Saturday, September 6, 2008


Observe knitting and crocheting friends: socks!

I knit these with the help of Article Pract's Two-at-a-Time, Toe-Up, Magic Loop Sock class. It was quite fun, and I recommend knitting classes to others. It was actually really heartening to see how everyone in the class, which had a fair range of experience struggled and then succeeded in the making of these socks.

The basic sock pattern is really simple, and we knit them on number 5 needles. This makes a thick "housesock" more than something I would wear with shoes (exception: Chicago winter, with boots.) The really cool part, in addition to the basic sock knitting, was learning several other knitting skills that can be applied to lots of other projects.

Before I get to those those, I need to make a little bow towards the Addi Turbo Circular Needles. I’d always wondered before why people would mention what kind of needle they used for a project. Who cares about the brand I would think to myself. And now I understand. Dear Addi Turbo Needles, thank you for being awesome.

First off: Turkish Toe Cast On. I don't know what the history of this cast on is, though I enjoy imagining adventures in knitting in Istanbul. This blog has what looks like a good explanation, pictures and all. The other cool thing about using this method is that you don't have an edge or seam on the cast on edge. I actually used this a while ago to make a pouch that I hope to shrink to iPod size, though my felting attempt so far has not gone well.

Next, Magic Loop: This is ultimately a rather mysteries name for a fairly simple process. Effectively, this kind of knitting requires a long circular needle with good joins (see tribute to Addi Turbos at the top). Instead of using all of the length of the circular needle as is normally done, you cast on however many stitches you need for your glove or mitten or sock and then bend the cable and pull half the stitches onto one needle and leave the other half on the cable. Here's a video with a better visual instruction if you're interested.

Basically anything that would require double pointed needles can be fairly easily replaced with magic loop. I finished up my hat with magic loop when I had to decrease the number of stitches to a point where there were not enough to use the entire length of the circular needle but was too unwieldy to switch to double pointed needles.

I'm looking forward to knitting my next set of mittens or gloves with the two at a time method, so hopefully I'll remember to take some pictures when that time comes, but after the cast on, that method is fairly straight forward (though does require dealing with multiple balls or strands of yarn ala intarsia.)

I will note that I made the bind off a little tight and will have to pay attention to that in the future.


HEB said...

I tried doing a little magic loop myself inspired by your success and found that I still preferred dps. But I've always preferred dps over circulars-- something about how intense it looks to balance that many needles-- so it wasn't that big of a surprise. My attempt at magic loop was just knitting a tube, however, so I'm willing to admit that it may grow on me if I try the two-at-one-time application. But I'll wait for your results first.

Elizabeth said...

I really feel into love with dpn knitting when I first started, in part because it does look all complicated but is actually pretty easy. But I also have issues with stitches slipping off the needles and the ladders where the dpns join, and for those reasons, I think magic loop is pretty fun. Plus, it just sounds awesome. "I'm going to do some MAGIC loop now." Indeed.