So I finished my first Tolerence Sock on Thursday.
It's sort of based on Sarah's December Nights sock pattern, except, it's a beaded rib instead of using her star pattern.
But the idea is the same. It's my first, actual, completed, toe-up sock. I'm pleased. It's the Royal Hare sock yarn (which seems to have lost or moved its website...) that Tiny Tyrant sent me in our yarn swap way the heck back in January.
I did a little fiddling with the pattern...as I think I mentioned, I did some decreases over the Achillies tendon to try and fix the bagging...I'm not sure it helped, but, whatever. And my heel turn is boxy and square, but actually pretty comfortable.
I'm reasonably certain the second sock isn't going to match the first one, because I want to perfect the alterations in the pattern before I start my next pair, which is probably going to be a gift for Ruthie, who requested a pair of wool socks and has been completely fascinated the whole time I've been knitting this one. I keep offering to teach her to knit, but I think she's still in the precontemplation stage. I also have, like, thirty-seven other pair I want to knit for people, not to mention the fact that I have this idea about knitting myself a whole drawer full of socks (if nothing else, the people at the New Balance store will stop yelling at me every time I go in wearing cotton socks). But I really like the pattern.
I also, as many of you know, used to be a die-hard devotee of the DPNs for sock knitting. It's traditional, it's small and portable, it's the way my ancestors made socks, right, there has to be importance in that. I tried the two-circulars method, because most of my knitting buddies were fans of that, and found it waaaay too fiddly to have those extra needls flopping all over the place. And of course we all scoffed at the Magic Loop people. That was just silly.
Until one day, when I convinced my bosses at the yarn shop to order the Magic Loop book as a means of using up some of the store credit I had. I said, make sure you order an extra for me, because I want to try this. They, of course, didn't (let's face it - my bosses are better at the yarn wholesaler business than they were as yarn retailers). But I got one anyway, and tried it. And got frustrated. And then decided to take a different approach. So I sat down and read it, and then went to my yarn and tried to base what I was doing on the idea rather than the step-by-step.
I've been a convert ever since.
So Magic Loop isn't nearly as strange or magical as it may seem. You'll need a long circular needle - 36" seems to work well for socks; 24" is doable but tight and 40" is a little too much cord but it also works (the Tolerence Socks are being knitted on a 40").
Here's what you do:
1. Cast on your stitches.
2. Pull both needles away from the cast-on stitches, so that they are now sitting in the middle of the cord.
3. Divide them in half (or, roughly so. If you're doing a multiple-of-four pattern or something, you can have two more on one side than on the other, but, you get the idea). Fold the cord at that halfway point.
4. Push on the needle end (either one) and feed the cord through so it makes a loop between the stitches that are folded at the halfway point.
5. Set your work up in front of you so that the yarn tail is on the back row of stitches.
6. Pull on the approriate side that loop of cord until the stitches in front are back on the front needle. Your back needle should be free of the back row of stitches with significant mobility so that you can bend it around and use that needle on the front row.
7. Knit into the first stitch of the front row. Work to the end of the row.
8. Flip your work over and repeat.
Eventually this will become a tube. I've made hats, bags, mittens...you can make anything circular with this method. It takes a little pratice and fuss to figure out how to position the needle around the working yarn so that you don't get it all tangled up in the cable, but you get this pretty quickly. And anything you can do on straight needles, or DPNs, or two circs, you can do with this - increases, decreases, cables, bobbles...okay, please don't do bobbles. The world has enough bobbles already.
For those of you who are more visual or auditory learners, here's a nice video off YouTube.
And you can use any sock pattern, but for the more advanced, here's the next one I want to try. It's the Magic Loop sock pattern from Knitpicks. Free download! Hooray!
Thoughts? Questions? Tips from the gallery? And hey, Allison - did that help??