Knitting |Miscellaneous Musing by Judy @ 2:08 PM

… and leaves me with dripping nose and scratchy throat; starting last Friday of course, so I could spend the weekend in a semi-prone position with Kleenex never far from reach.


Since I had zero energy, and therefore lots of time, I knitted.

Why must I be such a short-attention-span knitter? I had sworn an oath to the small gods of knitting needles that I would limit myself to three concurrent UFOs. But that doesn’t mean socks, right? Socks don’t count.

Wednesday, before the ick hit, I’d stopped in to Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks, having never been there before, to check it out (we cannot let any LYS go unchecked!). And they had this whole basket full of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd’s Sock. A whole basket. And a colorway called “Gold Hill” jumped out of the basket and into my waiting arms and demanded to be taken home. It’s a lovely, autumnal mix of burgundy, rust, green and gold. The nice ladies at Abundant Yarn wound it into balls for me, and I really don’t like to have yarn wound too long before I start to knit with it…

Friday evening as I sat (semi-lay) in my chair at home, my mind ran over and then discarded working on any of the current UFOs: Lace shawl? No, need a sharp mind and full faculties to knit lace without getting into serious trouble. Clapotis? No, that’s my take-away-from-home project. Sweater? Too big to contemplate. New sock yarn… and I’ve been wanting to work on that cast-on technique…

In the end, the Lorna’s called too loudly and I started working on a new sock cast-on. For some reason, when I have a cold my focus on seemingly trivial but interesting problems increases by about 100 times. Big problems or uninteresting tasks go quickly out the window.

I usually use a figure-8 cast-on for socks, but it has its draw backs: It works loose and has to be tightened up, it’s hard to keep a hold of, it makes stitches that are offset and the tail ends up at the side of the work opposite the start of the round. Other cast-ons that I’ve tried either leave purl bumps, don’t start at the very end, or require Kitchener stitch or other seaming. None of that is desirable, as far as I’m concerned. I wanted an invisible cast on that is easy to work, stays put, doesn’t require grafting, starts at the very end, and works OK into the Queen Kahuna “use the tail to increase the number of stitches” method. Her method creates a nice, round toe, but requires the tail from the cast on to be at the beginning of the round.

The reason that a long-tailed cast-on leaves purl bumps is that the first row after the cast-on is actually a wrong-side row. Although many (most?) knitting patterns ignore this, when working in stockinette stitch from a long tail cast-on, the first row should be a purl row.

But there are a gazillion other ways to cast on. So, armed with a few of my favorite knitting references, I started looking for cast-on methods having the first following row a right side row. After about 20 false starts I came up with a cast-on that’s somewhere between a figure-8 and a tubular cast on, is easy to do, stays at the right tension as the first round is worked, and leaves the tail at the start of the round. My tiny little sample appears to be completely invisible. YEA! I will post pics later if there is interest.

Having completed that task, I realized that the Lorna’s just cries out to be knit in a pattern that includes leaves, so I have tabled that project for now.

The rest of the weekend was spent on the Tilt sweater. The left and right sides are complete and have been blocked, and I’ve knit 1-1/2 of the four yokes. I decided that I did care, after all, if the stripes at least come close to matching — an interesting proposition, considering that every skein is different and most contain at least one knot. If I knit industriously this week, I hope to have it finished this weekend. We’ll see. I love the colors and can’t wait to wear it.

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