Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Well, a large part of me wishes I was taking your sock class and learning all those great techniques! You're really giving your students their money's worth! I would like to better understand the provisional cast-on -- what it does, how it looks, what's its purpose. If you have a source to reference, I'd appreciate a recommendation!

By Blogger Mary, at 12:39 AM  

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Monday, April 09, 2007  

I sometimes wonder if we are particularly messy people or if I am just particularly sensitive to clutter and dust. Either way, the transformation post housecleaning blitz is always perceivable, palpable, and intensely pleasurable. Since we are having strangers in on Wed. I paid particular attention to bathroom clutter, hauling out catalogs from the downstairs bathroom and clearing off the catch-all ironing board upstairs. And ALL the laundry was folded and put away. No baskets of clean clothes in the bedroom this week!

Of course, only the owner can really care about how clean a house is - so - on to fiber talk.

I’ve been practicing different sock techniques on little 24 stitch socks knit in worsted weight wool. I have the basic heel flap sock memorized and I understand enough about centering patterns on the instep top.

I’ve been working on heels, heel positioning and cast-ons. I am completely in love with the afterthought heel. I don’t mind going back and picking out the stitches for a truly afterthought heel, so I am not (yet) inclined to knit a forethought afterthought heel as advised by Charlene Schurch - though as I type this it seems to me I ought to learn it so I can be a better teacher. Just ‘cause I don’t like a technique doesn’t mean I ought not be able to teach it.

Another approach to sock fitting is to knit the heel on more than half the stitches. In a heel flap it doesn’t seem to matter, but in those short row heels or the after thought heel there could be some justification for it. I’m now forgetting where I first heard the explanation for using more than half the stitches, but be sure - this is not my idea, nor my explanation. The author (oh law - how irritating it is for this librarian to not cite my source!!) advises you to imagine a cardboard tube such as one from a roll of paper towels. Imagine cutting half way across and trying to bend the tube into a right angle. Yep. You get wrinkles. Now imagine cutting it a little more than half way across and trying to form that right angle. Yep. Much easier.

So. I tried knitting a short row heel on greater than half the stitches and it was simply awful. The 45 degree angle of stitches (with holes in them!!) came way up across the front of my ankle. Ugly and a bad fit to boot - or to sock - as may be. "Not doing that again" I thought.

But making these little socks on 24 stitches and worsted weight yarn really points out the problem of bending math. I don’t like either of these (inserting photos later today). I’m sure that both of them would have done better for some bending math and this lace cuff one could do with a few rows of plain stockinette before I begin the heel shaping.

Even wet blocked it didn't look quite right.

I plan to make them both again using Greater than Half the stitches on the heels and see how they turn out. Because there is nothing like proving it to yourself, for cementing knowledge into the knitter’s brain.

I’ve also been working on cast-ons - practicing both the knitted on provisional cast-on and the Channel Island cast-on. I love them both!

The provisional cast-on is pretty easy to do, forgiving no matter which direction I pick up the stitch on the back of the waste yarn. It’s a great beginning for K1P1 ribbing and is exactly the cast-on I’d use for socks knit in a yarn that might stretch out - silk or cotton, for example. Because you go right into double knitting for 3 or 4 rows, the yarn that’s carried when you slip every other stitch forms a little guy line that would prevent the ribbing from stretching beyond its length. Come to think of it - it would be a good stabilizing cast-on&rib for any garment - sweater cuffs, sweater bottoms, even hats!

The Channel Island cast-on is not so kind. This cast-on is a modification of the long-tail cast-on where you double the yarn that goes over your thumb. If I wrap the doubled yarn around my thumb in a clockwise direction it does just fine, but if I go in a counter clockwise direction it knots and tangles and makes a mess. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort because it creates the prettiest picot edge. It’s not so prominent on this worsted weight sock cuff on only 24 stitches -

but I suspect it would be lovely on a bigger circumference and just look at it on this bit of lace knitting!

The lace is knit in Spirit Trail Fiberworks yarn, merino/silk blend. It gets a little fuzzy with use but it’s a joy to knit with. I only wish I had some of those Addi Turbo lace needles - with the sharper points. I think I’ll hunt some down today.

So. Some knitting at last. Yep Mary - I will miss Sedalia this year but I’ll be doing something I love even more than shopping! And as you say - Maryland is not so far away.

posted by Bess | 8:02 AM