Where have I been for the last month? I have been working away at a gift. Isn’t that the mantra of knitters everywhere? It always seems like we have a plan for a gift, a gift on the needles, or a deadline that is fast approaching – almost upon us – just passed -! And then the lull of: well, I didn’t get it done on time, but maybe I can get it done this week and it will be ok.
Fortunately, the recipient this time is my mom, and she is a knitter herself, so she knows all about how knitting time required for gifts is completely incalculable. Even if you give yourself lots of lead time, it never seems to get done on time. Or you are up all night the evening before the event cranking out the last stitches in a rush.
I am finally almost done with a pair of mini-cabled socks. They started as an experiment in two-at-at-once magic looping… which is a method I have decided is now dead to me!
I’m not really an excessive traditionalist about most things, knitting included, but apparently I am completely conservative when it comes to socks. One at a time, four DPNs for the cuff and ankle, three for the gusset and length, two for the toe… starting from the cuff down… that’s the way I like it, and now that I’ve experimented, that’s the only way I want it.
It’s not that two at a time on a magic loop is particularly hard or anything. And sure, being able to do two at once has some advantages if you can’t be bothered to jot down a note or two as you go along about number of stitches or rows. But the darn scooching is endless! Scooch the stitches for this section of sock A, pull a loop of cable out over here so you can reach, scooch the stitches for the same section of sock B, pull another loop of cable out over here so you can reach, scooch the stitches again for the next part of sock A…. scooch, scooch, scooch! bleh! Even the world’s nicest cable joins can’t eliminate all the scooching and loop pulling, they just make it smoother.
It’s no good, in my opinion. I know some people rave that two-at-once is faster. Well it’s the same number of stitches whether you start your sock from the top or bottom… whether you do two at once, one inside the other, or one at a time… whether you prefer DPNs, tiny circulars, magic loop circulars or two circulars… it’s all socks baby, and it’s all the same number of stitches.
I like DPN’s because they make logical divisions so you don’t need stitch markers. Leg patterns divide up neatly into fours, and gusset or toe decreases occur around the obvious signal of needle ends. It’s a beautiful thing. DPNs are short and little stitch scooching is required. The metal ones are hard to break, and continue to function just fine even if they’re bent. They fit so easily into little cases or DPN holders and tuck so well into my bag (instead of a wild tangle of circular cable twisting up with my yarn).
Alright, now that my pro-DPN rant is done, I will leave with a couple of interesting links I found that will be useful to all knitters, however you like to have your socks.
Although I like the layout of the above link a lot, this info from the Craft Yarn Council is probably the more standardized (and it also gives approximate sizes based on children’s ages, handy if you are a long-distance aunty like me):
Last and probably least, I contribute a little printout for your purse, binder or wallet. This is just a bunch of reminders about the various steps of a sock (heel turning, gusset, toe decreases, kitchener stitch), those things that I always have to get a refresher on. This is meant for intermediate sock knitters (you have done a few socks, know the drill, but aren’t exactly knitting them in your sleep yet).
The printout also includes some blank measurement charts for you mark down the sizes of those you knit for most. There are cutting guides on there for “business card size” or if you happen to have some perforated business card paper from Avery or the like, you can use that too.
And if my sock reference notes don’t make any sense to you (it’s possible they only work to jog my memory), but you still like the business card-sized measurement charts, here is a page of only the measurement cards.