Review and Giveaway: Custom Socks by Kate Atherley

It's no secret that I'm not really much of a sock knitter.... but I know that many of you are. I do LOVE a well fitting knit sock, though, and have a few pairs in my drawer. I am aware that it is easy to end up knitting a pair of socks that don't really fit (or function) and it turns out there are some simple things you can do to ensure that your socks conform to your foot! Custom Socks by Kate Atherley has all the answers!

True Confession! I haven't sat down and really "read" a knitting book in a long time.... I peruse a bit, I look at photos, I read technique snippets here and there. But this book? I AM READING IT... Kate is smart, and witty and does a lot of math for you! One thing I love about this book is that if you are the kind of knitter who cares about how the math works to achieve perfect fit Kate dives deeply into all her formula's. On the other hand if you want the calculations taken care of so you can get knitting, she's done that too!
Noche photobombed this shot, which I know Kate will approve of!
I made my husband listen while I read aloud to him the paragraph about measuring the foot circumference... "we mean the measurement taken around the ball of the foot, discounting any bunions.  You don't want to include a bunion in this measurement because that bony protuberance... " Dudes... Kate used "bony protuberance" in a sentence and it works... I love this woman!

Not only does this book contain "recipes" for basic toe-up and bottom down socks at the gauge and measurement of your choice (from 4 to 9 sts/inch), it also has 15 fabulous patterns all of which are written to be customizable so you end up with a sock that fits! Kate talks about yarn construction and fiber, all the techniques for working in the round (5 dpn's, 4 dpn's, magic loop, 2 circular needles, short circ needles), gauge, laddering, joining for working in the round, multiple heel sts, and so much more. This is really a sock encyclopedia!

Lindisfarne from Custom Socks.... the sole is perfection!
So, you know what? I've decided it's time for Mr. Laura (aka Max, my hubby and web guru dude) to get a pair of socks... I knit him a pair like 50 million years ago and he LOVED them so hard they are no longer "with us". I am going to use Kate's basic toe-up recipe. First  I re-read the chapter on fit, then I took his measurements (minus bony protuberance of course), then I multiplied his foot circumference by .9 to find out what size to make. Kate explains that you need the sock fabric to have negative ease so that it will stretch around the foot and not "sag". I'm going to give them a "princess sole" so that the knit stitches are to the inside as I think that will be super comfortable. Kate explains how to modify for this in the book, and I just have to do it. Nothing but the best for my prince!  I'm using some self-striping Opal sock yarn I got in Germany... my hope is that the color changes are interesting enough to keep me knitting on them and that they are done before the end of winter. Anyone want to take bets?

Time for a giveaway...
Who wants to a copy of Kate Atherley's Custom Socks?

Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Nov 3rd. Are you a sock knitter? How do your socks fit? Do you make any special adjustments? I'd love to hear your tricks!

I will randomly choose a winner and announce them in next week's Friday giveaway poof (I mean post!)!

Last week's winner... 
Thankyou all for the great tips on recharging... I'd love to say that I tried them all! A combination of yoga, casting on a new design, tea, wine and staying in my pajamas worked wonders!

Congrats to .... ManxMom Get in touch so I can send you your new skein from A Riot of Color!!!


Rhinebeck Giveaway and Cowltober!

Oh wow y'all... things have been going full pace!  I had all good intentions of reviewing Kate Atherley's new book for today's post, but life seems to have gotten in the way this week. I'm off again, this time to New Brunswick Canada for Knit East. I know I am going to have a blast... but this girl is a wee bit weary! I do believe I'll review Kate's book next week when I'm feeling a little more intellectual. I want to bring my brainiest self to Kate's work!

But, never fear! I got you a skein of yarn at Rhinebeck! Well, actually, Susan from A Riot of Color was a sweetheart and gave it to me when I couldn't stop drooling all over it. I think she probably couldn't sell it after I had my way with it. I am sad to see it go... but I know where to get more when I have a plan for it! Rhinebeck was phenomenal, I had a great time as always... the only thing it wasn't good for is the tired thing (see above). I did FALL IN LOVE with Harrisville's new yarn Turbine at the festival, and am getting some of that later today to cast on a bulky Jacket version of Hot Flash. At 2.5 sts/inch it is going to knit up quickly!
Base: A Riot of Color, Shindig 80% SW Merino/10% Nylon/10% Cashmere 435yds/100gr
Colorway: Fireworks

Have I told you it is Cowltober?  (I made that up!) Celebrate with 40% off all my eligible Cowl patterns (new and old) through the month!  Just use the code: COWLTOBER2015 at checkout!
This skein would make a stunning non-beaded Circo Cowl! Don't you think?

Time for a giveaway...
Who wants to win the skein of A Riot of Color shown above?

Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Oct 27th. It would be great to hear what you do to rejuvenate yourself... I might need to do that when I get home next week!

I will randomly choose a winner and announce them in next week's Friday giveaway post!

Last week's winner... 
Congrats to Frosty0321.... Get in touch so I can send you your stunning skein of Rifton!


Vogue Knitting Holiday 2015!!

Look what I just picked up from my LYS....
Vogue Knitting Holiday 2015 is out, and it is a stunner (she says modestly!). I've got a beaded scarf in it (based on the stitch in Meta Mystery KAL), an article on beading entitled "Put a Bead on It" (what else could I have called it) plus an interview by Karin Strom.
The issue is jam packed with fabulous patterns/articles and tips. I'm totally in love with the direction the magazine is going in. (Plus, they are fabulous to work with!) And did you see this tunic by Brooke Nico? I WANT ONE!
And yes... I got a copy for my Mom too!


Magmatic + Rifton= The Perfect Match

Oh you guys... this week's giveaway is GOOD!

Ever since Jill released Rifton last January I KNEW I had to make another version of Magmatic Scarf in it. I got a skein from her right away, but since she sold out so quickly I decided to wait until she had more to release the pattern to the public. I know this frustrated some of you who have been waiting for it for over a year... sorry?
So,  I want to tell you about Magmatic and then I want to tell you about Rifton and then I want to have a GIVEAWAY (cause its' Friday, yo!)

Magmatic Scarf was originally the last mystery knit-along of 2014's M Club.... it was made with 3 mini skeins and 1 set of Space Cadet Mini's. Members got "parts" of the design, including beads, throughout the year's shipments and then they put them all together into a magic ball and started knitting. (You can read about more about it here.)
Magmatic is worked in an elongated chevron stitch in the round, and then steeked to turn it into a scarf. Fringe is then "self-made" by unraveling stitches at each end of the scarf. Knitting Magmatic is a blast... cutting it is awesome, and fringing it is just plain fun! Of course, the pattern includes videos for these last steps, don't worry! I love the original version that I made with beads, but check it out in Rifton..... (yes, that is my girl, I can't even...!)

Clockwise from Top Left: Spring, Autumn, Summer, Winter
Rifton is pretty special...  it is a single ply, fine USA grown & spun wool yarn. Each colorway shades between 2 natural undyed wool colors and dyed in the wool (by Jill) brights, making it a unique striping ombre yarn. 

Rifton is made in super small batches... Jill will have this "round" for sale at her Studio Open House this Saturday at Rhinebeck AND AT THE SAME TIME be posting it for sale in her Etsy shop. (A little bird told me it would be up around 4pm.)

Time for a giveaway...
Who wants to win a skein of Rifton in Spring to knit Magmatic Scarf (or Magmatic Boom?)
Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Oct 20th letting me know what you up to this weekend while I am at Rhinebeck! I will randomly choose a winner and announce them in next week's Friday giveaway post!

Last week's winner... 
Congrats to  JoanieBaloney.... Get in touch so I can send you your Colinette Jitterbug to knit Biplex!!!!!!!

Oh, and it is my duty to inform you that sign ups for 2016's M Club close on October 20th...


Rhinebeck 2015 Roll Call!

YEAH! (Did I say that loud enough?) It's almost the 3rd weekend in October... which means it is time for another New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (otherwise known as Rhinebeck!)
My kits will be at the Spinning Room in Building A, booth 25 for the 3rd year running... I am bringing kits galore.... Adornaments, Lapso Cowl Kits, jewelry kits AND signed copies of Knockout Knits!!

I've got a fun schedule planned... I hope I see you!!!
10:30 - 12- Helping out at the Spinning Room- Booth 25, Building A
12 - 1(ish)- Ravelry Meet-Up- on "the hill"
6 - 9- PARTY and OPEN STUDIO at Jill Draper Makes Stuff new space! (click link for more info!)    There will be Rifton for Magmatic and TONS of Empire for Artichoke French ... I'm happy to help you choose colors : )!

12 - 1(ish)- Ravelry Meet-Up- on "the hill"
1 - 2:30- Helping out at the Spinning Room- Booth 25, Building A

I already have some Rhinebeck Sweaters lined up... but I decided I needed a Rhinebeck bag, so Sunday I whipped one up. It's my favorite Wrap Pocket Tote (I made two this summer) in some Pendleton wool I got at Fancy Tiger Craft last week with a ultrasuede scrap from my childhood dining room chairs (thanks Mom for saving it for me!)
And a close up cause I love it so much...
I wonder who I will kiss this year...


Biplex: A Yarn Giveaway!

I'm off in Denver working on a secret little something something with my buddies at Craftsy, but that doesn't mean we don't get to have giveaway Friday!

Remember earlier this summer when I posted this photo on Instagram of a new design I was working on that matched my shoes?
Well, it's almost ready to release... want to see?
It's called Biplex Cowl und I lurve it!
I'll tell you more about it when it soon... but you should know I knit mine in Colinette Jitterbug. I almost used the two skeins below (Velvet Bilberry and Cherry) but I was trying to get away from always knitting with purple (and clearly I wanted the cowl to match my shoes)!
Biplex  uses short rows and has multiple repeats and stitch counts to keep track of.... How's that for tying one Friday's giveaway blog post to the next?

Time for a giveaway...
Who wants to win the two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug shown above to knit their own Biplex when it releases on Sunday?

Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Oct 13th letting me know what you are knitting right now, and don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you! I will randomly choose a winner and announce them in next week's Friday giveaway post! (HINT: Jill Draper Makes Stuff's new YARN!)

Last week's winners... 
Congrats to  Karebear66.... Get in touch so I can send you your new Sirka Counter!!!!!!! (I love reading all the ways people keep track of their knitting in this posts comments!)


Crucero Shawl Kits

Crucero Shawl Kit
You might have heard that I'm doing a cruise with Melissa Leapman and Patty Lyons in December.... I found myself telling Melissa last spring that I wanted to design a shawl for the cruise (and teach it as a class while at sea) and we agreed that kits for the shawl would be a good idea as there is no yarn shop on the cruise!!!!

So, I've been diligently working away on it...
And now it's done! (and I have an accurate bead count for the kits!)

The actual pattern won't be revealed until we are on the cruise... I'll be uploading it to Ravelry once we get back to port! This means that all of you who can't come on the cruise can knit Crucero too!

I used Anzula Breeze for the shawl, a yummy 65% silk, 35% linen heavy lace weight yarn that has stunning drape and is perfect for warm weather knitting (and wearing). I had a hard time but narrowed it down to 3 colorways... I knit mine in Aqua, and am thinking perhaps my Mom is going to need a Dusty Rose (though she still wants a Meta!).

To read more about the kits and purchase one go here.

(Note: If you are going on the cruise I need your order before 10/15 so I can get your yarn to you in time to ship it to you. If you live internationally I can bring your yarn with me so you don't have to pay shipping!)


Review and Giveaway: Sirka Counters!

First off? What in the heck is a Sirka Counter?
It's a little device that helps you keep track of multiple stitch counts at one time!

You know how sometimes you are knitting on a project, and it's got a lace repeat, and decreases, and overall row numbers and you end up with a post it note that looks like this?  All those hatch marks start to flow together and it's impossible to read them and remember where you are!
Well, the Sirka counter helps you take care of that! You just assign one color to each item you need to keep track of.  The hands on the dial help you keep track of the repeats and rows you are counting (these lock in place) and all you do is move the dial as you work a repeat/row/decrease.

Easy Peasy!
Note: if you have fidgety hands around your house you might need to lay down the law and make sure everyone knows that NO ONE TOUCHES THE SIRKA BUT THE KNITTER! All your keeping track will be for naught if anyone plays with it!

You can even get them a nifty "Bento box" to store them in to keep it safe (see above)!!!!
Will I use a Sirka Counter?
Probably... I think it is going to save me time... I love how easy to read it is and how quickly you can move the wheels. Time will tell if it becomes an indispensable knitting tool, but for those more complicated projects it will help me stay on track!

Mardi Gras!
Spicy Meatball!

There is an awfully fun "project" going on right now and you can order custom colors  for your Sirka counter in any color combination you want!

Time for a giveaway... 
Above are Mardi Gras and Spicy Meatball... 2 color combo's Sara from Grellow and Grey (the brainchild of the Sirka) made for me! I'm keeping Spicy Meatball (cause who wouldn't!) and I'm giving away Mardi Gras to one lucky reader!

I'd love to hear how you keep track of your rows/rounds/repeats in your knitting... Just leave a comment below by 12pm (EST) on Oct 6th, and don't forget to leave a way to get in touch with you! I will randomly choose a winner and announce them in next week's Friday giveaway post!

Last week's winners... 
Congrats to DMallen Get in touch so we can send you your copy of Short Row Knits!!!!