Thursday, June 30, 2011

Episode 7: Designing Woman









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Episode 7: Show Notes


Welcome


What's on the Needles

What's on the Hook
  • Nothing currently

Patterns

Other Stuff


Reviews

  • Zen of Sock Knitting DVD & Knitting Note Cards by Buffalo Girls Designs
    • PROS:
      • Traditional DPN sock knitting
      • Good camera angles
      • Making identical twin socks vs. fraternal twin socks
      • Slip st heel
      • Short rows
    • CONS:
      • Doesn’t explain various methods of construction or methods to knit socks
      • Annoying bird in background
      • Doesn’t explain the purpose of slip st heel
      • Hard to see her picking up stitches for the gusset
      • Wish sock samples were all knit in the the same yarn, preferably a solid color, for continuity
  • 2 eMags from Intervweave: Colorways and Entreknits

News & Upcoming Events

Question of the Week
  • Am I the only knitter who doesn’t also spin?

Errata: It sounds as though when talking about Barbara Walker, I spoke of her in the past tense.  She is not deceased and I apologize for any confusion.


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Monday, June 27, 2011

I Don't Wear 'Mom' Jeans



During my recent podcast, Episode 6, I was telling Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX, Inc, that my neighbors think it's amusing that I knit.  It's like a novelty that someone under 80 knits.  But this is not the only stereotype that we creative types have to put up with.  When people who do not craft hear the term, "crafter," they envision a woman, middle aged, with big hair, a Bedazzle kit, a jean jacket, and mom jeans.  When people hear "knitter" or "crocheter" or any of the needle arts, really - they think late-in-life, retirees.

OMG, if they only knew..   If they only knew of the Stitch 'n Bitches, the naughty knitters, the huge wave of 20-somethings using yarn as an art medium.  If they only knew of the 30, 40, 50+ ers who create marvelous, artsy, unique, original, and amazing designs.  If they only knew of the tattooed, pink-haired creatives that bring spark, couture, and life into our chosen medium of expression.

If they only knew of the miles traveled to commune with others like ourselves. Which I guess I find particularly amusing because many people assume that middle aged women or retirees just put on their mom jeans, head to their community church, bitch about their boring, suburban lives, pass a box of bon-bons, and knit or crochet doilies.  Like there is some cosmic bat-signal that calls all boring housewives to one area.  If they only knew the hipster Londoners who sip ale at their local pub and knit.  If they only knew the women who sit at their local coffee shops, sip lattes, and talk about life, politics, and art whilst happily click-click-clicking.  If they only knew the community of amazing people who will actually get on a plane and fly to an event in the hopes of meeting the rockstars of the knitting and crochet worlds.  If they only knew how unifying our craft, our art, is.  If they only knew how in one room, there can be 20 yr olds, 30 yr olds, 40 yr olds, 50, 60, 70 yr olds, and we all have something in common.  And it ain't mom jeans.

That's okay.  Perhaps it's better that they don't know.  Perhaps having a smaller sect of the population engaging in our craft makes it special and wonderful.  And perhaps, as Benjamin said, "They're just jealous."  Jealous of the self expression it allows us and the peace it brings us.  :)

Knit on!  (Mom jeans or not!)



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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Darcy Shawlette is LIVE!


My first ever design, Darcy Shawlette, is LIVE and listed on Ravelry as a FREE download.  It is still being test knit, however I wanted to get it posted into the database.  'Wish there was a way to put your patterns into the database but make them invisible until you are ready to make them visible.  Oh well! (Again, you can tell I'm a newbie when it comes to all of this!)

IMG_20110625_104921



I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.  I hope that all of my test knitters come back with good news for me.  If you want to knit it, you can find the PDF on Ravelry.  Please let me know if there are any problems with the pattern.  I'm happy to edit and make sure that no one has any issues with errata.

IMG_20110625_104750


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Friday, June 24, 2011

My First Attempt at Designing



Pardon my horrible pinning job - but here is my first ever shawlette design: Darcy Shawlette.  It's a small shawlette, meant to be worn around the neck.  It begins in stockinette stitch, in a traditional triangular, top-down construction, and ends in a circular lace border.  I'm finishing up the tech editing on my PDF and I have a few test knitters already knitting this shawlette up! It will be a free pattern, of course!  I'll keep you updated!!

I don't know that I'll ever become a "designer," but I had fun trying out something new by creating this shawl.  And after designing this shawl, I learned a lot about the design process and already have a bazillion ideas floating around in my head.  We'll see how it goes.  I have mad respect for those who design intricate garments.  I am humbled by your work and offer my pattern as a very amateur attempt at design.  :)

The Darcy Shawlette is knit in fingering wt yarn, approx. 400-440 yds in a US Size 7 circular needle.  If interested in test knitting this pattern, give me a holler.

Knit on and go out and try something NEW!



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Episode 6: Interview with Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX, Inc.







Episode 6 Show Notes:









You can find more information about XRX, Inc. or STITCHES events by visiting KnittingUniverse.com

Please enter to win one of the three terrific prizes Benjamin is sponsoring by visiting Friends of the KnitPurlGurl Podcast on Ravelry!

As always, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Ravelry, and/or my KnitPurlGurl Blog
Listen or subscribe FREE on Podbean and iTunes!



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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

XRX Interview on the KnitPurlGurl Podcast!

Hi all!  I was supposed to interview Benjamin Levisay, CEO of XRX Inc., live on BlogTalkRadio tomorrow morning.  Unfortunately I continue to have horrendous audio issues with BTR.  So Benjamin and I decided to record his podcast interview for better audio quality.  Look for my interview with Mr. Levisay and an XRX giveaway on Friday (June 24, 2011)!!

The podcast will be posted here, on Podbean, and iTunes!  The giveaway will be hosted via the Episode 6 thread  on the Friends of KnitPurlGurl Podcast Group on Ravelry!!!

'Sorry about the scheduling confusion.  I want to give Benjamin and my listeners the best possible podcast episode I can. :)



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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Moving! - Or at Least My Podcast Is..

As some of you may know, I was having audio issues with BlogTalkRadio.  And although I will keep my BTR account open for those rare occasions when I interview, I am moving my podcast to Podbean.  On my Podbean account you can read the show notes as you listen (player is at the bottom of the show notes) or you can subscribe to iTunes.  Episode 5 and on will be hosted over at Podbean and available on iTunes.  If you had previously subscribed to my Blog Talk Radio/KnitPurlGurl podcast on iTunes, you'll want to update your subscription to the one below!  


Thanks for sticking with me despite some audio stumbles! :)


knitpurlgurl

By KnitPurlGurl

To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.

P


knitpurlgurl
View In iTunes
  • Free
  • Category: Games & Hobbies
  • Language: English




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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

KnitPurlGurl Podcast : Episode 5









Podcast Powered By Podbean


Episode 5: Show Notes


  1. Welcome
  • Show episodes available on Podbean and on iTunes (FREE) - NOTE - Since recording this podcast, all future podcasts after June 22, 2011 will be available on Podbean or iTunes.  BlogTalkRadio will no longer be used after June 22, 2011.  If you subscribe in iTunes, you'll need to update your subscription.  Thanks!
  1. What's on the Needles
  1. What's on the Hook
  1. Patterns
  1. Other Stuff
  1. Reviews
  1. News & Upcoming Events
  1. Question of the Week
  • Are you multicraftual? What crafts do you enjoy engaging in?


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Yarn Review: Red Heart Stitch Nation Washable Ewe








Yarn: Red Heart Stitch Nation Washable Ewe
Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Wool
Weight: Worsted
Amount/Skein: 3.5 oz/100 g, 183 yds or 167.3m
Gauge: Knit - 22 rows x 18 st = 4 in on size US8/5mm needles Crochet - 16 rows x 16 sc = 4 in. on size K10.5/6.5mm hook
Care: Machine Washable, gentle cycle.  Lay flat to dry.
Available Colors: 14 Colors
Approx. Retail Price: $4.99/skein

video


Recently, I had the opportunity to review Red Heart Yarns' Stitch Nation Washable Ewe by Debbie Stoller.  When Debbie Stoller and Red Heart Yarns introduced the Stitch Nation line a couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing all three yarns and found them to be nice yarns for the price.  One thing I did caution in that review was that all of the yarns were hand wash and that in itself may be a drawback for some knitters/crocheters.  Well it seems Debbie Stoller and Red Heart decided that creating a low-priced, all natural, superwash yarn perfect for easy care garments and projects for children or pets was in order.  And therefore, Washable Ewe was born.

I wanted to give Washable Ewe a good test drive.  So I knit a lace neckwarmer, Spring Seeds Neckwarmer, and crocheted some home decor flowers, Pocket Full of Posies, out of the yarn.  Here's what I found for each:



Knit: Spring Seeds Neckwarmer on US Size 9 circular needles

  • Found the yarn to have soft (mild) halo - however the halo did not seem to hinder the lace stitch definition, but did soften the look.
  • Initially I did not find the yarn to be overly soft, but not scratchy to work with.  After washing, I found the yarn to be much softer, almost like when you buy clothing from the store that has been treated with sizing and once washed is much softer.
  • For this project, I used the enclosed Soak Wash and let my project bathe in the Soak in a bin for 15 minutes.  Then I gently squeezed out the excess water and pinned & blocked the project, allowing it to air dry on the blocking mats.  The project kept the stitch definition and the yarn showed off the pattern beautifully.

Crochet: Pocket Full of Posies (a modified flower coaster pattern) on a J10/6.00mm hook
  • Yarn does not have overly tight plies and occasionally the plies became loose when ripping back to correct errors.
  • The yarn provided good stitch definition in sc, hdc, and dc stitches.  Again, a soft halo is present.  
  • When crocheted up, the yarn did not feel overly stiff or scratchy.
  • For this project, I washed the flowers in my washing machine on the gentle cycle.  Since the flowers were small, I put them in a sock bag.  I did not use fabric softener, but fabric softener could be used.  I dried the flowers on a flat surface, allowing to air dry without blocking.  The yarn did soften a tad more after washing, though not as much as the open knitted garment.
All in all, I found this yarn to be comparable in hand and halo to Cascade 220 Superwash.  The colors are vibrant, but not too funky as to turn off knitters/crocheters.  At less than $5/skein, I found this yarn to be a terrific buy.  It's definitely not a high end yarn, but if I were to buy a similar yarn in a local yarn shop, it would cost me a few dollars more per skein (based on yardage).  So Washable Ewe is a good cost savings, with a good quality yarn, available conveniently at JoAnn Fabrics or online.  It's suitable for both knit or crochet projects and despite a slight halo, provides good stitch definition for lace projects!  Though it's not a yarn with sheen, per se, I did find the colors to have "pop" when looking at the finished projects. I would most certainly purchase this yarn in the future especially for children's projects and even adult garments.


Disclosure: Red Heart Yarns (Coats & Clark) provided KnitPurlGurl with samples of their Washable Ewe yarn FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the above blog post.    All opinions expressed in the above post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Coats & Clark, Red Heart Yarns, and/or Debbie Stoller.


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Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Mystery Shawl Clue #1 Finished!




IMG_20110613_203239

I joined the Goddess Knits Summer Mystery Shawl 2011!  The pattern for the KAL will cost you $6.00.   The clues come out once a week and the first clue came out this past Saturday.  This will be a semi-circular shawl with 4 wedge panels knit in lace weight yarn.  I started it yesterday and finished it up today.  I'm knitting this shawl in Annadele Alpacas !00% Baby Alpaca in a blue tonal colorway (nameless).  The pic really doesn't highlight the lace detail as much as I'd like it to - but hopefully you can get a feel for it.


IMG_20110613_203301

Goddess Knits is taking orders for the Summer Mystery Shawl through June 18, 2011.  You can find more information on the Summer Mystery Shawl 2011 on the Mystery Shawl Along Group on Ravelry!


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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tools Are Important



Alrighty fiber friends - you know how much I LURVE me some awesome knitting gadgets, needles, and notions.  Buying the best quality you can afford is always a must.  Don't put a second mortgage on the house to get the tools you really want, BUT don't skimp on something you can afford.

In this video, I wanted to show you just how worth the extra pennies it was to buy decent gadgets.  Previously, I would've schlepped out my manual ball winder and umbrella swift, which together cost me about $75.  To wind this particular skein, which is 1100 yds of lace wt, would've been exhausting and taken me forever - especially since you want to keep the same rate and tension when winding to get a nice cake.  But with the Boye Electric Ball Winder and the Oregon Woodworker Table Top Swift (which cost me approx. $120 for the pair), you can see just how simple it is to wind 1100 yds of lace wt yarn!

A few other tips - I LOVE me some Signature Needles.  But at $40/pr, can not obviously afford to buy several pair at one time.  So, a good way to build your collection is to set aside $40/month and just buy a pair a month.  For me, I cut out other frivolous spending to accommodate my Signature habit.  But $40/month or $40/every other month is a lot more doable for most people.

T-pins drive me crazy!  I purposely buy "rust proof" blocking-approved T-pins, only to have them eventually rust and leave nice little rust marks on my projects, which are virtually impossible to remove!  So, if I start to see rust, I get rid of them all or re-purpose them for other things.  Then I re-buy the same number of T-pins.  This way, all of my T-pins are the same age.  I only buy what I regularly use for a project so that I don't have some unused pins and some really used pins.  This keeps my projects free of rust marks.  Nothing is worse than spending all of that money on a nice winder/swift, gorgeous yarn, luxury  needles, and then spending hours upon hours knitting and blocking only to have rust marks on your projects.  Trust me!

Because lots of knitters use T-pins (and LOTS of T-pins) when blocking, more and more knitters are going to blocking wires which are threaded in the project and then pinned to mats or boards so that the T-pins aren't actually pinned to the yarn.  A nice set of blocking wires will run you $40 or so.  (More or less depending on what you want in the set).  I bought a crummy, "cheap" set of blocking wires and because of that, I don't use blocking wires.  So invest in a nice set that you will use!

So buy the nicest tools you CAN AFFORD.  Like I said, the object isn't to have really nice knitting materials, but be living in a tent because you had to sell the house.

Knit on!


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Saturday, June 11, 2011

On The Blocking Mats: Forest Canopy Shawl




IMG_20110611_203452


I finally finished knitting and blocking my Forest Canopy Shawl.  This shawl was so emotional for me to finish.  And there's a story that goes with it.  My grammie's birthday was in September and her birth stone was Sapphire.  She LOVED sapphire jewelry and had a nice collection.  When I came across this Kraemer Sterling Silk & Silver Yarn in Majestic Colorway, I thought of her immediately.  So I bought the yarn and LOTS of it, not knowing what I'd do with it.  Then I saw the Forest Canopy Shawl and thought it would be a perfect little shawl for her and cast it on.

As I was knitting it (only knitting it at knit group, once a week), my gram became ill with cancer.  I ended up putting down the shawl and crocheting her a beret as she was going through chemo.  Unfortunately, my gram died before I could finish the shawl.  So I put it away.  I couldn't bear to pick it up.  It sat in my sewing desk for 1 1/2 yrs.  Yesterday, I picked it back up and realized that I only had the border left on it. So I finished it today and blocked it.  And then I sobbed.  I cried and cried when it was done.  I had finally finished the shawl that I had wanted to gift to my grammie.  -The shawl I had shown her while in progress and she'd loved!  It hurt so much to have completed it knowing I couldn't give it to her.  But I think it was also cathartic and good that I finished it.

I will wear this shawl in honor of my grandma and think of her everytime I wear it.  I know she would've worn it with such style and class (something I can't pull off) and that she would've LOVED it.  So I will wear this shawl and remember her smiling face as I showed it to her.  I'll remember her loving, giving spirit and the amazing years I got to spend with her.


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Product Review: NEW Signature Needle Arts US Size 9 Circular Needles!




Product: Signature Needle Arts US Size 9 Circular Knitting Needles
Price: $40/pair
Craft: Knitting

Alrighty, knitsters - you already know that I LURVE me some Signature Needles!  And this is not the first time I've reviewed them. Infact, when I reviewed them (the smaller sizes) the first time, I got so many hits on my blog post, that it is still one of my most popular blog posts ever.


I used the new Siggies to knit up this Spring Seeds Neckwarmer in worsted weight wool.  And let me just say, it was such a pleasure to work with these needles.  (And not just because I was thrilled that the purple needles matched my lilac project!)  I was concerned that a stiletto tip would either be much more blunt than on the smaller sizes or that it would be too pointy with a heavier wt yarn, which is why one would use a US size 9, that it may end up catching the plies in the yarn.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the stiletto tip was just the right proportion for the needle size.  I had no issues with knitting the stitches or knitting lace stitches, which often require one to finagle the stitches on and off the needles.

Again, the extremely smooth needle tips provide flawless transfer of knitted stitches between the needles.  I really have never used any other brand with such effortless glide before.  The cable part of the circulars was firm enough not to cause hand and wrist fatigue when trying to hold a good amount of stitches of  heavier wt yarn on the cable, but pliable enough to create a flexible set of needles.  As always, Signature Circs have a join that is snag proof as well as twist proof: the cable sits inside of the needle and gently rotates freely to allow for a twist-free experience.  These needles feel substantial when knitting with them, but not heavy.  The nice needle  tip length is a comfortable fit in your hand.

True to Signature Needle Arts, these needles are completely customizable.  You can order them in the 5.5" or 6.5" needle tip length, stiletto or middy profiles, and in 24", 32", 40", or 47" lengths (tip to tip).

I absolutely adored working with these needles!  I am so glad that I got a chance to review the newer, larger sizes (I also recently purchased a pair of the US 8 and had the same experience.).  I'm also glad that I had the opportunity to put these needles to the test with a worsted wt yarn, a lace pattern, and a discount craft store yarn, making sure that these luxury needles are worth the luxury price tag.  And they really are.  Once you give Signature Needles Circulars a try, you'll not want to knit with anything else - trust me!  Infact, I think I'm going to put myself on a monthly needle plan to build my collection!!

Pick up a pair of Signature Needle Arts Circular Needles, straight needles, or DPNs via their online store!

You can also connect with Signature Needle Arts via: (Tell 'em KnitPurlGurl sent ya!)



Disclosure: Signature Needle Arts provided KnitPurlGurl with a pair of US Size 9 Circular Needles FREE for review.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed in the above post reflect those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Signature Needle Arts.



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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Quick Knit: Spring Seeds Neckwarmer




IMG_20110609_212930


Here's a nifty little quick knit for y'all: Spring Seeds Neckwarmer by Bonnie Sennott.  It's a free pattern from Valley Yarns/WEBS.  I needed something smallish and quick so that I could write up some reviews.  So I used Red Heart Yarns Stitch Nation Washable Ewe in Lilac colorway (worsted wt yarn, superwash, NEW to Stitch Nation line of yarns, 183 yds/skein) and the NEW Signature Needles US Size 9 Circs that I am also reviewing to whip it up.  This only took a few hrs.  I did modify the pattern slightly by adding an extra repeat of Chart B and an extra Repeat of Chart C as well as nixing the button.  I think I would've had enough yarn to complete 1-2 more repeats of Chart B and I wish I had.  (Next time, I'lll be weighing my yarn first.) Of course, I still need to weave in the two ends, wash and block.  And although this is superwash, I will still likely give it a bath in SOAK Wash rather than pop it into my washer.  It's a rather small piece, so I don't mind hand washing if it retains the stitch clarity.

Look for my reviews of both the Red Heart Yarns Stitch Nation Washable Ewe Yarn and the NEW Signature Needles US Size 9 Circs in the next couple of days!


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Just Thinking.. Habits



I was just thinking.. (That in and of itself, I concede, is dangerous - but hear me out.)  I have several friends (non-fiber arts peeps) who engage in the 10,000 steps a day program where they try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day for good health.  I think it's a fab idea!  BUT  WHAT  IF...  Knitter, crocheters, spinners, and needlepointers adapted the same principle for good emotional health?

What if knitters, crocheters, hand stitchers, and rug hookers vowed to get in 100 stitches a day?  What if spinners vowed to spin a certain number of yards or ounces a day?  (I'm not a spinner, so perhaps a spinner can enlighten me as to what measurement would be a good example here.)  Wouldn't it feel good to start every day with a tangible fiber goal? 

I've been hearing on various podcasts how several knitters (in particular) are going through a creativity slump right now.  They just aren't feeling it.  And believe me, I've been there.  One time it lasted several months.  I thought buying new yarn or new fabulous needles or new patterns would inspire me and pull me out of my funk.  But they didn't.  And all of a sudden I felt completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount and seemingly unending WIPs.  So much so, that I didn't want to look at my projects.

But one day, I had to do a product review of a yarn.  I was still in the midst of my funk, but I don't breeze through product reviews.  I needed to work with the yarn so that I could give a true review of it.  I had made the commitment to knit up a small project with the single skein and give a thorough review.  So I set a daily fiber goal so that I could get the project done in a sensible amount of time AND not feel overwhelmed by it.  And you know what?  It pulled me right out of my funk. 

So what do you think?  Do you think setting a daily fiber goal is a good idea or do you think that adding yet another commitment may make you feel even more overwhelmed?  I'm interested to hear how you all feel.  Remember, there's no right or wrong answer.  :)



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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

KnitPurlGurl Podcast: Episode 4





Episode 4: Show Notes

1. Welcome
2. What's on the Needles
3. What's on the Hook
4. Patterns
  • Knitting – Cladonia
  • Crochet – Critron (Crocheted impression of Citron)
5. Other Stuff
6. Reviews
7. News & Upcoming Events
8. Question of the Week
  • Are you a black sheep crafter or do you come from a long line of crafters?


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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book Review: Sock Knitting Master Class


Title: Sock Knitting Master Class -Innovative Techniques & Patterns from Top Designers
Author: Ann Budd
ISBN: 978-1-59668-312-9
Release Date: 07/12/2011 (Pre-Order Available)
Publisher: Interweave Knits
Approx. Retail Price: $26.95 (USD)
Craft: Knitting (sock knitting)
Included Media: Instructional DVD

Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Budd is a must for any knitter who enjoys sock knitting or any knitter who'd like to either design socks for themselves personally or for sale.  As you all know, I have the dreaded medical disorder: SSS (Second Sock Syndrome).  That is, I knit the first sock of every pair.  Then my, Oooo, shiny, takes over and well.. let's just say I have a lot of first socks..  When I received this book to review, I assumed it would be another pretty sock pattern book.  Even knitters who don't knit socks can absolutely appreciate the amazing beauty of hand knit socks.  So although I was prepared for some beautiful hand knit sock patterns knit out of beautiful sock yarns, I was not prepared for just how much I learned about sock construction and just how interesting it is!

Ann Budd recruited some of the most renowned sock designers to create a varied and thorough look at sock design.  She takes great care to divide the book into sections so the reader comes away with a good sense of the techniques involved in sock design.  To top it off, Ann describes the reasons behind certain techniques and walks you through some of the techniques used in the book on the included instructional DVD!  It's an interesting and educational compliment to the book.  So whether you knit socks on DPNs, 2 Circs, Magic Loop, Toe-Up, or Top-Down - this book will knock your socks off!

Here's what you'll learn in Sock Knitting Master Class:

  • Mastering Good Sock Design
    • Fit
    • Comfort
    • Yarn and Gauge
    • Needle Choice
    • Heels
    • Toes
    • Aesthetics
  • Top-Down Construction
    • Top-Down Cast Ons
    • Top-Down Bind Offs
  • Toe-Up Construction
    • Toe-Up Cast Ons
    • Toe-Up Bind Offs
Sock Knitting Master Class S11 BLAD Web
Included Patterns:
  • Top-Down Construction
    • Asymmetrical Cables by Cookie A (Cables, DPNs, Elastic CO, Round Heel, Wedge Toe, Kitchener Stitch)
    • French Market Socks by Nancy Bush (Stranded Colorwork, DPNs, Elastic CO, Band Heel, Four-Point Toe, Gathered Tip)
    • Almondine by Anne Hanson (Lace, DPNs, Elastic CO, Round Heel, Wedge Toe, Kitchener Stitch)
    • Happy-Go-Lucky Boot Socks by Veronik Avery (Slip Stitches, DPNs, Elastic CO, Round Heel, Wedge Toe, Kitchener Stitch)
    • Thigh-High Stripes by Deborah Newton (Stranded Colorwork, DPNs, Elastic CO, Round Heel, Wedge Toe, Kitchener Stitch)
    • Rose Ribs by Evelyn Clark (Lace, DPNs, Elastic CO, Round Heel, Wedge Toe, Kitchener Stitch)
    • Twisted-Stitch Stockings by Meg Swansen (Twisted Traveling Stitches, 2 Circular Needles, Elastic CO, Knitting & Purling Backward, Kitchener Stitch)
    • Knot Socks by Nancy Bush (Cables, DPNs, Double-Start CO, Dutch Heel, Three-Point Toe, Gathered Tip)
    • Mock Cables and Lace by Ann Budd (Lace, Magic Loop, k1,p1 Cable CO, Round Heel, Short-Row Toe, Zigzag BO)
    • Slip-n-Slide by Chrissy Gardiner (Slip Stitches, DPNs, Elastic CO, Round Heel, Wedge Toe, Kitchener Stitch)
  • Toe-Up Construction
    • Up-Down Entrelac by Kathryn Alexander (Top-Down Leg Construction, Toe-Up Foot Construction, Entrelac, DPNs, Invisible Provisional CO, Turkish/Eastern CO, Peasant Heel, Kitchener Stitch)
    • Bulgarian Blooms by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts (Intarsia in the Round, DPNs, Invisible Provisional CO, Short-Row Heel)
    • Stealth Argyles by Eunny Jang (Shadow Knitting, DPNs, Turkish/Eastern CO, Wedge Toe, Short-Row Heel, Dec. BO)
    • Terpander by Melissa Morgan-Oakes (Cables, 2-Socks-at-a-Time, Magic Loop, Judy's Magic CO, Wedge Toe, Round Heel, Loose BO)
    • Half Stranded Socks by Anna Zilboorg (Stranded Colorwork, DPNs, Backward-Loop CO, Horizontal Band Toe, Round Heel, Tubular BO)
    • Pussy Willow Stockings by Cat Bordhi (Lace, 2 Circs, Judy's Magic CO, Cat's Moccasin Toe, Round Heel worked Toe-Up, Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy BO)
    • Toe-Up Travelers by Ann Budd (Twisted Traveling Stitches, DPNs, Turkish/Eastern CO, Wedge Toe, Short-Row Heel, Sewn BO)
Disclosure: Interweave Press sent KnitPurlGurl a FREE review copy of Sock Knitting Master Class by Ann Budd.  KnitPurlGurl was not compensated for the above review.  All opinions in the above post are those of the blog author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Interweave Press or Ann Budd.


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Black Sheep



I have always been the black sheep of my family. Not in a criminal, lurker, weirdo sort of way - but rather in a plays with yarn, craft supplies, and cardstock sort of way.  My family is awesome.  I love them to pieces.  But they enjoy playing cribbage, watching sports, and participating in activities that are generally perceived as much cooler than knitting.

I have been this way my entire life.  I was never stylish.  I didn't follow the crowd and do "cool" things.  Having the right clothing labels never shook me up.  I didn't stay out past curfew.  And my friends & I actively participated in band, choir, SADD, and drama club.  I've always followed the beat of a different drummer.

When I started to learn to knit, crochet, sew, and scrapbook, people giggled and rolled their eyes at me because clearly these were activities only grannies or bored housewives engaged in.  It wasn't until I started participating in social media, that I realized that there were other crafters out there who were also under retirement age.  There were other knitters who'd rather spend their free time whipping up a funky pair of striped socks while listening to an audiobook than going to a tailgating party.  (Not that there is anything wrong with sports, tailgate parties, or the people who enjoy them.  I know a lot of knitters who enjoy them as well.)  There were others who'd rather sit in a knitting/crochet/sewing circle than at a poker table.  There were others who wanted to spin fiber, not take a spinning class at the local gym.  Now, I am sure that there are crafters who also enjoy sports, athletics, games, cards, and the like as well as crafts.  And like I said, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.  But for so long, I felt like the square peg BECAUSE I didn't enjoy those things.. BECAUSE no one I knew enjoyed the same things I did.

Thanks to social media, I've found multitudes of people who speak my language.  Instead of "fumble" they yell "frog."  Instead of "TD" they yell "FO!"  Instead of offense and defense, they talk about right sides together.  Their lingo consists of WIPs, RS, WS, pinning, blocking, Neibling, Elizabeth Zimmermann, Ravelry, Moda, Singer, Addi, Boye, dc2tog, mattress stitch, roving, batts, merino, gauge, seam allowance, Mod Podge, Fray Check, stitch markers.. et cetera.  (I could go on forever!)  The point is, they speak my language.  They "get" me.  They understand my passion for crafting.  They know what it is to crave creativity.  They have stayed up 2 hrs past bedtime to complete just one more pattern repeat!

So to all of the sports fanatics who play fantasy football, watch every game of the season, collect sports stats and memorbillia, host social events around sporting events, and proudly wear the jersey of their favorite players: this is not so different from me carrying around a bag of knitting, going to knitting group once a week, joining a forum to chat about the season's best new patterns, and wearing sheep pins.  My interests may be different from yours, but I'm not alone.  There's a community of crafters out there who strive to make every day stimulating and beautiful.  And I'm one of them.

Black sheep: Baa on!




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Monday, June 6, 2011

OTN: Celandine


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So while I'm waiting for the first clue to be released in the Summer Mystery Shawl 2011 (KAL) from Goddess Knits, I've decided to CO a quick shawlette, Celandine Shawl by Susan Hanlon.  (Well, hopefully quick) I'm knitting it up in Creativity Dyed Yarn's 100% Superwash Merino Sock yarn.  (No colorway was listed on this skein, which I bought quite awhile ago.)

This shawl pattern has 1 beginner section, 11 increase repeats, 4 straight repeats, 11 decrease repeats, and an end section.  -which reminds me of the way my Saroyan was knit.  The lace edging is knit right along with the rest of the shawl, making it seamless.  Pictured here is the beginning section plus 2 increase repeats.  It worked up really quickly, so I have high hopes that in between product reviews this week, I'll be able to get the bulk of it done.  I think this will look gorgeous blocked!!

Techniques used in this shawl: YO, YO2 (double YO), k2tog, ssk, LLI (Left-leaning increase - also known as M1L [make 1 left] ), RLD (Right Leaning Decrease), and CDD (Centered Double Decrease).  This pattern  has written instructions as well as charts - perfect for whichever method you prefer.

This pattern is not a free pattern and will set up back about $5 USD, but is well worth it. :)



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KnitPurlGurl Podcast - New Episode Coming Soon!



To all of you who've been asking if I'll be putting out a new episode soon: I will be!  I've had a couple of issues in the last 2 weeks:

1.) Trying to figure out how to host the live show now that my children are off of school.  You know what your house sounds like with the kids and their friends running around.  Can you imagine me trying to record a podcast in the midst of that?  I think my listeners would stop listening.  ;p

2.) My allergies have actually been so bad that I am so terribly congested, it's hard for me to record without sounding muffled and sniffling.  My allergist is hoping to get that remedied for me (today) so that I can breath and get rid of my swollen eyes.

I've been looking into pre-recording shows at podbean.com.  If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment!  :)


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