Sock Architecture author, Lara Neel shared the in and outs of her book on the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird.
Lara (pronounced as it was in Dr. Zhivago) says she found it interesting to be on the other side of the microphone, as she has a podcast, too. Look for Math4Knitters
Lara learned to knit in daycare at age 6 or 7, someone would cast on and she would knit, but that person left and so did her knitting. She taught herself to knit again in college, needing to create something physical while studying physics. Her local yarn store was WEBS! She worked in media as a journalist and moving every couple of years, knitting gave her a way to meet people.
She began a podcast, Math4Knitters, around 2006, which is currently being re-run in order to have them available through iTunes. By 2010, while she was working on it, she was writing a new pattern every three weeks. Trying to help someone with sock patterns that fit real feet, she began creating lists of techniques, some of them lost (citing Barbara Walker’s Unjustly Lost patterns) but resurfacing in books like Cat Bordhi’s Sock Soar on Two Needles. Her thoughts on this list became a book, she realizes now would have been hard to find a publisher for as knitting socks is considered a niche publication. Cooperative Press, Shannon Okey, was someone she’d interview on the podcast, and was agreeable to publishing Sock Architecture. A fellow member of her knitting group, Allison Van Zandt began Simply Sock Yarn Company and was very encouraging, provided the yarn for the socks shown in the book. She used solid colors which showed the techniques and patterns, unisex in style, and is enjoying seeing the various yarns and projects created from the book.
She has been a professional photographer, for which she has used a form, named Fra-Gee-Ley (from A Christmas Story, the phonetically miss-pronounced “fragile”) and posed pictures in the corner of the living room with white walls. Fra-Gee-Ley goes with her when she is teaching anatomy of feet. ‘After-thought heel’ is a term from ‘Ethnic Socks and Stockings’ that she thinks should be rephrased as pocket-heel, but finds that often doesn’t fit well because they are made too shallow, which becomes tight around the top of the foot. Some heel guidelines Lara mentioned, the thumb joint (after picking up, you knit straight for the length of the thumb of the wearer then decrease) and hat-top, which is decreasing eight every other round until you you run out of stitches. They look weird when the sock is laid flat but it’s a comfortable fit when worn. And then the hybrid, mentioned in Ethnic Socks, where you mash-up two heel designs… Short-row heels, Lara finds many don’t prefer them because they look machine-knit. (To which Marly’s response is, if her product looks machine knit, she’s a FINE knitter!) The ‘Toe-up’ or ‘Top-down’ preference depends on the project, she says, if she’s knitting in the car it’s Top-down, if she’s concerned about yardage, she will do Toe-up. Toe-up feels faster, because she doesn’t like doing the ribbing… Lara prefers double pointed needles (dpns) and putting stitches on hold with a spare needle. Another personal preference is for her ‘not-thinking’ knittng right now is baby sweaters (last night watching a movie, she was working on one) because a friend is having a baby. As far as sock-knitting, there is so much more room to explore….
If you missed getting to hear this LIVE you can still find it as an archive at: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/yarnthing/2015/06/16/sock-architecture-author-lara-neel or in iTunes.
I hope you will, because there was lots of great laughter between these two.