Craftsy Sock Class Winner

I love all the reasons all of you love to knit socks!

The lucky winner of Essential Skills for Sock Knitting is Roxanne, who wrote:

“Being over 70 inspires (requires?) that I multi-task or combine more than one element in everything that I do.
I enjoy knitting socks because I get utility along with beauty in the finished product.
Socks are portable and offer endless possibilities for customizing PLUS they keep your feet warm.
Double points, endless loop, cuff down, toe up, a multitude of ways to turn a heel…. Oh my goodness how I love to knit socks!!”

I’m with you Roxanne — multi-tasking is the way to go! I hope you find lots of inspiration (and help) in the class.

For the rest of you, you can get the class at 50% off by clicking on this link.

Here’s to happy feet all winter long!

New Directions in Knitting Socks

I’m pleased to announce that my newest book, New Directions in Sock Knitting is now available for pre-order from!

New Directions in Socks coverNot just another book of knitted socks, New Directions in Sock Knitting includes 18 inventive ways to push the limits of sock construction, including bottom up, top down, side to side, and combinations of directions. In this book, you’ll find an array of socks that deviate a little to a lot from the traditional top-down or toe-up construction. From the imaginative ways that heels, gussets, and toes are formed to the ingenious directions of the knitting, I hope this book will change the way you think about knitting socks.

The eighteen designs herein represent the efforts of seventeen designers (Kathryn Alexander, Kate Atherley, Anne Berk, Carissa Browning, Anne Campbell, Rachel Coopey, Hunter Hammersen, General Hogbuffer, Jennifer Leigh, Heidi Nick, Louise Robert, Betty Slapekar, Jeny Staiman, Nicola Susen, Marjan Hammink, and Nathalia Vasilieva) who have puzzled out new ways to knit socks. The designs range from quite simple socks that are appropriate for first-time sock knitters to engineering feats that may require a leap of faith for those accustomed to traditional sock constructions.

Techniques include mitered triangles and scallops, double knitting, intarsia in the round, short-row shaping, mirrored color and texture patterns, the addition of laceweight mohair for warmth and durability, and multiple knitting directions. The socks feature unusual heel, gusset, or toe shaping, clever use of color, or a neat trick in construction. In all cases, the instructions are written in step-by-step detail that will ensure success.

To pre-order your copy from Amazon, click here, then join my Ravelry group Budd’s Buds for a knitalong of these fascinating designs.

New Workshops

I’ve spent the summer generating NEW workshop classes that I’ll teach at Knit For Fun Retreats, as well as other retreats and gatherings.

Decorative Cast-Ons: Learn an assortment of decorative cast-on techniques that will add unexpected style to the edges of whatever you knit. Techniques will include Channel Island, I-Cord, Braid, Fringe, and others as time permits.

Decorative Cast-Ons 2

Knitting Steeks and Inserting Zippers: Learn how to add steeks so two- (or more) color patterns that are worked in rounds can be cut open—typically for a front opening, armholes, and neckline of a sweater. In this class, you’ll knit a coffee clutch with a two-color pattern and steek stitches, then cut the steek open and finish the cut edge with a colorful zipper.

Cup Cozy 2

Flexible Cast-Ons and Bind-Offs for Comfortable Socks: Socks are most comfortable if the cuff edge is flexible enough to stretch over the heel and firm enough to hug the leg. Learn a variety of my favorite methods for starting and ending socks, whether they’re knitted from the toe up or the top down, including the Cable, Old Norwegian (also called German Twisted), and Tubular cast-ons, as well as Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy, Tubular, and Sewn bind-offs.

Flexible CO and BO best

Matching Cast-Ons and Bind-Offs for Working In Rounds: Learn three to four interesting and elastic cast-ons and their matching bind-offs. Armed with these techniques, you can get the same look whether you knit your socks or sweaters from the bottom up or top down!

Matching CO and BO in Rnds

Shadow Knitting: Variously called “Japanese fine knitting” and “optical knitting, “shadow knitting” is the term introduced by Vivian Høxbro to describe a technique in which purl ridges define a pattern on a two-color striped stockinette-stitch background. The right-side ridges cast a “shadow” pattern that comes and goes depending on the angle at which it is observed. When viewed straight on, the fabric resembles simple two-row stripes. When viewed at an angle, the garter ridges predominate and a different pattern is visible. Learn this ingenious technique by knitting a swatch with a heart motif.

Shadow Knitting 2

Notify your local yarn shop or guild — maybe I can teach one (or more) of these classes in your neighborhood!

New Craftsy Class

I’m delighted to announce that I have a new Craftsy class: Essential Skills for Sock Knitting!


In this class I demonstrate how to knit socks from the top down as well as the bottom up with round heels, short-row heels, wedge toes, and short-rows toes. The techniques are color coded: coral for a toe-up sock with a short-row toe and heel, light blue for a toe-up sock with a wedge toe and round heel, burgundy for a top-down sock with a short-row toe and heel, and dark blue for a top-down sock with a round heel and wedge toe.

all 4 versions 1200x1200

In addition to as many tips as I could squeeze in to the video sessions, you’ll get downloadable patterns for the four sock types, each in my signature style of multiple sizes (seven!) and multiple gauges (five!). The handouts alone will keep you busy knitting socks for family and friends for years to come.

Click here to get a 50% discount on the class!

50% Off Fixing Mistakes Craftsy Class

Last year at about this time I taped a class for Craftsy called Save Our Stitches: Fixing Knitting Mistakes.


If you follow the link below, you can get 50% off the price of the class, which will teach you how to read charts, how to identify what different stitches, increases, and decreases look like, and how drop down stitches to correct mistakes made a few rows below (even how to drop and pick up edge stitches!)

My goal with this class is to help you learn to “read” your knitting (which makes it much easier to find your place) and understand how to fix the mistakes you do happen to make. I hope it works for you!

Star for a Few Days

This week I took a deep breath and put myself out on a limb. I taped a class for Craftsy. I’ve never been good in front of a microphone or camera and I’ve been fretting about this for weeks. But I shouldn’t have.

Upon arriving at the studio Monday morning, I was directed to my *own* dressing room. Step aside all you Hollywood divas, my name was printed on a star!

dressing room door

Inside, my hair and makeup were done by a professional (the bags under my eyes disappeared for three glorious days). Then I  was escorted to Studio A where the crew was putting the finishing touches on my set.

the set

From behind the table, my view was a little more intimidating:

my view

But the crew was wonderful and put a lot of effort into keeping me calm and comfortable.Here’s Evan, the producer:

Evan the producer

And Rob, the videographer (arranging things for the camera):

Rob the videographer

And Gabe, the editor, or mixer, who’s going to put it all together:

Gabe the mixer

I apologize for the blurry photos, but these guys had me laughing much of the time. We had so much fun that we took a selfie at the end:

end-of-class selfie

From left to right, that’s Rob (videographer), Gabe (editor), me (the TALENT), and Evan (producer). Those of you with sharp eyes will notice that I’m holding a bottle of The Glenlivet (12 years), which Evan gave me as a thank-you gift.

I’m wondering how soon I can do it again!

And for those of you wondering, the class is called Save Our Stitches: Fixing Knitting Mistakes and will be available through Craftsy in early June.



A Lot Comes Out in the Wash

The ShiBui Linen top looks a little better after machine washing. I washed it with a load of bath towels, then laid it flat to dry. The rolled edges are certainly behaving themselves better and the stitches have evened out.

after machine washing

The piece now measures 16.5″ wide at the bust and 19.75″ wide at the hem. The body measures about 16″ long to the armhole; the armhole is 7.5″ deep.

I decided that it still felt a little stiff so I threw it in another load of wash (sheets this time) and put it in the dryer with the rest of the load.

after machine drying

Although the stitch pattern shows up, and the piece is oh, so soft, I think that I didn’t knit enough rows for the rolled edges and I think I picked up too many stitches around the armholes — they seem a bit wavy to me.

So, I’m going to rip out edgings at the lower bottom, neck, and armholes and knit them again. For the armholes, I’ll pick up fewer stitches. For all of the edgings, I’ll work more rows. Because I machine washed and dried the sweater, I don’t want to rip out just the bind-off row, join new yarn and knit more rows as needed. There is too big a chance that the boundary will be too obvious between the old and new knitting.

Not Quite There

The seams are sewn and I’ve added a 3-row rolled edge to the hem, armholes, and neck. I also added a little roll along the purl ridge that marked the decrease row for the “gathers.”

edging applied

At this point, the piece measures 17.5″ wide at the bust and 20.75″ wide at the hem. The body measure, 17″ long to armhole; the armhole measures 7.75″. Overall, I think the top looks a bit disappointing — the edges don’t really roll and the stitches are stiff and somewhat uneven.

l’m now going to take a leap of faith and put it through a normal load in my top-loading washing machine. If all goes well, the stitches will tighten up and even out, and the fabric will become delightfully soft and drapy. Wish me luck!

On a Roll

I’ve hardly put my needles down in the past week and I have the front and back of the Shibui Linen top to show for it. This yarn is surprisingly pleasant to work with and dispels all my prejudices about knitting with 100% linen.

blocking front and back

Although I plan to machine wash the garment in the end, I decided to wet-block the pieces before sewing them together. I soaked the pieces in warm water for 20 minutes, put them in the spin-only cycle on my washing machine, inserted blocking wires through the selvedges, and laid them flat to dry. The striped towel helps be block the pieces evenly.

When the pieces are thoroughly dry, I’ll remove the wires and be rewarded with straight, even edges for seaming. If you have trouble seaming pieces together, try blocking them first with wires — it makes all the difference!

It’s Beginning to Look Like a Sweater

I’m closing in on the cuff of the second sleeve and everything is going splendidly with my Weekday Raglan. If you’ve read my earlier posts about this sweater, you know that I’m getting a gauge of 6.75 stitches/inch and am following the instructions for 46″ circumference to end up with a circumference of 40″ (the pattern calls for a gauge of 6 stitches/inch).
I want my sleeves longer than the bracelet-length in the original, so I’m working more decreases. Instead of ending with 66 stitches, I’ll decrease to 60 stitches and add a couple of inches to the overall length. The instructions for the 46″ size say to decrease 1 stitch each side of the sleeve marker every 8th round 11 times, then every 6th round 5 times. Because I know I’m getting more rounds per inch (9.75 instead of 7.75 rounds/inch), and because I want longer sleeves, I will decrease every 8th round until I get to the target 60 stitches.

Second sleeve nearly done