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!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Teacher's Copy and Learning As Much As I Teach!

I forgot to take any photos at Linden Yarn & Textiles, but it was a fun class and I think most of the students liked it, too. I did learn that I need to refine how I teach grafting on-the-fly and one of the harder cast ons I know, so I'm brainstorming ideas to make it more friendly to less experienced knitters. 

I also made a "Teacher's Copy" of my book. I hate making people wait while I flip through, looking for charts/patterns/lists that I use a lot. So, post-it notes to the rescue!