Thursday, February 7, 2008
Boot Camp For Socks, Contest and Yipeeee!
Mermaid Mitts - Made with Araucania Ranco using an Italian Tubular Cast-On on the cuff edge, with a sewn Kitchener BO on the finger edge. Click on photo to enlarge it and see detail.
Well, right now I am supposed to be getting ready for my day at work, and especially to take part in the Boot Camp For Socks that Kiwi is putting on over the next three days - today, Friday and Saturday. In conjunction with Southwest Trading Company - which will be holding a trunk show at the shop - the teachers you know and love at Kiwi will be teaching various sock techniques in a round-robin manner - come when you want to during the Boot Camp hours, and learn whichever techniques you choose.
Today the camp is going on from 1-3 pm, and is entitled Beginnings. Techniques will include DPNs, 2 circs & magic loop needle set-ups and two socks at one time. It would also include me teaching my favorite tubular cast-on, but unfortunately on Monday I sat in a Dr.'s office waiting room two chairs down from a woman who seemed to have a cold, and guess what? Now I have one, too!
Friday's camp is from 10-12 and will is called, Heels. It will include regular heels and reinforced heels, but not me teaching short-row and afterthought heels.
Saturday's camp, Toes, is from 1-3 pm and will include regular toes, Kitchener stitch grafting, but not me teaching toe-up cast-on's.
So I thought this morning I would talk about my favorite tubular cast-on from the warmth and comfort of my home, and then you won't even notice that my hair looks like an explosion took place on my head, that my nose looks like a buoy light, or that liquids are flowing freely from various openings in my head. Or catch my cold.
The Italian Tubular Cast-on is by far the easiest tubular cast-on I have ever used. I love the look of tubular cast-on's because they make the knitting seem to wrap around the edge of the garment - knit sts travel up over the rounded edge to transform into purl sts on the inside. I used to live in dread of using the other TCOs because they are so darned fiddly to do, and all the "Do this with waste yarn for X number of rows, and then switch to your working yarn, and do Y for this number of rows, and then stand on your left heel and spin around 3 times, and only then will this work."
Like most other TCOs, the ITCO works only for 1x1 rib, but if you think about it, that shows up more often than you think in socks, hats, and sweater ribbing. Perfect time to whip out the ITCO. The chief advantage of the ITCO being that there is no waste yarn used, and with three simple steps you are done and on your way. It looks great paired with a sewn Kitchener BO, and I am a fiend for matching COs and BOs.
Step One - I prefer to do this with a single DPN, casting all sts onto this one needle and working the two set-up rows on a pair of DPNs until I am ready to work it onto the needle(s) of choice with the third row. If I am going to be working in the round, I always cast on one more st than specified in the pattern, to be used for joining in the round later.
Get a long tail such as you would use in a Long-Tail Cast-on. Work with the tail held in your right hand as though you are going to knit, and the working yarn held in your left hand as though ready to knit. Don't worry - you won't be knitting with both hands, just doing the CO with both hands. Have about 4-6 inches of yarn separating your two hands, and the yarn laying under your needle. I hold my needle in my Left hand. You will alternate with your two hands, first left, then right, and each hand has a specific task. Left hand ALWAYS just passes the yarn over the needle from left to right and comes back to the starting position. Right hand moves after left hand, and stays under the needle at all times. It just goes back and forth like the hand on a metronome, from right to left, then from left to right, underneath the needle.
SO - Left hand passes the yarn over top of the needle from left to right, comes under the needle and ends up back on the left side. Right hand sweeps under the needle from right to left, and waits there. Left thumb holds the new stitch, and left hand moves over the needle from left to right (see, it always makes the same movement, Lefty does) and passes under the needle back to it's starting position. Right hand sweeps under the needle, now moving from left, over to right, back where it started. Keep repeating the above steps for the number of sts you need, and trust me, it is easier to count as you go.
Step Two - All of your sts are cast-on, and holding that last cross of the right yarn in place, begin to work your first row by *K1, sl 1 wyif*. Repeat across all of your CO sts, ending with a sl 1 wyif if you have an even # of sts, or a K1 if you have cast on an odd # of sts.
Turn, and with an even # of sts you will work this row just the same as the previous row starting with a K1. Or if you have an odd # of sts, you will start the row with sl 1 wyif, and then work the rest of the row as above.
Step Three - Begin working your 1x1 rib, working the sts onto your working needles, and if you are joining to work in the round, I do this by working the last st of this row in a K2tog with the first st of the row to join the circle. After your work a row of the K1, P1 rib, take the dangling tail of the right hand yarn and stretching the very edge of your cast-on, see where the tail yarn runs freely and loosely through your edge. Pull it out of the edge of all the sts. I then work it with my working yarn for about 8 sts, and cut off about a 1/2 inch from the knitting, and Voila! Your end is already worked in.
Step Four - Knit on, sister.
There is a great visual tutorial here. She holds the needle between her knees to do the CO but I found this close to impossible for myself. It is far easier to just hold it in your hand.
Contest... Last week when I went into the shop and looked at our latest newsletter, I realized that I made a HUGE typo in the Tips From the (ha!) Expert. The first person to spot it and reply in the comments here wins a free copy of their choice of one of my patterns. Next week I'll tell you what that mistake was, and why it should be the way it should be.
Yipeeee! And after too long an absence, our beloved Marianne is back in the shop starting today. Welcome back, Marianne, you have been dearly missed.
Have fun at the Boot Camp this weekend!