For the November meeting, Katherine shared some quick to knit or crochet gifts for the holidays. All of the projects are created using 300 yards or less of yarn. Links to the projects are below the slideshow.
Have you always wanted to knit socks but thought it seemed too daunting a task? Do you have one started - only to get stuck? Now's your chance to get some help. I'll have a sock "help" table going on after the break at our guild meetings the next few times.
To get started, I suggest you get some needles, usually size 2 or 3, either double-pointed (DPNs) or a nice 32" circular needle (for Magic Loop) and some fingering (sock) weight yarn in a light color - very dark yarn can make it hard to see your stitches. You'll need about 400 yards to make a pair of socks, so check the yardage -some yarns come with enough to make a pair, others you'll need to buy two skeins. Washable is a very good quality in a sock yarn (that's a hint).
If you're comfortable doing so, cast on 72 stitches. I prefer a cable cast-on, but you can use any kind you like, as long as it can stretch. You'll be knitting in the round, so next, join without twisting. If you need help with joining, bring your work in and we'll get you started.
Begin working a ribbing pattern of your choice: K2, P2 is a nice basic one, but you can also do K1, P1, or K3, P1, or K2, P1, your choice. Any of those will work if you have cast on 72 stitches. You want to knit about an inch of this ribbing. When you're happy with your ribbing length, go ahead and begin straight stockinette knitting around for this first sock. If you just have to get fancy, go with a lace or cable pattern of your choice, or just continue ribbing (I often knit a whole sock in K3, P1 ribbing). Knit it until it measures the length of your hand from your wrist to the tip of your longest finger. Now you're ready for the heel. Bring it to the help table and we'll get started on the heel flap. See you soon!
If you'd like a good book about sock knitting, get a copy of The Sock Knitter's Handbook (available in print and as a downloadable PDF) from Martingale Press.
ῲ If you are doing color work with stranding or slip stitches and have trouble keeping the threads being carried over on the wrong side loose enough, hold one or two of your left hand fingers between the knitting and the stranding when you are forming a stitch with the contrast color that is going across more than 2 or 3 stitches in the back. That much extra is usually just enough to allow for the stretch of stockinette stitch and keep it from pulling too tight. Eventually you may be able to skip this step as you get used to the looser tension.
ῲ If you are making a shawl, scarf, or any lacework that will be stretched in blocking and has a knit in the front and back increase, consider doing a knit and purl in the same stitch instead. It is a bit more elastic and the purl bump is not much different from the bump you get with Kf&b. In any case, it is useful to be familiar with many types of increases so you choose what looks and functions best for the project you are working on.
ῲ Use spare circular needles as stitch holders. This is useful when instructions call for moving stitches to waste yarn because it is quicker to transfer them back again onto the real needle when needed. And it can help if you want to try on something in progress, even if it is being knit on dpns.
ῲ Sock patterns worked cuff down often call for decreases every other round at the toe. Try doing that until your stitches are decreased by half and then decrease every round until they are halved again, then do the grafting/kitchener stitch. The result is a really well fitting sock.
ῲ To get a snug fitting wrist for mitts, use a smaller needle size for the ribbing and consider adding a cable twist, even if it is only twisted in one or two rows. The twist will pull in the wrist part just enough to ensure they are loose around the wrist after being pulled on and off in
ῲ When picking a pattern to knit, think function and scrutinize photos on Ravelry. Too often photographs show a sweater hanging up, shawls laid out, and socks on a sock blocker. This does not tell you at all how what those finished objects look like when worn or whether they will work on the body that you want to make them for.
ῲ This website shows the most common kinds of increases very clearly, though not k and p into the same stitch: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter09/FEATwin09TT.php.
~Aleen Caplan-Yamasaki, Vice President
Last night, we were honored to have Evelyn Clark with us. She is such a dynamic person, and even if you don't really like to knit lace, she shares so much of her learning experiences, that the whole meeting is just FUN!
Evelyn shared with us her newest book, "Icelandic Lace Collection" and her personal history with knitting Icelandic lace. The Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, asked her, if she could teach a class for their Nordic Heritage Knitting Conference, about Icelandic knitting, as they were missing anyone to represent that country during their conference, many years ago. She began delving into the history and heritage of this rich culture and craft. She once thought that she could duplicate patterns from existing shawls that she saw, only to learn that most of the shawls are already patterns, so Evelyn took what she had learned and started designing her own Icelandic lace items, based on the stitch patterns used by the Icelandic knitters and now has some of the most gorgeous shawls I've ever seen. Her patterns are exquisite and I can't wait to work some of them.
Evelyn then shared with us some of the culture of Iceland and some extremely enchanting stories of her visits there and the people she met while there. It was so much fun to listen to her talk and share her experiences. She has definitely inspired many of us to head off to Iceland, as quickly as we can.
We were also treated to a show and tell of many of the items which are included in the e-book and my, oh, my, were they absolutely stunning and amazing to see.
Last night at the August Guild meeting, Barb and Aleen treated us to a short tutorial on short rows. Barb showed us the method that Cat Borhdi uses on her Sweet Tomato Heel, and demonstrates in this YouTube video. You do need to be patient, since she works through the entire heel in this video, but it really shows how she picks up the 'mother' stitch and knits it together with the 'daughter' stitch, resulting in a hole-less no wraps short row heel.
Aleen shared with us her recommendations for short rows and we looked over will have some demos and discussions of short rows. To supplement what we’ll cover during the meeting, I highly recommend TECHknitting's blog, She very clearly demonstrates (with graphics) some of the differences between different methods as well as where each technique might be used best. Aleen also shared some additional techniques in this month's newsletter;
"To supplement what we’ll cover during the meeting, I highly recommend a blog post on Short Rows on Tech Knitting, one of the most complete sources of short row methods with the clearest diagrams. You will probably want to bookmark it for future reference. It not only gives details and summarizes in two different ways (regular and geek), it also says which method is best for a particular situation (stitch used or personality type as the case may be). Another great source for tips in general is the Jimmy Beans Wool website. I have never ordered anything from them but went to the website when I saw a tip listed in an ad in a knitting magazine. In this column in the past, I have mentioned the use of things like rubber bands and paper clip in a pinch when you don't have your knitting tools with you. Well, the ad tip had the same philosophy. It suggested that a knitter on vacation caught without a point protector could use the cork from the bottle of Merlot they surely must be drinking!"
We also had several new members sign up with renewing members, so that they could take advantage of our current "Two for $50" Membership deal. So bring a friend when you renew your membership for the 2012/2013 Membership year (starting in October) and you both can save $5 off your membership fees. Be sure to check out the rules on our Membership page.
If you have never been to a meeting and would like to see what it is all about, come to our September meeting. We will be celebrating our birthday, so there will be cake. We will also be talking about holiday gifts for knitters and for knitters to give.
Tuesday is the official World Wide Knit in Public Day, but since many of us work and shouldn’t take a day off to sit and knit in public, the event has been expanded to run from the second Saturday to the third Sunday in June, every year. In 2005, Danielle Landes decided that she wanted to show the public that ‘not only grannies knit’. She started organizing this annual event and in 2005, had 25 local events. The number of official events almost tripled the next year, and it has been growing in popularity ever since, and has become a world-wide phenomenon, with events in over 13 countries.
Knitting is often a solitary act, since it is so easy to knit just about anywhere and sink into your work without thinking of all the other knitters out there. Since the formation of the guild, almost three years ago, I have been amazed and astonished by all the knitters in my local community that I never realized knit. I’ll often hear my name called from down a grocery aisle, in line at the library or bank, at my daughter’s school and so many other places that I don’t generally think of as places to meet fellow knitters, and we will stop and talk to each other about our latest projects or events. World Wide Knit in Public Day is just about these chance encounters and bringing the gift of knitting to everyone, making the world a little bit smaller, for at least one week every year.
Last year, the guild hosted an event at the Seattle Center. It is an incredibly blustery, gray and chilly day and I know that Charisa (2011 SKG President) thought, ‘who would go out in this weather, just to sit and knit?’. Well, she was pleasantly surprised when she was kept company by 30 – 40 other knitters, who wished to share the reasons that they knit, with the public.
This year, the guild is attending the event that the Everett Public Library staff has organized (check here for details). Stop in for any length of time, tomorrow and bring your friend or neighbor who might want to learn. We will have New Knitter Kits available and there will be knitters available, who are eager to share their knowledge with you. There will also be an event, tomorrow, at the Edmonds Library, with others . If you aren’t able to make the Everett event, then check out the WWKiP website to find an event near you.
How will you share your knitting?!
~Tandy, SKG Webmaster
“I heard good news today, I heard good news today, a pussy willow told me ‘Spring is on the way’”. These lines are from an old song I used to sing to my kindergarteners, and it’s so appropriate right now. My attention is bouncing all over the place like a spring rabbit!
My pussy willow trees are in full glory. Today, Groundhog Day, the weatherman said that we’ve got two more hours of daylight. It’s wonderful to see the days slowly beginning to lengthen. I’m still in full winter knitting mode, spinning and knitting wonderful warm items out of alpaca and wool. I’ve been working on improving my spinning technique, and have finally mastered the art of Navajo plying, which is making a 3 ply yarn out of a single strand. It allows the colorways in the yarn to stay together, rather than randomly candy stripe when plied from two or three different bobbins. At this point I have no idea what I’ll end up making with my beautiful new yarn. Right now, I’m content just to enjoy looking at it.
At our recent Board meeting, we did some terrific brainstorming and I think we’ve come up with some great ideas for future guild meetings. We want to tap into the enormous talent pool that exists right within the Guild. I’m looking forward to some hands on workshops, our Destash Sale, a panel discussion, and our next guest speaker, Andrea Wong. I’m looking forward to the rescheduled Yarn Train trip to Portland, to marching with my fellow guild members in the Kla Ha Ya Days Parade, and attending the Mariners annual Stitch ‘n Pitch event. If you have an idea for a program or a workshop, please let us know. We can always use an article for the newsletter; a book review, yarn review, etc. It’s not too early to consider running for a board position in the Fall. Our board is one of the most cooperative and enjoyable groups I’ve ever had the pleasure working with. Think about jumping in and helping out!
Speaking of local knit groups, while I was knitting with mine the other day, it occurred to some of us that we should put up a sign on the table saying “Learn to Knit – Free”, and have a couple of the guild’s free Knit Kits handy for interested bystanders. If you have a regular knit group, think about doing this – it’s a great way to meet new knitters and to further the guild’s mission of providing educational opportunities for the community. You can pick up free Knit Kits at our monthly meetings.
As usual, I just can’t wait to see what you bring to our next Show and Tell!
~Barb, SKG President
Karen Soltys of Martingale and Company Publishers treated us to the ins and outs of the publishing world. She shared with us many books that are in the pipeline for release later this year, as well as inviting us to submit book proposals to their company. Karen explained the publishing process and the months of hard work that goes into every book that is published. She brought some wonderful door prizes and invited us to come to their shop in Bothell for a tour, which is always concluded by a visit to their 'hurt' book room. The tour is the only way to access this incredible opportunity to pick up some amazing deals on the books they publish. We are organizing a tour on February 20th at 1 pm, please check our Ravelry page for more information.
I loved hearing all of the stories that she shared and am definitely looking forward to a few of the books that she shared with us, becoming available. Two books have recently been released and are available in many local shops or at their online store.
Please click on the pictures to be taken to Martingale's Facebook page with more information on these two books.
December is our Annual Holiday Party and it was a wonderful meeting. As you can see from the picture, there were plenty of gifts to go around and a nice selection of items to choose from. Several of the gifts were donated by Coats & Clark and Teresa at Country Yarns in Snohomish stayed open a bit late to help those who had forgotten, didn't have time, or weren't sure they were coming, purchase last minute gifts. Everyone who brought a gift, put their name into the basket and when their name was drawn they had the opportunity to come and choose a gift. I thought it went very smoothly and most people were pleased with their selection.
There was a lot of food to choose from, most of it sweet, but there were several savory dishes as well. The party was well attended by about 30 people, with a few faces we haven’t seen in awhile and a few new ones as well. We had a lot of fun visiting and sharing our current knitting projects as well as some wonderful show and tells. I love seeing all of the wonderful projects that people are working on and being able to visit with those people that I only see at the guild meetings. I had a great time.
Our next meeting is on 10 January 2012 and we will be hosting Karen Soltys from Martingale & Company Publishing. She will be talking to us about the publishing side of knitting, as well as her favorite book/pattern. There will be door prizes and we are working with her to have some books available to purchase as well. If you have any specific questions that you would like to ask her, you can submit them in advance by emailing Aleen. It should be a very fun meeting.
Also if you purchased a Yarn Train bag, they will be available during the meeting (we will not be charging at the door for this speaker, because we would like to encourage as many people as possible to pick up their bags at the meeting.)
~Tandy, SKG Webmaster
We've reached a very busy time of the year. I try to maintain a balance between things I want to do and things that I must do. I've learned to pace myself over the years (one advantage of being a geezer - I've learned lots of coping strategies over the years). I start early and remember to take breaks. I've let go of some of the things I used to do in the spirit of keeping things simple. I've learned that my own expectations for myself were always harsher than others' expectations of me. I've learned that it's not about material things - the house doesn't really need all the holiday decorations we have in storage. Seriously, nobody even remembers or misses the stuff I just gave away! What my family remembers are the times we spend doing things together; a holiday puzzle, playing cards together, decorating while listening to old favorites and guzzling hot cocoa or eggnog, baking and decorating cookies.
My knitting continues to be a pleasure for me. I refuse to let it become a "have to". This is one reason that I rarely knit gifts for people. One or two special folks may receive my handknits at the holidays, but I never pressure myself to knit for everyone I know. I have my friends and family pretty well trained to NOT expect knitted items from me as gifts, so when they do get them, it's usually quite a surprise.
One thing I enjoy during the darkest days of the year is spending time with my friends and family. I'm so looking forward to our Guild's holiday party! Feasting, visiting and having fun with my fellow knitters is one of the highlights of this time of year for me. It's nice that we take the time to gather together. I love seeing all of your beautiful projects, chatting about yarn, patterns, and accessories; perhaps playing a game or two, the gift exchange, and of course, the food! It's important to me to get to be able to spend time with my kindred spirits at this time of year -- people who share my passion for creating beautiful things out of sticks and string. By the way, sticks and string were recently listed as two of the top five best toys of all time, along with cardboard tubes, dirt and boxes.
No matter how busy you are at this time of year, remember to take time to nurture your passion to be creative, and PLAY a little!
~Barb, SKG President