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Lorilee BeltmanToday's post is brought to you by squares! Sounds like a Sesame Street intro, right? Truly, this post was written by talented designer Lorilee Beltman, and is cross-posted from her blog. She shares how Lingonberry, a truly innovative and beautiful sock design, came from lots and lots of tinkering with knitted squares! Follow your fascinations, knitters.

Lingonberry Socks

My first published pattern resulted from waiting for two skeins of stashed Noro Iro to speak to me. Thinking this self-striper would look nifty knit as concentric squares, I set out to make simple squares in garter stitch, worked from the outside inward. The darn thing was only about three feet long! By a happy accident I could not find more of that colorway, and was forced to come up with a creative solution.  I reknit a few squares of two different sizes, recalculating for a five-foot scarf, which was still too skimpy. I figured I’d have a more lengthy scarf if I left out the centers. What I ended up with was something that garnered far more compliments that my original plan would have. I eventually submitted it to Interweave Knits, and it was included in a lighter weight and a summer yarn for the spring 2008 issue as Chameleon Scarf. Since then I have released it on Ravelry with instructions for fingering, worsted, and bulky yarns, and with it’s original title- Holey Squares Scarf. (photo below- Sandi Gunnett)

Squares make a scarf

Meanwhile, I kept playing with squares. For instance, when seamed, a simple hand-warmer could be made from one of these squares.

When Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On came on the scene in the spring of 2006 via, the lights went on for me. That simple handwarmer could be made more difficult, but seamless, by using a combination of long tail and magic cast ons. Aha!

Squares make mitts

The same handwarmer, using magic cast on on steroids, could be used for a mitered square mitten, again, without seams and all worked in the round. Now it was getting fun for me because I believed I was in a new territory of knitting geometry. I mean, I don’t think there’s another pattern out there where you cast on provisionally, work six directions from there, and join twice on the first round. The resulting Bobsled Mittens are found in Judy Becker’s book Beyond Toes, which is a collection of designs from folks similarly turned on by the magic. When I teach, I try to work JMCO into as many classes as possible.

Squares make mittens

The next self-imposed challenge was to work the bobsled architecture into a sock by turning the thumb into a heel. In spite of my worries over its wacky construction, I submitted it to Twist Collective where it appears in the current Spring/Summer 2012 issue. A few Lingonberry socks have now been showing up on Ravelry, and so far, I am relieved no one has had a heart attack. Some pretty, well-fitted socks have been made.

Lingonberry sock, back

For the curious, here is a link to the support video on Youtube.

Squares, who knew they could be so entertaining?