Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Buying Shoes

Unsuspecting Shoesalesman: Do you ever wear thinner socks? 
Me: No. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

On The Road Again!

Last week was wild! Tuesday, I taught at The Twisted Loop Yarn shop. Saturday, I taught two back-to-back workshops through the Minnesota Knitters' Guild. (More on those later, when I get a few minutes. But, THANK YOU to Little Gidding Suri, who donated a skein of yarn for every student.)

But, I've also confirmed two events that are coming up really soon, so I wanted to tell you about them:

When - Monday, 4/6/15, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where - Tulsa, OK, Loops!
What - Book signing and meet-and-greet!!!!


When - Saturday, 4/11/15, 10 a.m. to Noon
Where - Ewe Knit It, Yankton, SD
What - Lara's 3 Favorite Heels You May Not Know. Class where I get to show you quick, easy heels that are fun to make!
Price - $40

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Bit Hectic

I scheduled in weaving time last night, but I ended up hanging curtains! Maybe next week, when we have a wee break from French class...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Keeping It Together

I really do need a boxcutter at book signings. I keep the boxes sealed until I get there, because balancing a tower of book boxes isn't easy - and making a tower of open book boxes isn't possible!

When I just threw my box cutter into my teaching box, I always wasted a lot of time hunting around for it. So, I made a little holster for it out of two old file folders. :) Hopefully I remember to put it in there when I'm finished, and I don't just lose it, again. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Green Handspun Hat

I don't make resolutions (much), but I have decided that I really need to use my handspun! 

Clara Parke's class on stashbusting on Craftsy is a big help. She has a lesson on "letting go" of yarns, which I kind of needed. (Her organization lesson is important, too...)

So, I'm knitting up a spring hat. Easy, peasy. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

World Domination

We found the globe bar in an antique store in Stillwater, MN. We found the little brave in a thrift store here in Minneapolis, in a pile of little green soldiers.

I like to think of it as a collection of two cultural artifacts from the American near past, and maybe he deserves to be on top of the world, even if he is a Native Appropriation

Monday, March 23, 2015

I Believe Your First Socks Should Fit

Gauge swatch, in action.

This question came up in an Amazon review: "How many people can make a first anything...fit perfectly when it comes to knitting?"

It is true that perfection isn't possible in a lot of things. Your first omelet won't be perfectly beautiful. The very first thing you knit probably wasn't perfect. 

But, I'm going to risk myself and put it out there. If you:

1) are careful when you measure
2) work a gauge swatch
3) follow directions well

...you CAN have your very first pair of hand-knit socks fit you. Perfectly. 

Yes, practice helps. If you knit the same size of socks in the same yarn on the same needles, you'll learn when 2 or 4 stitches or rounds one way or the other really matters and when you can fudge it. 

I also really, truly, completely believe that you have to knit a gauge swatch whenever you have a new sock size, yarn, or set of needles. That is, if you don't want to add to your "this was a nice pattern, but the socks don't fit" pile. 

It is part art and part science, but it's not impossible!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wall of Books

It's a bit strange. Literally, a (little) wall of my work. Those are 4 boxes that contain 88 of my books. I'm getting ready for some events, so I ordered more books than I ever have, before. Let's hope that 88 people want to take them off of my hands. 

Also, here's living proof that no matter what you achieve, it's very, very hard to impress a cat. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday Night French Class + A BIG Coincidence

Bien sûr, I had to ask my teacher: "Comment dites-vous 'knitting'?"


Also, and how's this for coincidences, besides my niece and myself, there are TWO other people who have identical twins in our class of fewer than a dozen people!

Twins of the world, unite! Et étudier le français!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Minnesota Knitters' Guild

Last night, Fragile, my socks, Dee, Leslie and I hit the road so that I could speak to the Minnesota Knitters' Guild about The History of Socks. But, really, I could have called it: 

- My History of Finding Photos of Socks from Museums and Graves
- How I Learned To Love Aftherthought Heels, And So Can You
- Holy Cow LOOK At That Colorwork
- If You Think You Don't Like Charts, Check Out This Argyle Sock Pattern from 1886

Can you spot my non-knitting fan club, on the right? 

I had a great time! I actually had a little too much material, so I had to skip some stuff, but it was wonderful getting to talk to so many people about socks. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I May Find This Way Too Amusing...

One of the "red herrings" in knitting history is actually red.

I may or may not laugh like a maniac when I say this at my talk tonight. It probably depends on my level of anxiety.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Change in the Weather

Spring is in the air! I'm slightly distracted by the joy of being outside without pain, my bicycle, studying French and trying to get my office space under control. What's on your mind, these days?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Aran Afghan Project

Just a simple Aran afghan, knit in strips, that I abandoned when we moved to Minnesota. It's 75% done, so I'm finally forcing myself to work on it...                   

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The View From Here

It's all fun and games until someone catches you shooting photos of brick walls through the office window. 

Monday, March 09, 2015

Summer Rolls

It's not summer yet, but I thought I'd let you all know that summer rolls are easy to make and delicious! That is all...

Friday, March 06, 2015

Well, Darn

I finally had to drag out my nifty not-black sock darning egg to darn a BUNCH of black socks. 

I don't love darning, but I did manage to fix up 6 pairs of socks to live another day in about 2 hours - which is way faster than I can knit!

There are at least two or three methods of darning socks that I know. I tried them all. When I see how well each one wears, I'll probably get around to telling you about it. 

Now, off to wash them all...

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Count, Think, or Use Stitch Markers

I like to think. I like to knit. I like to think about knitting. I just don't always like to think about my knitting (or count too much) AS I'm knitting.

The Round (or French) heel has always kind of bothered me. Just like with any heel turn, if you get off by one tiny stitch when you start the turn...well, you're going to have to pull it all out and start over. WAAAAY too much pressure for me, on some days.

I just found a cheat to make my heel turns (almost) foolproof.

Before you start the first heel turn row, place a marker dead-center in the middle of your heel stitches (that's the gold marker). Then, place another marker 2 stitches away from it, one on either side.

Knit over to the last marker, ssk, k1...

Turn. Purl over to the (was the first, but now is the) last marker, p2tog, p1...

Turn. Then just take out the markers and continue as you normally do for this sort of heel, secure in the knowledge that your first two rows, at least, are correct!

Voila. Heel turn courtesy of me. Amazing stitch definition courtesy of Simply Socks Yarn Company and some amazing Minnesota sunlight.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

More Paris Wallpaper Socks

This is the front of the sock.

The bulges in the socks are from me cramming my fist in to them, not a feature of the socks!

I don't knit the same pattern, over and over, very often. My Paris Wallpaper Socks are the exception. 

I worked them, first, in gorgeous Poste Yarn, Patina. The publications I offered it to turned it down, so I submitted it to Dream in Color

The combination of Cashmere and sparkles in Starry was amazing! 

My mom saw that pair, in the works, and begged me for some of her own. How could I refuse? I made them for her last year. (I think I still owe my sister Lisa a pair. Sorry, sis.)

Then, I made a pair in black and red for Dee. I chose the  yarn poorly - they wore out in just a few months. 

So, once again, into the breach. This time, I'm using Dream in Color's Smooshy with Cashmere for the red and Simply Socks Yarn Company solid for the black. I love them! (That weird little bunchy bit on the right side of the second photo will block out, don't worry.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

On the Road Again!

Last weekend, I got to teach a wonderful group of knitters at Darn. Knit. {Anyway} in Stillwater, MN!

It's one of many near-LYS places in Minnesota that have stolen my heart. It's great to find so many homes away from home!

My teaching gear:

- notes
- coffee
- regular knitting bag
- "class" knitting bag
- box-o-socks
- model foot (to keep me from taking my shoe off while talking about the structure of the foot)
- (under my notes) a few skeins of yarn from the shop, so that I can wave them around and talk about what makes a great sock yarn vs. what makes a good one. Some of these end up jumping into my knitting bag...

Monday, March 02, 2015


The air is so dry in our house the cats have become walking static electricity experiments. So, I thought I'd try hanging my air-dry clothes in this little nook in our bedroom. I figure, it can't hurt!