Thursday, July 12, 2007


Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

In more than one way, I am cramming today. First -- our blog -- lots to cram into today's post. Second -- my class -- our first test is Monday, after having ten lectures in a week and a half. I find the material extremely interesting, so at least I don't mind the work too much...though it **is** a lot of material in a short time. Two weeks completed. Four weeks to go (which, by the way, means only four weeks until we go to Stitches Midwest)...

Your socks look so great, and WOW -- done with three weeks remaining before the deadline? I think your "setting goals" is paying off! Will you miss the feeling of panic as the deadline approaches? And your mailbox is certainly much more interesting than mine these days...unless you call "Highlights" magazine interesting. I guess my kids love it, so that's something...

Thank you all for the kind comments regarding our tie-dyed shirts. For those of you interested, here is a mini-tutorial of how you might go about getting a heart in the middle of a tie-dyed shirt. I will use a paper towel for illustration purposes. Pretend the paper towel has a double layer, just like a tee shirt does when you lay it flat on a table. First, fold it in half along its vertical centerline. Then, using a water soluble pen, or a pencil (lightly), draw half of a heart as shown in the photo (except I used a marker -- don't use a marker on your shirt!). Then, the object of this game is to get a rubberband to cinch the fabric along the line just drawn. To do this, start at the top of the heart and begin cinching the fabric... little by little... following the line, until you get to the other end of the line. Then, put a rubber band tightly around the cinched area, directly over the line. If you like, you may put additional rubber bands farther out from the center area to give more of a sunburst effect. Tie dye following directions for your dye, and voila' -- a heart in the center! (I used some food coloring for my paper towel....and if you squint, you may see the white heart in the photo below...but really, an absorbent paper towel really works hard to pull the water under the rubberband, so perhaps an absorbent paper towel is not the best material for tie-dying.....)Okay, now some sock talk. Debi was most insistent that I try her tutorial for the Turkish cast on for toe-up socks. She also suggested that I could do this with only one circular needle, holding both ends of the needle in the same hand and having both ends pointing the same direction, then follow her directions for sliding the needles through the stitches, etc. It sounds complicated as I say it here. It isn't!!!!! In fact, in *The Ultimate Toe-up Sock" pattern which I am compiling as I am trying out various toe-up methods (and which will only include my final favorite method for each stage of sock construction), Debi's version of casting on the toe is going to be the waste yarn is required, it can be done with only one needle (which does not include anything with crochet hooks) and then knitting may proceed with the magic loop method for the rest of the sock. Yes, you heard me right -- the magic loop. I've so far seen no need to learn how to do that, but after using Debi's tutorial, I am actually able to visualize just how the magic loop works, and the thought of a toe-up sock without any special tools required is very appealing to me. For now, however, I'm finishing this sock using the dpn's I started with. It is the Embossed Leaves pattern from Favorite Socks, except I used the cast-on I just described, so I'm making it toe-up, then started knitting the lace pattern (which I changed to only be 15 stitches wide instead of 16, so there are only two stitches of reverse stockinette between each column of leaves). I didn't turn my chart upside down, though, because when I turned my book upside down, I decided that I liked the look of the leaves "growing up" instead of "growing down" these socks will have the pattern topsy turvy compared to the photo in the book. In any case, I think it is a lovely pattern!

Anyway, for the record, here is "The Ultimate Sock Pattern" so far:

Cast on using Turkish Cast-On and one 40" circular needle, size US2.

Make the toe -- increase increments yet to be refined --may be every other row -- may be every row until 32 stitches, then switch to every other row -- until 60 stitches are on needles.

Knit until length is two inches less than desired finished length.

Make the heel -- yet to be determined -- trying to decide between short row vs yarnover method.

Knit leg until it is the desired length.

Bind off: *Purl two together. Return this new stitch loosely to left needle.* Repeat between ** until all stitches are bound off. I like this bind off IMMENSELY -- it looks really nice, it doesn't require any hand sewing (except for weaving in the end), and most importantly, it forms a very elastic (but not sloppy) edge.

Since I am totally late to this toe-up party, I think that many of you are way ahead of me on this process of having a favorite way to make a toe-up sock. I'm slow that way sometimes, and change is difficult :-)

Anyway, I'd better run. More soon!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)


Cindy G said...

Tie dye magic!!! Thanks for the tutorial. Those socks are going to be lovely, and I'm going to look at the info for the cast on, becasue even though I'm an absolutely confirmed top-downer, it's time for this old dog to learn some new tricks.

Debi said...


MollyBeees said...

Thanks for the great tye dye tip! I was wondering how you did that. I will have the prettiest paper towers in town! :-). Love the sock too. I will HAVE to try toe up someday soon!

Sus said...

Now that I'm into my second pair of socks (!) I'm becoming excited to try new sock-y things! Thanks for your opinions and ultimate pattern-building!!

Good luck with your class!

allisonmariecat said...

I shall file your tie-dye tutorial under "things to do with Lilah when she's older"!

Lovely sock, and you have me wanting to learn not only toe-up, but magic loop as well. Sigh. You'd better put up a tutorial on that, too :)

Lee Ann said...

Yay! Thanks for the tutorial! My daughter will love this.