Amazing Knitting Day

If I merely said today was an amazing day, I would be making the understatement of the year.

Today, at long last, was my knitting class with Lucy Neatby. Of course, we had to get a photo together with our wild and wonderful hair!

Lucy Neatby and Trish are kindred spirits of the hair

Lucy Neatby and Trish are kindred spirits of the hair

I have never taken a knitting class before. And last night, I was telling my husband that taking a first knitting class with the likes of Lucy Neatby might be like saying, “I’d like to learn to cook. Maybe I’ll go take a class from Julia Child.” Well, except that Julia’s no longer with us, but you know what I mean.

Lucy signed my copy her sock knitting DVD

Lucy signed my copy her sock knitting DVD

The subject of the class? Cool Socks. And you’ve heard me say it many times on this blog–I am a confirmed Not-Sock-Knitter. I like to know HOW to knit socks, though, because I teach Magic Loop and most people who want to learn Magic Loop do so because they want to do socks. So, it is a good knitting skillset to know. But you know what I learned today?? SOCKS are COOL! And there are so many things that can be done to make them easier to do, or more interesting to knit, and unique and beautiful.

I learned Channel Island cast on, ME! A decorative cast on! And the amazing short row, garter stitch heel, in which you wrap the stitches to close the gaps but don’t need to pick up and knit the wraps because the garter stitch envelops them. I did a provisional cast on with a crochet hook around a knitting needle, and learned the mechanics of an afterthought heel. And then?? She showed us a really easy way to do grafting. Not that I am one of the people who thinks kitchener stitch is hard. I actually think it’s cool! But lots of people don’t like traditional kitchener stitch, and I had no idea that there was more than one way to do it. WHO KNEW?

I’ve never learned so much about knitting and the mechanics of stitches all at once, in one day. I never knew that knitting could be exhausting. I usually only knit for short spurts so this was a challenge for me. But, I’m so glad I did it! I attended class with Tammy from Knit Group and being there with a friend made it so much fun! I’m so glad Tammy was there and it seemed like she really enjoyed the class as well.

The class was held at an Italian restaurant in the same strip mall as the sponsoring yarn shop, and it was a great place to have a class! Lunch was included, and it was a simple grilled chicken garden salad but it was so flavorful! And the bread? It was fresh and piping hot from the oven. After class the yarn shop owner opened the shop for class participants, and gave us a yarn discount, too! I thought I had died and gone to heaven. When I went in there I felt instantly as if it was the sort of yarn shop that local yarn shops are supposed to be. It was crowded and hard for me to get around, but that’s usual for most yarn shops. But the selection? I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much pretty all in one place. At least not in this area, other than the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, of course. And there were so many samples hanging in the shop! So much to see. I wish I lived closer!

Of course, some yarn followed me home. (How does this happen?)

Koigu, in five shades of purple for a shawl

Koigu, in five shades of purple for a shawl

Some Noro, for a sparkly scarf

Some Noro, for a sparkly scarf

Today would not have been possible without the help of my loving husband. As fate would have it, this once-in-a-lifetime knitting opportunity fell upon the occasion of our 18th wedding anniversary. And he got up with me, before dawn, on a Sunday, and drove me an hour each way (that was a total of four hours in the car for him!) so I could spend the day knitting with one of my knitting heroes. Folks, THAT’s love, I am sure of it, and I celebrate this day with all my heart has to offer.

After the knitting and the shopping were done, My husband and I actually went back to the Italian restaurant where I had just spent my day and had a heavenly, delicious dinner. The waitress asked us where we were from and I mentioned that it was our anniversary. We decided to order dessert (a delectable flourless chocolate cake and a scoop of cinnamon gelato) and when it arrived we were informed that another couple across from us had purchased our dessert! They said that they themselves are getting married later in the week and so they wanted to hope for themselves 18 happy years. How sweet was that? So thank you, Howard and Sheila… your kindness on our special day will not be forgotten.

And so I have written this post until such time that it is no longer really our anniversary. Even so, the memories of this wonderful day will last a long time. I had such a great time, and can’t wait to be a sock knitter for real. I think I’ve been pushed over the edge.

So, How Am I Doing?

I’ve been knitting and knitting and knitting on my practice sock. Here’s today’s photo update:

Sock in Progress

Sock in Progress

So, you experienced sock knitters… how is it looking? I think it looks funny. Do all handknit socks go through an “awkward stage” as they grow? I don’t think my sock in progress looks anything like most of the socks I see others knitting… it looks like a mutant sock to me. Am I just being paranoid?

I only have about a week and two days before my Lucy Neatby class. I want to be mostly done with this sock, so I can have at least some techniques fresh in my mind, and bring my odd little sock and ask questions. Hopefully at least I can make it past the heel before then and be well on my way to being done.

Today I received the Knit Kit in the mail.

Red Knit Kit

Red Knit Kit

The Knit Kit, opened

The Knit Kit, opened

I hadn’t gotten one before now because at first they were a little hard to get, and then I started hearing that they break easily. Then I heard that the kits had been improved. So, I’ve been wanting one for a while now, and I was finally able to get one from The Loopy Ewe this week. I think I’m going to like it! It’s kinda cool having every basic knitting do-dad one could need right in reach. The kit includes a tape measure, crochet hook, thread cutter, row counter, stitch markers, point protectors, a darning needle, and foldable scissors. (Did I forget anything?) I think this compact little kit (which is about the size of a makeup compact) is perfect for traveling light as a knitter, like when you only have room to cram a sock project in the bottom of your purse. I like having multiple sets of tools anyway, so I have them all set and ready to go in whatever knitting bag I’m using. So, I’m glad this product is now in my collection.

I spent the evening cooking a pot of chili for a fall chili party at a co-worker’s horse farm tomorrow. The whole house smells yum and the chill in the air makes the chili seem even more welcome than it would normally be. I knit a few more rounds on the sock tonight and plan to take it with me tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll make enough progress on it this weekend that I won’t stress too much about getting it done next week.

Wish me luck… and let me know if you think I’m on the right track so far. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!

The Sock Box Rocks!

Toe Up Socks in a Box

Toe Up Socks in a Box

Today I received something in the mail that I think is so cool, that now I wish all knitting books would be that way. It’s the hot-off-the-press, “Toe-Up Socks in a Box: Essential Sock Techniques and 20 Toe-Up Patterns from Wendy Knits”. I’m already in love.

Yeah, ok… it seems like a rehashing of Wendy’s popular book, “Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits,” but the format is ingenious! It’s a box of index cards, with a card for each pattern, and tips for things like heels on one, and toes on another, etc. I think this solves the one thing I hate about knitting books… lugging them around. Now all the patterns are on individual cards and they’re so easy to throw in the knitting bag and don’t weigh it down. This is especially important for sock knitters, who, as knitters go, travel light. They know that one of the major attractions to sock knitting is that socks are small and can be worked on anywhere, and packed in almost anything without taking up any major amount of space. Knitting books, by their very nature, cancel out this benefit, unless you have access to a personal copier and remember to copy all your patterns before you leave the house. (My office would frown on me using their copier to make copies of my knitting patterns for sure.)

So, this is great! I am certain that when I become a sock knitter (and, I have a feeling that I am now on my way), I’ll turn to these patterns often, just because it’s been made so easy for me to do so. I already own the book, but these patterns in this little box are the ones that I’m sure will get the most use.

I wish more patterns would come this way! If you like Wendy’s socks, you might want to give these cards a try. And then hop on over to Wendy’s Blog and tell her how much you like them. I’m headed there now. :-)