My (Shameless) Teaching Proposal

I figured that since I am not going to be teaching at this year’s Sock Summit, that it would be safe to share with you some parts of the  actually teaching proposal that I had submitted. Please let me know what you think:

Teaching Proposal for Sock Summit 2011

Who are you? Do you have formal teaching experience? We’d love to know if you do.



But whooo-R-yooooouuuu? Sorry, Alice In Wonderland flashbacks. Hi, my name is Michelle. Online I am best known as Liver Chick. You can find me on Ravelry and chatting away on my blog

The following is my shameless proposal to teach at Sock Summit 2011.

College graduate with an Associates of Arts degree from Phoenix, Arizona, where I studied costume and makeup design for the Theatre. I worked for nine years as a professional makeup artist and taught Makeup and Costume Design on the college level.

I had a quick stint at California Institute for the Arts majoring in Costume Design. My claim to fame there was hand knitting fifteen openwork tribal inspired headdresses for the department’s 2001 production of Trojan Women.

A former craft teacher at Michael’s Craft store where I taught beginner knitting classes as well as loom knitting, among other things.

Here is where I stop sounding like a resume and share with you my journey into sock knitting that has evolved into this proposal that you are now reading. (You may want to refill that cup of coffee before you start.)

I was always reluctant to learn to knit a pair of socks. I had knitted enough scarves and hats to open my own store. I even knitted a sweater for my boyfriend. (Which obviously was a damn good sweater because a year later he became my husband. Or maybe the sweater was so bad that he was afraid that if he remained my boyfriend he would have to endure even more ghastly sweaters and knew that the only way to stop the madness was to marry me, thus ending the ‘boyfriend’ sweaters.) Either way, I had some pretty good knitting under my belt. Sock knitting just always seemed other-worldly to me.

In 2008, at the age of 30, my liver stopped working. (Doesn’t that always happen? The moment the warranty is up on something it freaking decides to die on you!) Well, there’s nothing like a coma and a liver transplant to boost your ego and make you say, “What the hell! If I could survive that, knitting a sock should be a piece of cake”. Of course it didn’t hurt that as part of my recovery I had joined Boba Knits and spent each week watching Cookie A. knitting away at her kick-ass socks.

So, with the new boost of confidence- and a new liver- I set out to knit me some socks. Well, trying to knit with double pointed needles scared the hell out of my cats and soon after I had to start asking people to sign waivers before entering my house so I wouldn’t be held liable for bodies being impaled by my needles every time I tried to knit a sock. Then, much to my family’s relief, I decided that maybe circular needles were more my style. I can tell you from personal experience that the magic loop and Long Island ice teas do not mix. And when the toe-up method had me reaching for the Johnny Walker, I knew it was time to stop.

“But there just had to be a way for me to knit socks that wouldn’t reduce me to drinking”, I thought. I wanted to find a way to knit socks the same way I like to knit most other things- with two straight needles. So I set out to find if such a thing was possible. Not only was two needle socks possible, it was also popular, for a short time. I ordered old knitting pamphlets on the subject and read any information I could find. The use of the two needle method had opened the doors to sock knitting for many frustrated knitters during its heyday. But that nasty uncomfortable seam down the center bottom of the foot seems to have been its downfall. “Hey, why does the seam have to be down the middle? Why can’t it be on the sides instead?” Even fewer patterns existed for socks with seams on the side and the few patterns that did, usually over complicated the process with wonky heels and odd configurations. After much trial and error, I figured out how to make socks on two needles that looked and felt just as nice as socks made in the more traditional methods. I know that I’m not the only one who ever became frustrated with learning to knit socks. And just like me, there has to be many other knitters out there who would love to learn a new way of knitting socks.

I remember those dark days of long ago. Those days before I became a sock knitter. I felt like an outcast, an incomplete knitter. The other knitters would talk about me behind my back. I was left out of parties because sock knitters feared being associated with a non-sock knitter like me. I don’t want another knitter to suffer what I’ve gone through. So I have made it my mission to help my sisters and brothers and free them from the chains that keep them from enjoying the world of sock knitting. And if we sock knitters are to be a great nation of knitters then this skill must be taught . So I will teach two needle sock knitting to knitters from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Knitters will knit two needle sock from the mighty mountains of New York. They will knit socks from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

They will knit socks from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

They will knit socks from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; they will knit their socks on two needles from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Socks will be knit from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Socks will be knit from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let sock knitters knit! .

When we let two needle sock knitters knit , when we spread the news of this alternative way of sock knitting from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s sock knitters, old sock knitters and young sock knitters, toe up and cuff down, two at a time and single sock syndrome, will be able to join needles and sing in the words of the old knitter’s spiritual, “Turn the heel! Turn the heel! Does anyone remember how to turn the heel?!” 

Anything else you think we need to know about working with you. Like that you charge $33,000 a day and need to be paid in gold, or that you can’t teach unless your cat can come, or (more seriously) do you need an accessible classroom? Special teaching aids? Help?


Since you asked, yes, I would like to be paid $33,000 a day for my time and I would like payment in one dollar bills only. No, seriously, I like money, so getting paid would be great. But I also realize that you like money too, so I’m sure we can work out a way for us to both have money. Whatever ended up being the average payment for most instructors during the last Summit is fine with me. (It may sound like I’m being too easy, but really my nose is short, so its hard for me to look down it and scoff at some imaginary price that’s not worth my time and talent. Heck, I’m even willing to barter with you. Four days of room and food for four days of my enslavement to the Sock Summit- sounds like a deal to me!)

As far as my class needs, I think I’ll be able to handle the class without too many extras. A long table for me to display different stages of the sock knitting process would be nice. The students will mainly be following their handouts.

As for what you need to know about working with me, I will let you know that I am shy when I first meet people, but warm up rather quickly. I’m always willing to help, (that’s the girl scout in me), and have a tendency to show up when an extra body is needed for something. Remember back in the day with those college parties where everyone got wasted, but when you woke up the next morning everything was clean and breakfast was made? Yup, I’m that girl that stayed up all night picking up all those empty bottles, cleaning the vomit out the carpet and unclogging the toilet. And because I knew you would all have the munchies when you sobered up, I baked a quiche and put out bottles of water along with a bottle of aspirin on the kitchen table before I left. Why would I do all this? Well, because I do enjoying helping people and also because the guilt is going to eat away at you until you do something nice for me in return. Can we say, new yarn?  

We’d also like to know where you live, how you would get to Oregon (we cover reasonable transportation) and if you’re free all four days of the Summit—Thursday, July 28th – Sunday, July 31st, 2011.


Okay, now you’re getting personal. Ask me anything more and I’ll make you take me out to dinner first!

Well, I live in XXXX, Arizona, which is a small town that is like a pigeon dropping away from Phoenix.

I would really like to fly to Oregon. I don’t need to fly first class or have any special seating. You can fly me on the cheapest flight available. Seriously, I’ll take the one that leaves Phoenix at 3 o’clock in the morning with five connections and the only available seats being the ones right next to the toilet.

Now, where am I going to stay is a different issue, but I’ll be able to figure that one out. Hopefully, hotel rooms are still available. Based on the forums on Ravelry it seems some of the hotels were completely booked a week after you announced the dates. If nothing is available, I’m more then happy sleeping on the floor in someone’s hotel room if that option is open. In worst case, I’ll be claiming stall number five in the ladies restroom at the convention center as my room for the duration of the Summit. (Remember, girl scout here. I know how to ‘rough it’.)

To answer the other part of your question, yes, I am available for all four days of the Summit. Feel free to use me in whichever way turns you on, I’m all yours.

So, you’ve come to the end of my proposal. Did I sound crazy and desperate? If so, then I have achieved what I set out to do. Really, I’m not this way in person. At least not all the time. Well, even if you don’t select me to teach at the Summit, I do hope you got a few good laughs from reading this. Feel free to save this and read anytime you need a little laughter.

Wishing you well,

Liver Chick 



Sock Knitter Interview: Cindy Petty

Prize Winning Purple Dot Socks


Please tell us your name, where you live and any special talent(s) you have, (other then knitting)?

My name is Cindy Petty. I live in Princeton, IN, which is near the “toe” of Southern Indiana. I am a former writer for LifeWay Sunday School materials, specifically for preschool teachers (which is why my Twitter name is preschoolwriter!)

How long have you been knitting?

I have been knitting steadily since 1978 but I really started knitting in middle school (which would have been around 1967). Wow! I just figured that out — it’s 44 years! I just did not continue after 6th grade until I got married. When I first learned to knit, I ran home and promptly taught my mother to knit, even though she was left-handed and I am right-handed.

Who taught you how to knit?

We had a lunch-time “club” in middle school (6th grade) and a teacher taught us to knit. All the “cool girls” were in this club and I was a “cool-girl-wannabe!” LOL!

When did you start knitting socks?

For a long, long time. Maybe 20 years? Not really sure.

Tell us about the first pair of socks you ever knitted? (What pattern did you use? Who did you make them for?)

I believe it was when I discovered the sock-knitting group on yahoo-groups and I started looking through the internet for knitting patterns and discovered one (I believe it was from Judy Gibson) that used Wool-Ease and size 4 or 5 DPs. Using that pattern, I pretty much picked up knitting socks, although I did have to have help when I got to the part about turning the heel as I had never done short-rows before. The socks were made for me.

Where are those socks now? (i.e., in your drawer, frogged, in sock heaven…) 

I think I still have them, although they do have holes in the heels. I keep them in my PJ drawer and sometimes wear them on cold nights.

What are your most treasured pair (or set) of knitting needles that you own? Tell us why?

Well, I really treasure ALL of my needles! My most favorite brand (my “go to” needles) are Knit Picks Harmony interchangeable needles.

Where is the furthest your knitting has ever traveled?

I guess it would be Florida, as I sent socks, etc. to my mom and dad.

If you were a yarn, what type and color would you be?

I would be wool-nylon blend of sock yarn, probably a blue and yellow blend and if I were really honest, I would be a THICK yarn!!

Fantasy knitting- If you could knit something for anybody (dead, alive or fictional), who would it be and what would you knit for them?

Hmmm…I think it would be a complicated Fair-Isle sweater with cables for me because I just can’t seem to knit sweaters. I start them but never finish them. Just once, I would like to be able to finish a sweater!

What’s on your knitting needle(s) right now?

I have a pair of socks for me; I have a large Lucy Bag for me; and I have the Rambling Rows middle-size afghan that will probably go to my sister. I just finished two pairs of socks and the Felted Clogs from FiberTrends for my Aunt Jean! I also knitted socks, hats, and washcloths for Christmas presents (just so you know that I am normally not a “me, me, me” knitter!)

Some people just can’t seem to understand why in this day anyone would ever think of knitting socks. So, I’ll ask you the question sock knitters get all too often- Why would anyone waste their time knitting socks when you can get a 12-pack for five bucks at Wal-Mart?

Since I have very, very cold feet, my answer is that I knit socks to keep my feet warm!!! You can’t find the 100% wool or even washable wool socks at the local big box stores (I know, I have tried to buy this type of sock for my DH when we was delivering newspapers at 4 a.m.!).

Could you please provide a link to your website, blog, Flickr, Facebook, Ravelry or Twitter, or all of the above.

Facebook is  Cindy Lou Petty; Twitter is Preschoolwriter Home; my blog, (I try to keep it more up-to-date). Ravelry is CLPetty

Thank you so much Cindy for your time and wonderful talent!

Sock Knitter Interview: Mary the Hobbit

If there is one thing I love more then sock knitting, it’s talking to other knitters about sock knitting. I sent a call out for knitters who would like to be interviewed and a few brave souls responded. So, please enjoy the following interview with Mary the Hobbit-

Please tell us your name, where you live and any special talent(s) you have, (other then knitting)?

My nom de chaussette is Mary the Hobbit. I live in Reno now after working in Silicon Valley for 25 years as a computer programmer. I have an affinity for languages – studied Russian in college, and Japanese was an obsession for several years. I wrote a blog called Language Geek for awhile until the knitting bug bit. Also I have a serious book collection of translations of The Hobbit, hence the name.

How long have you been knitting? Who taught you how to knit?

My mother taught me to knit when I was little. In northern Wisconsin where I grew up, knitting was a fun thing to do in winter. After college I was working and living in California. When we moved to Reno 5 years ago I decided to knit a throw for the new living room, started visiting yarn shops, and discovered all the wonderful yarns that have appeared since I last checked 30 years ago.

When did you start knitting socks?
Tell us about the first pair of socks you ever knitted? (What pattern did you use? Who did you make them for?)

I was looking for interesting projects to feed my new knitting obsession. As a girl I knit mittens on 3 needles but I’d never tried socks. So I got a book of sock patterns, I think it was Vogue’s Socks Two, and gave it a try with some purple and blue Red Heart yarn. They turned out clunky and enormous. Another early attempt was ribbed socks for The Spouse made with cotton/bamboo yarn because he thought wool was scratchy. Ha – little did he know that 2 years later he’d be begging for more wool socks!

Where are those socks now? (i.e., in your drawer, frogged, in sock heaven?)

I don’t wear the Red Heart horrors, but sometimes I show them to students as an example of a first attempt at sock-knitting. Kind of a before and after thing – it’s clumsy at first but with practice you too can make fine socks that fit.

What made you decide to become a designer?

It’s been an evolving thing. First I knit a few socks, then I knit some more socks, bought more sock yarn, knit more interesting and complicated sock patterns, bought lots of colorful sock yarn, bought and read sock books, started tweaking sock patterns, went to Sock Summit, learned new sock knitting techniques, and eventually it turned into designing socks for fun. The first pattern I ever published was my Seriously Southwestern Socks and they were/are free. I didn’t start selling patterns for awhile because I didn’t think they were worthy.

What was the first design you ever sold?

I don’t consider myself a Real Designer yet, because I’ve only sold patterns on Ravelry. Also I have no blog (sigh), which is de rigueur for Real Designers IMO.

What advice would you give to other aspiring designers?

Learn as much as you can about different techniques and architectures and yarns and experiment with them, so you have lots of possibilities for expressing your idea. When you have a design, make a good-looking sample and use it to market your pattern.

What are your most treasured pair (or set) of knitting needles that you own? Tell us why?

I have some Lantern Moon bamboo dpns, size 1, that I used for my first dozen or more pairs of socks. They’re bent and battered but I still love them, even though I mostly use Addi Turbo circs these days.

Where is the furthest your knitting has ever traveled?

Birmingham, Alabama – The Spouse and I participated in the Mustangs Across America event, and I knit a pair of socks in the car.

If you were a yarn, what type and color would you be?

I would be a multicolor blue/purple Malabrigo Sock yarn, soft and fine.

Fantasy knitting- If you could knit something for anybody (dead, alive or fictional), who would it be and what would you knit for them?

I would knit some thick warm socks for Strider (Aragorn) of Lord of the Rings, because he spent all those years as a Ranger in the wilderness of Middle-Earth, protecting Hobbits from evil creatures.

What’s on your knitting needle(s) right now?

I’m working on Yet Another sock design, of course! I keep swatching with different yarns, trying to get the right effect. For some reason, each swatch looks like a sock toe!

Some people just can’t seem to understand why in this day anyone would ever think of knitting socks. So, I’ll ask you the question sock knitters get all too often- Why would anyone waste their time knitting socks when you can get a 12-pack for five bucks at Wal-Mart?

Anybody who asks that question misses the point, which is not to obtain cheap thow-away socks. Knitting socks is a hobby that fulfills many needs: for relaxing activity, for a feeling of accomplishment (look what I made!), for self-expression, for creative impulses (what would this pattern look like with that yarn?), and of course, for comfy socks!

Could you please provide a link to your website, blog, Flickr, Facebook, Ravelry or Twitter, or all of the above.

This is embarrassing, but I have no blog. I keep meaning to start one but am easily distracted by new shiny yarn and pattern ideas. My Ravelry designer page is

Thank you Mary for giving your time and giving your talent to the world of knitting!