It's All About Technique

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The Olympics are over and my socks were done in time, so I can happily say I earned my gold medal. I also learned a few things in the process. First, row height is not tied to stitch height. So just because your stitches are tighter doesn't mean they'll also be shorter. As such, though my socks are done, I'm not sure I'll wear them again as they are too long. Perhaps one of these days I'll go in and snip them and take out a repeat and then graft them back together, but at this point I'm done with them. The shininess has worn off and frankly I'm tired of socks.

Which brings me around to the entry title. Decidedly pleased with the speed in which I finished my Olympic socks, even with the setbacks, I realized the reason that the first pair of socks I tried to make was languishing in my knitting bag was that I hate doing socks on circs. I don't like magic loop and I don't like 2 circs. I find all the fiddling with the cord to be annoying. Constantly sliding the socks on and off the needles is just a bother. I did my Olympic socks one at a time on DPNs and had no problems finishing them. So, to test my theory that it was technique and not just the Olympic deadline spurring me on, I took one sock off the two circs and put it on my trusty DPNs. I finished off that sock in no time flat.

I used a 1x1 rib and a sewn cast off I found online and did not like it one bit. So I put the next sock on my DPNs, finished it right off, and tried a 2x2 rib and a regular cast off. That looked much better to me, so I ripped out the ribbing on the first sock, made it look like the second sock, and called it a day. I now know that I will never use circs for socks again. This pair was made using magic loop, then 2 circs and lastly DPNs and the last experience was by far the best for me.

So when we add the two pairs of socks, the at long last blocked Christmas gift and the finished bear scarf to the list of FOs I've got 9 FOs for the year. Not too shabby. It would seem I'm averaging about 1 a week, though to be fair most of the undertakings this year have been small items. I've got 2 items in the never going to be finished though they should be bag (yes that would be Mariah and the giant toddler sweater) and I've got 4 other items actively on the needles.

At long last I picked up that wavy blue Handmaiden scarf and started work on it again. Man, do I love that yarn and that color way. I'm still on the fence with the pattern, but since I can't come up with a better one I'm keeping it. Grant's poor sweater had to be ripped yet another time (this is the 4th cast on now folks), so it's about all of an inch tall. For some odd reason, though I measured my gauge correctly for once, and it came out the same size as one of his sweaters that he really likes the fit on, when he tried the strip on it was huge on him. We're talking a good 4 inches too big. So it's now smaller and slowly growing again. Project 3 is a Katia sweater for me. It's the one in the Knitty ad. I really liked it in the picture, so I cast on right away when the yarn arrived, but after 2 inches up the back I felt guilty, since Grant's sweater really ought to take priority, so I've set it aside. It will be my travel project (since his sweater is my home project) just as soon as the blue scarf and project 4 are done. Project 4 shall be a mystery for a while, as it is not for me, but I'll tell you all about it when I'm done.

I bought a set of Addi Turbos at long last to see what the hype was all about. I've got to say that I like them. I don't love them, and I'm not looking to replace my entire needle collection with them, but I do like them. The one area they truly excel in, however, is the ease with which the stitches come onto the back of the needle from the wire. No pushing or tugging required. What I don't like is the slipperiness that makes them so fast and so popular. I grip my knitting much harder as I feel the stitches are all just going to fall right off. I like the grabbiness of wood and bamboo for exactly that reason, I feel like the stitches will stay in place until I need them. So I'd say if I had to craft my own ideal needle I'd take the back third of the Turbos and connect it to a pair of wooden tips for the front two-thirds. I've tried the Addi Natura line (which is their wooden line) and no, they did not use the same wonderful connection as with the Turbos, which is a shame. All in all, good needles, and I may buy another set if the wooden ones in the size I need happen to be out of stock.

If this horrid rain would ever go away and give us a sunny weekend I'd get some good pictures posted. My poor 2006 FO gallery is currently empty thanks to this rain. Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day!



spinnity said:

On Addi's: I just put up with the slipperiness of the needle tips, because I love the joins so much. I am about ready to drop kick a bunch of my old bamboo circs which do not glide from the wire onto the needle tips.

On 2 socks/2circs - It's not the technique I love.. it's the finishing. I'm so interested in solving the problem of how something is knit. Once I finish the first sock, I know how the story ends, so I drift away. But I do enjoy working with DPNs and as Nancy Bush says - when working with DPNs, you can feel conneted to knitters back to the 13th century!

Good luck with the Grant sweater. I find men's sweaters in the round are nearly a nemesis project for me, so I am beaming positive energy your way!

Rebecca said:

Funny, when I was doing my socks on dpns, everyone in my Stitches classes assumed that I was miserable, and why didn't I do 2 socks, 2 circs? I kept explaining that I was quite happy since I don't hate dpns with a passion the way some people do! I will try the 2 circs method eventually.

I just got my first Addi circular, and I've got a 250-stitch sweater on it right now. The hugest hassle is that my plastic tip protectors simply won't stay on the metal tips, and therefore I have to be *very* careful with this project so that everything doesn't slide off the ends as soon as I set it down! I can't just throw it in my knitting bag; it has to be left in a careful pile on the coffee table. But I do like the speed I attain as I'm knitting.

CatherineG said:

I too bought my first pair of Addi Turbos (size 9 16" circs) and they are...okay. I used them to make a beanie out of Misti Alpaca, because working with that yarn on bamboo needles was a bitch and a half. The Addis were much kinder to the yarn, but I also had a death grip on my work in progress out of fear of everything slipping off the needles!

I'm going to post about this on my blog, but, uh, you read it here first! ;)

Christina said:

Congrats on 9 FOs for the year! I've never tried socks on circs, so no comment on that. And I agree with you on the pros/cons of Addis and bamboo/wood.

~ Christina

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This page contains a single entry by published on March 7, 2006 10:57 AM.

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