I love this part

So as I mentioned, Curls 2 is off at the printer (yay) and will be out this summer (double yay).  And that means it’s totally time for me to diving in to the next book.  One of the first steps is always getting yarn.  I flashed some of the other pretty yarns for the new one a few days ago, but the mail fairy has brought me more in the meantime!

DSC_6123That’s Mrs. Crosby Hat Box in Roasted Chestnut.

DSC_6127And that’s Lorna’s Laces Solemate in Manzanita.

Both awfully yummy, and a good illustration of something I’m considering for this book.  The Solemate is your classic skinny minny sock yarn, you’ll generally want something like 8.5 or even 9 stitches per inch with it to give you nice sturdy sock fabric.  The Hat Box is more of a sport weight, you’ll want something more like 7 or 7.5 stitches to get a good fabric with it.

There’s a lot of yarn like this these daysyarn with a good fiber mix and a good construction for socks, but a little bit thicker than classic sock weight.  I love them and they’re totally what I reach for when I want to make socks, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.  But then again, I know plenty of people who love a good skinny sock yarn and will reach for it every time.

So for this next book, I’m considering offering sizing information that says something like ‘If you’re using a fingering-weight yarn and getting a gauge of 8.5spi, the sock will fit a foot or leg of w [x, y, z] inches.  If you’re using a sport or dk-weight and getting a gauge of 7spi, the sock will fit a foot or leg of a [b, c, d] inches.’  Of course I’d tell you which the sock in the pictures was knit in (and I’d explain in the intro what was going on with the sizing and emphasize that you need to match your gauge to your yarn).  But I really think a lot of folks don’t realize they can adjust the size by adjusting their yarn and therefore their gauge, and this could be a good reminder.

So what do you think?  Helpful? Overkill?  I do it with a lot of my individual patterns and get good feedback, so I suspect it could work, but I’ve not done it in a book yet.  But it’s not that much extra work to include it, and if it will help folks, I think it could be nifty.

Playing Favorites

I’m in the middle of the best part of book making.  The part where I’ve chatted with some of my very favorite people in the yarn industry, they’ve graciously agreed to let me experiment with their beautiful yarns, they’ve mailed them to me, and I get to play with them.  This tray of yarn is sitting on my desk right now.

sock yarnsThese will be the socks for the book after next, and I love each and every one of them.  Starting at the top left, there’s Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Buckingham Fountain, and right under it is Mrs. Crosby Train Case in Boston Fern.  At the top right is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in Mermaid Tears (the winner of today’s round of best yarn name of the day).   On the bottom, working left to right, there’s Bare Naked Wools Ghillie Sport DK in Cream, The Uncommon Thread Lush Twist in Tea Smoked, Quince & Co Finch in Iceland, and Shibui Staccato in Caffeine.

You can see I’ve already broken in to many of them to get started swatching (um, I may possibly have three of the sock patterns for these written already), and I’m having a delightful time.  This book is going to be ridiculously fun.

Book Yarn, Part VI

KCC3 is debuting soon (this month, eep!) and I want to take a bit of time during the lead up to show off all the delightful yarns I’ve used in the book.  So without further ado, yarn.

6These beauties are from Lorna’s Laces.  I adore Lorna’s Laces’ colors, and they’ve got a base that will work for pretty much any project you might have in mind.  So it’s no surprise that their yarn has found its way onto my needles before!  It’s been delightful in socks and a cowl from KCC2, and more lovely socks from the first book.  And there just may be some more of it on the way for future book projects as well!

On the left, you’ve got Shepherd Sock in Satusuma.  This is an 80% merino, 20% nylon mix and is delightfully round and sturdy.  It is that classic sock weight (meaning I look at it and go a bit weak in the knees at the thought of tiny stitches, but holy smokes does it make for a pretty sock if you’re braver than me).  The socks with this just may be on the back cover and I might possibly be unreasonably smitten with them.

On the right, you’ve got Pearl in The Bean.  This is a 51% silk, 49% bamboo mix, and slinky is the first word that comes to mind.  It’s shimmery and drapey and feels cool in your fingers as you work.  It’s also the yarn that got me over my fear of bamboo (I used a bamboo yarn years ago and it didn’t go well, but I should have known Lorna’s Laces would make one so nice it totally made up for that).  It may possibly have turned into the cutest slouchy hat ever!

If you’re looking for the other yarns used in this book they’ll show up here as they are posted.

Vanessa antiopa Knit Along

I’ll be having knit alongs for each of the pattern pairs in The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet, Volume II.  We’re starting this month with the two patterns inspired by the Vanessa antiopa print (you can click on the print to see it bigger, it really is quite lovely).

That’s these charming yellow socks:

And this amazingly versatile purple cowl.

If you’d like to join in, swing on by the ravelry thread and get knitting.  This is pretty laid back for a knit along (too many rules make my head hurt).  The general idea is cast on any time now…knit…post a picture showing your finished project by the end of July (each installment of the KAL runs for two months, so you’ve got plenty of time).  And, if you want to chat (pick yarns, ask questions, show off progress pics, whatever), I’d love it.  We’re a friendly bunch!

Best of all, the charming folks at Lorna’s Laces are sponsoring this installment.  I used their yarns for these projects (Solemate for the socks and Lion & Lamb for the cowl) and couldn’t love it more.  They’re providing a prize for the winner (randomly drawn from among the finishers).  I can’t tell you just what yet, because I get to visit with them at TNNA and pick something out (which should be great fun).  I’m confident it will be amazing though!

We’ll be doing a new installment of the knit along every month (and each one will run for two months), and we’ll work our way through the book in order.  As each pair of patterns comes up for the knit along, the individual patterns will become available to purchase (so if you love one of the patterns but don’t want the whole book, there’s a way for you to get it).  I hope you’ll join us!

Book Yarn, Part I

It’s become something of a tradition around here to talk a bit about the yarns I’m using in the books before they come out.  I’m a firm believer in continuing traditions (and I don’t want to leave the blog quiet while I’m off fondling sheep stealing yarn visiting Rhinebeck, so here we go again.

First off, Lorna’s Laces.

The lovely yellow yarn over on the right is Solemate in the color Magnificent Mile.  I believe this yarn is currently auditioning for most science fiction sounding yarn ever.  It’s made of 30% Outlast, which seems to be some sort of miracle fiber (think NASA and race cars) that was destined for sock glory.  You can read a bit about it over here.

Hanging out on the left is the charming purple is Lion and Lamb in the color Hermosa.  There is nothing high-tech of futuristic here, just a beautiful 50/50 wool silk blend.  I have failed completely to capture how shimmery it is.  Think pixie dust and fairy wings.  I’m sure Zoe’s pictures in the book will do it ever so much more justice.