I officially have Socks Fever! Not only are these my first ever socks but they are done using a technique called Toe-Up Sock Knitting! Which simply means instead of knitting the socks from the cuff down to the toe, they are knit beginning from the toe on up! Is this any better traditional sock knitting? I guess the benefit is you can try them on as you go! For me this method just seems more fun, you can see the sock form right away which is more satisfying to me. And best of all the worst part is done once the foot is formed so you’re home free from the ankle on up to the cuff! Another benefit is that these socks are done using circular needles (2 needles) instead of double pointed needles (4 needles). Nice!
As part of my Spring Knit, Sew, & Crochet Class Mania, I took this one day 7-hour class taught by Melissa Morgan Oakes at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio here in New York. We learned Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On, increasing the gusset, shaped heel cups, and heel flaps, all from the toe up! We were able to finish our sample baby booties all the way up til the ankle in one class. We were required to use Lion Brand Yarn and purchase the book. But it was a lovely productive class and still worth the money. Class, 7 hours, $95. Book, $10.95. US Size 6 Circular Needles 40 inch, Addi Turbos, $17.50. Lion Brand Yarn – Baby Wool, Worsted Weight, 98 yards, $5.29.
Note: I liked Judy’s Magic Cast On which is a variation on the Magic Loop (a technique used for tubular knitting or circular knitting when using circs instead of dpns). The major difference is you cast on to both needles at once with your fingers rather than using the basic cast on and them splitting the loops into 2 groups by bending the wire. What I like is the cast on is lightning fast and I feel easier than your traditional cast on. A drawback is the first row must be knit slightly different because of the way the stitches are oriented.
If you’d like to find out more on your own, check out Melissa’s book, Toe Up Socks – 2 at a Time. Or check out Knit Picks who has a lovely free downloadable pattern that includes everything you need to know! Also note, these sample socks are baby size except I managed to mess up the foot so it is too long! Stay tuned for my first real socks!
The elusive “local yarn shop”. If you’re an avid Knitter or Crocheter living in Manhattan then you’ll know a decent local yarn shop is a rare beast. Our frenetic city and its people have plenty of personality but not enough time for the personal. I find yarn shops here have trouble with balancing personal attention with what New Yorkers need. Professional!
So many shops just end up succeeding in being eccentric and moody with none of the benefits an LYS or a well run yarn shop can provide. I appreciate all the uniqueness that makes an LYS an LYS but I want one that has it all without having to intrude, pry, or cajole for the service.
Lion Brand Yarn Studio ~ 34 W. 15th Street, New York, NY 10011 ~ (212) 243-9070
Which is why Lion Brand Yarn Studio is worth its own mention. It’s the perfect combination of local yarn shop along with what I’m looking for in an NYC yarn shop! Personal yet professional attention. Unlikely on first glance since Lion Brand Yarn is actually a large nationwide company that you’d normally associate with a more mass market approach. But no. Their lovely bright studio, 2 floors, has all the character and style of a small boutique store but without the prices and all the comforts and perks a large store can afford!
Nowadays there are Purl Sohos and Lion Brand Yarn Studios, the two shops that come closest to what I’m looking for here. But it wasn’t so long ago that finding a passable yarn shop was just short of demoralizing!
So what’s so great about it? (more…)
Spring is here! It was 74 gorgeous degrees outside yesterday in NYC! Nothing like nice weather to chase away the winter blues (and all the seriously heavy stuff going on in the world right now). So I’m ready for Summer. I’ve been dreaming up some fun ideas to get into gear and decided to celebrate by taking some Knitting classes. I’ve so far only been interested in classes for Sewing. I’ve never taken a formal course in Knitting or Crochet before. So this time around I decided to try some out. Perhaps those who prefer to try Knitting or Crochet for the first time with a class can find this list helpful too! I’ll be trying 4 classes this Spring. 3 Knitting, 1 Sewing. From Lion Brand Yarn Studio, Purl Soho, and Sew Fast Sew Easy. With a special mention to 3rd Ward and Etsy Labs. I’m super excited! Read on for full details!
Lion Brand Yarn Studio
The above book by Melissa Morgan Oakes is one of the classes I’ll be trying here. LBY Studio has a wealth of Knitting and Crochet classes for everyone from the beginner beginner to the rabid fanatic. Beginning Crochet or Knitting, Crochet or Knitting Brush-Up courses for those who just need a refresher, Toe-Up Socks, Top Down Knitting, Tunisian Crochet and many more wonderful courses. I saw quite a few I’d like to take. But I settled on two to start. Toe Up Socks 1 session. 7 hours! $95. And Top Down Knitting. 3 sessions. 2 hours each. $75! They often have wonderful special classes and events by anyone from Nicky Epstein – if you knit it’s likely you either own or have come across one of her books before. I personally own Knitting on Top of the World and Crocheting on the Edge. To Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. And many more. The only drawback so far is that you must choose a Lion Brand Yarn for your project. I didn’t love that but don’t mind it too much yet. Not too bad considering it’s easier to cover more ground if everyone works with standard materials. It’s also a common practice for most classes. But you will get 10% off all yarns and supplies you purchase if you’re taking a class.
Our teachers Jonathan (L) and Gertie (R) with Alvinna
Every Saturday for the last 8 weeks, once a week, for 2 hours each week, I’ve been heading across town to The Sewing Studio for my Beginner Sewing Class. Some time last year I found it online while hunting for sewing classes. Although the curriculum was really appealing, I didn’t sign up right away. But a few months later, by lucky luck, Denise Wild who runs The Sewing Studio tweeted a special discount in celebration of her birthday. I happened to see the tweet (!) and took it as a sign to try it out. I later saw it advertised on Groupon as well.
Although there are a variety of options in New York for sewing classes, I still had a hard time finding just the right one. So here are some details on my class. Hopefully it will help anyone interested in Sewing decide if this is the right class for them!
Studio Space and Equipment
The studio itself is pretty spacious, bright, and clean. Made up of one main room, a sitting area, and a smaller room for holding another class. The main room had good table top space for preparing your pattern, a serger station, and 2 ironing stations. The sewing machines were set up in 2 long rows on opposite sides of the room. The smaller room was also similarly set up. We worked on Janome Sewist 500s and also had access to 4 sergers (also Janome).
Some work in progress photos of the messenger tote above. From Introduction to Machine Sewing with Cassandra at Purl Soho! The fabric I chose is from the Echino Collection by Etsuko Furuya for Kokka Fabrics Japan. It is called Black Quiet, 45% Linen, 55% Cotton, Home Dec Weight. The lining fabric is a random jungle print.
I’d been looking for a beginning sewing class for awhile and really had a hard time finding a suitable one. Many were too expensive, too basic, or didn’t fit my schedule. There seems to be a shortage of suitable places to take an affordable yet comprehensive beginning class. So after talking to a few people, doing lots of research etc. I finally decided to try Purl Soho. They were the friendliest on the phone, their store assistants are always knowledgeable and nice, and they have a cute store! Their store is also a wealth of (high-end) treasures for knitting, crochet, and sewing from tools to yarn and fabric.
Purl Soho ~ 459 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013 ~ (212) 420-8796