Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The one where Debbie recommends a book...

One C and two M's, right? I think that's right; recommends is one of those words that always makes me double-check myself.

Quite a while back, how ever long ago it was that Michael's would let us use their 40% coupons for books, I bought a book about two-at-a-time sock knitting. I didn't get around to trying it, but I did finally get around to trying my hand at sock knitting. After a little group lesson, I made a couple pairs with the double-pointed needles, but I could always tell 'em apart. What I like about the idea of two-at-a-time is that they're more precisely alike because they're made at the same time, instead of making the second one while trying to guess how many rows that was by looking closely at the first one.

I really have come along way though; years ago, the first time I read mention of "double pointed needles," I thought they'd have two points for the business end and a knob at the top like regular needles, ya know, a fork would be like a quadruple-pointed needle. Yeah, that's how my brain worked that out.

So... Along with my grocery bag knitting habit, and after a few pairs of socks; the toddler-size pair from the class, a pair for me, and a pair for my Mom, and a rockin' pair of "Ocean" mittens, I have no problem with the double pointed needles. My Mom's socks are made with real-deal sock yarn in leafy fall colors and she loves 'em. My very first pair of grown-up-size socks are sport-weight acrylic yarn, and the colorway reminds me of strawberry Tootsie Roll pops; but the acrylic yarn is super-duper-hot-hot-hot on my feet. I tried to wear them with regular sneakers and I about burned up; but with these socks, I can wear my Birkenstocks in the cold, so that's how I show 'em off.

Distracted (as I often am), I moved away from knitting socks for a little while. Then, my aunt gave me a copy of Melissa Morgan Oakes' "Toe-Up 2-At-A-Time Socks." It took me way too long to get around to trying it out, partly because the cast-on had me confused. Trying to read and imagine wasn't working for me, but once I got out some needles and yarn so I could read and try it, it was a lot easier than I'd ever thought it would be.

I'm about halfway through the ribbing at the top of my first pair, so the finish line is well in sight. I really like the two-at-a-time part, because knitting a round on one sock and then a round on the other just the same really does make them honestly match; the shaping is the same so the fit is the same for both feet. My two balls of yarn must have been different dye lots though, 'cause my colors don't completely line up. I'm guessing I bought those without checking the dye lot numbers because I figured they'd be close enough since the yarns don't touch each other like they would in a scarf or sweater. Whups. I'm telling myself that's okay though.

My other favorite thing about the two-at-a-time toe-up socks is this: No picking up stitches, and no kitchener stitch! Since they start at the toes, the part that requires Kitchener stitching is already done at the very beginning. And the picking up is eliminated, there are just increases and decreases. My picking up stitches just never has looked right, and my Kitchener stitch was such a mess that every time I tried it, I ended up flipping the socks (and the mittens) inside-out and doing a three needle bind off instead. It works quite well and looks just fine; the only tricky part is the flipping inside-out, because you have to make sure no stitches slip off the needles.

Oh, and that "ugh" feeling of having to start the second sock is gone... For me at the moment, it's been replaced by this overwhelming urge to start another pair with that stunning ball of yarn I got at Mayfest.