Greetings, bluegirl knits readers! Chrissy Gardiner here. Nichole is letting me take over her blog for the day to tell you a little bit about my book, Toe-Up! Patterns and Worksheets to Whip Your Sock Knitting Into Shape.
Since Nichole is a fellow designer, I thought I'd delve into the designy details of a couple of the sock patterns in the book. Every sock has a story (some are more interesting than others, of course), so here are a couple of my favorites.
Peace Lily was a sock that struggled to find its place in the world, as it was originally slated for something completely different than my book.
I originally designed Peace Lily for a sock club using a gorgeous pink-and-green colorway from Fleece Artist. I was delighted with the results, which you can see here:
(Forgive my husband's rudimentary photography - they're much more lovely in person!)
I sent the sample and pattern on to the sock club folks, and they responded with the bad news that the pattern was a bit too similar in design to the previous month's pattern, which also used a traveling stitch motif although in a much different fashion than in Peace Lily. Oh, and could I still manage to design a different sock and get them a new sample in two weeks?
I happily rose to the challenge (what can I say - I work best under pressure) and came up with a lovely new pattern for the yarn. In the meantime, I decided that Peace Lily would be perfect for the new book I was working on.
Since the colorway I'd used for the original Peace Lily socks was an exclusive for the sock club, I needed to find another yarn to use for the book sample. I asked my friend Yvonne of LavenderSheep
to design something specifically for these socks, and she came up with her delightful Peace Lily
colorway, which is a perfect match for the design.
And now a little confession - you'll notice that these are the only socks not modeled on actual feet anywhere in the book. Unfortunately, the sample was knit to a slightly tighter gauge than the final pattern calls for, meaning they won't actually fit on my feet (yes, I acted as my own foot model for the rest of the shots in the book, along with my husband and kids - it truly was a family affair!). If I'd been knitting these for myself (a sample knitter made them for me and did a lovely job) I would've noticed the gauge error and been able to easily adjust. One of the main benefits of toe-up socks is the ability to try them on as you knit the foot (as shown in the cover photo).
Another sock club pattern that was given new life in the book is Diamond Lucy.
This was originally a top-down pattern designed for a small sock club several years ago. When I was deciding on new designs for the book, a friend of mine suggested that I rework this one since she really loved it the first time around and was sad it hadn't gotten wider distribution.
The pattern, however, turned out to be a bit high-maintenance. I had to go through several different yarns before I found the ideal fiber and color to show off the subtle brocade texture of the stitch pattern. Several months earlier, I'd picked up a skein of Blue Moon Seduction in a lovely light blue colorway called Blue Moonstone, and as soon as I swatched, it appeared that the yarn and pattern were made for each other. The subtle sheen of the Tencel and the light, uncomplicated semi-solid coloring really allowed the stitches to pop.
If you decide to attempt this pattern, which is one of the most beloved in the book (especially among people who see the trunk show and can admire it up-close and in-person), be sure to swatch and keep swatching to find the right yarn. In something that's too dark or in a yarn that's not as smooth as Seduction, the stitches can really get lost.
The fun of the design lies in the fact that it's symmetrical, with a right sock and left sock. It also features a linen-stitch heel flap (one of my favorite heel stitches of all time).
I hope you enjoyed this quick peek into the life of a couple of the socks in Toe-Up!
You can find the book at your LYS or on Amazon. Now go knit some socks - you know you want to!Nichole Here
Thanks Chrissy for sharing these sock stories with us from your fantastic book! If you do not have a copy of Toe-Up!,
then you are really missing out. Chrissy does an amazing job of walking you step by step through the toe-up construction and then gives us beautiful designs as well and that's coming from a girl who has some issues with sock knitting as some of you may know from a past post.
So, with that said, on to the CONTEST.
Yes, that's right, the CONTEST
! Please leave me a comment educating me about why socks are so fantastic to knit and the comment that inspires me the most to knit some new socks will win a copy of Chrissy's book, Toe-Up!
This is a challenge, truly, because I am pretty stubborn.
So, on to the contest!
Author: bluegirl - Date: 25 Feb 2010 12:21 - Tags: guests,contests
Visits: 4547 - Comments: 13
Comment by Jeanine Dixon
on 2010-02-25 18:59:10
Socks are so fantastic to knit as they are ALWAYS in demand, ALWAYS appreciated and ALWAYS easy to put down and pick up almost anywhere... carpool line, oil change place, doctors office, etc. etc... And they supply a rapid sense of accomplishment, which I must say is my favorite part!
And just as a side note, I miss my LYS Ladies! Hope we can catch up sometime soon!
Comment by Julia
on 2010-02-26 07:19:20
OK, so you already KNOW all the reasons that socks are great to knit. Not the least of which is that theyíre so wonderful to wear! Theyíre the perfect portable project, always useful, beautiful (lots of fun yarn choices!), blah, blah, blah. I really donít know why you donít like to knit them. It canít be that youíre impatient - you just spent a good portion of a few days finishing and sewing in ends on a project! You just need to pick some sock yarn out of your stash - I know you have it, Iíve given you some - and cast on a simple toe-up sock (mix-and-match rib from Toe-Up! perhaps?) that will be easy and fun. You can even use your new cute little Della-Q bag to hold your project. OR, you could wait until your mother-in-law arrives in a few days, give her some more sock yarn from your stash, and wait for the new socks to roll in...
Comment by Colleen
on 2010-02-26 18:09:50
Even after knitting many, many pairs of socks, I am still a little bewildered that I can make them. Watching my knitting change direction under my fingers while I turn the heel still seems slightly magical. I remember when toe-up socks were some ethnic rarity. Not anymore. There are so many methods and techniques to explore: toe-up, cuff down, sideways, long circular, two circulars, two-at-a-time, different toes, different heels, different cuffs. For a small project, there are numerous (endless?) options. Add to that the great variety of interesting, high-quality, soft yet durable yarns that we knitters have to choose from...well, what's not to like?!
Comment by Paula
on 2010-02-26 18:56:42
Oh, just go ahead and knit them! It's not like you're busy or anything. Knit some socks with cashmere. We know you like cashmere; your feet will like cashmere, too.
Also, if I can do it, you can do it. You wouldn't want me to surpass your skills, would you?
Comment by MelodyJ
on 2010-02-26 21:14:48
For me the most fantastic thing about knitting socks will be knitting my first pair. I keep reading and hearing how fun it is. I'm really looking forward to the challenge of doing something new.
Comment by Debbie B
on 2010-03-01 00:42:41
There are many fantastic reasons to knit socks - almost as many as there are gorgeous sock yarns to knit them with. Socks are portable, warm, appreciated by all who receive them as a gift and relatively easy. You can knit them top-down, toe-up or even crochet them if you're so inclined!
Comment by Linken
on 2010-03-01 08:25:51
The fantastic reason to knit socks - in my opinion - the heel turn! I love a good heel turn :) Every time I complete a heel turn, I take a moment and say cool - a tube that has an elbow curve, who would have thunk it! That and socks are my go to and knit with painted skeins, or varigeated yarns - everyone likes a bit of color in their world - :0) and if the colors don't quite make you sigh for their beautiful play together - no worries, your pant legs will hide them away!
Comment by deb lewis
on 2010-03-01 17:00:46
Why knit socks? Everyone else says it is addictive, they are fast projects, they are portable projects, and . . . . only one skein of yarn so much cheaper than anything else you knit - so gives you opportunity to try out so many different yarns. They really are incredible to wear. The best reason - others will admire your skills, envy your gorgeous socks, and be so appreciative when you knit them a pair! Go ahead . . .I dare you to knit a pair of socks and then not want to knit another! Prove me wrong but you have to knit a pair to do that!
Comment by Janice
on 2010-03-01 21:14:33
I have a pair of adorable shoes (you blue patent leather) that need a really adorable pair of socks which doesn't exist off the shelf. Add in a really yummy yarn and I'm carrying around something incredible to show off to my non-knitter friends. Of course will need to flip through the Toe Up Socks book to find the adorable pattern to use!
Comment by Susan aka paintermom
on 2010-03-01 23:21:09
Socks are the ideal knitting project in so many ways -- they're portable, quick, and varied. They can be as complex or as simple as you have the patience for. Speaking of patience, another great thing about socks is that just as you begin to tire of one phase of the sock, it is time to change to the next phase. With all that, the best part of sock knitting, IMHO, is getting to wear homemade socks! Yum! You'll never want to go back to store-bought.
Comment by Claudette Marcotte
on 2010-03-02 10:21:14
I have been knitting for over 50 years and have never made a pair of sock. However, I must admit that reading these comments has me excited and anxious to get started. I never thought it was worth the effort but thans for educating and exciting me with a new project.
Comment by Amy Wesh
on 2010-03-03 12:55:56
Socks are the best thing to knit because that's ALL I know how to knit! (Although I am in the midst of my first swoopy scarf project, wish me luck!) But I love sock projects because they are fast and also are a great way to try new things without committing to anything too grand-scale (as in, it's easier to accept undoing stitches in something so small vs. a sweater, I think!). And as someone said before, they are always appreciated!
Comment by Charissa
on 2010-03-04 14:15:31
Good things come in small packages & socks are small knits, which means they aren't a huge time commitment. They make a great little canvas to try out techniques or stitch patterns before undertaking a full size garmet. Should one suffer from 2nd sock syndrome you can decide to knit a sock for the other foot in another pattern using the same yarn or something entirely different, depending on your mood. A skein of sock yarn is (for the most part) less expensive than the cost of yarn for most other knits. And honestly, what feels better than a soft, warm wool sock on a cold day!