Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holiday Ornament Gift Idea

No, I didn't make this little ornament. BUT, I think it would be easy - and it could also say "Winter Sucks" for people who don't agree with the sentiment. It might be in the running for non-knitting gifts of 2015. I may have to test out my rusty needlepoint/cross stitch skills.

Do your lovely loved ones expect knitting for the holidays every year? Oddly, I had no problem knitting for over a dozen people until this year, when my life in knitting really took off!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Travis Loves to Help

Mommy's little stalker. I used to hold him in my lap to keep him off the keyboard and I guess he's gotten pretty used to it!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Boomer, Acting Innocent

Ah, the holidays. When we put trees in our homes and expect the cats to leave them alone. I'll be celebrating pretty much all week and don't know if I'll touch this blog, so in the meantime, enjoy this photo of Boomer pretending to be innocent and sweet before he tries to eat our (plastic) tree. See you next week!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Photos of Your Knitting, Part 3: Low-Tech Solution

Excuse my rumpled paper, but I just threw together another idea for something you can do if you don't want to invest in 3 flashes, a camera, and (maybe) light stands.

Find a window. Pile up boxes, tables or chairs to create a flat platform at least as high as the bottom of the window.

Tape, rig, or otherwise affix your paper to the ceiling. If you're starting with fresh paper, it will look better than this, I promise. This is all banged up because I moved it from where it was before. 

Place object, and shoot away.

Not bad! It will depend on the time of day and the weather, but it's not bad.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Photos of Your Knitting, Part 2: Location Location Location

The next thing that matters a LOT to your photos? Where you are taking them. Look for a space in your home that has a white ceiling. Ideally, it would have white walls, too, but any color that isn't really bright or really dark is still ok. In this house, that's the basement storage room.

In our old house, I took over a corner of our white living room as a photo studio. Our basement was unfinished. If I had to use a part of the house that was painted a dark color or an unfinished basement, I wouldn't be above stapling up white posterboard. You can get as much as you like for less than $50 and you can replace it if it gets dirty or you have to tear it down to get to the plumbing.

As it is, I have a crowded but pretty good space with light walls and a white ceiling. I only ask that you not judge the number of unopened moving boxes. We moved into this house about 7 months ago and it turns out that isn't a long time when you're also finishing a book!

A roll of white paper is completely needed for a seamless background. "Real" photographer's background paper is really big, designed to be stomped on without tearing, and expensive. Fortunately 36-inch craft paper is available at most office supply stores and is usually less than $10. I put mine up with blue painter's tape. I'm using a stack of boxes, here, instead of a table, but a TV tray works well. The only problem with these boxes is the shape of the top of the box - you really need a flat surface or you'll have to spend a lot of time photoshopping out wrinkles. I don't like to do that, so I switched to a stool with a flat top after I took this photo.

Using stacks of boxes (or chairs, or whatever you have around) is a cheap way to get around light stands, but if you want to use light stands, it's hard to go wrong with this set. It gets you where you need to go for less than $100. The umbrellas are a great bonus - you would have to worry less about the color of your walls and the state of your ceilings if you had that kit. 

My basement has a fair amount of window light. A slight change in the lighting will happen depending on the amount of daylight outside. This is great if I don't need the lighting for all of my photos for several months to be the same. If I do need that consistency, I will either cover the windows with drapes or only shoot at night. 

However you do it, here's a quick three-light set up. Imagine your studio area is a tiny baseball stadium, with your subject (the foot) at home plate. Your camera will usually be around the pitcher's mound, with a flash that can point straight up. Put that flash into manual mode and set it to send out as little light as possible. (Check the manual or online for how to do this. It's called "dialing it all the way down.") Take your second flash and put it somewhere along the first-base line, pointed at the ceiling, with a slave, and also dialed all the way down. (If you don't know where this is, ask your sports-nut friend while he's drinking something. Hilarity will ensue.)

Your third flash should be your most powerful/easiest to use. It goes along the third-base line. You can see mine on the right side of the above photo. It also needs an optical slave. Start by dialing it down to 1/16 or 1/32. Set your camera on manual. Choose 200 ISO, 1/125 for the shutter (or the highest manual sync for that camera, again, check the manual), and f/5.6 or f/8 for the aperture. 

Take a test shot. Too bright? Dial down your main light. Too dark? Dial it up. Experiment until you love it. 

Tomorrow: How to get a white-background, pretty good photo with just a digital camera or the camera in your phone (and the right location).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Photos of Your Knitting, Part 1: The Gear

Even though "photographer" isn't my day job anymore, I still am one! I get questions, with some frequency, from knitters who just want their photos to look better. Knitting is hard to photograph. It's often small, we do it in our homes (living rooms are notoriously dark), and since most knitters aren't professional photographers, we have to make do with whatever equipment we happen to have. 

Today's post is geared (ha!) toward any knitter who has a digital or film camera that will accept an external flash. 

The top photo is the set of flashes I use. The one on the left is from when my mom was in college (1970-ish). The center one I bought last year when my old Nikon flash died after many years of service. I bought the one on the right the morning after my junior prom in 1996 at a camera swap meet. I remember because my dad took me and I bought that flash and my trusty Nikon FM2. I still have that camera, but film and processing costs mean that it's mostly a nice keepsake now.

Those weird little things you see below the flashes are called optical slaves. For less than $20, they will turn any flash unit into a remote flash that will work well as long as the light in the room isn't too bright (I don't recommend them for outdoors) and you have a direct line of sight between your units. Fancy, expensive flashes used to come with built-in optical slaves. Alas, those days are no more as camera companies prefer to build in radio-controlled slaves, when they build them in at all. Radio control is awesome, but I'm not about to replace everything I use (including my Nikon D100!) just to take advantage of a feature I can buy for less than $100. 

Rant over. Sorry. BTW if you want to drop serious money on just making sure your flashes will fire, I recommend Pocket Wizards. I used that system the entire time I worked at newspapers, and they never, ever let me down. For relatively inexpensive "studio-style" lighting gear, Alien Bees are hard to beat, too. 

You don't need a fancy flash to take great photos, but it helps a lot if it has a tilt and swivel head. Just check for that option when you're comparing flashes. The two flashes on the right in the above photo have that, and it just opens up your options a lot. 

The second photo is probably even more important than the first. Fresh batteries. You can use rechargeable if you want, but always, ALWAYS have a spare set of hand and ready to go. There is nothing worse than being ready to shoot and finding out that your batteries aren't working. 

Also, unless you use your flashes at least one a week, never, ever store batteries in your flash. Batteries can leak. The stuff that leaks out of them will almost always ruin your gear! I don't use brand-new batteries for every shoot, but I often keep little snack-size ziplocks in my bag and pop the batteries out when I'm finished shooting. I store batteries on a shelf, neatly lined up so that the ends don't touch each other. That can cause a short, which can cause a leak. If you can get a box of batteries that is resealable, that's even better.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you how to set up a temporary studio and show you my messy basement. Look away, mom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Turns Out The Internet Isn't Forever

I've known this was coming for a while, but it was still a shock to me last week when, all of a sudden, the 155 patterns I'd written for the Math4Knitters: Crafty Living blog were...gone. 

The Journal Gazette switched website systems. I don't blame my former employer for not keeping files that are, in some cases, from the beginning of 2010. In newspaper terms, that's about 1,000 years ago! But, I was truly worried that all of the knitters that have enjoyed (or are planning to enjoy) the free patterns I published would be really, really mad at me. 

So far, the only reaction I've had is a nice note from someone who saw that a link wasn't working. I went through that night, removed all of the links, and added notes to the pattern pages on Ravelry. (Yes, on 155 records! Thank goodness for my iPad.) That knitter was completely understanding when I explained the situation. 

We'll see what ends up happening with those patterns. I'll let you know. In the meantime, thanks for not blaming me!

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Knitmore Girls' 25 Days of Enabling: Sock Architecture Made the Cut!

Photo by The Knitmore Girls
I'm sure everyone knows about The Knitmore Girls and their 25 Days of Enabling. It's the sort of advent calendar everyone can get behind. In their own words, "We’re going to feature one cool thing (yarn, pattern, book, cool thing) each day, and some of the amazing people who make the goodies are offering deals. :)" Day 13 is Sock Architecture (20% off a purchase of $20 or more, but get the full details on their Ravelry post.)

A lot of people think 13 is an unlucky number, but I know it's a Fibonacci number, so I love it!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: Pattern Writing for Knit Designers

It's not an exaggeration to say that the Digital Explosion has allowed knitters of all stripes to become knitwear designers, too.

On Ravelry alone, right now, there are over 190,000 patterns available. Some are free, some are for sale, and all of them would have been much harder to find 15 years ago.

It's important to say "buyer beware" about all of those patterns, and especially the free ones, because many of them may not have gone through any sort of traditional editing process. The free patterns I offered on the Journal Gazette's Crafty Living, for example, were generally only checked for spelling mistakes by one other person (a beginning knitter), and were almost always only test-knit by me. I'm not saying they're bad patterns, and a lot of knitters have happily knit things from them. But, I've also received messages from people at 2 a.m. who are freaking out because k2tog, k2t and knit 2 together all mean the same thing, but I used one that's new to them, so they just don't know what to do.

The problem there isn't just free patterns, or the fact that people are able to publish patterns much more easily than before, but ALSO that there's no one rulebook, language or code that is always used by every designer.

In bellydance circles, we sometimes are a tiny bit jealous of ballerinas, because when one of them says "rond de jambe," they can expect other dancers to know what they mean. When we say "hip figure eight," it can mean at least 2 and, maybe, 8 different things. There's no one code for us.

Perhaps not having a set code or method helps creativity. But, mostly, it leads to confusion, unless you can show your student what you mean.

By the way, this "no rules" world in knitting isn't a problem caused by the internet era. I've found it in almost every knitting publication I've ever read, starting with ones from the late 1800s. To an extent, it seems like every writer (and publisher) has to decide not just what they want to say but how they're going to say it. That's probably why every knitting publisher has its own stylebook - the same pattern for the same thing will read differently if it appears in Knitty than if it appears in a book by Interweave Press. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just the way it is.

I guess this is all a long way of me saying that I've been looking for a resource like Kate Atherley's new Pattern Writing for Knit Designers for a long time.

Short review: For the same $$ you would spend on that magazine subscription that I will totally get for myself if I don't get one for Christmas (that's a hint, mom!), you could get a book that will help you write better patterns, make your tech editor think you are wonderful and get knitters from "I like what you knit" to "I loved knitting your pattern" faster and with less panic.

Longer review: Kate's simple philosophy is this: "Good pattern writing matters because we want knitters to keep knitting." There is nothing more destructive to a knitter's will than encountering poorly-written or confusing instructions. When a pattern doesn't work, some knitters will decide that pattern isn't for them, some will decide that technique isn't for them, and (hopefully very few) will decide that knitting isn't for them. That's a bummer for everyone involved!

She includes a downloadable pattern template (that is also printed in the text), to make everything easier for you, but also explains why each element of a pattern is important. 

I love her tips, too. She includes "don't just take it from me" snippets from knitters, "things you can do to make knitters LOVE you!" and advice from other knitting experts.

I've always found Kate to be smart, professional and polite, and it shows in her book. She's not afraid to share the opinions she's developed from her experiences as a knit teacher and tech editor, but she also explains the reasons for her opinions. 

Just a few: 

- Including metric needle sizes is mandatory.
- Charts are an excellent way to express repeated pattern stitches. They’re mandatory for colorwork, and are highly recommended for lace and cables.
- It is never, ever true that gauge “doesn’t matter.”

All I can say is: Amen, amen, and preach it!

Everything a designer needs to know is covered in this book. If you have questions about writing, grading (that's sizing) or copyright law, Kate is your guide. For anyone wanting to get more in-depth than is possible in a book her size, Kate also includes great information about where to dig deeper on your own.

*Kate gave me a digital copy of the book so that I could write this review. She's also been the main technical editor/angel in my life. But I would have loved this book either way, I promise!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Don't Fear the Needle

Yes, the humble darning needle. That, and its friend Kitchener Stitch (a.k.a. darning), strikes fear into the heart of many a knitter.

I'm trying to remove a bit of that fear by developing a class about the many ways this wonderful tool can enhance your knitting. I talk about it a little bit in my Beyond Basic Sock Skills class, but I feel it really needs its own class.

The topics are, in no particular order:

- Swiss darning (a.k.a. duplicate stitch)
- Kitchener stitch (a.k.a. darning or Why People Hate Finishing Top-Down Socks)
- darning to repair stockinette stitch
- darning to repair other types of knitting

Am I leaving anything out? 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

How I Wash Socks By Hand (and remember which ones need it)

I recently shocked a new-to-knitting friend when I told her that not every yarn is designed to be washed by machine. If you don't know how to wash handwash socks, it's pretty simple: 

1) Fill a sink or large bowl with cold water, add your favorite washing stuff (mine is soak), add socks.
2) Go away for 20 minutes or however long it says on the bottle of your favorite washing stuff. 
3) Rinse (if your washing stuff needs to be rinsed).
4) Gently squeeze (don't wring) water from socks, wrap in a clean towel. 
5) Stomp on towel, pretending you're stomping grapes in the French countryside (is that just me?)
6) Hang socks to dry the rest of the way. 

About half of my socks are handwash and the other half are machine-washable. Tip: Even if a sock yarn SAYS it's machine-washable, you'll get the longest life out of your socks if you hand wash them all, every time. 

Most of my handwash-only socks are distinctive colors or styles, but when I have a rather plain black sock that needs to be handwashed, I build in a little clue to myself. Do you see that tiny line of red on the otherwise black sock in the lower-right of the photo? That's my reminder - handwash these socks. I simply inserted a single round of red near the toe of otherwise all-black socks. It stands out when I'm sorting laundry, but is invisible when the sock is inside a shoe. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

It's Not Too Late: Enter to Win a Digital Copy of Sock Architecture!

Annie Modesitt (who is generous enough to call me her friend) wrote a very kind review of Sock Architecture last Friday. If you don't have a digital copy of the book, you can leave a comment on her blog post for a chance to win one by the end of the business day today.

While you're there, don't miss her wonderful self-published books. I love my complete set of FlipKnit books. Yes, you read that correctly. They're adorable little flipbooks that show you how to knit, purl, increase and decrease. I like them for teaching new knitters. The photos are clear and the action is easier to follow than most videos.

And, in case you don't know about it, take a look at Modeknit yarn. The colors are gorgeous!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Another Reason to Own A Good Circular Needle

I knit socks on dpns. I like them. I find them fast and I can really crank down on them for a tight gauge. But, I always have a good circular needle in my bag. Why? I have lots of reasons, but one is that it's the ideal stitch holder. Whenever I put stitches on hold, even for the instep on a sock, I use my circular needle. That way, when I'm working back and forth for the heel flap, I don't encounter the ends of my dpns, ready to stab me like a stainless steel porcupine. It also seems to stretch the stitches out less, so I have less of a giant gap where my instep meets my heel flap. 

I can work faster and happier. What more do you want from your knitting tools?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Old Phone, New Episodes

Dee's old phone was a little damaged, so we couldn't trade it in to Verizon for an upgrade. Bummer. But - I bought a cord that cost less than a new microphone and turned it into a voice recorder for myself. 

Same old mic, same old me, and a somewhat new phone. I'm restarting the Math4Knitters podcast! I've had a lot of questions about the old episodes (starting way back in 2006), so I'm going to start up the new feed by re-issuing as many of the original shows as I can find, in order. 

I didn't keep my files very neatly back then. Clearly, I didn't think I would be doing this for more than a year or two. But, I found the box that probably has most of the old shows on DVD, so that should help. 

Once I've run out of old shows, I'll start producing new ones, probably once every two weeks.

When you go to iTunes, the new feed is called Math4Knitters and the logo looks like this: 

I'm super-excited!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Plying: Tunis Edition

I finally had time to sit down and ply the last of my lovely Tunis. I love everything about it - the loft, the size (heavy worsted) and the color! I have no idea what I will make with it, but just the sight of that super-full bobbin makes me happy. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Socks vs. Boots

These are my wonderfully-thick socks that DO stay up in my boots.

Sometimes, when I wear big boots, my socks fall down. I used to think this was because I had made an error in sizing, but after some experimentation, I've found that even well-fitting socks can fall down in boots. There appear to be a few reasons for this:

1) If the socks aren't very thick and the boots are just a little big, the boots will simply pull your socks down. 

2) Socks that are the same height on the leg (or a little higher) than the top of the boot stay up better, but they're still no match for the boots if problem #1 is present. 

So, when in doubt, wear thick socks with your heavy boots!

Pattern: Kind of a plain-jane pattern of my own, using the heel shape from my Checked and Square Socks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Warm Mittens On A Cold Day

These mittens are from Favorite Mittens and they're just as wonderful today as they were when I made them about 9 years ago! They're in Bartlett Yarns' Fisherman 3-ply. I almost always wear them with windproof gloves underneath, so that I can still do little things like pull parking ramp tickets.

Monday, November 24, 2014

No-Bull Book Review by Carol Sulcoski of Black Bunny Fibers

I love Carol's yarns and admire her writing. It does mean something extra-special when a knitter with a wonderful sock book of her own reviews Sock Architecture.

I'm happy that she calls my book a treasure, but even more excited that someone who is as clearly in love with vibrant, exciting colors as she still likes my book. She asks that people not skip over it because it may appear too basic, which was one of my real fears about the way I chose to photograph the book. What could be seen as wonderful clarity by some might look boring and bland to others.

Carols' review also raises a question of word choice. Carols says "cuff down" where I say "top down." It is my journalistic tic of alliteration that makes me pair "top" with "toe?" Which version do you see more often? Which makes more sense to you?

You can read the whole review here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reboot of Math4Knitters Episode 1

The original episode is here.

I'm working to restart an RSS feed that works through iTunes, because the old feed seems to be kind of...decayed? Anyway, when I checked it didn't have all of the episodes.

The "new" episode one is here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fast Friday Review: Creative Options Project Boxes

The nice people at Creative Options sent me another product to try. They call it a "project box," I call it "completely secure from the kitties."

The box is designed to hold 12" by 12" scrapbooking paper, but that also means that it holds a set of 14" knitting needles and a medium-to-large knitting project perfectly. It's the size of a medium pizza box and just over 3" tall, so it is very convenient. 

I highly recommend it for keeping projects at home safe and sound from dust and Acts of Cat. It could even be used for under-the-bed project purgatory, um, storage.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Twisted Loop Yarn Shop

I had a great time last night at Twisted Loop Yarn Shop!

I placed my pile of socks next to a cute tray of sock cookies that Jenni brought. YUM!

There were many nice knitters and LOTS of great yarn.

One skein (for socks for me!) jumped into one of my boxes. Don't worry, I paid for it. It's Regia 6-ply. I knit some socks from a skein of this last winter and I just love them. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'll Help You Drop A Hint

The holidays are on their way and I'm flattered that more than one knitter has told me that my book is on her wish list. I know it can be hard to convince your non-knitter family and friends to buy knitting stuff for you, so I made a few hints you can print out or share electronically. Go forth and drop hints!

Square for Instagram

Might print out better than the other two.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Zig-Zag Toe Test

A few weeks ago, I was showing some knitters the zig-zag bind off. It's used on the back of the heel of my Adjoin socks. It feels like a real magic trick. It's easy, fast, and even though it looks a little strange, it lies completely flat when worn - I swear!

So this very bright group of knitters challenged me. If the bind off is so good, why not use it for the toe of a sock? Why not, indeed? 

Time for a test. I made a pair of Bootstrap socks from a truly luscious Coastal Colour Yarns skein that I picked up on a business trip earlier this year. It's 60% merino, 20% silk and 20% nylon. It's gorgeous! I love the pattern and the yarn, so let's see how the "new" technique wears. I'll let you know. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Signing this Wednesday - Come See ALL of the Socks!

When - Wednesday, 11/19/14 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
Where - Twisted Loop Yarn Shop, 16210 Eagle Creek Ave SE, Prior Lake, MN 55372
Contact - (952) 240-8550 with any questions
Price - free!
What - Sock Architecture book signing and trunk show. Come see ALL of the sample socks, heels and toes from the book!

I'm so excited. I got to meet the lovely shop owner, Jenni, at the Fall Fiber Fest. It's a yarn shop in a library - what could be better! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Northfield Yarn

I had a great time teaching my 3 Sock Heels class at Northfield Yarn last weekend. Here's a tiny corner of this adorable shop:

...and the best part - my book on the shelf with other books. Squeeeee!!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Watch the Time

A few years ago I heard someone say that watches were on the way out. Who needs a timepiece when you have a phone? 


If you're going to teach (or even speak to) people, it helps if you have a watch. If you look at your watch, people know you're checking the time. If you look at your phone, they might think you're checking to see if your dad is beating you at Words With Friends (again!!!!).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Free Pattern: Fork in the Road Socks

Yarn: Simply Socks Yarn Company Poste Yarn Striping (75% superwash Corriedale wool, 25% nylon; 393 yd/359 m per 100g skein)

color: Giant’s Causeway

I want to show off the design possibilities for self-striping yarn and my favorite afterthought heel. However, to keep the length of the foot easily customizable, the sock needs to be made out of order and from the top down. The “afterthought” heel is made after the leg and before the foot. So, an unusually-shaped sock, worked in the most common top-down order of things.

Along the front of the sock, the stripes should be all the same depth, with just a little extra  work from you when joining new yarn for the foot. An extra-deep stripe forms under the heel. It looks like a fork in the road, to me. 

If you think you don’t like the fit of afterthought heels, I hope you’ll try this wonderful version. It is automatically customized to fit the wearer, and I have never known anyone who tried it who didn’t fall in love. In my book, Sock Architecture, I call it the thumb-joint hat top heel. To make it fit perfectly, you will have to measure the feet and part of the thumb of the wearer, which should confuse them greatly. It’s always fun to scare the muggles, isn’t it?

All that, and it's a free pattern!  Big thanks go out to my test knitters (ScrappyGal, FiaKnit,ColumbusCrafter65, cinnymom, Bonni and YayForYarnByMGG) for testing and Allison of Simply Socks Yarn Company for the yarn support.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beth Brown-Reinsel

Beth Brown-Reinsel is someone who I have admired for a very, very long time. Her book, Knitting Ganseys, was one of the very first knitting books I found in my quest to Read All of the Books when I was a college student. It's all about traditional fishermen's sweaters from England and Scotland. You can even knit a tine, adorable sample sweater as you read the book. It was a bit too adventurous for me, back then, but I still harbor fantasies of taking a month away from everything else to knit one of her sweaters.

So, when she agreed to review Sock Architecture, you can imagine my extraordinary delight. You have to sign up for her newsletter to read the whole thing, but here's a snippet:

"I am still amazed at the really good sock books coming out. I remember thinking recently that there just couldn't be any more one could say about socks, but I would be wrong! ... Lara's tips and tricks are priceless..."

P.S. - People of Yarnover: She's teaching Saami Mittens in 2015!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recap: Fall Fiber Festival in Hopkins

I had a blast on Saturday talking with knitters about my book (and socks!) If you missed the Fall Fiber Festival, you will definitely want to put it on your calendar for next year. It's a really nice event with a great variety of wares - yarn, spindles, patterns, books, dye, roving, wool...you name it!

Wendy J. Johnson of Saga Hill was kind enough to let me have a little corner of her booth. We got to sneak in some gossip and chit-chat with each other. She taught me a little about silk fusion - which is basically a fun way to felt silk. I had a lovely time!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Fast Friday Review: Creative Options Tapered Tote

The nice people at Creative Options sent me a few things to try - one is the tapered tote.

I, generally, love tiny project bags that I can stuff into other bags and take with me, but this one is also a nice size. The sides are stiff, which doesn't seem like a big deal, but I sometimes "lose" small tools like row counters and stitch markers in floppy bags. The included zippered pouch is see-through, which is nice for if you're hunting around for things. It's velcroed into the bag, so if you take it out, you might want to cover the velcro there with something else - otherwise it could snag your knitting!

I love sticking my dpn sets into the side elastics. When casting on/off, I know exactly where they are. (If I don't have something like that, I sometimes resort to sticking needles in my hair, which is awesome until I forget that I have done it and am convinced that I have lost yet another pair of needles.)

It's definitely large enough for a sock project or two and seems fine for hats, cowls, and maybe even a scarf if you're tidy about it. A baby sweater would also fit nicely. The little handles are cute and are just the right size for hanging the project off of your arm if you need to carry it that way. 

Overall: A. I recommend it! The only way it could be even better is if the velcro were switched so that the "sticky" side of the velcro were on the pouch. That way, when you took the pouch out, you would only have the soft side of the velcro there and a much lower chance of snags.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Come See Why My Nails Are This Short

I...might run out of books. I sold a lot last weekend! Either way, I'll be at the Fall Fiber Festival showing off my socks and talking with people all day on Saturday. I've learned a weird thing - if you have nails that break easily and you don't wear them short while unpacking boxes of books...they WILL break. 

So, the nail clippers have become a BIG part of my prep for just about any event.

Sunday, I'm headed back out to Northfield Yarn. I'll be teaching my class about 3 sock heels. I'm psyched!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

See? I Don't JUST Knit Socks

I forgot to take a good photo before I shipped it off, so please enjoy my (kind of bad) sketch!

I didn't have a chance to blog about it right away, but Juniper Moon Farm has just released a pattern from me: The Two-to-One Hat & Cowl. It's a very simple hat and cowl set that uses just a little bit of colorwork to jazz it up. The yarn is absolutely scrumptious! It really feels like butter on the needles.

I don't think I will ever get over how much fun it is to see something go from a sketch to a swatch to a finished thing that other people might knit.

Like it? You can buy it on Ravelry!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Athena Fibers in Sioux Falls

It was so much fun going back to my old LYS last weekend - Athena Fibers was a real home-away-from-home to me when I lived in Sioux Falls. It's in a cool, old house that's not far from downtown.

There's a nice lounge area.

There's a cute bunny who loves to be petted.

(Last weekend, anyway) - There were knitters looking at my book. Marty, the lady on the right, was one of my major knitting mentors when I lived in Sioux Falls. It was so fun to get to talk with her about my book and share a few of the tips/tricks I've picked up!

I was sorry to go!