Ann Budd’s Special Brand of Sock Magic

Ah, technology. As Mary Chapin Carpenter sang, "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug." Our server-hosting company had some technical difficulties this week, which meant that we were unable to do our regular Monday post. Sorry about that. The technogeeks have been working very hard to resolve things, and so now: Weeeee're baaaaaack! Thanks for your patience and for all the nice emails you sent to check to make sure that we were OK!

But Sandi–WHAT DID WE MISS? Monday's post was going to be a mini-buffet of goodies for you. Don't worry, you won't miss out! I'm re-arranging things so that I can include at least one of Monday's goodies in each post over the week or two.

This Week: Socks And More Socks!

Socks. These humble articles of knitwear seem to inspire a full range of emotions in your comments, from fear ("I'm scared of all those needles and of that HEEL!"), to love ("I'm a sockaholic!") and for a select few, on into dislike ("Please NO MORE SOCK PATTERNS. Enough already! Some of us don't like knitting them, so please stop going on and on about them so much.").

For those of you in the Sock Dislike camp: No worries–we'll make sure there's something for everyone on Knitting Daily over time. As long as you're here, though: While we Sock Fans are chatting, maybe you could go have a look at the Browse By Topics section, find something you do like, and then leave a comment to tell me what it was so you can have your turn, too!

Blocking Socks

The subject of socks came up during our blocking tutorial, when dozens of you asked how to block your socks. I started typing out answers for you, and then realized that it would be much more fun to hear from Interweave's very own sock lover, and author of Getting Started Knitting Socks, Ann Budd.

Here's what Ann Budd has to say on blocking socks:

Sandi: Do you have to block socks?

Ann: Not unless you plan to give them as a gift or have them photographed for publication. Any misshapen stitches will even themselves out after you've worn the sock for about an hour. Besides, they're socks. They go on your feet. In your shoes. No one should be looking that closely at your feet.

Sandi: Do you have to re-block socks every time you wash them?

Ann: The act of washing them actually blocks them. Just squeeze out as much water as possible, then pat them flat on a clean towel to air-dry.

Sandi: Do you have to use sock blockers if you block socks–can you pat them flat, or pin them out, instead?

Ann: You don't have to use sock blockers, but if you've knitted a pair of heavily textured (i.e., cabled or lace) socks, blockers are a nice way to give them a uniform look. Like I said before, I usually just pat them flat. I wouldn't use pins because pins can leave tell-tail scallops that might show even when the sock is stretched on your leg or foot.

On Friday we'll have more "sock talk" from Ann!

Not Just For Beginners: Getting Started Knitting Socks

As you can tell from the above interview, Ann's "a trip," as my Southern mother-in-law Marilyn would say. She appears quiet and reserved, but she can have an entire conference room in giggles in a nanosecond. She's one of the world's truly delightful people.

Free Pattern: Ambrosia Socks

She's also a wicked talented sock knitter, and this fall, she's sharing her Sock Smarts with all of us in a new book, Getting Started Knitting Socks. Personally, I think this book needs a subtitle: "The Book For All Those Who Love Knitting Socks." It's got so much good stuff in it, that it would be a shame if folks thought it was just for beginners! In addition to the step-by-step instructions (with photos! pretty photos!), there are loads of useful charts, tips, and of course, patterns. There are basic sock "recipes" for the five most common gauges of yarn used. There are expanded recipes for adding texture, color, and lace to the basic recipes. And then there are tips on heels, toes, and everything in-between.

I'm buying a personal copy of this book, and I've been knitting socks for decades. But let's say that you're a sock-knitting newbie, and you're terrified of things like turning the heel and grafting. If that's you, then this book is like having Ann sitting next to you, patiently going over every question you could possibly come up with.

At this point, there are those amongst you who might be thinking, "Sure, Sandi. You're saying those nice things because you work for Interweave and they pay you to say that sort of thing."

I do work for Interweave. But the REASON I came to work for Interweave in the first place is that I was an Interweave customer for more than ten years, and a subscriber to four of their magazines long before I ever sent in my resume. I came here because I love what Interweave does, and I wanted to be part of it. However: I don't have to convince you. Thanks to the wonders of technology, we can give you a sneak peek inside Getting Started Knitting Socks so you can decide for yourself.

But: I bet you're going to LOVE it.

This Week's Featured Pattern: Ambrosia Socks

To give you a little taste of Ann's lovely sort of sock magic, our featured pattern this week is Ambrosia Socks. These were Ann's brainchild for the staff project for the almost-here (almost!!) Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits magazine. Cast on for these socks, and before you know it, Fall Knits will be here!

Great Free Sock Pattern eBook:
Knitting Socks with Knitting Daily:
5 Free Sock Knitting Patterns

Need a new sock knitting pattern? Want a great free sock pattern? I've chosen five of our top sock knitting downloads and put them all together in one FREE ebook for you.

So what kind of sock patterns are in this eBook? Let's see. There's a knitted lace sock pattern, a cabled sock pattern, a colorwork sock pattern, a men's sock pattern, and an easy beginner sock pattern. Something for everyone!

Download Knitting Socks with Knitting Daily: 5 Free Sock Knitting Patterns

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.

What's on Sandi's needles today? The front of the Bonsai Tunic by Norah Gaughan. Yes. Still knitting this. It's been a busy week….!

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