Monday, May 24, 2010

A Blast from the Past

Towards the end of winter, my sister sent me back a pair of socks I had knit her. I was shocked when I opened the package. Not because they were in such pristine shape - I already knew that she'd never been able to get them on, so they were completely unworn. But they had to be among the first pairs of socks I ever knit.

I do things so differently now!

Let's start with that pointy little toe, since these are toe-up socks. I believe the original had you cast four stitches onto a straight needle, knit in the front and back of each stitch, then slide the whole thing off the needle, where it opened up neatly into two halves, which you then slid onto two double-pointed needles. You knit the first two stitches onto a third needle, and there you were, ready to start your toe increases. Although I deeply loved the magic of sliding those stitches off and watching them open up, these days I use a magic-8 cast-on of 20 stitches, resulting in a much blunter toe.

And nowadays finding "European" sets of double-pointed needles, with five to the set instead of four, means that my socks rest on four needles in a square, rather than three needles in a triangle. Yes, I know about magic loop and the wonders of two circular needles. I've made progress, but I'm still old-fashioned.

Then there's that heel, which, although simple to execute, makes a much narrower opening for the foot than a nice gusseted wrap&turn heel. I use Wendy's, because she's done the math for different yarn weights and foot sizes.

Although the mock cable ribbing was pretty, I tend toward the practical elasticity of a 2x2 rib these days.

Finally, and from my sister's point of view the most important thing, I have learned the miracle of Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn cast-off when it comes to the top of toe-up socks. Unlike my first attempt (where I believe I confidently cast off using a needle two sizes bigger), these are wearable.

Now I'd better re-knit the other one and get them back on their way!


  1. Hey, those look like the ones I made for Jennifer for Xmas some years back. Is it possible they are all my mistakes? *laugh*

  2. Hi Socks! We're pretty excited to see you. You are rather photogenic! Hope you're enjoying your visit to the place of your birth. Looking forward to seeing you again! Love, Feet.