A Sneak Preview

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The Braided Gems socks – as they were originally conceived! Interweave didn’t like the beads or thought they would be too difficult to insert or whatever, so they are not included in the Braided Gems pattern in Handpainted Socks. To add the beads, do this: between the braids there are three purl stitches. One bead is placed on the center purl stitch every four rows. Work three pattern rows after the last bead row before beginning the heel. That keeps the bead away from the top of the shoe so it doesn’t rub on your foot. This fabulous pink/purple variegated yarn is Pagewood Farms sock yarn that I bought from the beautiful Joan at The Local Needle in Mcclenny, Florida, (904) 259-KNIT / http://www.localneedle.com. It works much better than the darker green colorway used for the book because the braids show better and this yarn is sooooooo soft – merino, yum. The beads are from my stash – just find small (tiny) beads that work with your yarn and are snug on the yarn when you string them. I chose the deep purple beads because they showed up better and because I already had them – I’m still stash-busting, even with my small collection of beads. And, yes, you can knit these socks using two circs or the Magic Loop. I am simply addicted to double-pointed needles – I LOVE them!

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Spin-Off Has Arrived!

My copy of Spin-Off arrived at the same time the UPS driver arrived with the box of all the projects that are in the articles. Hurray – now I can show them off at the guild meeting in a couple weeks. For those of you who do not spin, but knit or crochet, there are lots of great projects in this issue. Though the projects use handspun yarns, the “generic” size of the yarn is given so you can use a commercial yarn instead.

Today I had fun at JoAnn’s and Michael’s gathering more beads and threads to finish the snowflake samples. There are some beautiful new threads from DMC (Jewel Effects) and I chose several to use since all the shops have them now making them easy to find. What? You never thought of knitting with embroidery thread? It is awesome stuff!

Have you read The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner? I am almost finished with it and it is a great read! He sets out to find the happiest country on Earth by starting with a trip to Rotterdam to visit the World Database of Happiness (WDH) – no, I am not making this up. Weiner’s insights into the various cultures he visits are eye-opening. He has traveled extensively as a journalist for NPR, but even he finds surprises on his quest for the happiest nation on Earth. Worth a read – I have been laughing out loud, so maybe that is the point of the book. Read book, feel happy! Works for me!

Excitement Happening!

The Little Box of SocksCharlene’s new book, The Little Box of Socks, arrived today and I have already taken the Zigzag Slip-Stitch Socks pattern and put it in my sock sack to do next. These patterns are really great – and there are many that deal with hand-painted/variegated sock yarns. Too many to choose from, so I will just have to knit one of each (though you know I am not going to put novelty yarn around the top of the felted bed socks – I’m just not a novelty yarn kind of person). This box of patterns is definitely worth having, even if you have all the other sock books.

Today’s mail also brought the contract from Leisure Arts for my new book, Dazzling Knitted Snowflakes. You know that will get signed and returned asap along with the new sample snowflakes! No pub date yet, but I will post it as soon as they let me know. In the meantime, here are a few of the snowflakes to whet your appetite:

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(For those of you who know I am a Harry Potter fan: no, I did not name the Bellatrix snowflake after her evilness. These are all names of stars in our galaxy. The first book’s snowflakes were all named after rescued dogs.) If you have the first book, Knitted Snowflakes, you know that they are all made out of crochet cotton. The snowflakes in Dazzling Knitted Snowflakes can all be made out of crochet cotton, but I chose to make many of them out of the Kreinik metallic braids/threads to jazz them up a bit. Also, many of them have a plain version and a beaded version (to give them even more pizzazz) and several have mini-versions that only take about 10 yards of thread so you can knit a veritable blizzard in no time. Watch this space for the upcoming date of release so you can be one of the first to get your book and have samples knitted to show off at your next knitting get-together!

NE Georgia Handspinners have a home! We will be meeting at the William Harris Homestead, a restored, 19th Century, antebellum farm. The grounds are beautiful and our fiber arts will fit right in with the ambiance of the house and grounds. Stay tuned for the date of the first gathering.

AND, I have been invited to teach a week-long class at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I am excited because the class will be the first to experience all the tricks, tips, and techniques of another book I am working on – yes, I am keeping it a secret until closer to the time it may be published.

In the meantime, I am still waiting for my Spin-Off to arrive, have finished a project for Interweave Press that I am not allowed to talk about yet, am packaging the snowflakes to send, and have been working on my “logo”.  Anyone else come up with their personal symbol yet?

Book Review

No Sheep For You by Amy R. Singer

This is a book that should be in your knitting library. It gives accurate information (in a very fun way) on the many fibers for knitting that are NOT wool. For those allergic to wool, they even have patterns for a Fair Isle sweater, an Aran sweater, and a steeked sweater – all normally made of wool.

The patterns are well-laid out, the yarn information is detailed, and every pattern comes in a wide range of sizes from the very small and petite to the more voluptuous.

The down-side to this book? Lots of worsted weight, though there are many DK weight yarns, too, that suit our Southern clime better.

Amy Singer is the proprietor of Knitty.com and she has gathered an array of designers to keep us all knitting fun garments in the yarns that are a lovely alternative to wool.