Sunday, June 15, 2008

Socks of many techniques 2: The toe

I forgot in my last post on this topic why overspun yarn isn't a bad thing for socks. Overspinning makes the yarn much tougher, more resilient. And thus really quite suitable for socks.

These socks are going to make that handspun go as far as possible, so the 'body' of the sock will be in handspun, with the toes, heels and cuff in some the onion-dyed Lang merino.

I usually use a short row toe for my socks. I like this toe because by the time you have to put things on a circular needle you've got lots of stitches and enough knitted-stuff to weigh them down a bit. I find magic cast-on impossibly fiddly - too few stitches, too hard to wrangle them without getting tangled.

But I recently finished my first pair of top-down socks, and I've decided that I really do like the look of a toe with those nice neat decreases better than the short rows. But I want to use every single scrappet of handspun, which means I need to knit the socks toe up.

Solution? Easy. Provisional cast on, then knit the toe down, and graft the end closed (just like in this picture). Then unzip the provisional cast, and start knitting the foot from the toe up. I get my neat looking toe, I get to use up all my yarn, and I don't have to wrangle small numbers of stitches on a circular needle.

For those that suffer second-sock syndrome, this method of starting socks has another benefit. You can knit one toe, straight after the other. Because the provisional cast on keeps the toe from unravelling until you're ready to use it, you can do both toes before going any further. Just store the toe you're not knitting onto somewhere safe until you need it. Then, when you're all "Ugh! I sooooo can't be bothered to do the second sock!" you can pull out your pre-made toe, and you're already on your way. No fiddly cast on or anything, you're already about a sixth of the way through, and on to the good bit (if your sock has a fancy stitch pattern and you regard knitting the fancy stitch as a good thing).

No comments: