400+hours

Clue 1 of the Spriteling Socktopus Mystery Shawl Knitalong (SMSKAL) comes out tomorrow. You can still join the KAL via Ravelry or through the link above.

Went to Lewes again yesterday for the second photo shoot.  As usual I completely forgot to take any photos! Gah! Thankfully I took some before I left, after I’d collected all the socks.  Ling’s son A helped put the ones needing blocking on sock blockers for me.  It’s pretty mindblowing to be holding so many hours of work in your hands.  All those socks work out to a combined total of over 400 hours of work from 15 different knitters. All of which have had their close-ups taken, and are now in the hands of GMC for a trip to the London Book Fair.

I couldn’t have made the photoshoot deadline without the knitterly assistance of my sample knitters.  They are truly all kinds of awesome.

 

I have to admit to  not finishing the socks I assigned myself to knit for the photoshoot. Luckily though I had enough knit up to take the necessary close ups.  Can you guess which one it was?

The next photoshoot will be on location.  I had my heart set on wandering round London, but I think it might prove rather difficult with the weather and changing facilities for the model.  Had a meeting yesterday with the book’s art director and she showed me some of the locations she’s used before. They’re pretty lovely.  She also told me who the photographer will be.  I am super impressed, and actually not a little intimidated! He’s more a fashion photographer than a stills photographer. I hope he says stuff like ‘Work it!’ ‘You’re a tiger! Be a tiger!’, though i might end up giggling too much and getting thrown off the set!  Am excited to see who the model is going to be.  GMC had a great Canadian model with the most amazing red hair – but sadly she’s gone back to Canuck-land.  We will also have a couple stand ins because some of the socks are slightly smaller and need a smaller foot.  All in all am feeling quite inspired now that I know what stylistic direction the book is taking, and assured that I’m in very good hands.

Today I finally get to start the roll out for my clubs – yarn first, samples knit, then pattern layout. Looking forward to getting what’s in my mind’s eye out onto the yarn.  Speaking of clubs – did you see Clara Parkes mentions the Knit Love Club in her most recent Knitters Review? It just made my day.

Baby Boston

Just had wonderful news – my cousin J has given birth to a happy baby boy! Can’t wait to find out the little guy’s name. J was posting to her blog even from the hospital; it’s quite exciting since J is like my little sister (and I tormented her like a big sister when we were kids!). Spring baby – looking forward to meeting him later this year.

Meanwhile, It thought I’d share an update on the MSF donations to date. At the end of February I said I’d donate 50% of pattern sales to MSF in support of their emergency aid to the Arab countries. As the situation continues to deteriorate, I’m happy to be contributing in some small way. With a crisis situation also unfolding in Japan (they are finding it difficult to get food and water to the affected regions), again supporting MSF feels like absolutely the right thing to do. With your knitterly support, we’ve been able to raise £325 for MSF in the last month. YAY!

KN2011 Class Schedule

The Knit Nation 2011 Class schedule is up! I’m so excited about the classes this year – we really have another wonderful team of teachers ready and eager to share their knowledge with Knit Nationites. I’m actually quite bummed since there are a ton of classes I would give my cashmere stash sock yarn stash right arm to take. Sadly, the bum side of being one of the organisers is that there just isn’t the time to take any classes (what was I thinking? Maybe I should change the rules….). Hee hee. You’ll all just have to take them for me and I’ll just live vicariously as I admire your swatches and class projects!

Registration will go live at the end of April, and if you’re signed up to the Knit Nation newsletter (at www.knitnation.co.uk) we’ll give you a heads up a couple weeks in advance.

I’ll stop here since I know you’re all itching to get to that schedule. Linky to the short version here and the long version (with class descriptions) here.

We’ll always have Paris

Thought I’d show you some yarn….

Draken

Goldenrod

Fontainebleau

Lots more being dyed up ready to be sent out to the big wide world. Over the next two months, Sokkusu-O will be heading to:

L’Oisevethe in Paris (I think a trip to Paris is in order!)

Loopy Ewe in St Louis, USA (be still my beating heart!)

Holland Road Yarn Company in Wellington, NZ, owned by the lovely Tash B

and Stitch Perfect in Birmingham, in the funky Custard Factory.

I’m so excited to be part of the yarn lines in these fabulous shops. 😀  And of course, I’ll have some Sokkusu too for the Socktoshop, but I’m afraid you’ll have to be patient a little longer as I’m first getting the Knit Nation schedule out (yes it is almost ready. Just waiting for a couple final things before posting it – which should be this weekend!).

Books & Peacocks

It’s amazing how many people are involved in producing a book. I hadn’t fully appreciated how much work is put into it, or how much help one needs getting it together until now. All the patterns in the book first go to a pattern checker who sends queries and suggestions to me. I then review these, amend the document and send them to my UK editor who checks it. She then sends it to our US editor (because the book is also being produced for the US market) who edits it for the US market. Each pattern does this loop at least once, some multiple times. With 18 patterns that’s a whole lot of loops.

We then have to plan how much text and how many photos for each section. Once the text is ready, it goes to the layout editor who sets out where the text will fit on each page, and makes placeholders for all the photos to come. There is Anthony the stills photographer, and there is Gilda the art director who is in charge of styling the book.

There are also the marketing, publishing and distributing people who I will work with later on down the line when the book comes out.

On my side, I have a small army of knitters who are knitting up all the samples that go into the book – 18 pairs of socks! I’ll be knee deep in socks by the time we’re done. Thursday is the next photoshoot for close-ups for the remainder of the socks (we did 4 the last shoot). The last photoshoot in a couple of weeks will be shot on location with models wearing each pair of socks, and I’m hoping what I’ve got in mind will work out. We need a different setting for each patterns main photograph so that will be a bit of a challenge.

Since the patterns will have passed numerous hands and been copied and pasted and moved around, it’s important too to have them re-test knit once the book is in draft form, so there is another army of knitters who make this happen. Plus of course all the socks are knit in Sokkusu so there’s been the crazy of dyeing them all up for the book. It really makes my head spin thinking about it. Right now, I wish my head was spinning from too much to drink rather than from too much to do and too few days to it! Still, there is light at the end of the tunnel – just a few more working weekends and I think we’ll be all done… that is, until the draft is ready and then it’ll be time for proof reading, re-test knitting, colour checking, etc… oy vey.

Since I do not own a time machine, have the ability to clone myself, or do away with my debilitating dependence on sleep and caffeine, I’ve resorted to my favourite form of self-soothing behaviour in times of stress: retail therapy. I didn’t go crazy but I’m very pleased with my purchase since I’ve wanted one for ages! This little gem is what I bought myself today from Debbie at Knitcellaneous: meet Sparkle the Sock Peacock.

Each ‘plume’ is a mini sock blocker. Won’t Sparkle will look super cute wearing mini-socks of Sokkusu colourways? Ahhhh, I feel better already!

The Colour of Magic

I love everyone’s enthusiasm about the swatch yarn! I think I am going to call it Siffie, but am really enjoying reading the suggestions so am going to hold off deciding for a bit. When the yarn is available (soon soon!) you’ll be able to order it through the Socktoshop. To go to the Socktoshop, click on the SHOP tab on the right side of the menu above (right next to the big Socktopus logo).

The first two Dye-It-Yourself workshops were held last weekend. It was great fun to see everyone painting and creating their own yarnie visions. Stupidly I forgot my camera on the first day, but I did manage to remember it on the second day.

Everyone had their own unique vision as to what colours they wanted on their yarn.

This was the handpainting portion – my favourite bit is watching the colours overlap each other and make little colour babies!

After a hard afternoon’s creativity, we had a tubful of gorgeous colours. Lots of purple (forever immortalised by ‘it’s never purple enough!) blues, and yellow. We went through a whole lotta yellow!

And drying prior to being bundled up for their new homes.

It’s been a crazy few weeks what with the book and deadlines and all sorts – one of which was a photoshoot for the book down in Lewes.  I brought my camera, but then forgot to take the fun shots of me modelling the socks.  I have two more photoshoots for the book so I will make sure to do some process shots next time! I did manage to snap a couple later on when Antony was taking stills for the layout.  The wood base is the seat of an Georgian chair he had in his studio, lots of historic bums have been helping to create the lovely patina.  It was pretty cool – the studio is an unassuming ex chicken shed (there were lots of them all converted into various work offices/art studios on an old chicken farm) and it’s where most of the studio shots for Knitting Magazine are taken.  While it was exciting, the back end of it (labelling and filing every photo for each page) is incredibly tedious. Reminded me of being an office junior and doing data entry.  Quite mind numbing.

I also brought Deuce with me, who was none too happy about being cooped up all day being ignored.  He made himself a nest in David’s coat and finally settled down enough for a snooze.  He really isn’t that into the whole knitting thing, which is a good thing. I’d hate to have to share my stash.

Spriteling SMSKAL Swatch Up

It’s time to swatch up for the Spriteling Socktopus Mystery Shawl Knit-along. Needles, check! Yarn, check! Ready, set, KNIT!

In case you are wondering, the swatch is knit in Sokkusu-Original (in a yet unnamed colourway – I am having trouble giving this one a name. I think I am blinded by my love for this colourway!). I’ll have some available in the shop next week.

I hemmed and hawed over lace weight vs fingering weight, and finally opted for fingering weight since it has a more restrictive yardage (it’s easy to substitute lace weight for fingering, but not always so easy to do the opposite). If you substitute lace weight just be sure to adjust the size of your needles so you get a pleasant fabric.

Yarn

400 metres fingering weight yarn.

Gauge

24 sts and 36 rows = 4 inches in stockinette (unstretched, unblocked)

Needles

Size 7 US (4.5 mm) circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge

Notions

A crochet hook and waste yarn for provisional cast on, stitch markers and a tapestery needle

You can download the swatch info for free from Ravelry by clicking here.

The first clue will be released on the 1 April. You can purchase the pattern either in the side bar or by clicking here:

Happy swatching!