Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On sale at last

I hope you aren't sick of hearing about it yet, but today is a red-letter day.  My new book, Sock Yarn Studio: Hats, Garments, and Other Projects Designed for Sock Yarn, is as of this writing in stock and ready to ship at Amazon.com.


I first envisioned this project three or more years ago, right after I finished my previous book. Things don't always move fast in the publishing world, but the big day is finally here. And it was worth the wait.

I'm really proud of this book, in particular, because of the three books I've worked on, this one has the most me in it. For example, there's a technical section that talks about sock yarns and how to work with them, and I've always liked giving people information and insight that they can use to make their knitting more enjoyable.

There are several patterns knit in my own Black Bunny Fibers yarn, including this fabulous stranded pillow cover, designed by Barb Brown:

Cushington Square, designed by Barb Brown

and this short cowl that I designed.

Lisatra Short Cowl, designed by Carol Sulcoski

Several of my very dear friends contributed patterns, like the aforementioned Barb Brown, Veronik Avery,

Nuit Blanche, scarf version, designed by Veronik Avery

Franklin Habit,

Roselein Hat, designed by Franklin Habit

and Laura Grutzeck, and I could go on and on, but I'd run out of space.

Chambourcin Halter, designed by Laura Grutzeck

I was able to do some things I think are fun, but aren't always done for practical reasons in books, like show a few patterns in alternate colorways, like the Compostela Scarf:

Compostela Scarf, knit in two colorways, designed by Carol Sulcoski

which is shown in a solid version and a version knit in a slow self-striping yarn. I think it can be really helpful for knitters to get a feel for how different types of yarn can affect the finished project.

Of course my lovely, hilarious daughter is one of the models, and you can imagine how that warms my heart:

Lizalu Blanket, designed by Carol Sulcoski

I got to use yarn from companies I love, like Koigu (and Regia, and Lorna's Laces, and Quince & Co., and Swan Island, and ......)

Anu Baby Hat, desigend by Carol Sulcoski

I was able to guide the selection of the photographer, and I simply could not be happier with the breathtaking photographs Carrie Bostick Hoge took -- which you'll see throughout this post.  (I'm also very pleased to have had a chance to meet her and call her friend, and to know that her bee-yoo-tiful baby girl is also a model in the book -- see the baby cap photo above!)

Flipping through the book I see so many intangible "footnotes" -- a colorway named after one dear friend (waves to piggeh), a pattern named for another, help from unexpected quarters in thinking up pattern names when my creative well was running dry, the knowledge that still other friends helped knit and finish some of the items, seeing quilts used in the photography that were loaned by my friends at Spool -- that make me so happy when I think of them.

Kitteh Mittens, designed by Wendy Johnson

It's here.  I love it. I am so grateful for all the help I had from my wonderful friends, old and new, in making it happen.  I hope you love it, too.

All photographs reproduced with permission from Sock Yarn Studio by Carol J. Sulcoski, copyright 2012 Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing, Inc.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Check out some photos

of projects from Sock Yarn Studio on the Lark Crafts blog here.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

No-Bull Book Review: Indie Socks by Chrissy Gardiner

I am embarrassed that it has taken me so long to write up this review of Chrissy Gardiner's new book, partly because she sent it to me at the beginning of the summer, but also because, joy of joys, it also features a sock in Black Bunny Fibers yarn. So with abject apologies for being so slow, let's finally take a look at Indie Socks: Knitting Patterns and Dyer Profiles Featuring Hand-Dyed Yarns (Sydwillow Press 2012; MSRP $28.95).

Gardiner -- owner of Gardiner Yarn Works, with an extensive collection of patterns sold on-line and in yarn shops -- has focused on 24 dyers, large and small, well-known and not as well-known, readily available and available less widely. She designed a sock pattern for each individual yarn, and presented it, along with a profile of the indie dyer. Fans of well-crafted sock patterns, in particular, those knit in handdyed and handpainted yarns, rejoice! It's a great collection of patterns and you may also find yourself intrigued by some new (or new-to-you) handdyers to augment your stash.

Gardiner begins with a brief section on selecting handdyed yarns, and a description of what she means by "indie dyer." She then divides the 24 patterns of the book into three sections based on the coloring of the yarn:  Mild, Flavorful and Spicy.

The Mild section highlights semisolid and nearly solid yarns, and therefore uses more intricate patterning.  Hard to pick favorites in this section of 14 good-looking patterns, but I was particularly taken with the following:

Spyglass Socks (yarn by Alpha B Yarn)

the Spyglass Socks, with a wool/silk yarn by Alpha B Yarn in a dreamy lilac;

the Calpurnias, with Schaefer Nichole yarn; and

the Natsa Sukka socks, which use 6 different shades of a more rustic shetland-type yarn (dyed by Elemental Affects).

The Flavorful section includes what I would term "muted multicolors," yarns with a bit more going on with them than a semi-solid, but not the really crazy color combinations of the most zany handdyes.  Here's where you'll find Nami, the lovely pattern in a feather-and-fan pattern with simple wavy cuff:

These are knit in Black Bunny Fibers Superwash Merino Classic in Kathy's Cape

(the blue color reminded Chrissy of the ocean too; "Nami" is the Japanese word for "wave").

Other lovely patterns in this section include

Flamethrower (yarn by the Unique Sheep);

Owenburger (yarn by Lavender Sheep);

Deux Tourbillions (yarn by Mountain Colors; Crazyfoot base);

Rippleside (yarn is Pagewood Farms Alyeska); and

and Gelato, featuring Iris Schreier's Artyarns yummy Cashmere Sock yarn base.

Last up is the Spicy category, with 7 patterns designed for the wildest of your handpaints. Check out Archery, in Abstract Fiber's Supersock:

Seesaw (yarn by Cephalopod):

Muir Woods (yarn by Blue Ridge Yarns):

and Soda Fountain (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock):

There are lots of photographs, including close-up shots of details; charts where necessary; detailed patterns; and a glossary of techniques (many with clear photographs walking the knitter through them). After the pattern section is a profile of each dyer (done by Donna Armey), with a closer look at their dyeing process, inspiration and so on.

I'm always happy to see patterns designed especially with handpaints in mind, and this is a well-presented, versatile collection of terrific sock patterns to help you use up those beauties in your stash. You can purchase the book at Amazon.com, download it via Ravelry or order a signed copy directly from Chrissy here.