Saturday, December 20, 2008

Adventures in Sockworld

Every sock I have knitted so far has been the same basic pattern - cuff down. Start with the leg, work down, turn the heel, do the gusset and foot, Kitchener stitch the toe. Five double pointed needles.

My lovely sister bought me Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles last year. The first pair, of course, I knitted for her. They were Columbine Peaks, on two circular needs, and I fell in love with that technique. A pair of plain black garter rib socks for you-know-who was done using the same technique.

Toe up socks have been a bit of a mystery, so I decided to knit Cat's Cable Top pattern, using some blue/grey/white bamboo yarn. What an adventure! The brilliance of knitters is never ending. There have been so many new techniques to learn, with the help of Cat's book and her videos on Youtube. Youtube replaces the skilled granny or auntie in transferring knitting skills.

First was the cast on. I learned how to cast on from my mother - long tail, thumb method, and that's how I always did it. Recently while knitting tams I branched out into the tubular cast on, which is wonderful, but not appropriate for toe-up socks. A quick search revealed Judy Becker's Magic Cast On. Absolutely gobsmackingly amazing. When it worked I called the Man of the House over to ooh and aah.

Then came the toe. This is Cat Bordhi's Turned Toe, which does a kind of heel turn on either side, forming what she calls 'a sleek parking garage for your toes.' Because I am new to all this I have done exactly as she instructs, even though I have my doubts about the size of only 48 stitches around my foot (I usually go for 72). The toe is easy and very inventive, and seems to fit (this is one of the joys of a) toe-up, and b) twin circulars - you can try on as you go.) The toe seems a little pointy, but when it is on it seems fine. The size seems OK, perhaps a little snug.

Onwards around the foot, and then to the gusset. Don't know about you but I hate picking up stitches. I don't know why that is, I just do. So this seemed good -instead of decreasing then picking up, you just increase for the gusset on one of the needles.

Next came the heel turn. I have never done wrap and turn short rows, and this too was a revelation. Cat's videos once more were played over and over, with BabyNetbook on my lap and knitting in hands. This is a fascinating and beautiful process, resulting in miraculous shaped knitting, just right for one's heel. Amazing.

It isn't over yet. I have never done i-cord, and the tops of these socks have a cuff edge of two i-cords twisted and knitted on. I am looking forward to it.

From this one sock I have learned a new and wonderful cast on, wrap and turn short rows, and more. I am definitely a recent convert to knitting on twin circulars.

Photos will be posted when sock 1 is complete. The way it is going, it won't be long.

1 comment:

  1. Try the Sherman toe and heel next time (google will give you details and even a helpful picture tutorial). I never do anything else now.