Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Northfield Yarn, Here We Come!

It's finalized, I'm going to Northfield Yarn on Saturday! We had to get ready with a trip to Office Depot, of course...

When - Saturday, 10/4/14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where - Northfield Yarn, 314 Division St S, Northfield, MN 55057

Contact - (507) 645-1330 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! We even put little tags on them.

Can't make it this weekend? Check out my teaching and travel schedule to see if I'll be near you, soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Knitting in Art: The Asparagus Vendor

This is a detail of a painting at the wonderful Minneapolis Institute of Art. It's by Pieter de Hooch, a Dutch painter who finished this sometime between 1675 and 1680. It's a depiction of a household in the rising middle class. But it raises a question for me: is that lovely red stocking most likely to be knit or woven? 

Well, in Folk Socks, Nancy Bush points out: "By the end of the 1600s, one to two million pairs of (knitted) stockings were being exported from Britain into other parts of Europe."

So, even though we can't see the knit stitches, I think she might be mending a knit stocking, not seaming a woven one.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Workshops at Linden Yarn & Textiles

I don't have all of the details on pricing yet, and I will put that on the Teaching and Travel Schedule page when I have them, but I just confirmed that I am teaching two workshops at Linden Yarn & Textiles.

What - Beyond Basic Sock Skills

When - Thursday, 10/9 and Thursday, 10/30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where - Linden Yarn & Textiles, 5814 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Contact - Chris at 952.303.3895 to sign up!

Students should bring smooth yarn of any weight and needles that work well with that particular yarn. The needles should be the same type that they use to make socks (dpns or circulars). Students will also need a spare circular needle of the same size or smaller than their working needles.

- How to work the “new” ssk.

- Three ways to increase, m1L, m1R and m1P. How they play well together and when to use them.

- How to work the “Extra Needle” cast on, the easiest, fastest provisional cast on, ever.

- Learn two ways to start toe-up socks.

- Work Jeny’s Stretchy Cast Off, using either a knitting needle or a crochet hook.

- Use dental floss to make grafting easier.

- Pick up stitches from gussets with confidence, every time.

I hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vintage Baby Socks

Ok, add "antique malls" to one of the shopping destinations that Dee and I frequent.

I normally don't buy vintage photos unless they are great stereocards, but I couldn't resist this little guy. His name is Oliver (the last name is illegible).

It's so rare to see socks in an old photograph! I wonder if his mama was a proud knitter or if they just didn't have shoes to fit him. They look like half-handkerchief heels and round toes. Seriously cute and amazing stitch definition!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I Heart Kate Atherley

I feel very, very  honored that Kate Atherley reviewed Sock Architecture. She has already done so much for me, by helping me shape the book and make it better than it would have been without her encouragement, questions and "not sure what you mean here" notes.

I'm always super-excited that anyone likes my book, but my heart kind of skips a beat when it's someone who, when you Google her name, has an automatic "sock" suggestion come up after it.

No, really, it does.

I don't know if this kind of anxiety is normal, but I worried when I was writing this book. I thought no one would "get" it. It's very gratifying to find that they do!

Sky + Lake + Trees = Minneapolis

Can you even believe this is just 15 minutes away from the center of a large metro area? Minneapolis, you're beautiful and I love you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Interview and Giveaway at Simply Socks Yarn Co. Blog

Allison was one of the very first people who looked at my little list of sock heels and toes and said, "Hey, shouldn't this really be a book?"

...and she backed up our coffee-fueled musings by being the sole source of yarn support for Sock Architecture. I will always be grateful for that, and her friendship.

Over on her blog, you can read a whole lot of my jibber-jabber about Sock Architecture and enter to win a signed copy of the book AND two skeins of her fabulous Simply Sock Yarn Solids, to make a pair of your very own socks. You have until 9/26/14 to enter, so hop to it!

Friday, September 19, 2014

That Time Hunter Hammersen Called Sock Architecture a Reference Book (and made me really happy!)

When Hunter Hammersen, a wonderful knitter and author of 6 books (with a 7th on the way!), agreed to review my book, I was pretty psyched. I'm deeply touched, now, that she called it a "reference" book.

I've always made the distinction between "reference" and "pattern" books in knitting. I wrote patterns for Sock Architecture to make it accessible and great for as many knitters as possible, but, at its heart, I want it to be a book that shows you the path, allowing you to make your own choices and get exactly what you want out of your knitting. So, definitely a reference book!

What a great way to end the week!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Would You Like A Signed Copy of Sock Architecture?

There are a few ways to get one.

1) Meet me in person. I'm looking for yarn shops/guilds/knitters within driving distance of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area who are interested in hosting signings and talks. Contact me!

2) Visit my Etsy shop and order one from me. I'm not able to offer digital + paper copies, since I don't have a good way to get digital copies to people. For that, please visit cooperativepress.com.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thrift Shop Stash Enhancement

"Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meats. Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables."
- Hamlet

Am I the only one that thinks that when I think "thrift shop"? I hope not. 

Anyway, when I'm looking for random stash storage solutions, I don't run across a lot of chances to make my stash bigger, but this time, I got lucky. Under a pile of acrylic yarn, I found 4 skeins, 2 with labels, but they all look like the same yarn: 

I've never used The Philosopher's Wool Co. yarn before, but it's 100% wool, smells like lovely lanolin, and seems perfect for my Sherwood Slippers. I'm planning on holding the yarn double, and I hope I have enough to get a pair of slippers from each skein. 

It seems a little heavier than Cascade 220 (which I also hold double for those slippers, and any kind will do, just as long as it's not superwash), so I may have to make adjustments. We'll see! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Stash Management

I've introduced Dee to the joys of thrift store/estate sale/garage sale shopping and there's no going back! A recent find: Awesome vintage suitcases for $5 each. The very smart woman running the sale put cute little tags on the cases that made them pretty much irresistible. See "What do you need to store?"

Well, yarn, of course. I love my new office space, but there isn't as much storage as there was in our last house. 

I filled the case with little honeycomb dividers, then went through my sock yarn stash. It includes this thrift store find, probably from about 15 years ago. I haven't had the heart to use it, yet. 

Wound balls go into the organizers, a few small skeins fit in there, too. Big skeins and 100-gram balls go into that big space at the top of the case. A flap clips down over it to keep them from spilling all over the place. 

It all tucks away neatly under the guest bed. I felt pretty good about this until I remembered that I would need about 10 more to REALLY organize it all. This is just my sock yarn! Oh well...

I feel like I'm popping open a big case of crayons every time I take the case out. Some are odds and ends, some are brand-new. They're all lovely, though.

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Amazon Author Page

It exists! It's kind of a strange feeling....

If you have a book on Amazon and you're on the fence about making an author page, you should do it! It's truly easy, Amazon has great customer service, and if you get confused, there is a lot of information out there about how to fix/add/soup up your profile.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sock Architecture Is Here!!!!!!

I came home last night to a box.

...and opened it to find this!

It's real! It exists! Could you ALL hear me squealing with delight? 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Crazy Cat Couple Achievement Unlocked

When we saw cat ties at i like you, I knew it was all over. Boomer (top photo) likes his tie better than Travis likes his. (Don't worry, we don't leave them on, they would be destroyed or dropped in a toilet within the hour, anyway.) 

Maybe Boomer just likes all the extra attention. Our little boy, all grown up. 

Yes, I know. We're officially crazy. But, at least we only have two.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Unofficial KAL

One consequence of adding a bunch of patterns to Ravelry at the same time is that my designer page has become an unintentional popularity contest for all of the patterns in Sock Architecture. I'm pretty sure the patterns are shown in order from most popular to least popular, since it isn't in the order that added them.

Right now, Uncommon Dragon appears to be the fan favorite, by a wide margin!

I'm planning on knitting up some of the patterns from Sock Architecture as a VERY unofficial knit-a-long. Would you like to join me? I'll start as soon as my needles are free from obligatory/deadline knitting - and I'll start with whichever pattern is the most popular, according to Ravelry.

If you want to watch me knit your favorite one first, go "vote" with your like!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Mistakes, Errors and Other Problems

When I started work on Sock Architecture, I talked to all of my knitting friends about what they look for in knitting books.

Accuracy was a big one. No one wants to face trying to figure out if it is their knitting, their brain, or maybe the designer's mistake when their pattern just isn't working out.

The more people I talked to about accuracy in publishing, the more (very kind) people pointed out that it's nearly impossible to have absolutely no errors in a book. There are just too many ways for a mistake to sneak in there.

So, we did our best, and many people had a hand in making Sock Architecture as perfect as possible, but there is at least one error an eagle-eyed friend of mine has pointed out to me.

I'm making the errors in the book as easy to find as its praise - so the errata page is right next to the Reviews page on this blog. I will add errata notes there and to the Ravelry page for each design as they come up.

Please forgive me if any of my mistakes trip you up. I truly want Sock Architecture to make knitting socks the most fun you can have with sticks, strings and your knitting brain.

Yarnbomb in Minneapolis!

I didn't do this, I swear, but isn't it adorable? I love site-specific art! It's on 50th and France.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Math4Knitters Podcast Reboot and the Knitmore Girls

The Knitmore Girls agree with my IRL knitting group - I should restart the podcast. Actually, like everyone else who hasn't been a previous fan, they don't seem to know that I've put it on pause.

It may take me a little bit. I have to find my microphone (I checked the box I thought it was in and, no dice) and figure out the most efficient way to do it. I will probably start with a twice-a-month schedule and see how it goes. It will NOT be on the Journal Gazette website, since I don't work there anymore, so it would be a completely new feed.

I do miss the intimate nature of podcasting, and I will probably not do so many interviews, but we'll just see how it goes...

Any questions or suggestions would definitely make it easier for me to get going!

Totally Normal Behavior

Everyone pauses horror movies to take pictures of architectural details, right? I mean, seriously, it's starting to seem as if houses are haunted because they are so cool looking. This is a grating (mysterious noises come out of it, so we get a good close-up view) from Haunter, which is kind of like Groundhog Day, only Bill Murray is an annoyed teenage girl being held hostage by a truly evil ghost. So, you know, pretty much the same. I LOVE the lines/diamonds/squares in this grate.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I Haven't Forgotten My Loom

Over the long weekend, I took a little time to play and weave a simple scarf on my loom. I still love it! This is Cascade Highland Duo, an alpaca/Merino blend that's lovely and soft. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

My Home Office

If you had a long weekend, I hope you had a great one. We had a rainy couple of days, but it was really nice. I spent some time in my home office space, which the previous owners very thoughtfully built into what was a closet in the guest bedroom. It's practically perfect in every way, with lots of little cubbies and spaces for my knitting things (note my model foot tucked away).

My co-workers are kind of lazy, though. Sometimes I can hear them snoring behind me, on what they think is the best cat bed in the world. 

I answer a lot of emails and even sometimes browse Ravelry on my phone, but there's no substitute for a computer on a desk, to me. It's just more comfortable. Maybe it practically looks like the work equivalent of driving a model T, but I like it!