This month, Emily Devlin brought her sock experience and expertise to our program. We had a visit from Rose City Yarn Crawl, and recapped our first Diversity Knit Nights.
Rose City Yarn Crawl
Three board members of the Rose City Yarn Crawl (RCYC) spoke to us about the annual event that celebrates Portland area local yarn shops. It's coming March 7 - 10.
Owners from Close Knit (a yarn crawl regular), Blizzard Yarn and Fiber of Vancouver, WA and Knotty Lamb of Forest Grove (two new shops on the crawl), drummed up excitement over this March's crawl. The crawl includes a passport you can print out and get stamped at each shop. Complete passports can be submitted to the grand raffle. Each shop also has a few raffles for giveaway. There's a whopping total of 66 raffle prizes! Shops remain open longer hours so that crawlers can have more chances to visit.
Be sure to check out their daily events to see what trunk shows are happening at the shops. This year's RCYC tote was designed by the daughter of Close Knit owner Sally, and it's a cute one! They'll be for sale in limited quantities at the shops.
Diversity Knit Night
This past Monday, we hosted our first "Diversity Knit Night." Five guild members attended, including two board members (Board President Margaret and Communications Chair Angela) and business member Lori Patterson of Abstract Fiber.
Our goal with these knitting gatherings is to provide a space for interested individuals to discuss how to better include black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the guild and Portland's greater fiber community. We hope to foster a supportive atmosphere; we're here for each other.
At the end of each knit night, we aim to leave with an action item. For this first meeting, we started an ongoing list of free educational resources (literature, podcasts, videos, etc.) as well as Makers of Color to follow on social media. Each of us will chose a resource to discuss at the next meeting. View or add to the list here.
We are also wanting to discuss what we can contribute to events like World Knit in Public Day, groups or clubs to invite to PKG meetings, charity opportunities, and other ideas you have.
We meet the 2nd Monday of each month at Fremont United Methodist Church in the Bob Nelson room, through the front doors of the church off of Fremont. 6:30 pm. This is a less formal gathering than the meetings, so feel free to join when and if you can. Non-guild members are welcome. We are looking into how this might translate to a Facebook or other digital group for those who can't make it in person. Next meeting is March 11 at 6:30 pm.
Why does Emily Devlin (Fairweather Knitter) love to knit socks? A myriad of reasons, not limited to their customizable character. Emily walked us through every piece of a sock and the advantages of each decision one can make when knitting their own socks.
There are 9 main decisions that one can make when starting socks:
1. Yarn: thickness, twist, and fiber content. A tighter twist and a wool blend with silk or nylon usually yield a sturdier sock. You can also reinforce areas of your sock that wear down most on you.
2. Gauge: Emily recommends a dense gauge for better durability. If you don't do a gauge swatch, be sure to try on the sock as you go. If you do knit a gauge swatch, knit one using an I-cord-like technique with loose floats in back to obtain a swatch more similar to the in-the-round result.
3. Needles: Do you do double-pointed, magic loop, or two circulars? If you suffer from "second-sock syndrome", try the magic loop method on extra-long circular needles so that you can knit both socks at the same time. If you simply want a stockinette knit, you can zoom around on very short circular needles. For DPN fans, maybe the addi FlexiFlips appeal?
4. Direction: Are you on the toe-up team or the cuff-down committee? Deciding where to start can be determined in part by how you wish to bind off.
5. Heels: The richest information on sock anatomy is certainly in the heel. There are many choices, and some of them are dependent on the direction you are knitting. Types of heels include:
6. Toes: Depending on how you want the toe of the sock to look or fit, and depending on where you start (toe-up or cuff-down) there is the Wedge, Round, or Spiral that is like the top of a hat.
7. Cuffs: Stretch is key when it comes to cuffs. When you cast on at the cuff, consider going beyond the long-tail cast on and trying stretchier techniques like the Old Norwegian (also known as German Twisted) and the tubular cast ons.
For toe-up socks, stretchy bind offs to consider are: Tubular or Kitchener, Doubled or Russian, Sewn, and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy. Whichever you use, note that a 2 x 2 rib tends to provide the most stretch on the whole cuff. The longer your ribbed cuff, the more stretch you get.
Fancy cuffs, like picot or cable, aren't as stretchy. Keep in mind as well that, tight socks don't necessarily mean that they will stay up on your leg. A right-fitting sock, not too tight or too loose, will stay up while being worn.
8. Stitch Pattern: This is the fun part. If you're breaking away from a written pattern, consider using a stitch dictionary as inspiration for your own designs. Go with a pattern repeat that works evenly with the total number of stitches (if you have 60 total stitches, then chose a pattern with a repeat of 5 or 10 stitches).
9. How Many at a Time: As mentioned above, you can use an extra-long circular needle to knit both socks at the same time, which ensures the socks will be identical (or at least as close as possible).
Emily shared a great list of resources for sock knitting:
Thank you, Emily, for a great presentation!
We had yet another gorgeous Show and Tell, including those by new members - Welcome! We love seeing new members, newer knitters, and visitors share their projects.
Catch us next time, March 11th, for the Stitch & Stir podcast with Emme and Samantha where they will be recording a show.
Missives from the fabulous women who got the ball (of yarn) rolling.