Thursday, August 29, 2013


Do you ever just feel like you aren't using your knitting skills to their fullest? I have been knitting for 17+ years and often feel like I am not challenging myself with my choices anymore, unless I knit lace, which is generally frustrating for me. I realized the other day that I have a checklist of personal knits that I want to complete and work towards - I want to knit a Norah Gaughan pattern. I want to knit a sweater for my dad, and one for my mother. I want to bulk up my collection of mittens, especially colorwork ones. I want to complete more blankets.

When we go to TNNA as a shop, my mom and I tend to make most of our decisions about what to order together, with one exception. Each of us has a small budget with which to invest in a yarn that we believe is truly exceptional - something that we really feel strongly about selling to our customers. I picked a rambouillet, two-ply by Knitted Wit - Welterweight Rambouillet. The yarn really spoke to me as a spinner, since rambouillet is one of my favorite fibers and creates a soft, bouncy yarn and fabric. I picked a bunch of bright colors for the shop and they arrived a couple of weeks ago, at which point I cast on for one of the first projects on my 'knitterly challenge list' - a Norah Gaughan sweater from Volume 9 called 'Parlan'.

Knitted Wit Welterweight Rambo in the shop!

I'm only one repeat in and it has it's challenging moments, but honestly, I'm quite happy with my progress, the yarn and the pattern. It's about knitting while thinking critically, it's about counting and spacing and using my skills - cabling without a cable needle, reading charts, etc. And it feels great.

Side note - I can't believe that so many people have viewed and pinned and shared my Custom Sock Knitting Chart! I am in progress getting some posters made so that if you want one we can have them for purchase! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Custom sock knitting chart

I worked up this little chart over the week for a seminar I'm teaching at the shop, and thought I should share. There are so many techniques for sock knitting, I just wanted to get them all organized into one place. I was really inspired by this great Ravelry collection of heels, which also has been making the Pinterest circuit, but I've made the additions of toes, and made the chart so you can follow which 'direction' you're making your socks (with cast ons and bind offs).

I have found a really deep love of knitting socks and all through September we're focusing on socks in the shop - we're calling it 'Socktember' - the chart is to make into a poster that will help guide us through our custom sock-knitting seminar. Other events for the month include the launch of an in-shop contest, and a Magic Loop, Two-at-a-Time sock class! It's going to be absolutely fantastic.

Below the chart is a full list of each of the techniques mentioned, with links (or links to books) where they are mentioned. The only thing I expect you to know yourself is how to increase and decrease to 'shape' the legs and arches of your socks (and the chart gives you a little guidance on the latter.) Have fun making your own custom socks! I will take a photo of the poster after I have it printed, too.

Socktember Chart

I have tried to cite the original sources or at least find really good sources for these materials - however, if the source material is a book, the individual technique is also found online by using Google!

Judy's Magic Cast On (originally featured in Knitty)
Figure 8 Cast On (video with Marlene Dysert)
Short Row Toe (featured in Knitty)
Easy Toe (featured in Knitty)

Jeny's Super Stretchy Cast On (video with Jeny Staiman)
1 x 1 Tubular Cast On (with Ysolda)
Twisted Long-Tail Cast On (video with Knit Purl Hunter)

Gibson Heel (Judy Gibson's pattern 'You're Putting Me On')
Toe-Up Dutch Heel (Denise Powell online lessons)
Toe-Up Round Heel (Alice Bell free tutorial)
Welsh Heel (from Nancy Bush's 'Folk Socks')
Band Heel (a simple, generic approach on Criminy Jickets)
Common Flap Heel (used in pretty much every sock pattern ever)
Afterthought Heel (from The Yarn Harlot, originally from E. Zimmermann)
Short Row Heel (there are many, but Cosmicpluto's is a favorite)
Sweet Tomato Heel (video with Cat Bordhi)
Hourglass Heel (Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook)

Heel-Out Socks (there are a few diff. methods. I love this Hat Heel sock from Knitty!)

Kitchner Stitch (make it easier with Jenny's Easy Graft!)
Jeny's Super Stretchy Bind Off (from Knitty)
EZ's Sewn Bind Off (Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann)

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I haven't been writing, in case you hadn't noticed.

A lot has changed since that beach post below. My relationship of two years ended. I moved home to Iowa. Yarnbox has gotten busier - I am working in my mom's store now, too. And still unpacking.

I am still here but I am just getting everything together again so I can start blogging. I want to write more about my job(s) on here, share more about what I am doing and why and projects. I do miss it! I just have so much on my plate.

So, forgive me for a little while. When I come back I will come back with a lot of fun new posts.