Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Knitting Socks...

After knitting that very first pair of socks (during which I discovered that nifty make-two-at-the-same-time doubleknitting thing), I had to cast on for the second pair of socks.

You can guess what I did, right?

That's quite at the start...

... and that is the same setup with the second sock toe pulled out of the first.

I now actually knit like that, with both socks hanging from the needles, one to the left and one to the right; I find it much easier that way. In addition, it's also easier to see if there's a crossover that connects both socks.

However, my technique is not exactly the same as the one described in Knitty.  Instead, I knit mirror-image: One sock (the "back" sock) is knit with regular knit and purl stitches, the other sock (the "front" sock) is done with mirror-image stitches - a purl-like stitch as "knit" stitch and a knit-like stitch as "purl" stitch. I always work the "back" sock first and think of the back and front stitch as one pair, inseparable - except by disaster, of course. (I'd give you a video of that, but the camera that can do videos is still packed somewhere.) This approach means I have less shifting around of threads for knit stitches, the front sock thread stays in front and the back sock thread stays in back. That makes it much, much faster to work, and less easy to do a cross-over (I had about three up to now). Purl stitches are a bit awkward at first, and I'm still working on proper tension for the purls, but I think that will come with practice.
This approach also adds a healthy dash of suspense to a sock project, especially a toe-up sock project, because since the outsides of the socks lie on the inside of the double tube, and since the socks are closed at the toe... you can't see how your sock pattern looks from the right side. There you are, instant suspense! And as an added benefit, this means you will learn how to read how a pattern looks from the wrong side. (Or you could be a sissy and only do cuff-down socks in this technique so that you can peek inside the open tubes at any time...)

I have progressed quite a bit already, so the socks are now almost at the heel.

It's a basic toe-up pattern with a short-row toe, mostly stockinette. There's a very simple rib pattern starting to come in (after all I have to practice purl stitches too), and I'm already looking forward to the heel. Initially, I wanted to do some mini-cables, but that did not work out so well, so I ripped back (good thing, learning to rip back with two socks at once) and decided to go with the ribbing only. I had to change to smaller needles because it turned out after the first few rows that I knit more loosely with this technique, probably due to the extra loops inbetween each sock's loops. That makes me wonder a bit if I will be able to get needles thin enough for smaller stitches - these are already 2 mm only. It really is fun, though, and I will definitely go for some more socks in this weird technique!


Anonymous said...

Wow. You sure know how to set yourself a challenge. Most people I know think of knitting a plain heel as much too difficult and you start with a project like this strait away. You make me look like a starter. I'm only knitting "Outside In" from last summer's Knitty. The afterthought heel seemed like a nice thing to practise this time.

PS. Did you see Sarah's PDF about her lecture?

a stitch in time said...

Well, I did a pair of proper one-at-the-time stockinette socks first, so it's not really straight away. And I'm sure you don't look like a starter in comparison - I'm still knitting quite slowly, have to look closely at each stitch and do make the worst possible mistake when double-socking (swapping the threads of Sock #1 and #2) occasionally... which has led to another major rip-back, so I'm again about where I was in that second picture. So I'm looking forward to the heel again!