The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Sir Elton July 27, 2011

Filed under: patterns — Cailyn @ 10:47 pm
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I designed a pair of socks for the Sock Summit edition of Tangled (I may have mentioned this before).  The issue went live today, so I can show you Sir Elton!

 

sir_elton2

(picture shamelessly “borrowed” from Tangled)

 

These socks were originally named “Adara.”  Since the Tangled issue has an 80’s theme, like the Summit, the patterns got renamed with 80’s music names.  We submitted a few of our favorite musicians/bands for them to choose from.

 

These socks grew out of a Celtic knot-esque cable I designed.  I wanted it to grow organically from the ribbing and I wanted a stockinette foot.  I particularly love the way the side cables taper down to just one stitch on each side before the heel.

 

These socks are available for $6 at Tangled.  You can use the code SOCKSUMMIT11 to get $1 off the pattern until August 14.  And don’t forget to stop by and see these socks in person at the Tangled booth if you’re at the Sock Summit! (More on that tomorrow.  I have to get too sleep so I’ll be awake for my morning class!)

 

Birthday Goodies July 8, 2011

Filed under: Musings,spinning — Cailyn @ 12:53 pm
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It was my birthday last week.  Yup, I’ve crossed the 30 barrier.  Funny, it doesn’t feel that different from 29 except for this irrational desire to yell at kids to get off my lawn.  And the cane.

 

Birthdays come with presents, of course, and I got some nice fiber-y, knit-y things.

 

Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting.  I can’t stop collecting Fair Isle charts- I’m addicted to those snowflakes!

 

My sister sent me some soft, squishy mystery fiber from Three Waters Farm in North Carolina:

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The burn test revealed that it’s wool, not alpaca.  I think it’s Blue Faced Leicester.

 

I also got some fiber from a local Washington dyer, Rain City Fiber Arts:

 

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85% BFL, 15% silk, yummy!  I’m not normally a pink person, but I love the combo of pink, purple, and natural undyed wool in this colorway.  I think it will spin up into a nice muted mauve-like shade.

 

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100% Falkland wool in foresty greens and browns.  I’ve never spun this breed before.  It’s got about a 5 inch staple length (medium-long) and it’s pretty soft.  Actually, this could spin up into a great sock yarn!  Hmmm…

 

And in the “I had to buy this for you so that I could find out what it does” camp, I got a McMorran balance!

 

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It’s really, really hard to take a good picture of a piece of clear acrylic!  I’m going to write a post with more details about using this thing, but the general idea is that a McMorran balance will tell you how much yarn you have.  Once you’ve got your strand of yarn there balanced on the scale (the one in my photo is too light,) then you multiply the length by 100 and that gives you the yards per pound of your yarn.  This is obviously great for handspun, especially if you’re too lazy to count how many times your yarn goes around your niddy-noddy (another crazy named handspinner tool).

 

Also, only 18.5 days until I leave for the Sock Summit!

 

Crazy Things June 21, 2011

Filed under: Musings,spinning — Cailyn @ 11:53 am
Tags: ,

A commenter pointed out a  problem with the page for the Wintergreen Gloves over the weekend.  All the links to it had stopped working.  I looked into it and it had disappeared from the server!  I couldn’t find the actual post anywhere.  Luckily, I happened to have a local copy of the post and I fiddled with the “posted date” to make it seem like I had posted it in ‘09 like the original.  So the URL is the same as it was, but it’s a new post.  Trippy, man.

 

In other news, a bear has been trying to use our trash can as a buffet.

 

IMG_5114 crop

 

And last night he poked a hole in our gate, presumably because there wasn’t any food in our trash.  I’ve been keeping the trash can in the shed, but I forgot to put it back last time.  It’s in there now!

 

IMG_5140

 

And I finished my first 3-ply yarn.  I started with this fiber from Chameleon Colorworks.  I bought it two years ago in Portland.  I’ve been trying to move through some of my older stash, either spinning it or giving it away, to make room for what I’m sure will be a massive haul from the Sock Summit.

 

102_4924  102_4922

I spun the singles on my Mt. Rainier spindle, with what I call my “Mostly Worsted Short Draw.”  It’s a mangled, customized draw that is mostly a worstedy short draw, but with less smoothing of the fibers and a slight backwards pull.  That didn’t make any sense.  Anyway, it’s my personal style draw when I’m not going for a specific goal.  I divided the fiber into three sections, with no thought for the color changes.  Then I wound them onto plastic bobbins and plied them on my wheel (I hate plying with a spindle).

 

IMG_5132

 

Despite careful fiber division, one single ended up much, much shorter than the others.  Not just by a few yards or even a bunch of yards.  I mean it was 30 or 40 yards shorter!  You can see above how much is left on the other two bobbins.  I don’t know how that happened.  I don’t like the yarn very much, though, so I didn’t stress over it.

 

IMG_5135  IMG_5133

 

I think it ended up being worsted weight.  I’m not sure I like plying with three singles.  I had a really hard time keeping an even tension on all three at once and keeping the twist under control.  Two singles kept twisting before the third, making a 2-ply yarn with a third single swirling around it.  I eventually got the hang of it, but I still couldn’t find a comfortable way to hold things.  I might try again at some point, but right now I’m sticking with 2-plys.

 

Oh and my schedule for the Sock Summit has changed!  One of the classes I was wait-listed for got an opening, so instead of “The Perfect Rib” on Saturday afternoon I’ll be taking “Photographing Your Fiber.”  I’m very excited.  Just about a month left until the Summit!

 

Shawl Swatch Watch June 9, 2011

Filed under: Knitting Projects — Cailyn @ 4:51 pm
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I just avoided spilling a full cup of coffee as I tripped over a power cable.  Miracle!

 

Also a miracle, I have finished (sort of) the swatch for my handspun shawl.  It was delayed by two full froggings, three partial froggings, a sudden spurt of spring cleaning, and a kayaking trip.

 

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The swatch is about half the number of stitches of the finished design but has all the right elements in it.  The bottom pattern is from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia; the middle and upper pattern are from The Haapsalu Shawl.  The upper pattern (one of the numerous “paw” patterns) will be most of the shawl with garter borders.  I won’t be putting a traditional border around the whole shawl- I like the slightly modern look of a straight-edged shawl.  And I think knitting a border for a 60×20 inch shawl would kill me.  Literally.  I would keel over from sheer boredom just trying to pick up all the stitches for it!

 

IMG_5125  IMG_5126  IMG_5127

 

Here’s the problem:  I’m not sure I’m happy with the look of the thing.

 

I’m pretty happy with the general layout and patterns I chose (which wasn’t easy!)  I’m not entirely certain about the paw pattern, but I’m not going to revise the whole thing again.  The drape is lovely and the yarn is great.  But I’m not sure if it’s lacy enough.  Is it too… solid?  Not enough space between the strands of yarn?

 

As it stands, the swatch gives me about 6 stitches to the inch.  That should make the whole shawl about 14 inches wide.  I’m debating casting on with a set of size 5 or 6 needles for the actual shawl.  That should both make the shawl lacier and wider.  I’m not planning on re-swatching, though (yes, I live dangerously).  I’ve had enough of swatches!  I’m just not sure… part of the problem is that I don’t have a set of 5s or 6s.  If I like the way it looks now, I can start the shawl immediately.  But if I want to use bigger needles, I have to sneak out to the store, which isn’t really close by.

 

I can’t decide.

 

Laceweight May 30, 2011

Filed under: spinning — Cailyn @ 5:55 pm
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All week I said to myself, “I’ll write a post as soon as I have this yarn finished.  It shouldn’t take much longer.”  Well, it did take longer.

 

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I started spinning the laceweight yarn that I sampled a last month.  I used some merino-bamboo fiber that I bought from Weaving Works forever ago; it doesn’t have a brand name or anything.  It’s a 50-50 blend which is shiny and silky and spins up just as nice as it looks.

 

102_4937  115_5549

 

I sampled using just the color above (a color that I started to call in my head “Steel Teal”), but I wanted a little more depth and interest in my final yarn.  I also had some darker, bluer fiber of the same provenance, so I decided to use that as an “accent color” sort of thing.  I don’t have a good picture of it, but keeping with my theme I called this color “Steel Periwinkle.”  Which sounds a bit like a private eye in a bad detective flick.

 

I didn’t have any way to blend the fibers before spinning.  I couldn’t use my handcards for two reasons.  First, the fibers were too long.  The carding surface on mine is about 3 inches tall, which means I’ll just get a snarled mess if I try to card any fiber longer than that on them.  And second, I was going to spin this worsted, which is a combed preparation, so carding it to spin short draw seemed counter productive.  What I ended up doing was inspired by this free PDF article from Spin-Off.  I split my teal roving (by this I mean I tore off a hunk, then split that lengthwise into four portions) then tore off a similar sized hunk of periwinkle and split that into eight to twelve portions.  That way, the teal was the main color, but I’d get varying amounts of periwinkle in there- just a little for interest.

 

Of course, I realized after a few hours of spinning that I hadn’t weighed my fiber to see how much I had or divided it in half for even plies.  Being lazy, I decided that I would just spin until the bobbins looked about full the same amount.  By some miracle, this worked!  I ended up with about 3 yards of extra on the second bobbin, not even enough bother with!  I was rather shocked, actually.

 

I ended up with about 2.3 oz (66g) of two-ply mostly laceweight yarn.  Now, this yarn has enjoyed jerking me around a bit.  When I was spinning the singles, I always felt deep in my heart that the half-bobbin was never going to be enough for a shawl.  But as I was plying, I was sure that I had overshot my needs- it went on forever.  Then when it was washing, I just knew that I didn’t have enough- that it couldn’t be enough for a shawl.  But when I re-skeined it (which again took forever) I thought that I had plenty.  When I weighed it and it came in at a measly 2 ounces and change, I was pretty upset.  Until I looked at a few millspun yarns and realized that they’re often sold in 50g hanks and I had 66g, so I was pretty well off.

 

IMG_5104  IMG_5112

I say “mostly” laceweight because I drifted around the target thickness some, and to be honest the majority of the yarn is just slightly heavier than a true laceweight.  Somewhere between a “light fingering” and “lace” really.  But, then again, I really dislike working with the super-thin true laceweight so maybe it’s for the best for my first try.  All in all, I’m pleased as punch about this yarn.

 

To prepare myself for spinning really thin yarn, I watched “Spinning for Lace” which I got as a download from the Interweave Knits store.  It was a big help.  Margaret Stove is great.  The main thrust of the video is spinning with superfine merino, but a lot of the information carries over to other fibers.  I particularly like her method of holding the singles during plying.  It’s been the most comfortable for me so far and offers great control.

 

Now I just have to design a shawl and knit 60-65 inches of it.  Piece of cake.

 

Bubble Stream May 17, 2011

Filed under: patterns — Cailyn @ 1:19 pm
Tags: , , ,

000_0108 bw

 

A while back, I was asked by Suzan at Barking Dog Yarn to design some socks for her Ravelry group’s KAL (knitalong, for those not in the know).  The design uses her Opposite’s Attract line of yarn, which I think is a really cool idea for colorways.  I like so many of the colors she’s got.  The yarn itself is super soft and very nice to knit with.

 

The end result of this collaboration was Bubble Stream.  In keeping with the “opposites” theme, the socks feature a mirrored design, with a mock cable crossing the top of the foot in opposite directions.  This means that the foot of the sock is worked differently for each sock- I was told that this helped some of the second sock syndrome!  I’ll keep that in mind for future designs.

 

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The mock cable ribbing on the cuff knits up fast, easy, and fun.  While I made these socks longer to show off the colorway, I think they’d look great as ankle socks since the really interesting part is on the foot.

 

This pattern is pretty long, since each foot has different instructions.  I recommend downloading the PDF instead of reading it below.

 

115_5506  000_0114

 

Errata

4/2/11: The symbol for m1 (M on the charts) was not in the key. 

4/3/11: In the instructions for the heel turn for both socks, Row 3 should read “Sl 1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn.”  In the instructions for the heel turn for both socks, Row 4 should read “Sl 1, p7, ssk, k1, turn.”

4/14/11: Clarified the heel flap instructions on Row 1 and 2.  Changed the optional shorter toe charts on the last page to the correct number of sts.

 

Bubble Stream

Download the PDF: Bubble Stream

  • Finished Size: 7.5” midfoot circumference
  • Yarn: Barking Dog Yarns Opposites Attract [100% Superwash merino] 400 yds/4 oz Color: Tristan and Isolde; 1 skein
  • Needle: Size 1 (2.25mm) or size needed to obtain gauge
  • Gauge: 40 sts x 58 rows = 4” in Chart B
  • Notions: Scrap yarn or stitch holder, 3 stitch markers, tapestry needle

 

Special Stitches

Mock Cable: Insert right needle purlwise into third stitch on the left needle. Pull this stitch up and over the first two stitches and off the needle. Knit the first stitch on the left needle, yarn over, knit the second stitch. Mock cable completed.

m1: Insert left needle under the strand between the stitches from front to back and knit into the back of the new stitch

m1p: Insert left needle under the strand between the stitches from back to front and purl into the front of the new stitch

k tbl: knit through the back loop

sm: slip marker

 

Notes

The pattern begins by casting on in “Color 1.” Either miniskein of Opposites Attract can be Color 1; it is just a shorter way of saying “use the color that you’re not using for the leg of the sock.”

Charts for each sock are shown at the end of the instructions.  Charts A and B are the same for both socks and are shown twice.

The sock measures about 7 inches long by the time Chart E/H is completed; the last part of the pattern has a suggestion for shortening the sock if needed. If you don’t need a shorter sock, then this advice can be ignored.

 

Right Sock

Cuff

CO 64 sts in Color 1. Join in the round, being careful not to twist. “Color 1” can be either color.

Work Rounds 1-4 of Chart A until work measures 1 inch from cast on, ending on Round 4.  Chart A repeats 4 times around the sock.

Cut Color 1 and join Color 2.

Leg

Work Rounds 1-4 of Chart B until leg is desired length (shown 6 inches) ending on Round 4. Chart B repeats 4 times around the sock.

Heel

To center the heel flap and instep design, the first stitch of the round is knitted and placed on the heel needle as the first stitch of the heel.

Row 1 (RS): Knit the first st of the round, turn. This is the first heel stitch.

Row 2 (WS): Sl 1, purl 15, m1p, p15, turn. 1 st increased.

Heel will be worked back and forth over these 32 stitches. The heel stitches, including the stitch from Row 1, should be on one needle. Put the other 33 stitches on a spare needle, scrap yarn, or stitch holder as desired.

Row 3 (RS): *Sl 1, k1* 16x, turn.

Row 4 (WS): Sl 1, p31, turn.

Row 5 (RS): *Sl 1, k1* 16x, turn.

Repeat Rows 4-5 another 14 times, for a total of 32 rows (16 slipped stitches on each side of the heel flap) ending on Row 5.

Turn Heel

Row 1 (WS): Sl 1, p17, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 2 (RS): Sl 1, k5, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 3: Sl 1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 4: Sl 1, p7, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 5: Sl 1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 6: Sl 1, k9, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 7: Sl 1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 8: Sl 1, k11, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 9: Sl 1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 10: Sl 1, k13, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 11: Sl 1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 12: Sl 1, k15, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 13: Sl 1, p16, p2tog, turn.

Row 14: Sl 1, k16, ssk, do not turn. 18 sts remain.

Gusset

Pick up and knit 16 sts along the heel flap. Instep: K2, *p5, k3,* 3x, p5, k2. Pick up and knit 16 sts along the heel flap, k7, k2tog. Mark this as the beginning of the round. The decrease takes care of the extra stitch that was increased on the heel flap. 82 sts.

The decreases for the gusset on the right side will consume instep stitches. The decreases for the gusset on the left side will consume the gusset stitches as normal. Chart C is worked once per round; it does not repeat.

K16, work next row of Chart C, knit to the end of the round.

Continue as above until all 18 rows of Chart C have been worked. 64 sts.

Foot

Chart D continues the crossover pattern from Chart C. Chart D is worked once per round; it does not repeat.

K15, work next row of Chart D, knit to the end of the round.

Work as above until all 44 rows of Chart D have been worked.

Chart E continues the crossover pattern. Chart E is worked on the left side of the instep; it does not repeat.

K37, work next row of Chart E, knit to the end of the round.

Continue as above until all 17 rows of Chart E have been worked.

Knit until foot is 1.5” shorter than desired length.

Toe

Cut Color 1 and join Color 2.

Set Up Round: K16, place marker, k32, place marker, k16.

Round 1: Knit to 3 sts before first marker, k2tog, k1, sm, k1, ssk, knit to 3 sts before second marker, k2tog, k1, sm, k1, ssk, knit to the end of the round.

Round 2: Knit all stitches.

Repeat Rounds 1-2 until 24 stitches remain.

Graft remaining stitches together. 

Weave in all ends and block if desired.

Key  Charts are not listed in the order they’re worked; Charts C-E are arranged to show the overall pattern of the foot.  Click on the charts to enlarge.

Sock 1 End   Ribbing
Chart E   Chart A
Sock 1 Foot   Leg
Chart D   Chart B
Sock 1 Gusset    
Chart C    

115_5523  000_0119

Left Sock

Cuff

CO 64 sts in Color 2. Join in the round, being careful not to twist.

Work Rows 1-4 of Chart A until work measures 1 inch from cast on, ending on Row 4. Chart A repeats 4 times around the sock.

Cut Color 2 and join Color 1.

Leg

Work Rows 1-4 of Chart B until leg is desired length (shown 6 inches) ending on Row 4. Chart B repeats 4 times around the sock.

Heel

To center the heel flap and instep design, the first stitch of the round is knitted and placed on the heel needle as the first stitch of the heel.

Row 1 (RS): Knit the first st of the round, turn. This is the first heel stitch.

Row 2 (WS): Sl 1, purl 15, m1p, p15, turn. 1 st increased.

Heel will be worked back and forth over these 32 stitches. The heel stitches, including the stitch from Row 1, should be on one needle. Put the other 33 stitches on a spare needle, scrap yarn, or stitch holder as desired.

Row 3 (RS): *Sl 1, k1* 16x, turn.

Row 4 (WS): Sl 1, p31, turn.

Row 5 (RS): *Sl 1, k1* 16x, turn.

Repeat Rows 4-5 another 14 times, for a total of 32 rows (16 slipped stitches on each side of the heel flap) ending on Row 5.

Turn Heel

Row 1 (WS): Sl 1, p17, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 2 (RS): Sl 1, k5, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 3: Sl 1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 4: Sl 1, p7, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 5: Sl 1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 6: Sl 1, k9, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 7: Sl 1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 8: Sl 1, k11, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 9: Sl 1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 10: Sl 1, k13, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 11: Sl 1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn.

Row 12: Sl 1, k15, ssk, k1, turn.

Row 13: Sl 1, p16, p2tog, turn.

Row 14: Sl 1, k16, ssk, do not turn.  18 sts remain.

Gusset

Pick up and knit 16 sts along the heel flap, place marker. Instep: K2, *p5, k3,* 3x, p5, k2. Pick up and knit 16 sts along the heel flap, k7, k2tog. Mark this as the beginning of the round. The decrease takes care of the extra stitch that was increased on the heel flap. 82 sts.

The decreases for the gusset on the left side will consume instep stitches. The decreases for the gusset on the right side will consume the gusset stitches as normal. Chart F is worked once per round; it does not repeat.

Knit to 3 sts before marker, work next row of Chart F, knit to the end of the round.

Continue as above until all 18 rows of Chart F have been worked. Remove marker. 64 sts.

Foot

Chart G continues the crossover pattern from Chart F. Chart G is worked once per round; it does not repeat.

K16, work next row of Chart G, knit to the end of the round.

Work as above until all 44 rows of Chart G have been worked.

Chart H continues the crossover pattern. Chart H is worked on the right side of the instep; it does not repeat.

K16, work Chart H, knit to the end of the round.

Continue as above until all 17 rows of Chart H have been worked.

Knit until foot is 1.5” shorter than desired length.

Toe

Cut Color 1 and join Color 2.

Set Up Round: K16, place marker, k32, place marker, k16.

Round 1: Knit to 3 sts before first marker, k2tog, k1, sm, k1, ssk, knit to second marker, k2tog, k1, sm, k1, ssk, knit to the end of the round.

Round 2: Knit all stitches.

Repeat Rounds 1-2 until 24 stitches remain.

Graft remaining stitches together. Weave in all ends and block if desired.

Key

Sock 2 End   Ribbing
Chart H   Chart A
Sock 2 Foot   Leg
Chart G   Chart B
Sock 2 Gusset    
Chart F    

Tip!

The sock foot should measure about 7 inches long after Chart E/H are completed. The toe is 1.5 inches long, which means that the pattern as written will be no shorter than 8.5 inches. If a shorter sock is desired, some or all of Chart E/H can be worked at the same time as some of the toe decreases. Skip the increases on the chart and only work the decreases. The rest of the toe would be worked as normal This makes the sock about 1 inch shorter. Below is an example of this, where Chart E/H are worked entirely during the toe decreases.

 

sample toe 1 sample toe 2
Sample Toe 1 Sample Toe 2

 

115_5503 2  115_5504

 

Please Note: If you find them or have any questions, please let me know by posting a comment or emailing me, dailyskein@gmail.com.  Or you can contact me on Ravelry as CailynDragon.

 

image

This work by Cailyn Meyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

 

Registering May 4, 2011

Filed under: Musings — Cailyn @ 1:14 pm
Tags:

Well, Sock Summit registration started today.  I must say, it was an exciting 15 minutes.

 

Unlike online ticketing systems (Ticketmaster, etc), which reserve your chosen tickets for a certain amount of time while you finish your transaction, the new Sock Summit system doesn’t reserve your choices until you’ve completed payment.  I quickly (but not quickly enough) figured out that it was better to grab the most important classes, pay, then go back for the rest.  I learned this after I finished inputting all my choices, paying, and getting an error message from the system.  Then when I had to go back, some of my really desired classes were already full.  Luckily, there are so many classes this year that I wanted to take that I’m not heartbroken over the loss of some, but I was so close…

 

After that error, I started to rearrange my schedule before paying, but as I did so, classes kept getting poached out from underneath me.  So, I quickly paid for what was left and went back to fill in the gaps.  Luckily, I had obsessively planned out multiple schedules and plan b’s.

 

Honestly, I was surprised that I didn’t get a call from my credit card.  I mean, I’ve got 4 transactions within 5 minutes to the same place.  If I had been thinking straighter, it would have only been two transactions, but things kept slipping through the cracks of my brain.  My brain is very cracked right now.

 

I didn’t get into Advanced Top-Down Sock Design, The Knitting Sleuth, or Photographing Your Fiber– I was pretty excited about those.  They filled up unbelievably fast!  I’m on the waiting list, but I don’t hold out much hope.

 

So, what did I end up with?  A pretty good schedule, I think.

 

Day Morning Afternoon Evening
Thursday Morphing Cables   Opening Night Reception
Friday Writing Up an Awesome Sock Pattern Choosing Among Choices  
Saturday The Deeper Meaning of Sock Knitting The Perfect Rib @ 2:30 This is Your Brain on Knitting
Sunday Socktastic Stitch Patterns Color on Your Feet