Gramercy (plus giveaway)

You know how some knitting projects just sort of seem like little magic tricks?  Either they come together faster than they should, or they use less yarn than you’d expect, or they look so much fancier than they have any right to given how easy they are.  Well Gramercy pretty much does all of those things!  I’m delighted to bring them back out. gramercy internal 1 smallThey use a marvelous little lace motif that has a lot going for it.  It’s easy enough to be a perfect introduction to fancy socks, but interesting enough that you won’t get bored, even if you’re a sock pro.  It’s astonishingly stretchy, which means your socks will both fit comfortably and stay up all day.  And it’s awfully pretty (which is half the fun of hand knit socks if we’re being honest)!  gramercy internal 2 smallAnd, while this is a bit subjective, these totally feel like fast socks to me.  All that open work means you use way less yarn than you’d expect, and using less yarn means you’re done in less time.  Those are my size 11 feet up there, and that sock has a 7.5 inch leg, and it used all of 300 yards of yarn.  That’s pretty much unheard of.  gramercy internal 3 smallI want one of you to see for yourself how much fun these are, so I’ve got a skein of the beautiful Carnal yarn by Vice in this amazing blue to send to someone.  Just leave a comment telling me the magic trick you most want your knitting to do to be entered to win.

And while I can’t send yarn to everyone, I can give everyone a discount.  Just use the code MAGIC to get a dollar the price between now and Friday.  Just put Gramercy in your ravelry cart, click on the ‘use a coupon code’ button, and type in the code MAGIC.  You’ll see the change in price reflected right away.gramerch long smallComments left between now and the end of the day (eastern time) Friday, September 4, 2015 will be entered to win.  I’ll pick a winner, contact them to get their addresses, and arrange to send yarn their way.  Be sure to use a real email address so I can contact you if you’ve won (I won’t do anything with those email addresses besides notify the winner).  If I do email you, I need to hear back from you within 72 hours or I will pick a new winner and contact them.  Sorry, but I can only ship physical prizes to US addresses.

Helpful

Kitten Overlord Levon wants to be sure that we are all aware of his work in the furtherance of the knitting cause.  He is worried Kitten Overlord Douglas may steal too much attention, so he asked me to mention just how hard he works to keep me firmly settled in my seat, busily cooking up new projects.  He guards my tea and delicately pats my knee with one paw if I do anything as ill considered as getting up.

teaHe does ask, however, that we not discuss the small whisker in cream incident that occurred shortly after this picture was taken.  Even he cannot resist all temptation.

And just so it’s not all kittens all the time, I’ll sneak in with a tiny bit of knitting.  The pattern for these is coming back out tomorrow (yay!).  As always, mailing list folks will get a shiny discount code.  If you’re not already on the list, you can sneak on now and get all the info when stuff comes out.

gramercy back small

Drumroll Please

And the winner is Christine!  Check out her lovely socks, I know she’ll put the yarn to good use.  I’ve sent off an email to ask for a mailing address.  And to answer her question, the Sock Plus 8 is a bit more tightly twisted than SG Bugga, and the Bugga is a bit softer and fuzzier.  They’re about the same thickness, and both come in drop dead gorgeous colors.  I’d be happy to use either (and both are going to be in the book), and think they’d likely work for a lot of the same patterns.

And to everyone who entered, thank you so much for all your nice comments!  People seem to really like this pattern, and I’m thrilled by the reception.  I can’t wait to start seeing it knit up.

The whole time I was making them, I kept thinking they would look stunning as black knee highs.  I’ve got long legs, and I’m very very lazy, so I couldn’t quite bring myself to make my own.  The lace pattern is unusually stretchy though, so I think it would likely work well.  If you’re interested, I’d suggest making the cuff and the portion of the sock that is over your calf muscle with a slightly larger needle and then going down to the regular needle for the lower part of your leg and foot.  If anybody does end up doing it (in any color of course), send me pictures.  I’ll totally send a wee present to whoever first sends me pics of a completed pair!


Gramercy

As I explained once before, I started designing socks mostly through an (oh so fetching) combination of laziness, bossiness, and inability to follow directions.  I kept it up because knitters seem to be disproportionately awesome and kept making me feel good.  Designing has turned into an important part of my life and has let me do all sorts of things I never thought I’d do.  I’ve met marvelous people, gone off on exciting trips, and am almost done with my first book.  How cool is that? I mean really, who would have ever thought knitting socks would turn into all that?

So I want to be sure to say thank you.  Thank you to the people who say nice things about my socks on ravelry, thank you to the people who read this site (especially those of you who aren’t even knitters, though I can’t quite figure out why you’d bother without some wooly leanings), thank you to the people who test my patterns and catch all my silly mistakes, thank you to my intrepid sample knitters (without whom the book wouldn’t be possible), thank you to the people who buy my patterns, and thank you to the people who knit my socks.  This really is a team effort, and without your encouragement and support, I’d have wandered off to my next hobby long ago.

So to serve as a little demonstration of my thanks, I’m making the pattern for Gramercy available for free.  Enjoy it!

And to make it even better for one of you, I’ve got yarn to give away!  These are made in Handwerks Sock Plus 8 in London Fog.  I love this yarn.  It’s an 8 ply yarn with amazing stitch definition.  It’s just a tiny bit more substantial than most sock yarns, but still thin enough to fit easily in shoes.  The colors are gorgeous, and Laura is just wonderful to work with.  One lucky reader will win enough yarn to make the socks.  To enter, just go over to the Handwerks site, find your favorite color, come back here, and leave a comment letting me know what it is.  I’ll leave comments open trough the weekend, and email the luck winner early next week (be sure you use a working email address, I promise not to use it for anything other than to contact the winner).

Peril

On Tuesday,  Socky went to the shore. He clambered over rocks, frolicked in tidepools, and generally enjoyed the ocean air.

Alas, all was not well.  There are perils in the deep, and Socky was menaced by sea monsters.

He lived to tell the tale and will be back to relate the rest of his adventures soon.

One or the Other

So apparently I have time to either knit, or to write about knitting, but not both (at least not unless I let my commitments to either personal hygiene or basic housekeeping practices slip even further, which isn’t really a viable option at the moment).  I can assure you that my prolonged quiet does at least mean there is knitting being done.

Well, not at this particular moment.  Right now I’m packing.  You see, I’m off for a bit of a jaunt next week to Nova Scotia.  I hope to return with completed sock pictures for Gramercy.  The pattern is finished (save for the final read through which usually reveals at least one extra space or missing comma), and as soon as I’ve got pictures I’ll be ready to release it.  I’d also like to return with some yarn.  Nova Scotia is the home of Fleece Artist and their sister company Handmaiden.  Their wares can apparently be found at the famed Baddeck Yarns.  I could suggest that I mean to be restrained and responsible in my yarn purchases, but I really have no intention of doing any such thing.  I more or less plan on buying anything that sings to me, and I’m bringing a large suitcase.  Anything else I should check out in NS?  I’m totally soliciting suggestions (restaurants and general sights as well as purveyors of yarn of course).

A Scandalous Absence

I know.  It was a shameful lapse.  It came without warning.  It lasted too long.  It’s just been that kind of week around here.  There hasn’t been any one dramatic upheaval, just lots of little unexpected changes.  It’s just been…busy.  Alas, not that satisfying kind of busy where at least you feel like you’re getting lots of things accomplished.  Nope.  Instead it’s been that really infuriating kind of busy where you feel like you’re working crazy hard just to keep up.  And, perhaps worst of all from your perspective, it’s the kind of busy that doesn’t lend itself to knitting.  Somehow I doubt you come here to hear that the oven is on the fritz, or to revel in the tale of my (unsuccessful) attempt to summit Mount Laundry.

There is a wee bit of progress on the knitting front, but it’s also a bit scattered.  I’m working on the second of the blue lacy socks.  They’ll likely be called Gramercy and they’re coming out some time in mid September (assuming of course I can get the second one done and take it out for photos between now and then).  I’ve cast on a was-supposed-to-be-mindless-but-then-I-went-and-shot-that-all-to-hell sock that I’ll be able to show you soon.  I’ve got Heather’s What Would Madame Defarge Knit socks well underway.  They’re damn cool, but the very antitheses of mindless.

And then, somewhere in the middle of all that, I fell pray to the knitting equivalent of crack.  I lost all track of my good sense and spent a lot of time knitting tentacles.  Yes I mean that in the most literal sense.  Stand-alone, three-dimensional tentacles…those grabby squirmy things hanging out on your favorite sea critter.  As an aside (and a deeply pedantic aside at that), the things on an octopus, and most of the things on a squid or cuttlefish, are technically arms.  Squid and cuttlefish have both arms and tentacles, while some beasties have only tentacles.  Arms (well, cephalopod arms, likely not your arms) generally have suckers all down one side, while tentacles usually have suckers only at the tip.  Got all that? Excellent.  So with that background I can clarify and say that I’ve been knitting cephalopod arms and blithely calling them tentacles.  I have every intention of continuing to call them tentacles too, as ‘cephalopod arms’ just doesn’t sound as cuddly.

Mind your Ps and Qs

I’m a big fan of Miss Manners.  Don’t look at me like that.  Miss Manners is not about shrimp forks or calling cards or white gloves or ladies’ maids.  She is, of course, well versed in those things, but she’s not trying either to halt the onrush of progress or to make anyone feel inadequate for not having dedicated their lives to collecting eclectic dinnerware.  She’s trying to do something both simpler and far more difficult.  She’s trying to encourage people to be mindful of the way their actions effect others…and then to consider modifying their actions to make that effect as pleasant (or at least as unobtrusive) as possible.  This is quite a challenge, and of course, she does it with impeccable style and more than a bit of wit.

One of the themes that often pops up in Miss Manners’ writing is that of holding up your end of the social contract.  That’s really what you’re doing when you r.s.v.p. promptly or invite your friends over for dinner or send off a thank you note.  The goal is to extend kindnesses to others and to return the kindnesses that have been extended to you.  The napkins and stationery are just window dressing.  They’re nice, but they matter much less than the underlying intent.

So with that in mind, I want to send you all a thank you note.  Now I can’t really do this in the traditional sense.  I can’t get out a note card and a nice pen and write to each of you.  What I can do is realize that by making my socks and testing my patterns and voting for me on SKA and spreading the word about this odd little endeavor of mine, you’re doing me a kindness.  I want to thank you for it and do something for you in return.  So I’ll be releasing the next pattern (the lacy ones I showed you last month) for free.  The pattern is with testers now, and I’ll be working on the second sock over the next few days.  I’ll be spending a few days somewhere picturesque at the end of the month, and with any luck I’ll have these ready to release in early September.

Call for Testers

I’ve just put up a thread calling for tester for these socks.  If you’re interested in helping me test them, head over to ravelry and volunteer.  I’m picking testers and mailing out the pattern on Monday, and I’d need one sock made in 2 weeks.