Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Toe Up vs Top Down

Now that I've actually completed a pair of toe up socks (on double pointed needles) I think I can compare them to top down.

I like both methods, but I think toe up edges out top down in that, when you're finished, all you need to do is hide two yarn ends. I'm not a fan of the figure eight cast on, probably because I haven't practiced it enough. Really, since I like the looks of the short row toe, there's no need to master the figure eight unless it's for ego purposes to say "I can do it."

Anyway, in my opinion, any sock pattern can be converted from top down to toe up, the pattern will just run upside down, unless it's something symmetrical like a diamond pattern. I don't see much problem with that. If it's a case of stranded knitting, then following the color chart upside down should fix that.

So, yes, I like toe up socks, the short row toes and heels look very neat. The biggest plus to toe up socks is that it appears to me that they're also faster to knit, and to a slow knitter like me, that's a big plus.

So, if you're not a fan of doing kitchener stitch, and it's kept you from giving socks a try, then I say look up some toe up sock patterns and give them a try.

If you're not doing socks because you're leery of trying knitting in the round on double pointed needles, then look up some tutorials on using magic loop or two circulars. With two circulars, you can drop the project onto the cables and not worry about losing stitches. I can do either, but since I haven't completed anything using magic loop, comparing the two methods is something that will have to wait for another day. However, making socks using two circulars means that I can make the entire pair at the same time by using two balls of yarn. I wouldn't say it's any faster than making them one at a time, but when you're finished, well, you're finished.

Now, someone will probably ask me how would I do two toe up socks on two circular needles. Well, the answer is simple. Since I do short row toes, which requires a provisional cast on, I would do one toe on one circular and the other toe on the other circular needle and then, very carefully, transfer both sets of live stitches to one circular (making sure the working yarn ends are both pointing in the same direction. Then I would unzip the crochet chains (that's the provisional method I prefer) and place those live stitches on the empty circular needle. Voila! I can then do both socks at the same time up to the heel. Then you would do one heel at a time (Placing the other sock on the cable until you're finished with the first one. Once you're finished with the heels, you then do both legs at the same time. Doing socks this way makes sure that your gauge will be the same on both socks.

Boy, I start off comparing two sock methods and end up talking about four. Go me.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Found a new hat pattern

Well, the pattern is new to me.  I found while browsing other patterns like I do on occasion, and I ran across this one:

Braid-Edge Hat

I've started one in dark blue Simply Soft yarn and another in a dark red RHSS. The pattern is not difficult and is giving me practice in making cables without cable needles.

What is cables without cable needles? Exactly what it says. Here's the link:

Cable without cable needles

As I said, the pattern is not difficult and you should memorize the repeat by the end of the first one. I did make one adjustment-I'm using stitch markers so I don't have to do so much counting. One marks where the braid goes and the other marks the short rows so I don't have to count stitches. It makes for much easier and faster knitting of this pattern.

Monday, July 01, 2013

I give up

Yeah, I posted that I wanted to do a pair of socks using the double knit method on dpns. Well, I quit.

Knitting is supposed to be fun, double knitting socks is not. I hadn't even gotten the 12 rounds of ribbing done before I started running into trouble, culminating in two needles somehow getting pulled out of the stitches. And once I pulled the two socks apart, I also had crossed yarns.

Therefore, I have concluded that the knitting Goddess does not want me to do double knit socks. Therefore, I have started a pair of toe-up socks instead using the yarn I was using for the double knit ones, Bernat Softee Baby in Sweet n Sunny.. I'm going to use the Tadpole pattern, which is one of my favorite sock patterns to do because the pattern is easy, yet not mindless and boring. Yes, I know this pattern is done top down, but it's easily done toe-up too, the pattern will just swirl up instead of down. Neat, huh?

I used a provisional cast-on, using a length of crochet chain and picked up half the number of stitches I would need, which was 32. I then made a short row toe using the YO method, which is m favorite method of doing short rows. I'm not up to the foot, have frogged the crochet chain to expose the live stitches and have started the tadpole pattern. One word of advice. You will always have one less stitch on the newly-exposed stitches than you need, so you'll have to m1 to get the correct number of stitches. Easy enough to do on the end. That way, you have 16 stitches on each of four needles for a five needle set (which I recommend). Otherwise, you could also use two circular needles. It would be possible to do both socks on the circulars, you'd just have to do each toe separately, then proceed to do both together.

Anyway, as I said at the beginning, I've given up on doing double knit socks, I'll stick to the tried and true methods that don't have nearly the opportunities for errors as that method does. I prefer to have fun with my knitting, and that's what I'm gonna do from now on.