Saturday, February 10, 2007

Toe Up -- Top Down

I am a top down sock knitter. I don't know why, but that is what I've become. I don't think it is so much that I learned that way -- but there is something satisfying to me about knitting top down.

My most spectacular pair of toe-up socks are these -- the pair I did for Antina's wedding. I knit them from Zephyr -- a size 0 for the lace and a 0000 for the foot. Since it was a US Civil War wedding (the bride and groom are active re-enactors) I used a stitch pattern that was from "Knitting Lace: A Workshop with Patterns and Projects" by Susanna Lewis. She deconstructed a lace sampler from the early 1800s. The only real problem I had was when I had her try the first one on just after the ankle-- it wasn't wide enough. I added a pattern repeat and all was well. After I picked up all of the stitches that fell off the needles when she tried it on and it was too tight. That wasn't pleasant.

That is what got me over any problems with Kitchener stitch. 43 stitches each top and bottom - 86 total per foot. I had the technique down by the time I was done with the pair! The bindoff was tighter than I would prefer, I've learned new methods in the many intervening years that would eliminate that . I've knit one other pair of toe up socks -- the Toe-to-Cuff Lace Rib Socks designed by Jackie E-S. I'm not even sure where that pair is. I've knit lots of pairs top down since that pair.

Fast forward to now. My knit buddy Dianne asked me to partner with her and do a pair of toe-up knee socks. She saw the post on The Keyboard Biologist (scroll down to the January 24th post.) We were supposed to start February 1, but...I didn't. I did start today. I'm using some Paton's Kroy that reminds me of a cross between the Red Heart variegated yarn that children love and a box of crayons. Mainly red, but about 4 stitch stretches of orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. This time I used Stasia's cast-on so I don't have to graft the toe when I'm done. So far? I'm not enjoying myself. I think I'm just whining at the moment. They really aren't far enough along that it should make a difference, for pete's sake! Perhaps it is the fact that I've not been able to establish a rhythm yet? I want to add baby cables to the top of the foot and the leg. We'll see how that turns out! I don't think the cables won't show at all. Perhaps some lace? The photo is slightly out of focus, I'm sorry! I figure you can see well enough for the start of the sock. Any further pictures will be in focus.

Top down or toe up is a matter of preference, just as the choice of knitting with 4 (or 5) double pointed needles, 2 circulars or 1 circular (the magic loop technique.) I unvented magic loop many years ago for my own knitting, when I was decreasing on the neck of a sweater. That allowed me to continue knitting when I didn't have the double points I needed. It was an emergency measure then, and I didn't like interrupting my knitting to pull the cable. I was surprised when others really fell in love with the technique. (No, I do NOT claim I unvented it and someone else took the credit. It was something I did for myself, that's all.) I've tried knitting socks on two circulars and switched to double points part of the way through. I'm delighted that other people enjoy the techniques. For whatever reason, there are certain techniques that I prefer over others.

So why did I agree to knit this pair of socks this way? No clue. "It sounded reasonable at the time" is about the only excuse I have. But I promised I would do it. Maybe I'll change my mind by the time I'm done. It could happen!

Have you see this website? I came across possum/wool yarn once before, and it was oh so soft. As someone that is perpetually cold, I want some! Gee, and I'd be doing something for the environment too! LOL

1 comment:

The Spindling Scot said...

Fabulous socks for re-enactors there! They must have taken ages to knit, what a display of love :-)

I prefer top down socks, I'm lazy I guess. Have you tried the itsy bitsy addis? A sock on one tiny circular needle? I like it, my hands don't...

Have fun