Monday, August 22, 2011

My New BFF

This was a project that just seemed to flow off my needles!  I started these socks while I was at Sock Summit because I wanted a simple project to carry around that I could work on anywhere without having to reference a chart.  This pattern is essentially a ribbed sock with every other rib being a 2x2 cable.
The genius of a Cookie A pattern though is that she has figured out how to deal with issues such as "Cable Suckage".  This sock started with 64 stitches in a 2x2 rib.  Then there was a set-up row where there was some increasing, and the placement of the new stitches is such that they are hidden behind the first cable cross.
Those same stitches were decreased very cleverly at the top of the heel flap and the beginning of the toe so that I was working with my usual 32 stitches again.
The end result is a very comfortable well fitting sock!  Now that I have these nice cabled socks completed in a colorway that reminds me of fall, I feel ready for the kids to go back to school!

Pattern:  BFF by Cookie A
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisan Sock
Color: She Sells Seashells
Needle: 2.5mm
Mods: None!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sock Summit Recap - Part 1 The Learning Edition

I've been home from Sock Summit for just over a week and honestly, it's taken almost that long for me to recover from all the fun I had.  Sam, aka KnitQuest, summed it up best on her blog when she said it was like a Mack Truck full of fun!  I thought I would start by sharing with you a bit about the classes I took.

This is how we were greeted as we approached the Oregon Convention Center each day.
I'd say that sums it up pretty well!

The first class I had was Toe-Up Socks for the Stubborn taught by Deb Barnhill.  This was a perfect class for me because I am a Top-down girl.  I prefer a proper heel flap vs a short row heel for fit and I can never quite figure out the right place to start gusset increases so that the length of the foot is correct.  Without giving Deb's technique away, I will tell you that she has basically figured out how to reverse engineer a top down sock so that you can knit from the toe and it looks and fits just like a top down sock.  I picked a pattern from Wendy Johnson to get started and have started the gusset.  I'll show you this again when it's finished.

I then took a class with Chrissy Gardiner about using hand-painted yarns.  The long and short of this class was to swatch, swatch, swatch.  She did talk a bit about how directional stitches and purl stitches can break up a busy yarn.  I also picked up a neat trick about determining if a variegated is a high or low contrast and how you can convert a picture of it to gray scale to see the saturation difference.  Chrissy was gracious enough to take a picture with me too.
This was the yarn that I brought to class that I have struggled with.  My newest swatch will be Monkey.  Directional stitches and purls, I guess I now know why it seems to work so well with just about any yarn!
I also had a class with Anne Hanson who is Knitspot.  Her class was on lace and was intended to be a beginning lace class.  I have knit lace before so the stitches of it were nothing new, but I did learn so much. She talked about eyelets vs lacy knitting vs knitted lace vs compound lace, what makes each unique, the pros and cons of using each in a garment, and how the placement of yarn-overs in relation to decrease stitches affects fabric.  I personally got a lot out of her discussion.  Then she pulled out her Swatch Museum.  Oh. My. Gosh!  If you ever have an opportunity to see this, do NOT pass it up.  It may have been the best thing I saw at the summit!  Anne also was gracious enough to take a picture with me and her swatches :-)
Another class I took was on Stranded Color-work with Mary Scott Huff. The samples she brought of her work were amazing.  That girl can knit!  And she is so enthusiastic about her craft and loves to share it with anyone who wants to learn about it.  We were instructed to bring two contrasting yarns of the same weight to work with in class.  This is the swatch we worked in class.  I am thrilled with the result!  Here is the front..
and the back.  Look how nice and organized and relaxed those carries are!  Not too tight or too loose.  Seriously, I couldn't be happier if I tried :-)  Now I just need to practice and then I can tackle the exclusive sock pattern she designed for our class!
I also had a couple 1 hr Wonder classes, but I forgot to take pictures.  They were Provisional Cast On's, which is a skill I wanted to improve and I now feel much more comfortable with.  The other class was The Perfect Rib with Cookie A which was a quick class about feeling confident to modify the ribbing of a sock to better flow with the leg design.  She had many samples of her own designs to demonstrate how she has used this feature in her own designs and how that would look in chart form.

So that is the quick overview of what I learned. My brain was fried by Sunday evening, but I took at least one thing away from every class I took that I can use right now.  In my book that is a huge success!

Next post I will share with you some of the people I saw and met and shopping that I did!