Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cast on three times

Knitting socks from the top down requires using a stretchy cast on. There are plenty of options, but earlier this year I tried a tubular cast on, since the pattern I was working with called for 1x1 ribbing at the cuff, and a tubular cast on sets you up with 1x1 rib straightaway, with a nice, tidy edge that is remarkably stretchy. Seems a good match for socks if I'm doing 1x1 rib.

Except. I can't seem to ever get the tubular cast on right on the first try. I use the Italian method, which is a very nice, straightforward technique. Somehow, though, I always manage to bork it up in its execution.

The first attempt always ends up with me misjudging how long of a tail I should leave - I overestimate, and given that you pull a length of yarn out of the cast on edge when the cast on is complete, I end up with a really long tail hanging out of my work, which grumps me up, so I pull it out, shorten the tail, and then start over.

The second attempt is a bit more variable in its borking. One time I mixed up which end of the yarn to work the loops with, and realized the problem at the very end when I tried to pull the yarn out of its tube, and found that it would not budge, since the tail had actually been used to form the stitches, rather than the working yarn. Sometimes I discover at this stage that I miscounted in casting on, and now have the wrong number of stitches.

The third attempt usually works out, with me shaking my head and muttering the whole way through about how if I had just picked a different cast on, I'd be well on my way by now.

The other night, I cast on for a new sock, for my sister, and I did indeed have to do it three times. The first time I left too long a tail. The second time I forgot to move the working yarn to the front when slipping the 'purl' stitches on the setup rows, which left me with an interesting variant that looked like purl bumps on both sides. I should have taken a picture - maybe I'll have to do it again deliberately, maybe someone out there might have a use for such a thing? Still, it wasn't what I was after, so out it came. Third time worked out brilliantly, and I have the tiniest beginnings of a sock cuff on the needles.

Which is pretty great, since I discovered a gauge problem with the other sock I had started, and ripped that out a couple of nights ago. It'll get another try. Later.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A step in the right direction

Well, I didn't get another post up before October 2012 sailed off into the annals of history. But, I am back before another complete month has elapsed, so let's call that improvement, shall we?

My latest sweater now looks like this:

I wish I were further along - mostly because I want to wear this sweater already - but I haven't been able to really sit down and churn away uninterrupted. That's okay, I guess - good things come to those who wait, right? I did have to rip out the horizontal cabled band and have a second crack at it - as written, the pattern doesn't give the band shown on the sample, the cables and plain ribs are switched around, and I decided after about three inches that I preferred it the way shown on the sample.

As is also evidently clear from the photo, this hasn't been blocked yet, and that band is all scrunched up the way ribbing wants to do, so the sweater is shorter than it should be, and the puffy horizontal band sort of gives a spare tire-esque quality to the silhouette. While I am generally in favour of blocking all garments before wearing, there are some that I let slide - accessories worked entirely in seed stitch or garter stitch, for example, or socks, or some hats. Blocking before wearing is a definite must for this one.

Oh, and yes, that is a DPN holding some of the sleeve stitches on one side. I only have four stitch holders, and I realized when I got to the provisional cast on that all my cables were being held hostage, so one stitch holder was liberated in order to liberate a cable.

I've put in a bit of time on the other second sock left over from summer - about halfway through the heel flap now. That's going to get some attention Monday morning - I've got some waiting room time, which means primo sock knitting time, and I'm hoping to turn the heel and get through the gusset decreases. Then all that will be left will be to fly through the foot and toe, then finishing, then I'll have another pair of socks for my drawer - yay!

Up next on the sock docket - socks for my sister. She mentioned a few nights ago, in passing conversation, that her collection of handknit socks has suffered some significant losses. Message received loud and clear. Last night I pulled out a couple of options from her sock yarn stash, she selected one and picked out a pattern to go with it, and those will be next.

You know. Once I've liberated some sock-sized needles.

Maybe I should look into getting some more needles?