Friday, August 29, 2014

It Helps If You Read The Pattern

This goes in the "duh" file. It's my pattern. I wrote it. I should be able to do it from memory, right?

Nothing to see here, folks, just more black socks!

Nope. I managed to screw up my own pattern. It's just a column of stitches and I will steadfastly ignore it as long as the socks do live, but still. I probably should have, oh, I don't know, read over the pattern before blithely knitting on my way.

Live and learn! To sum up, here's a great way to give yourself a mini panic attack:

1) Try to knit one of your patterns from memory.
2) Screw it up.
3) Think that the pattern that was test-knit by two knitters (including you) and checked by two tech editors has a HORRIBLE error in it and knitters the world over will hate you for it.
4) Search for graph paper.
5) No, it's not where it should be.
6) No, not over there either.
7) Fine, I'll do it on regular paper.
8) Wait...IS X divisible by 4?
9) It's not? It's not.
10) You should have worked this using the other set of directions, the ones for when X isn't divisible by 4. Because it's not for these socks.
11) Everything's fine, but you should probably find the graph paper.

Anyway, the socks are Checked and Square Socks, Top Down. They're not hard at all, if you follow the pattern! So...should I make the second sock match or make it correctly? It's a tough one.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sock Architecture on Wendy Knits!

I'm not ashamed to say that I cried a little when I read Wendy Johnson's review of my book. I love and respect her work so much, it's just an amazing feeling to know that she likes it! Here's a snippet.
"First off, it is beautifully written and a surprisingly fun read. The tone of the book is friendly, approachable, and humorous. One would not usually use those words to describe a book that not only is a treatise on sock techniques, but goes in-depth into the historical beginnings of sock knitting but they are totally warranted in this case. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book."
- Wendy Johnson (Wendy Knits)
Read the whole review here!

You can enter to win a digital version of the book by commenting on THAT blog post, not this one, by 9/3/14. Yay!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Love Sock Architecture? Spread the Word!

As fewer and fewer of us have access to this:

Towers of books at a used book store that WAS in Salem, Mass. a few months ago. Now, sadly, it's gone!

Those of use who write, make and love books still have to come up with ways for people to find our books. Hopefully, in a way that's even easier than pawing through piles of them in a physical store.

- Post a rating and review on Sock Architecture isn't available on Amazon, yet, but when it is, that would be super-helpful, too.

- Talk about it on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you hang out online. I bet you know more knitters than you think.

- Ask your local library if they have the book. If they don't, ask them to purchase it. Most libraries have a simple online form you can fill out to request a purchase. You usually only need to know the title (Sock Architecture), author (Lara Neel), publisher (Cooperative Press) and ISBN (978-1-937513-63-4).

- Ask about the book at your favorite spot to buy books. I really, truly, hope you still have a local bookstore or local yarn store!

- Tell your friends all about it. They all really want to know all about gussets and sock heels. They think they don't, but they do. Facilitate their conversion!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sock Architecture and Your Ravelry Library

Online shopping has made so many things so much easier. It's easy to forget that sometimes real, live humans are involved, behind the scenes! Currently, PDF ebooks purchased through Cooperative Press are added manually to your Ravelry library, by one of just a few very nice folks. They have to sleep, eat, and go to the bathroom like the rest of us, so it's not always instantaneous. 

When you buy the print book + PDF combo (or just the PDF) through Cooperative Press's website, enter your Ravelry username in the space provided, and within 24 hours, someone at Cooperative Press will add Sock Architecture to your Ravelry library. If it's been more than 24 hours, you can email their support email address for help (that email address comes in your confirmation email and ends in 

P. S. - If you just want the PDF and not the paper book and have a (free) Ravelry account, you can buy it directly on Ravelry through this page: I think, then, it IS just a computer on the other end, and it happens super-fast.

No matter how you get it, I hope you love it!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sock Architecture - Ready to Buy!

Sock Architecture is now available for purchase! $16.95 for the PDF version, $26.95 for the PDF and printed book, together. Printed books should start to ship in a few short weeks.

I'm told that the link above might not work forever (there is some behind-the-scene streamlining happening on the site). So, if it doesn't work, try just

I hope you love it!

Bootstrap Socks, Procrastinatrix Socks and Sidle Socks

Ok, guys, here are the last 5 Sock Architecture patterns!

The Bootstrap socks have a line of garter-stitch running down both sides of the leg that continues onto the heel. In my mind at least, they slightly mimic the most fun detail on a western-style boot — that little seam running down the outside of the leg. The sock ends with a wide toe that can be made short, medium or long.

Besides just looking cool, that little line of garter stitch seems to make the knitting go faster than plain stockinette. As a bonus, it makes counting rounds absurdly easy, so you don’t have to worry about losing your place when you make the second sock (or the heel flap).

It uses a Balbriggan heel, which takes just a small amount of grafting to finish. It’s well worth it, I promise. It looks and wears like a dream.

Why It's My Favorite: I wanted a sock that would coax knitters into trying the heel that has fallen out of favor, for some reason. It's completely unjust that every knitter who loves socks hasn't at least tried this heel. (I found it in Weldon’s Practical Stocking Knitter from 1885.) Maybe I just like the underdog, but it's my go-to heel for top-down socks. I hope everyone else loves it, too!

P.S. - Maybe I don't have a favorite favorite pair of socks from Sock Architecture, but the test knitters sure seemed to. They all clamored to try the Bootstrap Socks!

Sidle Socks, Top Down

"To sidle” means to walk up to someone, usually in a furtive or sneaky manner. These socks aren’t made in a sideways fashion, but the heel and toe are both 90 degrees from what you might expect, and they are pretty enough to surprise. The afterthought heel is worked in exactly the same way as the toe. There is no gusset for this sock.

Why It's My Favorite: Afterthought heels are great for when you just don't have the energy to worry about a heel at the moment but want to knit a sock, anyway. I love them for when I don't know the exact length of the wearer's foot, but know their general size enough to get the circumference right. If you don't plan out the position of the heel as you work, you can adjust the foot length, as needed, when you add the heel.

If you know the exact length of sock you want, you can avoid having to pick out tiny stitches later by using my Extra Needle technique. I explain it, in detail, in the book, and I've also made a video about it.

Sidle Socks, Toe Up

As with the top-down version of this sock, there is no gusset here, but the large heel will help it fit a variety of feet very well. It is possible to nearly completely avoid math in this toe-up version.

The fit of the toe is very similar to a medium wedge toe, and even begins in the same way.

Why It's My Favorite: Again, Extra Needle technique or sizing flexibility, plus the fun of working toe-up and having the sock look a little like a sock even when you've just started it. If you measure the toe after it is finished, you'll know how long your heel will be, which saves just a little math if you are working out your own sizing.

Procrastinatrix Socks, Top Down 

In this sock, the heel is knit last, so it hints at a slight proclivity to procrastination. Hence, Procrastinatrix. Spellcheck may not like the name, but I sure do.

Everything about this sock is entirely run-of-the-mill and familiar, except for the order in which it is made. Amaze your friends and companions by turning what looks like a very strange sock indeed into one with a French heel.

If you love top-down French heels, but hate picking up stitches along the side of the heel flap, this is the heel for you. Decreases, not picked-up stitches, connect the heel flap to the gusset.

I used a slipped-stitch heel flap, for strength.

Why It's My Favorite: This heel concept is a second look at the heel I created for my Tootsie Socks. It allows you to create a relatively common heel, which may already be your favorite, but work it as the last step to your sock, instead of halfway through.

It's either my masterwork or a method that about 5 other people on the planet will like. Time will tell.

Procrastinatrix Socks, Toe Up 

As you might guess, this is very similar to the Procrastinatrix Socks that are knit from the top down. I added a little color change into these: heels, toes and ribbing are in a contrasting color.

I’ve never managed to get grafted stitches at the top of a heel flap to look quite as nice as I would like, so even though this sock is knit from the toe up, the heel is knit from the top down. It’s a bit of a twist and is only really possible with this style of construction.

If you need any more convincing to try a toe-up sock, with this version you can avoid casting on gusset stitches. In many ways, it is the best of both worlds.

Why It's My Favorite: It's a toe-up sock with a top-down heel. The only grafting you have to work is hidden under the heel, so it doesn't matter if it isn't absolutely perfect.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Checked and Square Socks

So, this time I didn't try to get fancy with the name. These socks are in a checked pattern and have square heels. Easy!

Checked and Square Socks, Top Down 

These simply checked socks have square heels and are knit from the top down with an Eye of the Partridge heel flap.

Why It's My Favorite: The stitch pattern makes the sock a little more exciting to knit and makes counting rounds super-easy. I think the square heel makes a great introduction to flap-and-gusset heels, since it's a little easier to keep track of where you are as you are turning the heel. Wouldn't that color be a little pop of summer all year 'round, too?

Checked and Square Socks, Toe Up 

These simply checked socks have square heels and are knit from the toe up with an Eye of the Partridge heel flap and a toe that can be easily customized for a perfect fit.

Why It's My Favorite: I don't always get to work with a lot of different colors in my socks, so I add texture when I can. This stitch pattern is easy to knit, but not to frilly to be unisex. There is no grafting, but there are some picked-up stitches. Plus, and I know this has nothing to do with the actual pattern, I love how sophisticated it looks in gray!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mouchoir Socks

Mouchoir means “handkerchief” in French. This sock has a half-handkerchief heel and a simple stitch pattern to match. I love the stitch pattern, but it does limit sizing options a bit. I hope you can forgive me. Both toe-up and top-down versions require no grafting at all and are written out in three sizes, plus an adjustable size.

Mouchoir Socks, Top Down

Why It's My Favorite: Another simple-but-exciting stitch pattern, an easy-to-adjust heel shaping and a round toe that doesn't require grafting. What's not to love?

Mouchoir Socks, Toe Up

Why It's My Favorite: This heel, when worked from the toe up, doesn't need any picked-up stitches at all, just increases and decreases. Also, it's a good heel to know for anyone who wants to design their own socks because it fits in a way that's pretty similar to the Round or French heel, but is much easier to work out, math-wise. I love the toe shaping, too, which can be a little more pointy than most but doesn't have strong lines, which could be a bonus for hand painted or self-striping yarns.