The Challenge - Foot This

I started my twitter account maybe a year ago and have been taking full advantage of it for the last few months. I love that twitter allows you to talk with people who have shared interests - in my case knitting, spinning, anything yarn related - from all over the world. Because of twitter I found out about the challenge.

This week is Sock Summit. For those of you not in the knitting world Sock Summit is a huge convention held every year in the US with tons of classes taught by the rock stars of the knitting world. In addition there's a marketplace filled with gorgeous hand dyed yarns by indie dyers. Unfortunately I didn't make it to Sock Summit this year, but knitters, Kimberly Reynolds (@somebunnyslove) and Jenn Wendell(@happyskrappy) saved my day. They came up with the Couldn't Foot It Contest. The challenge: to make a pair of socks in 4 days, the same amount of time as the Summit. Lots of yarn dyers generously donated some of their beautiful hand-dyed yarn as prizes. Worldknit & Handspun threw in a Sheepy Project Bag and a pack of Good Intentions Knit Cards to sweeten the pot.

The contest started today at 9am. Before leaving for town I got prepared- yarn caked, pattern and needles ready. I'll be posting photos of my progress over the next few days so check back. I hope I Can Foot This!

So here is my progress from yesterday:

After getting home from knit night I decided that I wasn't happy with both the size of the sock and the pattern definition. Happy Feet is a pretty lofty yarn, which I think makes it knit up at a larger gauge than other sock yarns. I also think that the extreme variagation of the yarn hides the cool Spring Forward sock design. I decided that I would like these better as legwarmers. These will be put on hold to be completed in the near future.

For the contest, a little after 11pm I cast on for a new pair of the Spring Forward socks this time using Inca Sportlace, a wool, polymade blend in a beautiful hand dyed rust color. After knitting the ribbing I put them down and went to bed. Today I hope to have finished at least to the heal.

Second and third day was filled with too much socializing and too little knitting. After the third day I had turned the heel. The sock was knitting up huge, so I decided that they would be for A2 because he has bigger feet. That meant though that I'd have to knit the sole longer.

Today (Sunday July 31) was a knitting filled day. I started at 9am and had both socks off the needles at 4:29 eastern. I can't believe I knit 9" of sole in one day. My fingers feel like they are about to fall off. The contest officially ends at 4:30 pacific time. I can't wait to see what prize I've won. I'll post a picture as soon as it arrives.


Designing a Market Stand on a Dime - Aspen Part 2

The Aspen Farmer's Market with picturesque Ajax mountain in the background

My first day of the market was the 4th of July weekend. I think other vendors will attest to this being a weird day for sales. Tons of people, but not a whole lot of buyers. I've had the same experience at the Heritage Festival in VA for the previous two 4ths. I was a little down after the first day of slow sales, but I still had one more Saturday and hope.

Day 1

Day 1

Day 1

After evaluating how I had the stand set up the first day I decided to change it up my second Saturday at the market. I moved the colorful Guatemalan scarves and baby outfits to the front of my stand, opening up the side for people to have two places to enter and exit. I also took down the backdrop and posters (they blew around too much the first day). Other than that I didn't change anything. I'm happy to report sales the second day were knocked out of the park.

Day 2

Day 2

Day 2 - Guatemalan scarves and baby clothes

Day 2 - Guatemalteca

Day 2 - Crocheted Headphones

Day 2 - Knitwear

Day 2

Day 2 - Jewelry found in Guatemala

Day 2 - Felted Soap


Become a Knitting Superstar - A Book Review

Like Julia Child once said about flipping the omelette- “You just need to have the courage of your convictions,” the same can be said of knitting. Liat Gat of KNITFreedom is the woman behind the needles encouraging new and seasoned knitters with that same message in her latest knitting video book, Become a Knitting Superstar.

Become a Knitting Superstar excels where most other traditional knitting books fall short- instead of difficult to understand photos or drawings depicting various knitting techniques that often leave new knitters feeling confused and frustrated, Liat has produced high-quality, easy to follow videos for both beginner and advanced knitters alike. She takes us from a knitter’s humble beginnings- casting on, followed by the knit and purl stitch, performed in both English and Continental styles, moves easily through more advanced techniques like mastering knitting in the round and magic loop and finishes with fixing dropped stitches without ripping back. Her bonus chapters provide a wealth of knitting tips from techniques to make any project amazing to how to knit faster.

Liat never fails to answer that question we all have left over from grade school- “but why do I have to know/do this” and she does it in a way that makes us feel comfortable taking measurements, checking gauges, fixing mistakes and even substituting yarns. Reading her prose makes you feel as if you are sitting in a classroom with her and her enthusiasm for knitting and improving your knitting comes through.

Become a Knitting Superstar is great for knitters on the go. It can be downloaded to a number a different platforms, your computer, smart phone, and even ipad and as long as you have an internet connection you can watch the videos anywhere.

Liat Gat is not only a knitting superstar, but also a knitting superhero for providing the knitting community with such a helpful, extensive knitting resource.

Become a Knitting Superstar today

Follow Liat of KNITFreedom on Facebook and Twitter


The Nottingham Infinity Scarf

Model: Michael Capshaw-Taylor
My friend Tom wanted a bulky infinity scarf and wasn't having any luck finding one he liked. Knowing that I do custom knits he asked me to design something. I wanted something that was masculine, but that would look good on both men and women. I came up with the Nottingham Infinity Scarf (achieved using a provisional cast on and kitchener stitch). I love the contrast of the perpendicular rib - it switches between 2 x 2 rib and 2 x 2 garter. Knit using tweed it is ultra chic and great for winter, with or without a jacket. The pattern is available as a free download from worldknit & handspun. Be sure to add your project to ravelry when you complete it.


Designing a Market Stand on a Dime - Aspen Part 1

June 30 I headed out west to see my dad and brother in Aspen, CO. I love the Rockies and while out here I went on some hikes and a three-day backpacking trip with my boyfriend, Alex #2, to Lost Creek Wilderness. The past two Saturdays I also got to participate in the Aspen Farmers Market. My dad started a company called Re-cycle Arts Aspen- gorgeous vintage re-cycled (and re-tooled) bikes- and participates in the Aspen Farmers Market every Saturday from July-October. He was kind enough to share some of his space with me.

Planning for the market was tough. I needed to figure out how I could display my knitwear keeping in mind that I had to travel with my displays and I didn't want to drop a lot of dough on my stand. I found some good display stuff- a stand for my crocheted headphones, bracelet displays, mannequin heads, and bags- from Store Supply Warehouse and had it shipped to my dad's house (the stuff was relatively inexpensive, but the shipping was another story).

When we arrived in Denver we stopped at Target where I found some more display materials. I got a huge mirror, some clear glass vases, a huge short sided basket for my hand-dyed and handspun yarn, some plastic bowls for beaded bracelets and friendship bracelets, as well as a glass rectangular candle holder and rectangular wooden platter to display jewelry and felted soap.

The mannequin heads were made out of styrofoam which is great because they are light weight, but not so great because they don't look nice. My goal for the stand was high-end boutique and these heads just weren't cutting it. I came up with an idea- paper mache the heads using some colorful polkadot tissue paper I found at Target.

#2 and I tore up the tissue paper and I made the paste for the paper mache by mixing flour with water until it was the right consistency. For the next 6 or so hours we paper mached 4 mannequin heads. I started by using a solid color as layer one. Once that layer was done I added the polkadot layer. It took a while but I was so thrilled with the results- the $8 heads look like a million bucks. When I get back to VA I'm going to spray them with a polyurethane coating so that they'll last a while.

The night before the market I did a mock setup and took photos so that when I had to start setting up at 6am I'd know what I was doing. I was really thankful I had a plan- 2 hours goes by quickly when it's your first time setting up for the market. Stay tuned for photos from the market and how it went.

Read Part 2.
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