Friday, February 23, 2007

A nicely elastic cast-on for SOCKS...

If you've stopped by Cultured Purl lately (any given day in the mornings) then you've likely seen me fiendishly working on socks because, well, that's what I do now: fiendishly knit socks....I wonder sometimes when I pause to tend to the blister on my index finger, constantly rubbed raw in my effort to obtain the correct tension on my size 0 needles [I can't find any 00 in the wood I like, hence the near death grip I need to use to get 28 sts/4] or when I need to forage for more Ibuprofen to relieve the sort of tennis-elbow-like pain I've developed from rushing through the 30,000 sts it takes to make a pair of man's socks. OhmyGod where was I going with this sentence... Oh yes, I've been wondering when something moves from a hobby to an addiction and then finally on to an obsession. I am going to say instead that I have been "exploring a new interest" in hand knitted socks...

Rather than admit to an obsession, I will say that, as a knitting instructor, it's important that I completely understand every aspect of the craft so that knitters do, in fact, learn something when they take one of my classes.(Yes, a rather lofty goal, given the centuries of knitting knowledge out there, but it's good to aim high!!) Anyway, that line of thinking is what makes me feel less guilty when asked (by seemingly every member of my family of late) WHY I am carrying my knitting bag with me EVERYWHERE. There are times, such as driving in the dark to wait outside in the dark for 2 minutes or less for my daughter's dance class to let out, for example, when I know there is no conceivable way I will get so much as a row done, but it's somehow soothing just to have the sock-in-progress nearby....(alright, I'll admit this is sounding a bit obsessive-like...) That line of thinking also helps when those other nagging responsibilities, like laundry, dinner, laundry, errands, and laundry, cross my mind. Pursuing expertise in turning a perfect heel somehow seems more important. That line of thinking (finally she gets to the point at hand...) is what has led me to discover what sock-knitters of old have praised for eons before me: the German Twisted Cast-On.

Similar to the popular Long Tail Cast-On, and also apparently known as the Old Norwegian Cast-On, the German Twisted Cast-On is quick, extremely elastic, and very attractive as the beginning to a ribbed cuff-down sock.

If you know the Long-Tail method, you're more than half way there as the techniques are very similar. The difference is that, instead of beginning the stitch by bringing the needle through the loop on the thumb, from front to back, the needle is brought down under and behind BOTH strands of the thumb loop and then forward through the loop from BACK TO FRONT. For an excellent tutorial, CLICK HERE This cast-on method creates a prettier, more elastic edge than the regular long-tail, making it a very good option for socks. Check out the tutorial, and give it a try!

Yours in knitting

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Sending warmest valentine wishes to all our friends at Cultured Purl. And to Shirani and Sue (and Leo!), what a sweet Valentine's surprise!!! Much love to you,

Getting Gauge

Gauge is such a funny animal! Here are the Fair Isle hats Shirani and I knit up for the Hat Class earlier this week. Shirani's (on the left) was done on a size 6 needle while I knit up mine on a 5 and mine is still ENORMOUS!! In fact, my next hat-and we had SUCH a blast with the fair isle we're both eager to do more - I'm going to drop down to a size 5...

I THINK the ladies in Monday's class are enjoying the one's called yet to say they're ripping their hair out!!

Yours in knitting,