Wednesday, February 16, 2011

new tricks, part 2: Sock Innovation

Ok now is the time to tell you about the "new tricks" part of my weekend. I'll tell you about Saturday first.

I took a workshop with cookie a - "sock innovation". We were learning how to design our own socks from a master who has published 56 sock patterns, one more innovative and complicated than the next.

Now I've done some pretty complicated knitting in my time, like lace and colorwork and lots of cables. Except never on a sock. My socks are always plain as can be. cookie promised she could change all that.

Holding up Thelonius from "" All socks in the following pictures are from that same book, except where otherwise noted.

We learned about re-sizing stitch patterns to make them fit OUR sock.

Lots of sock examples were being passed around. It was so cool to see most all of her socks LIVE!


Marilinda with the "3 stitch thingie". If you've ever taken one of cookie's workshops, you know what this means.

After an in depth course on how to use stitch patterns and resize them if necessary, we were handed stitch dictionaries we couldn't read.  I loved it. Charts only! There were German and Japanese ones, and I took a Japanese one because I didn't want to cheat. It was the most delightful discovery to see how knitting language is universal. There were pictorials in the back of the book explaining the stitch maneuvers. You bet I am going to hunt for these books now.

I picked number 266 out of 300. The beauty of this was that there were several stitch repeats shown, not just one, so you could see how they spread, and looked in a larger piece of fabric.

Meanwhile, more of cookie's socks were being passed around for inspiration.

Twisted Flower

The class was hard at work.

there were actually lots more students on the other side of the room!

cookie offered and provided plenty of help. Turns out my stitch pattern had double decreases and double increases in it that jumped from round ro round, requiring me to rearrange my stitches after every round. cookie is a mental gymnast that can easily and with a super sense of humor set you straight if your thought process is going in the wrong direction, but also is a superb teacher that gives you just enough help so you can get back on track, and gives you room to figure things out on your own.

I was able to proudly proclaim that I managed all 8 rounds of the pattern repeat on my own in the end. Only thing I was worried about, looking ahead, was that I had 5 stitch repeats going around my sock, ---- so what would have to happen once I needed to divide the sock for the heel?? And me all alone at home, with no cookie at my side? Would I be able to work 2.5 repeats across the top of the sock and it would still look good?? She told me to just do it, it would work out.

I believed her, somehow.

Then it was time for me to go an hour early, because my daughter had a soccer game I wanted to go to. I asked cookie if there was anything I needed to know about the things she was going to teach during the last hour.

She paused for a second, and then proceeded to tell me that she had actually designed a sock with that very same pattern.

It's called Glynis and is published in Sock Innovation.

Now, what are the odds of me picking a pattern out of threehundred Japanese stitch patterns that I had never seen in my life? Of course I have cookie's book, but I don't have all her patterns memorized.  I know, as my smart daughter pointed out to me, the odds are exactly 300 to 1. But seriously? What are the odds of that happening?

We laughed and laughed. I was actually so relieved to find out that I didn't have to figure out the whole dividing business myself, that I could just go to the book and read all about it. What I loved about cookie was that she had me work hard to understand the inner workings of sock design, and didn't just tell me in the morning - "oh by the way I already designed this sock so go look for another pattern!" I now have a much better understanding of what goes into designing a sock, because I did it myself; I didn't just copy her. Also of  course I can appreciate even more what a sock design genius she is.

Next thing though I need to figure out is the color of my sock.

periwinkle sheep watercolors sock yarn, "nutmeg"

I'm thinking it's a wee bit too dark to show the stitch pattern properly. Somehow I have the feeling that cookie picked the perfect color already!


  1. Oh wow that sounds like so much fun!! I would love to go to one of her classes sometime - and I can't wait to see how your socks turn out :)

  2. Megan McKinney GillespieFebruary 19, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Those are some beautiful socks, "rhombus" especially.


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