Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amen. Ben Stein is SO right.

Ooh, Ooh, I'm so excited, I'm getting a NZAK!

Huh, you normal people ask - what's an NZAK?

That stands for New Zealand Auto Knitter, which is a newly manufactured circular sock machine.

This is a little goofy of me. After all, I just sold my Gearhart because I said I was going to trim down to one sock machine, my faithful ancient Legare. My Legare makes wonderful 54 and 72 stitch socks.

But every time I see one of these NZAKs for sale, I get excited and tempted all over again. My husband listens patiently to me carrying on about these things, and when I saw yet another ad, and he said I ought to get one. Actually, John thinks CSMs are fascinating, and has helped me get three antique ones cleaned, lubed, and working properly. This new baby is on it's way soon! He said I have to sell something, and I agree completely. We plan to downsize on down the road. I ran an ad for a Passap E6000 that I bought just as a spare but haven't touched.

When the new toy arrives, I will take pictures and maybe make a video. Not that there aren't already terrific CSM videos, but I have a lot of people who look at my knitting videos and might find this quite interesting and different.

Oh, BTW, an update on my garter bar course: Half of it is filmed and edited. Now I have to edit the second half. I added some lessons, and want to film one more, a specific lesson on the V-neck neckband.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Single Bed Sew-As-You-Go Sock

Closeup of the seam...

Sew-As-You-Go Single Bed Sock

By Diana Sullivan

© Diana L. Sullivan All Rights Reserved

This pattern makes a low-rise gym sock, which barely shows under an athletic shoe. Instructions are for a women’s medium.

Click here for the instructional video

Yarn: Use a good quality sock weight yarn.

Gauge: 8 stitches and 9.25 rows to an inch, or 34 sts and 38 rows to 4” (10 centimenters) I was using tension 6.2 on my machine to get the gauge, but you need the tension setting that gives you the gauge on your machine with your yarn.

Machine: Any standard gauge Japanese flat bed knitting machine, no ribber required

Mock Rib Hem

Tension 3 tensions tighter than garment tension.

Arrange needles for a 2 x 1 mock ribbing arrangement from needle #L16 through needle #R16. That is, put two needles into working position, and leave one back, across those needles. Knit a few rows of waste yarn and a row with ravel cord.

Change to main yarn and knit 20 rows. Pick up the hem, filling in the empty needles. All the needles are in work now, 32 sts.

Back of Ankle

Turn to the regular tension, which gives the gauge for the sock. Knit 20 rows.

Back of Heel

Short row shaping – decrease one stitch at the beginning of every row until only 11 stitches remain in work. Wrapping to prevent a hole (see the video), increase 1 stitch every row until all stitches are in work again.

Bottom of Foot

Knit 40 rows.


Short row shaping, just like heel. Decrease one stitch at the beginning of every row until only 11 stitches remain in work. Wrapping to prevent a hole (see the video), increase 1 stitch every row until all stitches are in work again.

Top of Foot and Front of Ankle

Knit, doing sew-as-you-go pickup of 1 loop on side opposite carriage every row. Watch the video to see exactly how to do the sew-as-you-go join. Knit until you are all the way back to the mock rib hem.

Final Mock Rib Hem (Ankle front)

Following the video, sew off every third stitch onto a piece of waste yarn. Move those unused needles out of work. Turn the tension to the tighter tension for the mock rib hem. Knit 20 rows. Pick up the stitches from the waste yarn and put them on the out of work needles. Pick up the remaining stitches. Cut the yarn and sew the hem off as shown in the video, OR cast off.

© 2010 Diana L. Sullivan All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 29, 2010


Got the first half of the garter bar course "rendered," which runs all night and sometimes fails. Put it in the DVD player this morning and found not one, but two, uses of a wrong word. Wouldn't it be lovely if the video said, "If you have an open latch, you will need to open it with the plastic card tool?" I am actually thinking one word and saying another...have to go voice over those sections, see if I can get that to come out okay, and then re-render the video file. I film and knit and talk all at the same time, and sometimes, I get very surprisingly stupid results.

On the other hand, the pictures are just great. You can see how to do things better, I think, than if I were sitting next to you knitting.

I am driving to Houston this morning for the mid-year meeting of the Texas Society of CPAs board. This is an event in which they put a couple hundred CPAs in a ballroom together and we bore each other to death - just kidding! We are not any more boring than anybody else, as far as I can tell, and I love going to meetings because I enjoy the people so much!

I have a co-worker who always teases me that just seeing me or talking to me puts him straight to sleep, that CPAs are THAT boring! Oh well, this colleague is uber-hyper and needs someone to calm him down once in a while. It wouldn't do a bit of harm if I actually did bore him into a stupor.

Originally, John was planning to go to Houston with me, but he and Sammy are staying in Austin, holding the fort, because John has a work deadline. Yesterday was Steven's 20th birthday. He's in College Station but will turn up Saturday night or Sunday to collect a birthday surprise, something itsy-bitsy. If the child actually read my blog, he might encounter a hint somewhere, so that's all I have to say.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fair Isle Child's Sweater

Another simple pattern I have over at the Knit Natters site. Here's the web address:

Estimating Yarn Requirements

I got a great question in the comments. If Kathryn knits to match a sewing pattern, how can she estimate the necessary yarn amount?

When I had my yarn shop, we tried to sell people plenty so they didn't run out of the dye lot. Running out of the dye lot creates a terrible situation for the knitter, so we avoided that and cheerfully refunded any extra unopened yarn knitters returned. I tried to get people to buy whatever the written pattern called for plus one ball. We knew that ball was coming back and going into clearance, but the knitter wouldn't be stuck without yarn to finish the project. In eight years I only remember one knitter coming back unhappy because she ran out of yarn.

There was a lady who came around every few months with a list of yarns and dye lots she needed. She had a business service locating the yarn knitters needed to finish projects. It was amazing that she found the matching yarn as often as she did. Just think how many brands, lines, colors and dye lots of yarn there are!

My staff and I also learned that there's tremendous variation in yarn requirements. Cotton seems to weigh the most per yard. You don't get as many yards in a certain weight ball or cone, and you will need more. Thickness matters, too. If the yarn is thick, it will take more ounces for the sweater. If the yarn is thin, it goes father.

I developed some rules of thumb about how much yarn certain projects take. A long sleeved women's medium sweater, pullover or cardigan, takes less than a pound of yarn. The whole sweater takes about 4 times what the back takes, if it has long sleeves. Add yarn for big cowl or shawl collars, belts, or other details. Add for fair isle...add for cables...

Another favorite rule of thumb: 3 pounds of yarn for a nice sized crocheted afghan! I think an afghan should be at least 45" wide and 72" long. Remember, crocheting takes more yarn than knitting for an item the same size. Oh, and get 50 grams (1-3/4 ounces) for one knitted adult sock.

When I got DAK (Design A Knit software for machine knitting), I learned to use the yardage calculator in DAK. You can do your own yarn calculations, though. Multiply the average inches in width by the inches of length, and you've got a rough idea how many square inches in the garment piece. Ignore neck cutouts or sleeve cap shaping and measure it as if it were the bigger rectangles, and that gives you a margin of error so you don't run out.

Next, knit a sample in the same yarn and the same pattern stitch. Weigh and measure your sample, and jot down the square inches (length times width) and weight. The sample's square inches divided by the sample's weight gives you the square inches per ounce (or gram, your choice. I like grams).

When I had my shop and we had to estimate needlepoint wool, we had a big piece of clear plastic marked in square inches. We'd lay it on top of the project and count squares to get an idea how much yarn was needed in the different colors. This would be a good tool to have on hand for knitting, as well.

You do need to weigh accurately. Lately, I've been using a Weight Watchers diet scale for weighing yarn, samples, and garments. At my shop, we had a produce scale just for yarn. I have used a postage meter, too, to do the weighing. I have walked into the grocery store with a bag of yarn before and put it on a scale! They probably think I'm a nut, but at least I don't look dangerous!

Finally, you divide the total square inches in the garment by the square inches per ounce, and you've got a yarn estimate!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Twister in Huntington Beach

John and I plan to retire someday in Huntington Beach, California.

My sister lives there, and sent me this interesting photo taken during the recent storms, a twister touching down on the ocean by the Huntington Beach pier:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Photos from Garter Bar Filming

I've been refilming the garter bar course in glorious high-definition, and as I did it, I made some new samples and fished out the old ones, as well. Look at these photos of what you can do with a garter bar:

For starters, here's a picture of vertical weaving done with the garter bar. Fun, huh? I would have used Fun Fur, but wanted the weaving stitches to show. Here's you chance to use novelty yarns.

I do a lot of cabling with the garter bar. Naturally, I did an
rdinary 2 over 2 cable, and then some that are a little more unusual.

The blue woven cable was done with the garter bar. All those cable turns go really fast when you can do them all at once.

You can make eyelets, as well, with the garter bar. The key to eyelets and cables is a technique to transfer ONLY the stitches you want to move onto the garter bar.

I did a braided cable done with the garter bar, using the patterning system on the machine was set to select needles and "remind" me when to cable and which needles.
As a matter of fact, I used the machine's needle selection capability for lace, as well.
This simple zigzag lace was knitted by the needle selection to keep track of what to move. You could do a more complex multiple transfer lace, if you wanted to. Here's a way to do lace fairly
easily on machines with no lace capability - like the bulky I'm
demonstrating on.

Naturally, the lessons include decreasing across a row, increasing across a row, and gathering. I went over the simple calculation to determine where the increases or decreases go.

Often, the garter bar will work as a stitch holder instead of waste yarn, and one of my fave tricks is to use the garter bar to "park" the stitches from one side of a neckline while you knit and shape the other side. I use a twist tie to hang the garter bar from my
bulky machine's gate pegs, but on
the standard, the garter bar
hangs just fine with its notches against the pegs. Here, in blue, is a sample showing a very simple V-neck that was made using that method.

I also did this simple vertical dart. Vertical darts are much more
practical to do with a garter bar

In the pink and green photo, I tried to show Quaker Stitch's springiness when it hasn't been blocked and how it looks blocked flat (well, actually, acrylic sample "killed" with steam).

Finally, last but not least: garter stitch!

Inspiration - Fair Isle Mittens


Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Film Studio & Knitting Area

As Steven got on his way with college, little by little I cleaned out his old room and made it into a guest room. It still has some Steven flavor, with a print of the famous ice hockey picture, "The Crease," over the bed.

Steve didn't mind my getting more use out of his old room, but neither he nor his older brother likes to sleep in there when they are home. They prefer the other bedroom where their stuff lives. Their junk is good stuff, you know? Giant stereo speakers, video games, piles of oddball boy objects, and their familiar old twin beds.

This guest room has the best light in the house and is also the quietest spot in the house. Saturday morning, John and I moved the bulky machine in there. I'm filming on the bulky these days. On the left you see the mirrored closet doors and the tripod, and in the foreground, my faithful Brother 270 bulky. And, there's still room for guests. For guests, I can clean up and put away the small knitting items and the camera equipment.

Sewing Patterns For Charting Device

As you use your charting device, keep in mind that you can trace sewing patterns onto its mylar sheet. You can even layer sewing patterns between two mylar sheets and not bother tracing. Follow the stitching line, though, not the cutting line, or every piece will be 5/8" too big all the way around.

Went on a foray to look at suitable patterns that I could simply trace onto the mylar sheet and found a bunch of cute ones at McCalls, Simplicity, Vogue and Kwik Sew. All these companies have nice websites where you can shop to your heart's content, search for what you want quickly, view the front of the pattern, view the back of the pattern, and order patterns. They run sales, too. I love to shop for them online, but I like to purchase them locally. There's a Vogue I want next, and the number is on a Post-It in my purse.

The essential thing to look for is that it's sized for knits. On the back, look in the paragraph about suitable fabrics.

This pattern has five sizes inside! And, you don't have to cut it up if you trace it onto your charting device.

Before I risk my precious cashmere blend yarn, I'll knit this with something less expensive, or I might sew one up with a stretchy t-shirt cotton. I like that version in the blue for starters. I want to play with that wrap front.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Plan

I've gotten some great suggestions for content and marketing, many of which I'm keeping notes on because they are such good ideas. I thought I'd explain my general scheme. It may not be the best money-making approach, but so far it dovetails with my basic goal:

My dream and heartfelt desire is to teach lots and lots of people to machine knit. I want to give them confidence, I want to get them knitting, I want to utterly popularize the craft.

What's wrong with dreaming big?

This is why I have done a boatload of free content, my free lessons and videos, and this is why I have put so much beginner-oriented material on the site. It's why I over-explain and avoid abbreviations. And it's working, at least, I'm teaching lots of people to knit. I sit right beside them in pixel form, hands, voice, and latch hooks. Poor things, they can rewind me and play me again...

I will not give up doing free content.

As the project became so busy and my time commitment grew, I began to work on some products for sale. It's an important next step, to get quality companion materials into the hands of people who want and need them, but also to earn a little money since the site has begun to eat personal resources. There are things I cannot teach on a blog or a tiny YouTube video, but I can teach them in a detailed, empowering way with a book and a high-def video.

Earning money is secondary, and I'm not too worried about a slow financial start. The slow start getting materials done is more frustrating, but it simply takes a lot of time to do things well.

If people learn from me and knit my designs, like the silly-simple but very pretty circular baby blanket, they'll be back and buy patterns and videos.

The hitch in the new product side of things is my schedule. I have a wonderful position at a Boy Scout council, getting to be part of an incredible mission and working with terrific people. I don't have much free time, but I'll just chip away at it. I have to try to create good quality, because errors and skimpy directions are insidious knitting underminers. You can't get things perfect, but you can get 'em darn good. I had a long vacation during the holidays, and probably invested most of it in creating my sock book and video. In the end, I was satisfied with it because the quality is good, but it was an first product, and I have a lot of other things I want to do.

So - that's the plan, subject to changes and the adventures of life.

Happy Knitting!

Round Yoke Teddy Bear Sweater patterns are over at the Knit Natters side:

Wrote these patterns a long time ago. There's a bunch of free patterns and tip sheets over there, and I tend to neglect that site, but have a look.

The teddy bears are a good exercise in learning your garter bar.

Sparking a Discussion

My husband John and I were talking the other day about my blog posts. I originally had the silly idea that I might spark some discussions, but that isn't exactly how knitters, my favorite people on earth, are wired.

We'd rather knit.

Most of the discussions I see, and emails too, are knitting-related things like, how do I do it on this machine? How can I enlarge it? Hey, have you tried knitting it in this yarn? I did this and here's a photo... Have you tried this terrific machine?

I love it! That's the whole point - Let's knit!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Assorted Updates

I have tried five different ways to make truly good DVDs out of the original footage that was edited and put up on YouTube, and have been disappointed every time. I expected blurry or grainy because that was not HD, but flickery and jittery are just unacceptable. It is quite possible that I quickly got used to the beautiful 1080p video and can't bring myself to go back.

My John seems to think it can be done, and if he figures it out, fine. My hopes of making the garter bar, beginner and ribber course into DVDs pretty quickly are faded. The current results violate my commitment to quality.

As an experiment, I refilmed the first garter bar segment in HD, and the picture is much, much better. Plus, free from YouTube constraints, I can take more than ten minutes for a lesson and show alternate ways of doing things, or more samples, or even show something tricky twice. Redoing may be the best way to go, but it keeps me from getting to move on to my terrific list of ideas to film.

We've been busy lately! We bought a fun little used car for our son for all the driving he'll be doing going to college in College Station.

I'm getting ready for the next demonstration at Knit Natters, and looking forward to seeing Sylvia's professional machine embroidery setup. To repeat the announcement, we are meeting in February. We were originally going to cancel, but we're on.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Single Bed Sew-As-You-Go Sock

I just put a new sock technique video up over at YouTube. Knitters who do not have ribbers can make this one, on just about any standard gauge machine. The "seams," which aren't sewed at all, but are assembled as you knit, are surprisingly flat and comfortable.

Sew As You Go Seam

Here's the machine-assembled seam for the Single Bed Sew-As-You-Go Sock that is in the video I just put up. You can see it running horizontally along the left side of the picture and then taking a turn upward above the heel shaping on the right side of the picture.

Try this seam. You'll be pleasantly surprised. And don't be concerned that it takes a long time to knit along picking up those stitches - it goes fairly fast.

I was slow with this one - it was very difficult to get good shots of the tiny details, especially the stitch to pick up along the side.

Nine Is Enough

Here's another Circular Swirl Baby Blanket I made, but with three colors instead of two this time. I like it. Nine sections works just fine, and in some yarns, you can get by with eight sections.

This took one skein of Bernat Coordinates in each color.

More Socks Finished

I sewed up socks as I rode in the car with my husband and son yesterday. It's handy to have a quart ziplock bag with small scissors, a needle, and something that needs sewing ready to grab.

The brown sock is my husband's size, knitted circular on the standard bed machine with the ribber. It does have a seam in the cuff, which looks and feels fine, but no seams in the foot. It's that DVD & pattern for sale.

The blue and white socks, my size, are knitted circular on the antique sock machine. Interesting print yarn, isn't it?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Working on: Single Bed Sox

I was issued a challenge, to make good socks on the single bed with no ribber.

Now, y'all know I use a circular sock machine that makes superb 72-stitch socks with circular ribbed cuffs. Plus, I just wrote a booklet and produced a DVD teaching how to make terrific circular socks on the standard with ribber, which takes care of the other sizes and makes any kind of fancy ribbed cuff fairly easy.

So why would I do this?

Because I can't resist a challenge. And, not everybody has a ribber. Knitters, I want you to get the most out of the equipment you do have!

I came up with this shorty sock, to wear with sneaks. It is quite good, without a ribber, without much sewing. The only sewing is short cuff seams!

Do you see me rubbing my hands? Well, yes, I am rather pleased with myself.

Of course, without a ribber, you can't have a warm, soft ribbed cuff without lots of hand manipulation, or maybe hand knitting the cuffs, but if you'd like a short rise gym sock with a hem instead of a ribbed cuff, this one is fine. Try this very small project just for the interesting techniques. It's another good use for smaller amounts of leftover sock yarn. I buy such nice sock yarn that I don't like to waste any at all, and have been known to make stripes and contrasting heels, toes and cuffs to use it up.

It's filmed, and I'll put an overview YouTube up in the next few days, and then will work up some instructions and maybe a DVD later, not sure. Let me know what you'd like to see.

Got some sock book/DVD orders already, some shipped and some going out tomorrow. How cool is that! Thanks for that vote of confidence.

Oh - important announcement for Knit Natters. Sylvia has invited us to her house for the February meeting! I volunteered to do the program. Sylvia is one of our newer knitters, and has a Toyota 901. She uses a professional embroidery machine, and will show us that. I need to get over to and change the "next meeting" page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

PalPal Buttons Fixed, and Diana Looped

The PayPal buttons weren't working and are fixed now.

Today's adventure - I took today off to have a diagnostic test, and the doctor knocked me out for it. He said it's the same drug that Michael Jackson took to sleep at night (which was incredibly dangerous. We know how that turned out. When they give it for this procedure, an anesthesiologist has to be right there the whole time.).

Well, I'm a high-energy person who is hard to sedate, and I switched right off. Don't remember anything. Afterwards, I told the nurse I felt fine, and asked if I could go in to work, but she told me I wouldn't be alert enough and that I should not drive.

Everything was okay, and I came home awake, but all I wanted was a nap. I had lunch and spilled things; good thing I didn't try to drive. I slept all afternoon. I don't know how Michael Jackson functioned at all, poor man.

So Rip Van Winkle here is finally up and functioning. And knitting, too, as I film a new video. I'm kind of scattered because I'm chasing three knit projects at the same time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Now Available: Sock DVD & Pattern Package!

The sock knitting packages are finally available!

The package includes a book and a DVD.
Here's what in the book:

1. Sock knitting tips and techniques - 7 pages of information about knitting socks on the standard gauge machine.

2. Detailed instructions - written out for the women's medium size. I elected to do it this way instead of giving you multiple size numbers to hunt through and circle. Knit a pair, following the detailed instructions, and after that, you'll very likely prefer to work from the one-page summarized pattern chart, which has all the sizes.

3. The pattern chart - includes twelve sizes, from little kids to big guys. It's printed in color on the inside of the back cover. The columns for the various sizes are colored to make it visually easy to focus on your desired size instructions.
3. DVD - the video has all the material used in the three YouTube circular sock videos, plus an extra video lesson showing how to fold the cuff and begin circular knitting using a garter bar. The DVD, unlike the YouTube videos, is in the higher definition 1080p resolution for a remarkably clear picture.

The garter bar method of folding the cuff saves quite a bit of time.

Price $25 + shipping, and sales tax if sold to a Texas resident.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Fun

John and I were taking sock pictures for the instruction booklet cover today, and having a good time with it. This is a photo where I was thinking "earrings!" as I held up a pair of little socks. The one going on the cover is even goofier, with the Kool-Aid socks on my hands like sock puppets. We weren't in a serious mood, I guess. That basket has lots and lots of handmade socks, but they don't show up the way I hoped.

We had a fantastic Knit Natters meeting today with ten people present, including Bea and Margaret all the way from San Antonio, and Sylvia and her daughter Jessica. Sylvia finally had a second Saturday off! Bea and Margaret are always a treat, and Bea had brought a big bag of things she had knitted on her Passap. Margaret said she hadn't brought anything for "show and tell" but she was wearing an absolutely beautiful garter carriage sweater. Mildred had a whole pile of projects along, and Sara and Pat are hand knitting up a storm. Barbara is still working on the many wazoos for the troops and then she starts on helmet liners.

There were a lot of great projects, but my battery on the pocket camera was low. Tiffany and Sylvia pulled out their cameras and there will hopefully be good photos emailed to me later. Barbara did a demonstration on drop lace on the Passap, and I did a demonstration on Shadow Lace, which is a Studio technique, only on the Brother. There were a lot of similarities in our demonstrations, but we hadn't coordinated. We just stumbled onto the same page somehow.

Knit Natters will not be meeting in February, and Barbara has lined up a ceramic painting demo in March. While we're officially a machine knitting club, we do like to change things up when we get the chance.

Inspiration at Knotty Knits and Naughty Kids: Wild Tam pt 2

Doncha love it when a knitter finds a gorgeous use of the last precious little bit of a nice yarn? Headband and flower embellishments over at Knotty Knits and Naughty Kids.

Knotty Knits and Naughty Kids: Wild Tam pt 2

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Knit Natters Meeting Saturday

Yes, we're having our regular monthly meeting this Saturday!

It's at Barbara's house. She's planning a Passap demo and I'm planning to show the Shadow Lace tool as a way to move ribber stitches up to the main bed and back to the ribber.

Email me for more details if you are interested in attending.

That's Sara hiding behind her fantastic University of Texas afghan a couple meetings ago. The Longhorns are at the Rose Bowl tomorrow - Hook 'em!

Machine Knitting Fun: The Cupcake Hat Was A Hit

Machine Knitting Fun: The Cupcake Hat Was A Hit

Photo for the DVD Label

I asked my sister Sharon, who is a professional printer and does lots of CD and DVD packages, what she thinks of this photo for the DVD stickers to go right on the disks. Of course, it will be edited into a donut shape!

She likes it, so this is the picture.

You guessed it - I stood on a dining room chair, and I had to use all child-sized socks in the arrangement so it would be small enough for the photo.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Whole Lotta Sox Finished This Weekend

For my first commercial venture, and in response to considerable nagging from family and knittin' peeps to make videos and patterns for sale, I've been putting together the sock lesson package. The high-def sock DVD is done, and the printed materials are next. I have the sock instructions written and have been proofreading and testing the pattern book. I wrote a narrative pattern with just the women's medium described, but there's also a chart with all twelve sizes. Once you've got the hang of the sock you won't want to read all that detail, and you can work all those sizes from the chart.

People have been surprised at my hesitancy to teach or design for pay. Well, ever since I sold my yarn shop in 1989, my knitting has been strictly fun and never business. I was cool with just the day job, no appointments or deadlines. Nothing messes up the craft experience like a deadline! But here I am, finally dipping a toe back in. If this product is well-received, that will be affirming and exciting and will justify my time investment. If it's not, I did it and certain well-meaning relatives (who hopefully aren't reading this) can stop bugging me. Why, this is a win-win situation.

After John and I checked all the instructions and numbers endlessly, I started checking gauge and knitting socks. I compare the measurements to the chart just to make sure my charting is accurate. Then I weigh the pair of socks and make sure my required yarn estimates are okay.

I wanted to get the majority of the sock package done before I go back to work tomorrow. Year-end where I work is crazy busy. I love my job but feel sad that this vacation time is over. Usually when we have time vacation we go somewhere, but this staycation was sweet.

Because the kids' socks take so little yarn, and I've estimated how many grams I'll need for the small ones, I'm using some fun leftover sock yarns to make them. I'm using the Weight Watchers electronic scale to weigh my little balls of yarn in grams. I hardly ever use it for food. I asked the WW leader when I bought it if it would be good for weighing small packages, and she said she thought so, but said nobody else had ever asked that question. She gave me the strangest look, and I'm sure she was wondering what on earth I was weighing. Of course, I was planning to use it to weigh leftover yarn, but I didn't explain that to her. I try not to let people know just how boring I really am.

The scale is very accurate, so I don't find myself out of yarn with a sock and a half knitted.

Pictured, from left: Knit Picks hot pink sock yarn; Knit Picks Bare dyed with blue Kool-Aid; Knit Picks Bare in the slubbed version; Knit Picks dyed with orange and lemon Kool-Aid; an terrific cotton/lycra sock yarn called Cascade Farms Fixation (a deviation from my general rule to stick to wool); another blue Kool-Aid dyed Knit Picks sock, and finally, a variegated sock yarn I purchased from Barry Travis on the sock knitting list.

I knit a lot of socks on the circular sock machine, but the great advantage of using the flatbed is that we can easily make tiny socks or huge socks. The circular machine has several cylinders with different numbers of needles, but I don't have the compound cylinder that will do childrens' sizes.

I want to encourage everyone who'd like to make socks to dig in and try this method. The knitting is fiddly at first, but after a while, you get a routine going. I am a slow MKer, and yet I'm getting a sock done and ready to sew in 20-25 minutes.

Oh, also, I put up new video YouTube versions of the 3 sock videos with NO MUSIC. The music was annoying. My husband told me it would be, and I should have listened to good advice!

I added a little segment on the regular DVD with how to fold the cuff with a garter bar. If you have a garter bar, this is the way to go. I was also popping my ribber stitches up to the main bed with a Shadow Lace tool...another time-saver that would make a good video one of these days!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Best 2009 Blog Entries

Bloggers are doing lists of their best stuff from 2009, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon. You probably missed some of these, because I didn't start out doing the videos, and the knitting patterns are all over the place. In somewhat chronological order:

  1. Sock photos:
  2. I still love this lace scarf, and here's my pattern:
  3. In June, I finished a big volunteer commitment and started putting up machine knitting teaching videos. By midyear, I had put up the complete beginner knitting course on videos, which is organized here:
  4. In August, I was finishing up the garter bar course, which is organized here:
  5. Also in August, up went the beginner raglan sweater, and knitters started sending me photos and progress reports on it:
  6. In September, up went the ribber course.
  7. In October, I switched to projects, hoping readers would have time to make them for holiday gifts. Here's an afghan on the ribber:
  8. The child's English Rib sweater (fast, easy, & cute)
  9. In October, the Swirl Baby Blanket:
  10. Knit for kids in Nepal (you can still do this, but it ends soon)
  11. Warm child's hat:
  12. Warm lined slippers, on bulky (thinking Christmas, by now):
  13. Warm scarf from Homespun yarn:
I consider the socks a 2010 item.

Sock Videos

I stripped the music off the videos because it's distracting, and these new versions are music-free:

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3:

Part 3 of 3:

Later on, when I pull the original videos, I think I'll switch these into the previous post which explained a little bit about the socks.