Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Toe-Up Blog Tour!

Today we are lucky enough to be the next stop on the blog tour for Chrissy Gardiner's fabulous book Toe-Up! Patterns and Worksheets to Whip Your Sock Knitting Into Shape. Though I am a bit biased (I'm one of Chrissy's tech editors), this book really is an inspiring and useful guide to toe-up sock knitting.

Chrissy guides you through a number of different cast-ons, bind-offs, and toe and heel techniques, provides you with a wardrobe of lovely patterns for the whole family, and best of all-- the worksheets! These allow you to easily customize a pattern using your preferred techniques and size.

I asked Chrissy a few questions to find out more.

1. What inspired you to write the book?

At the time I started writing, there weren't really any comprehensive books on toe-up sock knitting out there. I got really excited about the idea of including worksheets that allow knitters to customize their toes and heels because it empowers them to take any pattern and figure out the hardest part (heel and toe math) without reinventing the formulas from scratch. Since there's a huge disproportion in the number of top-down sock patterns vs toe-up, this lets math-phobic toe-up sock fanatics easily convert many top-down sock patterns or make up their own designs.

2. I think all sock knitters have that "special thing" that made them fall in love with socks. For me it's turning heels. What do you love best about knitting socks?

To me, socks are the perfect little palette for really going crazy with your stitch patterns. They're not a huge time commitment and I find it easier to knit complicated designs in the round rather than flat (like on a scarf). I love socks for the sheer joy of experimentation. I have to admit to loving toe-up socks because I hate knitting toes and love knitting cuffs. Top-down socks can sometimes be agonizing for me once I turn the heel and have to knit that endless foot/toe before I can put them on. With toe-up socks, the fun part (for me) comes last, and I always love to save the best for last!

3. If you were only allowed to use one toe-up cast on for the rest of your life, what would it be? How about one bind off?

For the cast-on, no question - Judy's Magic Cast-On! I use it pretty much exclusively now. For bind-offs, I love the yarn-over bind-off that I learned from Eunny Jang years ago. Very soon I'm going to teach myself Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off, which is an improved variation of the yarn-over bind-off that Jeny Staiman developed totally from scratch and introduced to the world via Knitty (http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall09/FEATjssbo.php). I tend to be resistant to change and it often takes me awhile to get on board with these newfangled things!

4. My favorite pattern in the book is Sakura. What was your inspiration for that design?

I originally designed Sakura (which is the Japanese word for cherry blossom - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakura) for the Woolgirl sock club a few years ago. When Jennifer Jett sent me the club yarn, she included a beautiful Chinese painting of a cherry tree in bloom (similar to the one at http://www.cherrybrush.co.uk/buy-paintings/plants/Cherry-Blossom/). The picture immediately triggered the memory of a cherry tree motif I'd seen in one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries, and that motif became the panels I used on the heel flap and up the back of the leg. The lace pattern down the front of the sock reminded me of falling petals, and I spent hours tweaking an existing leaf lace pattern so that the leaves were offset and didn't look quite so "leafy".

5. Any advice for those considering self-publishing a book?

The biggest advantage of self-publishing (complete control) is also one of the most difficult aspects of it. You need to be prepared to learn how to either do or hire someone who can help you do book design, layout, photography, editing, proofreading, publicity and any number of other little detail things that have absolutely nothing to do with writing or designing. You really have to be full-service! I love many of those activities and am extremely happy to have the absolute last word on what goes into my books, but it can be overwhelming. Some days I want to just knit instead of thinking about photo styling and choosing the right fonts!

6. What's coming up next for you?

My next book, which I hope will be coming out sometime this fall, will feature biographical profiles of a cross-section of independent yarn dyers who are currently doing wonderful things with fiber. I'll be focusing on one or two colorways from each dyer and discussing my design process for each yarn as I come up with a sock design that inspired by that yarn. I always love to hear about other artists' creative processes, and I hope that lots of knitters will be interested in them as well!

Note from me: Love the book idea! :)

SO-- would you like to own your very own copy of this lovely tome? I have 2 copies to give away! Leave a comment on this post if you'd like to win and I'll randomly select 2 winners at the end of the week.

Next stop on the tour: The Designer's Studio


jae said...

Pick me! Pick me! Pleeeeeaaaase. :) I absolutely love the cheery blossom socks!

Amanda said...

I want to win. I knit socks cuff down and I've been wanting to learn toe up....

katherine said...

I have been waiting patiently for this book to be available -- I would LOVE a copy -- Perhaps, it will help me to love the toe-up method as much as I think I should...

Fingers crossed!


Sursi said...

I'd love a copy. I'm just getting into socks and want to knit them toe up so that I can use all the yarn I buy prematurely, knowing I won't run out before a sock is finished.

Pinka said...

The book sounds like fun! :-) :-) I was looking at a toe up sock book this weekend at the yarn shop. Different designer though.... I would eventually like to own a copy. :-)

cmflame said...

I'd love a copy of the book. It'd be great to have a chance pick Chrissy's brain through the it!

Colleen said...

Of course I'd like to win a copy of this book! I keep discovering cool new blogs to check out due to trying to win this book! Thanks for offering it!

Karen Frisa said...

Thanks for the interview!

Susan said...

Love this book! I have been stalking the blog tour, hoping to win a copy of the book, as I am between jobs now. Wish me luck!

Yarnsnob said...

I'm so glad there's a god toe-up sock book out there, makes it easier for those of us with thicker legs to add a few extra stitches.

asteride said...

Love the toe-up technique, actually I never tried a cuff down before, but I'll probably do. Next project flip-flop socks.

One Sheep said...

Please enter me for the book, I've ben following he blog tour and every review has been wonderful.

Melody said...

I really want to learn to make socks. This book looks like it's full of inspiration.