Friday, June 23, 2006

Sock it To Me

I've never been a big fan of doing anything ass backwards (I was totally with Charlotte on that one in Sex and the City) although, I have been known to smash my nose up against a glass door trying to go in through the out door. And, knitting a sock from the toe up, to me, is just backwards - you pull your sock on from the cuff - you start at the cuff, and that's that. I have never had any desire to learn how to go toe up. Yeah, I know, if you're short on yarn, you can shorten the leg - blah blah blah, but how does that help you if you run short on yarn on the second sock? If I'm going to run out of yarn, I'd rather run out at the toe, and switch to a different color - but that's just me. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was wondering through Loop (ok, I was buying yarn), and hemming and hawing about whether or not to go to the pool (the pool happens to be 2 blocks from Loop), when I got wind that a toe up sock class was going to go on that afternoon. Rachel gave me a preview of the toe-up Iranian cast-on, and I thought, ok, a neat trick, maybe I can start my circular shawls this way . . . and, it would be a good way to use some of my Koigu scraps. So, having already spent some big bucks on Helen's Laces (for the Bird's Nest Shawl that I've started but haven't posted about yet), I ran home and grabbed a bag of Koigu.

Now, my love (or lust as the case may be), is usually a constant - fat, thin, whatever. Friend with Benefits, who was 175 when I met him (and is again, since he's quite the yo yo), has tipped the scales at 5'9, 230 - whatever, he gets the job done. But, I have to say, my lust/love for Koigu is not so strong on the teeny tiny zeros that were called for in Rachel's pattern. Koigu seems a little too fat - there's a clear muffin top forming around the needles that's a bit tough to work with for me.

But, I've stuck with it, because Koigu is Koigu after all. And, now that all of the experiments of switching toe teams are over, I can say that I'm not a switch hitter- I'm a cuff down girl all the way. The Iranian cast-on begins by placing two teeny tiny zeros together, and wrapping the yarn around both of them about 8 times. The needles are then flipped horizontally, and stitches are knit through the two needles, the needles being flipped horizontally after each stitch. Then, once you have enough stitches on both needles (knitting through the two needles causes a stitch to be created on both needles), in this case 6, you knit enough rows to pick up an even number of stitches on both sides - in this case four. So, in the end, I had a nice, teeny tiny square, appropriate for a toe, or perhaps the center of a circular shawl.

Now, when I cast on Courtney's (co-creator of the Rosie's infamous half-pi shawl) shawl (more on that later), a square shawl that I offered (begged because it's so pretty) to test knit for her, I actually attempted to do a circular cast-on on 4 double points - the instructions did say, after all, cast on 8 stitches, divide evenly over four neeldes - silly me thinking that wouldn't be a mangled, narled mess. Then, I tried to do a modified Emily Ocher, as described in Folk Shawls, but I failed miserably. Then, I went into Rosie's on a Saturday, and Carol taught me how to cast on with 2 circulars. Perfect! Definitely, my starting point of choice.

So, I should love to knit my socks on two circs, or on the one long circ a la Magic Loop, right? You know, I'm just not that interested -- I like my dainty double points - there's something soothing to me about knitting with toothpicks. I like going round and round - I don't think I would like just sliding my stitches from end to end - too missionary for me.

Anyway, the toe-up did get me on a sock kick - so much more portable than a big, wool shawl like Icarus (or Ella, or Bird's Nest . . . or anything else I might think to cast on to just add to the frenzy).

I am so close to finishing my Koigu Lightening Bolt Peak Experiences:

I started these at a CLE about a month ago, and they tend to be my office knitting - I love the way the oranges and purples pooled - crazy. This is Koigu on 3's - the perfect fit, for me at least.

Then, with my new Cherry Tree Hill, that I purchased on our Knitty D and the City yarn crawl through the mainline, I cast- on Pomatomous from Knitty. These socks, obviously, are the right way to go - down. There's something about turning the heel, and going towards the toe that is so satisfying. Since this picture was taken, I have indeed turned the heel, and I've started Chart B.

And, once I'm done Pomatomos (yes, I really do intend to finish something sometime), I have more sock yarn on deck. I picked up this OnLine, a self-fairisling yarn, at Knit Together in Richboro. If I had to live in the suburbs, this is where I would need to live - because the yarn on the Main Line just doesn't cut it. Knit Together has everything, including Anne, your heart could desire (except Koigu) at 20% off. Of course, I had to buy a skein of Anne (instead of the five I would have bought had my mom not been eyeing up my yarn over my shoulder - no need to let her in on my true addiction), which I later traded with Knitty D - but that's tomorrow's post (or maybe the next day, I've been on vacation, at the pool, and I haven't been the most faithful knitter or blogger).

And, last, but clearly not least, I ordered a skein of Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fibers - yep, I succumbed to the bloggery surrounding this almost mythical sock yarn. Now it's my turn to see. I was going to make Pomatomus with this, but then I got nervous about the yarddage, so I think I'll jump on that other blogwagon, the Jaywalkers, and shorten the cuff a bit, because again, the yarddage is pretty close. Yeah, yeah, if I went toe -up . . . but, that's just not going to happen.


Sherry W said...

I can't wait to learn toe up. I hate grafting and picking up heel stitches. Maybe you may want to try one of the other toe up cast ons? Or why bother if you like cuff down!

BTW, I wind my sock yarn in two balls of equal weight so I at least run out at the same place.

Sonya said...

I've done a couple pairs of toe-up, but I really prefer cuff down. The cast on is just too fiddly.

Wendy said...

Those socks truly rock. I hate that figure-eight cast on, I must say. I prefer the crochet provisional cast-on. You might want to try that before you give up completely. That's how I do mine ... I absolutely HATE heel flaps and gussets!

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