August 05, 2015

Class Notes: 2-at-a-time, Top-down Socks

In September, I will be both vending and teaching knitting classes at the Georgia FiberFest. 27 knitting classes are offered, and among these classes will be my three.  I thought it might be of help to anyone who is interested in taking these classes if I elaborated on the classes in a few posts because there has been some information missing from the website and there may be some things in need of clarification. Let's start with socks.

If you've read my posts previously and you know me, then you know that I don't do DPNs and the idea of having to knit a second sock after a first is complete is not in the slightest bit a motivator.  So, of course, the class is 2-at-a-time, Top-down sock knitting on a single circular needle. Now, you may think that if you've never knitted socks before, then this class is not for you; but I say, come on in, the water's fine!  As long as you think you can knit in-the-round, even if you've never attempted it before, you can learn to knit socks 2-at-a-time.  The second-best part about this technique, which involves using the Magic Loop method, is that there are no needles to drop, no stitches to drop. The best part, of course, is that when you are done with one sock, you are done with the other.  After a while, you might get to be so quick about it that, like me, you have worked up a pair of socks in just over a week. It may seem daunting, but seriously it's totally not difficult.  It just requires a little focus at first.  We'll have 3 hours to focus in this class and you will be able to leave the class having finished a complete pair, albeit child-sized, of socks. Doesn't that sound like 3 hours well spent?  The only things that I ask of you in advance is that you brush up on 2 skills: kitchener stitch (because we will need to do some) and casting on using the long-tail method of your choice.  If you are not familiar with long-tail cast-ons, try this:

 Here are the pre-attendance particulars of this class:

Homework:  None. (You gotta' love a class with no homework, right!?)

Supplies to Bring: One solid, light colored fingering weight yarn (anything smooth, non-splitting, and non-fuzzy—at least 200 yards divided into 2 separate balls); one pair of US 3 or US 4 circular needles (42 or 47-inch cable required); one locking stitch marker; scissors.  During this class we will be knitting a child-size pair of socks. 

Don't worry about searching out a circular needle for the class if you don't already have one.  I will have them for purchase in my booth along with quite an array of very lovely sock yarns. It might even be a good idea to bring some of that left-over fingering weight yarn in your stash.  You could bust a little stash and make a pair of socks.  

August 03, 2015

August, already?

It would probably be odd if I didn't say that I have hit August having completely missed the mark on my plans for summer knitting.  Although these were fairly loose plans, I still managed to basically ignore them altogether.  There was a list of socks, and an early start to Christmas knitting--though I think I should get points for having at least amassed the yarn stash for said Christmas knitting as scheduled. I'm going to blame the July order for 70 skeins of yarn in the same colorway for my lack of progress.  I'd tell you about that, but I'm under contract to keep secrets until the reveal later this summer.

Instead, there was a new lacey tank top design that I can't show you because it's part of the book I'm collaborating on with another amazing artist, which was finished just last week.  There was the cast on for another Market Street Shawl, which was flying off the needles until last week when Rocket decided that she needed me to whip up a shrug--in black acrylic--for the first day of 6th grade (and bet me she won't even wear it).

It's blocking this morning, but isn't needed until Friday because Friday is the first day of school because that made a whole lot of sense to the school board, just not to the parents.  There was a pair of Jay Walkers in Little Pigs (Velvet) that are half of a leg in (x 2), but which, after much repairing of an incorrectly worked 2 stitches, I find that I don't really like working.

I don't think it's the pattern, it's probably just me, but maybe it's the pattern.  I've found another that is more engaging and I will probably cast on this week. There was a second test-knit for a cardigan pattern for the book that I began in May and has one whole back panel finished. Hmmm. I guess I can forget plans of having that finished by Labor Day, but I think that's the next big push anyway.

It's not like I've just been ignoring my knitting, either.  Mother Nature has been excessively vindictive this summer season and it's been a daily struggle to get anything to grow.  It's like trying to grow crops in the desert! You'd never know that we were in the North Georgia Mountains with temps at or above 97 degrees for the last 6 weeks and so little rain that the ground is blowing away like we're in the Dust Bowl.  The veggies we are getting are twisted and scarred.  Our sunflowers, though the yield was good, had weird alien mutations from too little water and scorching sun.  They were smaller than expected and the yield was low--only about 5 gallons of seeds, which is the same as last year, only with double the plants.

4 sunflowers growing out of a single stalk head

Every morning since the beginning of May I've had to get up before the sun to work around the farm because there's only about 4 hours before it's 90 degrees and 50+ percent humidity. I have had to assign that mid-afternoon block of ungodly heat and humidity to the housework, which is consistently less productive than I'd like because after working outside in the heat and humidity (before noon the humidity is usually about 70%), I'm one tired farm hand by lunch time.  I said to my husband last night that I hope it cools off for just a day because wouldn't it be so nice to go an entire day without being soaked through to the underwear from the humidity?  On a farm, you can't just hide in the air conditioning, you know. At least the lambs are growing up and we haven't had any more problems after that initial 5 weeks of bottle-feeding a sheep.

Bonnie & Clyde
Puck, however, daily reminds us that he is not a sheep, but rather a dog, and takes advantage of every opportunity to get out of the pasture and fuss at the back door to come in the house. It's a circus every day on this farm.

So August begins with a Market Street Shawl, a latent pair of socks in need of a do-over, and a cardigan sweater on the needles. I guess I had better get to it before I'm posting about how short August was for knitting, huh?


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