendres in the book are kind of cute too! This is now one of my favorite sock books."

Check it out here:
The Joy of Sox: 30+ must-knit designs

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

End of summer vacation

I'm traveling over the next week so I won't check in much for a few days. I wanted to say a quick hello before I get on that plane. Hello there. Sit down, have a slice.

Pizza in Eugene

First, I have a giveaway planned for when I return. I was going to launch it today but then that would be foolish, with me getting on a plane and all. So yeah, look for a fun giveaway next week! Yes, it is knitting related.

Finally, I really enjoyed reading the comments from the other day. Telling stories from other jobs is something I like to do and I'm glad I get to do it here. My life has changed a lot since then and I appreciate having a mirror of sorts to reflect in.

Enjoy the last days of summer. Eat the last blackberries and tomatoes. But prepare for the change in the air. Bury some nuts. If nothing else, get back to your stitches.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Alias Socks, redux

It occurs to me that outside of my immediate family, no one I know has read my blog since it first began. There was a time when I worked as a writer in TV production. I also had it in me to write every day. Blogging was a joy!

Let's revisit those times, shall we?

Here is an old story that will be new to you. It combines sock knitting with acting. It's the kind of story I love to tell, but rarely do anymore.

< start timewarp >
Here is the story of one sock, which eventually became a pair. The yarn is Simple Stripes (colorway "Vineyard") from knitpicks and the pattern I made up as I went. It's my first "afterthought heel", and that was okay. (Afterthought = You knit a tube, and where the heel goes you put in some waste yarn, then you go back after the sock is done, pick up stitches and work the heel.)

This is also a story about knitting at work. When I'm not working as a tv writer, spinning, knitting or blogging, I get work as an Extra. You know, the people who walk around in the background in tv shows and movies? We also go by the term "background artists" which I enjoy for it's pretentiousness. I have a LOT of stories about this kind of work, and here is one that includes a knitted sock!

First of all, this never happens to me. Usually I have to hustle work for myself. I got a call from the casting company asking me to be in Alias. Well, they asked my car to be in Alias, and that means I have to drive my car, therefore they want me to be in Alias. It's to be a scene in Europe, filmed in Los Angeles of course.

After getting lost a few times I discover the "London street” is actually off of Olvera street downtown Los Angeles, next to China Town. And next to the "London street” is the "Rome street". A few blocks away is the Russian subway scene. I park my car in the Roman Piazza and join base camp where catering is already set up. A guy has a custom omelet station going right next to the taco truck and the build your own burrito bar. A hamburger stand sits at the end of the line and I take it all in while pouring myself a tall iced tea. I stupidly postpone eating for later. This is breaking one of the cardinal rules of background artists: always eat when you have the chance.

Immediately I am beset by a desperate man who will be playing a secret service agent. I tell him he looks like one. I am making conversation. He is encouraged by this and gives me his card. He hosts a podcast about the entertainment industry. He explains to me what a podcast is like I am a caveperson. He tells me Brad Pitt got his start as an extra. One hears this a lot on set, but looking around I don't see any "next Brad Pitts." I start to look for a way out but no one else will make eye contact with me.

The assistant director (AD) comes and checks us in and sends us to wardrobe. I am wearing one outfit and brought two with me just in case. They hate all of it. They even criticize the pearls around my neck. They give me clothes to change into and I go into the tiny space where three other women are already changing. So embarrassing. I am reminded of the fact that I have lied about my dress size to get cast in this role and that there are consequences for such dishonesty.

The blouse is sheer and I am wearing a black bra. The skirt is cutting into my stomach and the jacket doesn't completely clear my chest. I walk out for approval. They hand me another outfit. I change again in front of three new girls. This time the skirt is stretchy body hugging with a long slit that is obscene. I go out for approval. They give me a third outfit and I go back to change. By this point every woman I will be working with today has seen me naked. They all seem to change once and that's that. Pretty soon I will be the last one left.

The new outfit makes me look fifty years old. Perfect. They love it. And now they love my pearls too for some reason, as if they hadn't hated them before. I overhear one wardrobe person yell at an extra: "Do you have wax in your ears? Listen when I talk to you!" I look at the ground in fear. They want me to come back for a hat. I say ok and leave. I have no intention of coming back for that hat.

The car people are told to go sit in their cars. Everyone else gets to eat. Whoops. Well this is the punishment one draws when lying about dress sizes I suppose. I schlep the rest of my clothes to my car and put them in the back seat. This is great! My stuff is already in my car. I sit in the passenger seat and knit a sock for a while.

Another AD comes over and tells me he likes my car. Then he tells me I shouldn't be in it. That I should be with everybody else in "holding". He tells me like I am really stupid and rebellious at the same time. I go to holding where the wardrobe lady finds me and gives me a hat. I look at my reflection and I look like Mary Poppins. Or Miss Marple. They tell me I look like a proper English lady. I feel ugly but persevere. I make small talk with a nice and smart woman in tweed and argyle. She's also a car person.

I knit for a while and people ask me if I am knitting a sock like it's the most insane thing I could be doing at that moment in time. I explain that it's not as hard as it looks and yes, I know you can just buy socks at Target. The one nice wardrobe lady asks me about the fiber so I got get excited. Then she goes on to tell me about her wool allergy in great detail. And she also wanted to make sure I wasn't going to carry my knitting into the scene. Oh well.

And then it's time for the London action. They use the Honda, the BMW and the Jetta. They ask me to leave my Mini Cooper in "Rome." I find it funny that the one car they choose not to use is the only one actually manufactured in England. I switch gears and play a pedestrian walking down the street with a young man in a dark suit. I think from a distance I may appear to be his mother but I pretend he is my paid escort for the time being. We walk arm in arm down "Portobello Road" mouthing a conversation in silence, having the time of our lives. An extra must be silent at all times, while appearing to be having a lovely conversation. My partner mouths the word "watermelon" over and over and I reply hub bub? Hub bub?

And then it is time for the great Rome scene. While the crew moves everything around the corner, wardrobe instructs us it's time to change clothes again. Are you kidding me? The extras are a bit angry and by now all of the women have discovered the chatty podcaster is creepy so he's stuck talking to the elderly. I get in line for more clothing-related humiliation.

They hand me another XS knit top and ridiculously shiny bolero pants and I go back into the tiny room of demoralization. And then I see it. My skirt! The skirt I wore there and left behind in the trailer that got separated from my clothes and I'm so glad I found it and I'm so stupid for losing it. And then I put it on as if I was told to do so and shove the ugly pants in the hamper bin. I put on the top and stretch it over my torso to the point the seams are about to rip. I walk out and they give me a long hard look.

"I'm going to be in a car for the next scene. You won't even see me." I beg. But they have very important jobs to do dressing the background players in the season finale of Alias. They give me another shirt to try on. They say nothing about the missing bolero pants.

Eventually I make it out to my car and I am to drive around the "piazza" halfway and then quickly return to starting position in reverse. It hits me, I'm meant to drive quickly in reverse around a great many curves, avoiding the hundreds of people and millions of dollars in gear like a stunt driver. No pressure. I actually do this about 100 times in rapid succession because the sun is fading and that may be the most important thing to know about shooting. The sun dictates the schedule.

It was a mere 12-hour shoot and I hadn't eaten during any of it. While waiting to be signed out I made a hasty peanut butter sandwich and ate it in three bites along with some tic tacs. But the day wasn’t over yet! Some of the group were randomly being chosen to stay on and do the Russian subway scene. (Yes, Los Angeles has a subway.) We all looked at our feet and prayed we weren't to be picked. It would be a 24-hour day (and night) if you were so unlucky. Somehow I wasn’t picked. Although I was tremendously relieved, I started to feel resentful too. Wasn't I good enough? Professional enough? Pretty enough? I'm actually part Russian too. Fools!

As I drove home with pains of hunger rolling through my body, I questioned why I take these sort of jobs. And then I remembered it's because I don't have any better offers. I never watched the show when it aired but my pal Scott did and he said he saw a woman with a ponytail driving a Mini with racing stripes through the streets of Europe. I asked him if he liked my skirt but for some reason he couldn't see it while I was driving. As if it didn'’t matter what kind of ugly pants I was supposed to wear or not.

I know this is a long story, but I've been itching to talk about something other than the Tour de France. Did you see I knit almost a whole sock in this story? It's relevant!

< end timewarp! >

Friday, August 28, 2009

This week in yarnia

Howdy partners! It occurs to me that I should check in with you today and share some yarn-related highlights of late. Perhaps some non-yarn joy as well. I never know where these stream of consciousness posts will lead.

1. Yarn Acquisition:

the beautiful and I met our pal Alex the talented at Abundant Yarn to see what they had on hand, and to say goodbye. They are closing their brick and mortar shop but will carry on with their dyeing and online business. Their fun staff and fiber selections will be missed by many.

Rowan Felted Tweed
So, I fell into some Rowan. I picked up these four balls of Felted Tweed with intentions of colorwork mitts of some kind.

Rowan Scottish Tweed
And then came Scottish Tweed. I don't need any more yarn. But. Well. It's Vivian's fault. She picked out these lovely balls of yarn to make a fair isle hat. She was mentioning how tough it was to find the right pattern. So I HAD to get the same yarn and challenge myself to come up with a really great hat pattern, right?

It will be fun to see two stranded hats in the same yarn but of different designs. Kind of an experiment, I think.

2. Scottish Tweed, you say?

Perhaps this was a good omen, because I then found out I get to teach at the UK Knit Camp next year in Scotland! I am really excited about this, even though it is a whole year away.

3. The other exciting thing this week was receiving this package: (I forgot to include the pen in the pic, sorry)

Leethal Quick Knits Club - August 2009

The first installment of Leethal's Quick Knits Club! I know some of you are doing this club with me and I hope more will join me. Go on, sign up for next month - the deadline is September 1st. It's really really worth it! More of my enthusiasm for this club here.

4. One other wave of fantastic-ness washed through Portland this week. I will share it with you next week, because it involves a giveaway. That's right, I'll be giving away something pretty neat right here next week. Something currently unavailable and desirable. Are you going to come back and see what it is? I hope so!

5. Lantern Rouge:

Every now and again I share a poem, usually by Langston Hughes. How about one today? Do with it what you will. I have taken it to heart.

Gather out of star-dust
And splinters of hail,
One handful of dream-dust
Not for sale.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sock Summit Aftermath, part 2

Okay, my last post regarding the Sock Summit was more of a collection of images and random thoughts. This will likely be no different. I'm sorry to anyone or thing I forget to mention. I just can't list everything that happened. Surprised? Of course not. Why?

Because the Sock Summit is a unicorn. You can't capture it. Yes, it's magic chases away evil. But it is also elusive and rare. Maybe you only get one sighting in your whole life.

OR, maybe it's because I taught three long classes, took two long classes, wandered the marketplace, attended dinners and panels, sat in the Lucy Booth (advice, 5 cents) partied, and made about a hundred new friends. In four days. I've had enough time to process it, but I still don't know if it was all just a dream.

Still with me? Great. I'd like to try to start with a quick review of the classes I took. The first one was Colorful Stitches with Tina Newton and Anna Zilboorg.

This picture is of the tote the teachers got, but if you look closely you'll see a tiny swatch tied to the top. This is what I made in that class.

Sock Summit Tote

Tina is the genius behind Blue Moon Fiber Arts, makers of the iconic sock yarn - Socks That Rock. Anna Zilboorg is a Turkish knitting expert. Both are color savants. Both are so much more than those tiny descriptions.

Anna Zilboorg told us that she never really saw color until she discovered something in the 1960's... "killer weed." Yes, it was as plain as that. She was Harvard educated and helped found the Humanities department at MIT, where she taught for a long while. She is elegant, funny, charming and classy. I want to be her when I grow up.

Tina created over 500 colorways at Blue Moon. She has a raven book coming out this fall that you will all want to own. She told an amazing story about ravens and how they inspired her to do a series of colors all playing on black. All beautiful, none of them flat.

I won't talk too much about what happened in class in case I step on proprietary-type toes. Those are giant cranky toes with nails that scratch (sorry, gross). I will say Anna Zilboorg teased me about breaking the rules. Which, ordinarily would be great. It would be so great that I would ask her to write it on my body in Sharpie as a badge of honor. But in this case, she was trying to liberate us from matching colors, and I just went ahead and coordinated colors anyway. I am the worst kind of rule breaker: The one who isn't free!

The next class was Engineering New Stitches with Cat Bordhi. Cat Bordhi is one of the most original thinkers I've ever run across. She is best known for knitting moebius type garments or inventing several new sock architectures known as sockitectures. She too, is so much more that that.

My brain is still processing all of the information shared in that class. I feel like I can now write my own stitch dictionary. I can combine stitches in new ways. In short, I can do anything. This is probably the best feeling humans get to have.

Barbara Walker's Socks

And now, as promised, I present to you Barbara Walker's socks. She knit them, she wore them. She sold them for $5. They now hang over my front door as a good luck charm. But you know what's crazy? (No, you haven't heard the "crazy" part yet) These were knit flat and them seamed up the front. React as you will.

Sanguine Gryphon Bugga

The marketplace was bonkers. I was overwhelmed the entire time I was in there. I managed to pick up a few things and actually took a couple of pictures. This is not the entirety of what came home with me but I don't want to get a reputation.

The first yarn up there is Bugga from Sanguine Gryphon in the color Rainbow Scarab. I was lucky enough to sit next to Gryphon in Cat Bordhi's class and she is so cute and fun and interesting. Of course her yarn is too. With 20% cashmere content, this yarn is not going to become socks. It will be something about the neck.

The Usual

The Usual. Nothing usual about it. I love this yarn and the colors are great. The one on the left was a gift from my friend Nancy and I actually started crying when she gave it to me. It was a combination of her generosity, the beauty of the yarn, the fact that I hadn't eaten more than a handful of trail mix in 18 hours, and some other things. But mostly her generosity.

I'm so lucky to live in Portland, with so many amazing and talented friends. The place where the first Sock Summit happened. The place of unicorns.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sock Summit Aftermath, part 1

I'm likely to ramble on a bit about the Sock Summit here and there and everywhere for the rest of my days. I'll just start now with some random thoughts and images. Part 2 will come soon.

Sock Summit

Yes, it was a convention center full of yarn. There are that many of us.

Sock Summit

Amy knitty playing the ukelele at the opening reception. She told me I had bright eyes and also complimented me on my pattern frankensocks. I just kept giggling and nodding and screaming like a banshee (that last part was just on the inside).

Sock Summit

I also got to take part in the breaking of a world record as defined by Guinness: The most number of knitters gathered together to knit at the same time. We did it for 15 minutes and used straight needles.

I was lucky enough to sit right behind Barbara Walker, but was too shy to talk to her directly, of course.

Sock Summit

Here is Lee of the Leethal blog, attending the Luminary panel in the handknit ski mask she made. If you click here, you can see silly pictures of ME DANCING at the Ravelry party. I was not drunk, but so sleep deprived that my criteria for good decision making was severely compromised.

So, yeah, some random highlights. In our next installment, I'll tell you more about the classes, the marketplace, and the story of how I came to own a pair of Barbara flipping Walker's very own personal handknit socks!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saddle Mountain

I am recovering from the beautiful chaos of the Sock Summit. Really, stories will come soon. But for now I'll answer I question I got a lot.

This is where I earned my sunburn:

Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain

Saddle Mountain


Monday, August 03, 2009

Quick Knits Club!

I'm lucky enough to live and breathe and craft in the Republic of Portland. We have a quality of life here and plenty of inspirational creative folk rockin' us left and right.

One of my favorite crafters here is my pal Lee. If you've read my blog before, you already know this. I mention it every other week or so. Anyway, she's hit on a brilliant idea and I want to make sure everyone knows about it:

Quick Knits Club!

Frankly, it's too hot to have a sweater on your lap right now. Seriously, people. I'm signing up and I want you to join me. Let's play with hand dyed hand made recycled yarns and things!

The details:

It's a monthly club, and you can join for as many or few months as you'd like.

Each month’s package will include:

* a 15 yard mini-skein of recycled hand-dyed yarn
* a 10 yard mini-skein of spun recycled yarn
* quick knit pattern exclusive to the club
* any crafty bits called for in the pattern (e.g. buttons)
* extra mystery leethal goodies and/or bits of crafty fun

Jump on this right now, because Wednesday is the last day you can sign up for the very first month.

Go ahead, I'll wait here while you sign up. Tell her Star sent you. Wink.

Our mayor declares this sock knitting week!

I am not joking.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ye Olde Timey Cycling Stockings

Show and tell time... I bring you knee socks on the hottest day of the year! (or, confirmation of my increasing insanity)

Cycling Stockings
Photo by Vivian

Pattern: "Cycling or Golf Stockings with Fancy Cuff in Trellis Pattern" by Nancy Bush from the book "Knitting Vintage Socks."

Yarn: Wollmeise Sockenwolle. Color: Spice Market, Dark. Contrast color Wollmeise 80/20 in Frosch Harmonic.


Wollmeise Frosch

Hiya Hiya Stainless Steel, US size 1 (2.25mm) Magic Loop method.

Pattern Review: Brilliant and fun. Nancy Bush is a legend. For those of you who don't know, this book is a collection of vintage patterns updated and reworked for modern yarns. In short, it belongs in your library, people.

The pattern introduced a new heel technique for me and while I liked the turn, I didn’t love the yarn overs. No biggie though. I enjoyed the pointy toe - I’ve never seen a toe like it and it fits me well.

Photo (C) 2009 Leethal

The instructions are easy to follow and have great results. The socks are worked from the top down, with a folded cuff. I opted to make a few changes there.

I worked them with the stranding motif on the top of the sock instead of folding the cuff over. I like the idea of doing these as written but I was afraid they would be too tight on me. (My gauge was a little tight)

Also, I made the leg nice and long to fit me.

Yarn Review:
The beloved Wollmeise. This is some pretty special yarn and I couldn't be happier with it. The colors are amazing and the feel is pleasant. The yarn base is composed of many plies, tightly spun. When washed, the socks soften up quite a bit.

I realize there is something obnoxious regarding bragging about hard to get yarn. And yet, I am doing it anyway. I am trying not to keep it precious but to actually knit with it.

Photo (C) 2009 Leethal

Overall: This project combines several of my loves:

1. Knee socks.

2. Vintage knitting.

3. Cycling. Bonus points for Olde Timey Cycling.

4. Chocolate and pistachios. Oh, well, technically it's spice and frog, but they're my socks and I'll think of them as I like.

5. Fancy German yarn.

I'm glad I was able to USE the Wollmeise. I was just leaving it on the shelf out of fear of ruining it.

Lesson of the day: Use your good yarn. If I can, you can.

Cycling Stockings
Photo by Vivian

I also had confirmation on something I've known for a while but have been trying to push out of my mind. Since I took up running and cycling this year, my calves and ankles have gotten bigger. So what, Right? Just vanity speaking. Posting it here is my way of telling my calves I appreciate what they do, even if they had to get bigger to do it.

In conclusion, I love these socks! I’d like to photograph these while on my bike. Hopefully I’ll make that happen soon!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Freshman Cable Socks

I haven't seen the new Knitscene yet but it's hitting the stores really soon.

I have a pattern in there: Freshman Cable Socks... Wanna see a teaser?

(Thanks to emilyshmemily for modeling!)

Freshman Cabled Socks

I’m really inspired by the way you can draw simple lines and geometric shapes with basic cables; the design happens from the placement of the cables, rather than the detail of the cable itself.

Freshman Cabled Socks

This project uses cables that are elongated and stacked in a spiraling, angular design. The left and right sock mirror each other for added interest.

Freshman Cabled Socks

I originally wanted these socks to be like your freshman year in a new endeavor… jump in and get started!

But maybe these are just socks to wear to the library. Either way.