When I first came to work at Interweave, I found out that my officemate was to be none other than the one and only Ann Budd, author of one of my most well-loved knitting books: The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.
I was petrified. They might as well have put me in the same office
with Maya Angelou, or Barbara Kingsolver (or the Dixie Chicks, but
somehow it's tough to picture the Dixie Chicks in a cubicle of any
sort). I mean: Ann Budd was going to be sitting a mere six feet away
from me for eight hours a day, five days a week. What if I said
something stupid? What if I knitted something stupid?
Fortunately, it turned out that Ann is just about the most
down-to-earth, delightful co-worker one could ever ask for--not to
mention that it was a little bit like sharing an office with the Sock
Fairy. Every time I turned around, she had finished yet one more new
and wonderful pair of socks and had them hanging on blocking boards
that she pinned up on the wall. I walked past these sockly wonders each
time I went to my desk, and I'd secretly reach out and pet them as I
passed by, admiring the lovely, even stitches, the intricate patterns,
the elegant way she picked up stitches, turned her heels, and grafted
the toes closed. It was fun to see how those "bulletin board socks"
would later turn up, beautifully photographed, in the pages of Knits, or a sock book, or PieceWork. It was like watching a bit of knitting history in the making.
Anyway, now that I've known Ann for three years, I'm thrilled to get
to share her sock savvy with all of you! So, without further ado....
The Ann Budd Mini-Interview: Part 2
Sandi: Do you have a top, all-time-favorite sock tip to share?
Ann: My favorite tip is to count rows from the cast-on row to
the beginning of the heel flap, and again from the gusset pick-up round
to the beginning of the toe decreases so you can be sure to make the
second sock match. I usually place removable stitch markers (or safety
pins) every 10 or 20 rows so I don't have to count so much (sometimes I
lose concentration). Then I just count markers.
Getting Started Knitting Socks
Sandi: How many socks did you knit in the course of writing the book?
Ann: In addition to the 26 pairs that appear in the book, I
also knitted a couple that didn't work out as nicely as I planned and I
knitted a few pairs of socks from the toe-up, but we ended up cutting
that entire section because we ran out of pages.
Sandi: How long does it take you to knit a sock?
Ann: That depends on the size, gauge, and stitch pattern. I
can crank out a pair of baby socks in an evening if I have to. But it
usually takes me two to three evenings to knit an adult sock. If I'm up
against a deadline, I can knit a pair in a weekend.
Some of the socks Ann knitted for the book
Hold on a minute... How many socks did Ann knit for Getting Started Knitting Socks?
I just did some quick math. Ann says that 26 pairs of socks made it
into the book. She doesn't give exact numbers for the ones that didn't
make it in, but let's make conservative guesses: let's say that two
pairs that didn't come out as planned, and oh, maybe two pairs of
toe-up socks had to be cut. That's at total of 26 + 2 + 2 = 30 pairs,
or 60 socks for one book!!
Let's all take a moment and say: "THANK YOU, ANN!" for all those
hours and hours of knitting so we could have so much sock wisdom at our
fingertips. Ah, the things we knitters do for knitting knowledge...
Several of you asked for more details of what's inside Getting Started Knitting Socks. Clara Parkes, editor of Knitter's Review, has a nice little tour of the book's contents on her site. You can also use our own nifty online techie widget to take a peek inside.
Knitting Daily Has Doubled!
Thanks to your overwhelming enthusiasm, Knitting Daily has more than doubled in membership since we launched in June. All of us here at Interweave Press want to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you who have joined us on this daily adventure into our shared love of knitting.
Of course, this rapid growth has knocked our hand-knitted socks off here in more ways than one. The Knitting Daily team
feels a bit like folks who threw a party for their family, and ended up
with the entire town in their backyard! Everyone's having a great time,
but we admit: It's been a bit of a scramble to keep up. We haven't had
enough hands on deck to do everything we've wanted to do. (It's the
strangest thing. I've discovered I can't knit bust dart swatches and
type at the same time! I know: Shocking.) On top of that, there are
those pesky "technical difficulties" I mentioned on Wednesday. (Think of it as having the whole town show up, only to find that your BBQ is having a hissy fit.)
So for all those who are wondering where the bust dart tutorial is,
what happened to this or that improvement to the website, and why we
aren't answering all your emails---we ask for your patience! We'll get
to everything on our list (and yours!), as soon as we call the caterer,
get more chairs, and have a few more folks around to put on aprons and
serve the iced tea. (Oh, and fix up that BBQ.)
However ... we've managed to get you a couple of things on your wish list:
Ta-DA!! You Asked For It!
More yarn information!: Many, many of you have asked for
expanded yarn information to aid you in substituting yarns in our
patterns. This week, starting with the Ambrosia Socks, we are adding two new pieces of information to each pattern: wraps per inch, and yarn weight ("bulky" "fingering" and so on). We'll be going back and gradually adding this information to existing Knitting Daily
patterns (that will take a bit of time!). But from now on, you will
find these two additional pieces of information in the Yarn section of
each new pattern PDF, as well as on the pattern information page.
More patterns per page: One of the things you asked for most often on Knitting Daily was to increase the number of patterns displayed per page in the Free Pattern Library. There are now 10 patterns displayed at a time. I hope this helps you to browse the library more easily.
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
What's on Sandi's needles today? The front of the Bonsai Tunic by Norah Gaughan. I've divided for the V-neck, and am coming up fast on the armhole shaping--whoo!