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….
Her blog is math4knitters, she has a website with her teaching schedule and things, designs are listed in Ravelry and she has a Craftsy class
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.
I’m always knitting socks when I’m out and about. On the beach, in the car, on the train….they are the perfect portable project. Can’t wait to try some of the innovative constructions in Sock Architecture!
I never thought I would be a sock knitter. Now knitting socks is such an integral part of my knitting. Just love them and wore handmade socks all winter. Like many others I am always looking for the perfect formula. Great interview with Lara. My favorite part was all the laughter.
What a fun show today! I am in the beginning stages of knitting socks, so this topic was very helpful to me.
Judy B. says
So fun to hear Lara and Marly Bird talk about knitting socks today! I have the print copy of Sock Architecture, but would love the portability of a digital copy! Thanks, Ladies!
Socks4judy on Rav
I love knitting socks. My problem has been to get good fitting socks. Lara’s book sounds like a book I need to get a sock that fits.
Love the the Yarn Thing podcast. I like hearing all the new books, yarn, classes, and other things in the knitting and crochet world.
Knitting socks is the only thing I haven’t tried so far. Perhaps worrying about a good fit is putting me off. Great podcast with plenty of laughs.
I was scared of knitting socks for the longest time but I have gotten over that. I’m currently challenging myself to make a pair a month. I am definitely going to try the thumb gusset & hat heel combination. I’m so happy to know that Lara is reissuing the past episodes of M4K. I was a regular listener and sad when she went silent. Loved the bit about the author photo in the book too!
marimariknit on ravelry says
Knitting socks is my favorite thing, just always have to have something to do. would love to have your book. i enjoy Marley’s podcast and Lara’s was great also.
I’ve just started knitting socks and have only made one pair for myself, and one pair for my baby-to-be. I will absolutely be checking out this book because I need some help! I love the idea that Lara gives different options and ways to construct the sock.
So lovely to hear Lara’s voice again, and her laugh. I really enjoyed her discussion on getting the best fit when knitting socks! Looking forward to trying a pocket heel on my next pair of socks.
Mary Anne Cox says
I really enjoyed the show as I was knitting socks and having a cup of tea. I’ll be looking for Lara’s book to buy if I don’t win it!
Mary L. says
Today’s show was awesome!! I am new to knitting socks and I hope that Lara’s book will help me along.
Nancy in Chickasaw Country says
Knitting socks has been on my bucket list! I am a “how does it work and why” person. I do not do well with “do it this way because I said so” teaching. Lara’s approach sounds like it is a perfect book for me. Added note: It was refreshing to hear people talk about double points in a positive way. I prefer double points to magic loop. Thanks for a humorous and educational podcast!
Emily Horacek says
I am always knitting socks with at least one pair on the needles. I am slow, so I haven’t tried any unusual constructions, but winning the book would be a good excuse to give it a go.
Lisa Nixon says
The second project that I learned in knitting was knitting socks. Unfortunately – though I have done about 4 or 5 pairs….it is always stressful because I have the unique ability to knit it inside out or upside down? Don’t ask…..I have no way of explaining.
Lisa Sauer says
I’m finding I’m being “sock-monogamous”! (I just have to diversify my knitting a little more lately!) They are addictive and it’s always an easy project to start knitting. Looking forward to spicing up my heels and toes with Lara’s help!
So, much fun listening to the two of you! Just like Marley I started knitting socks because I prefer knit socks to crocheted. I would love to receive this new book. Sound like I would enjoy it immensely!
I love knitting socks! I haven’t experienced all the toes and heels that I want to yet. I know that Lara Neel’s patterns in her book will help me get a jump start on my goal to try as many as I can. Great podcast, Marly. Thanks.
Anne O. says
I started knitting socks almost 15 years ago. At one point I had enough to fill an entire sock drawer but most of those have been repaired multiple times and are no longer with me. I really need to get back into it and think this book would be a great place to start.
It was so good to hear Lara’s laugh! I’ve heard all her Math 4 Knitters podcasts, and some of the designs in her new book may get me back to knitting socks!
I haven’t jumped on the knitting bandwagon just yet but the podcast made me want to knit some socks!
Kim wilkinson says
Right now, I am knitting socks, in fact it is my very first pair. I would love to check out the book. Great show!!!
Rachel McKinney says
Would love to start knitting socks again. I have an idea for a pair, sounds like this book would help me make sure they fit perfectly.
Renee' C., says
Crocheted socks I have done, but knitting socks, I still need to conquer. Lara’s information seems like just what I need to find the right method of construction! What a great podcast!
I haven’t been knitting socks in a long time, but they are my next project, once I sew some buttons on a little baby sweater! They’ll be striped socks. 🙂
Missy Schmidt says
Knitting socks is totally on my list of things to do!!! I’m so intrigued!!!
Barbara L. says
I love knitting socks. I’m knitting a pair with self striping yarn which is so cool. I love how the design just makes itself–no ends to weave in from changing colors.
Mrs. Holland says
I am a new knitting and have not yet learned how to knit socks but that is my goal. I am really looking forward to learning how. Another great podcast.
Knitting socks is a new thing for me. It was a wonderful show to listen to!
Susanne Kyre says
I love knitting socks, always have a pair of socks on the needles. Great show.
Lori Biamonte says
I’d rather be knitting socks than sitting here with my broken arm. In the meantime, I’d love to have lunch with both of you! You were so much fun and I appreciate the passion you both have for yarn and knitting.
Katherine Zammit says
Loved listening about knitting socks today. Hearing Lisa’s story has inspired me to get some socks on my needles. Will definitely be checking out the Craftsy class.
First pair of socks done! Now I need to start knitting socks that fit me!!! Thanks for the podcast interview