Monday, January 21, 2013

Tea and Tootsies

Sandi Asche and Vicki Dietz at The Dusty Rose Tea Room
I've shied away from knitting socks for years, convincing myself that it's a tremendous amount of work with pretty fine yarn, on very small needles (actually, I've sometimes had larger toothpicks in my burger when dining out!) all for something that either gets lost in the laundry or eventually sports a hole at some strategic spot.  But, after a year and a half at The Quilted Purl, I was ready to give it a whirl due in large part to the two characters pictured above, both of whom are sock knitting enthusiasts.  Vicki Dietz and Sandi Asche, two talented and fun-loving women, will be teaching a three week beginners' sock class at The Quilted Purl on Wednesdays Feb.20, 27, and March 6 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, finishing in time for a high tea at The Dusty Rose Tea Room or lunch at one of Georgetown's many fine eateries if you'd like.  Check my website,  for more information.

Being a retired history teacher, I couldn't just show up for class.  I definitely had to do my prep work first.  So, I pulled out "I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks" and got to it.  Since this was just for practice and to see if I could follow the directions for each portion of sock knitting, I didn't carry each step to its conclusion as you can see in this picture.  A friend says this would be perfect for someone in a leg cast and a customer yesterday asked if it was for a golf club!

As a history teacher, I also had to know bit about the history of knitting socks and with just a few minutes of research found this delightful article on the subject: History 101 on  Be sure to check out the picture of socks dating to the 300s - they make my attempt look pretty good!  Even if you're not interested in socks, author Julie Theaker presents some fascinating information about the history of knitting in a humorous way.

In case you're interested - I've completed one sock, am now working on my second (they're not a pair, but more on that another day) and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The small needles and   fine weight yarn make for easy travel and take up very little space.  With the various aspects of a sock (cuff, leg, heel, instep, toe) the knitting changes often for variety of challenges and skills and surprisingly, once you have the stitches in place there's very little counting.  In short, I'm hooked!  Come by and see what it's all about!

Socks Made Simple Class
February 20, 27 and March 6
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
$60.00 plus materials

Saturday, January 12, 2013

There's an App for That

Steve Jobs - There's an app for that!

Just under a year ago, I bought an iPad for the shop.  I love it!  In fact, I hardly use my MacBook anymore, but have the iPad with me constantly.  With the help of "Square" it's even my register, a fact that seems to amaze many visitors at The Quilted Purl who are surprised to see such technology in a relatively sleepy mountain town.

I remember a few years back when I first heard of an "app."  Our school librarian was showing a few of us at lunch her new iPhone and telling us of an "app" her husband was creating for it.  Seemed like science fiction or maybe magic to me at the time.  When I got my first "smart phone" one of the young male teachers at school set me up with a half dozen apps he thought I'd like to use.  Little did he know that I still had trouble answering the darn thing at times!  Well, I've made some progress and though I don't have many apps on anything I own, there are two that I find really useful:  Quilt Calc from Robert Kaufman Fabrics and Knit Designer.

A customer (thanks, KathyW.) first introduced me to Quilt Calc.  I've used it in both the Android version (click here) and the Apple version (click here) and been delighted with both.  Need to figure out yardage for biding, borders, square in a square, set in and corner triangles?  Easy as pie with this app and it is free!

As much as I value Quilt Calc, I really love Knit Designer (click here) for the iPad.  When I knit, I often change a pattern here or there, or totally make it up as I go along.  Occasionally,  I'd make notes as I knitted thinking to write up the pattern later, but then I couldn't remember what my abbreviations or notes meant, or would forget to continue with the notes after stopping for a cup of tea! Nobody wants a hat pattern that stops halfway to the crown.  Enter Knit Designer.  I really was just looking for a notebook type app so I could do what I was doing on the back of envelopes (A. Lincoln was much better at this than I), but came across this wonderful app for $2.99.  It has five keyboards with knitting abbreviations (and an abbreviation key : ) and a set up to help you cover all the bases when writing a pattern.  Here's one that I created this week for my grandson's 5th birthday.  Enjoy!

Taken on my iPad!

Size:  12-16" circumference approximately

Hat has a good amount of stretch due to ribbing

Gauge: 14 sts = 4 in on size 10 needles

Materials Needed:  Chunky weight yarn

I used Araucania Natural Wool Chunky Multy
132 +/- yd.

Size 9 16" circular needles

Size 9 DPNs

Tapestry needle 

Stitch marker

Notes:  If using a circular needle, change to DPNs when needed.

CO 72 St

* K2, P2 rep from * to end 

Place marker and join being careful not to twist stitches

Round 2: Knit 

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 for 4 inches

Knit each round for stockinette for 2-3 inches as desired for length


K2tog for one round ( 36 stitches)

Knit one round

K2tog for one round (18 stitches)

Knit one round

K2tog for one round (9 stitches)

Cut yarn leaving about 8 inches. Run yarn through stitches with tapestry needle, draw taut and secure. Weave in ends at start and finish.   Run out in the snow, toasty warm!

Austin's reaction:  "Sweet, Grandma!  You are the best!"  Gotta love 5 year-olds!

If you'd like a pdf version of this pattern, just send me an email at:!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


It may be that I'm not much of a long term planner, but New Year's Resolutions aren't a big part of the start of a new year for me.  I'm more of a day at a time person I guess, but I do enjoy reading others' thoughts and lists.  McCall's Quilting on Facebook asked this week for quilters to post their top quilting "resewlution."  No surprise, the most common was to complete a UFO or Phd (unfinished object or project half done). When I opened The Quilted Purl, I made a decision (resolution?) to have no more than one knitting project and one quilting project in the works at any one time and I have stuck to it with great success.  With new fabric and yarn coming in all the time, that rule allows me to try new materials without a nagging guilt of work undone.  Give it a try!

Over at the Lion's Brand blog last week, a post made a repeat appearance and for anyone who has put organization on her list of New Year's Resolutions, there is certainly a good tip or two. Click here.

Mansha Friedrich of Germany ~ source: