My current work in progress:

1. Hats!
2. Myriad stealth projects.

New Directions in Sock Knitting

I have in my hands a review copy of this:

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This is New Directions In Sock Knitting: 18 Innovative Designs Knitted From Every Which Way by Ann Budd, published by Interweave and new this month.

Speaking generally, there have always been two ways to knit a sock: top down or toe up. Do you think that’s all? Think again!

This book is a collection of 18 sock patterns by a variety of well-known designers that will change the way you look at knitting socks. The designs are knit using a variety of techniques (double knitting, intarsia, short-rows, etc.), and in a variety of different directions! Different directions? Some examples:

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This pattern is Vanishing Point, designed by Jeny Staiman. You start knitting at the center of the diamond at the instep. Then you work a Judy’s Magic Cast-On down the length of the leg and foot, working it around the diamond. The sides of the sock are worked back and forth simultaneously, so when a gradient yarn is used, the pattern is mirrored across both sides. Clever, huh?

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Smokey Zickzacks by Natalia Vasilieva are knit side to side in garter stitch, and increases and decreases form chevrons that produce the traditional knitted-in-the-round sock shape.

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For Boomerang by Louise Robert the back leg, heel, and sole are worked in one piece that’s shaped like (you guessed it) a boomerang, then the top of the foot and front of the leg are worked in a lace pattern while the sides of the boomerang are joined into a tube.

You can view all eighteen patterns here on Ravelry and read the description of how they are constructed.

The book features nice clear instructions and includes a very useful illustrated glossary of techniques.

This is definitely not just another book of sock patterns, but a great collection of creative approaches to sock knitting. Who’d like to try out these patterns?

To be entered in a drawing to receive my review copy, leave a comment on this blog post by noon Eastern Time next Wednesday, March 2, and I’ll select a winner at random from the comments posted.

Bogus Bohus

I’m working on the lining of my Bogus Bohus cowl — a much simpler colorwork pattern from the outside.

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The construction is this: I started with a provisional cast-on (the green at the bottom of the cowl), cast on approximately a million stitches, knit to the depth I wanted, purled one round for the turning round, and am continuing to knit the lining to the same depth as the outside. The cowl’s circumference is large enough to double around the neck, and I think it’ll be pretty to have the simpler lining show in places. Or you could turn it inside-out so the simpler pattern is on the outside.

Right now it’s smooshed up on the needles so it’s looking rippled. Once off the needles and steam-blocked, everything will lie nice and flat.

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There was a question in the comments about working with two yarns held together. For a couple of the colors I am using two laceweight yarns held together. I do not twist them together — just hold them loosely together.

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Loki would like you to know that among the various yarns I am using for the cowl is about 1% Ragdoll fur!

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Bogus Bohus

Here’s something I’ve been working on for a little while:

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This is a cowl, my own design, based on the lovely patterns of Bohus knitting. I’m using all Rowan yarns, a mixture of fingering weight and laceweight yarns (held together to make a fingering weight) — the fibers are a mixture of wool, mohair, silk, alpaca, and cashmere.

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It’s knitting up into a lovely light soft cowl that will be very warm and cozy to wear! The pattern will be available once completed and tested.

Meanwhile, Loki is enjoying a game of hide and seek.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

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These are the first six squares for my Martin Story KAL afghan. Very appropriate for today!

Loki sez:

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“Will you be my Valentine?”

Rainbow’s End

I finished knitting my rainbow last weekend.

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The pattern is Auburn Wave, and the yarn is Silky 350 from Violet Lynx Dyeworks, a silk/wool blend in a glorious rainbow gradient.

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I used 3 skeins (at 350 yards each) and knit from red to violet on the first skein, violet to red on the second skein, and then red to violet on the last skein.

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The pattern is a very simple one, perfect for showcasing a lovely yarn. My mods to the pattern:

  • I slipped the first stitch purlwise at the beginning of each row.
  • Wherever directed to k2tog, I worked k2tog tbl.
  • I bound off with an applied i-cord instead of a rolled edge.

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To block, I just steamed the whole piece carefully.

While there may not be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, it just makes me happy to look iat it. The perfect antidote to a grey winter day.

Loki’s idea of bliss:

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He’s pretending to be a kitty rug!

Knitting Ephemera

This landed in my mailbox last week:

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(The book, not the kitty.)

This is a review copy of Knitting Ephemera: A Compendium of Articles, Useful and Otherwise, for the Edification and Amusement of the Handknitter by Carol J. Sulcoski. Published by Sixth&Spring Books, it is due out on February 17, 2016.

What is “ephemra?” The dictionary definition:

  1. anything short-lived or ephemeral.
  2. ephemera, items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, especially pamphlets, notices, tickets, etc.

So . . . did you ever wonder how WEBS managed to snag the domain yarn.com? This book has the answer. Do you need to put your hands on a list of celebrity knitters from Hollywood’s Golden Age? This book’s got it. Why is an afghan called an afghan? The answer lies within the covers of this handy volume.

I am in awe. I cannot begin to comprehend how Carol  researched this book, let alone wrote it. It is crammed full of trivia, lists, definitions, tips, historical references, et cetera, et cetera. I would also like to applaud the individual who did the page layouts.

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I have been spending a lot of time reading through Knitting Ephemera. You could start at the beginning and just read your way through. (Easy to do: this nice hardcover book is a neat little size, 8″ x 5″, so you can pop it in your bag and take it with you, and it has a ribbon bookmark built in to the binding so you can easily mark your place.) You can also open it at random and start reading and become instantly immersed.

So on February 17, run don’t walk to your nearest book seller and grab a copy of this book as soon as it hits the shelves. You might want to buy two copies so you can give one to the knitter on your gift list.

Loki sez:

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“Prior to the 17th century, the merino industry was so important in Spain that exporting a merino sheep was an offense punishable by death.”