Monday, November 23, 2009

Insouciant Sock Knitters

When life impedes knitting I like to at least think about what I wish I was working on, and often reading books by *Knitting Heroes™ helps inspire my thought process. My most recent book acquisition in this vein is Cat Bordhi's "Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters" which I am thoroughly impressed with. I have the first in this series as well ("New Pathways For Sock Knitters") which I enjoyed, but was not the *Tome of Knowledge™ which this second volume is. I am fairly passionate about toe-up socks, but until recently they were somewhat the pariah of the sock knitting world (or so it seemed, vs. "traditional" cuff down socks) with sock gurus such as Charlene Schurch suggesting that knitters who preferred toe-up must not be very good at grafting, and other derogatory nonsense like that. ("but short row heels are inferior", etc, etc...) It seems that finally many knitters are becoming aware of the benefits to knitting socks toe-up, and accepting that it is simply a choice in the manner of execution and design of your sock.

The shaping options and trying on for fit as you knit, and myriad interesting cast-ons, as well as (possibly the most compelling for me, though I know not exactly why, pure thrift?) being able to knit until you reach the end of your yarn, and not being left with scraps of sock yarn (much harder to use up than worsted) or, (thrill of terror) running out before coming to the end of the piece are for me quite compelling reasons to prefer this method, in spite of being quite good at grafting and even finding it a very satisfying technique in and of itself. (You may choose to employ it in the heel of Cat Bordhi's new "footprint" sock plan, so there!)

I particularly like the shaping options laid out in this book.  (excuse me while I go see what the shrieking is about, surely one of the children has fallen and fractured something...

aha, no, actually it was just a case of the oldest not sharing with the youngest. not at all an example of my entire daily existence... no. not at all. must make a mug of calming tea. right. now.)

One can play around with increases strategically placed to create a perfectly anatomical and snug foot, as well as a comfortable cuff and heel. Plus, (thrift rearing it's head again?) this makes re-knitting toes and heels a total breeze! (why is that possibility so thrilling to me?)

I actually found the links to the youtube videos from Cat before I realized the book had come out, and the demonstration of the toe was enough for me to use some valuable amazon funds to order immediately. The page with videos of various needles used for Judy's Magic Cast-On and toe shaping is available here.

Of course I made cardboard cutout footprints for everyone in the household immediately, and have knit one and a half pairs of children's "footprints", and will finish them...eventually. So far I like the toe quite a lot, and am looking forward to trying a pair on myself, and I am anxious to fiddle with heel shaping. I am pondering a top down cap applying this toe shaping right now, though I have to keep shoving it farther to the back of my mind as I am in the middle of too many projects to manage as it is right now. I think it may be a worthy endeavor to get everyone in the extended family who might from time to time receive knitted gifts to send me a tracing of their foot before next Christmas... Just a thought.

*Knitting Heroes™ = Elizabeth Zimmerman, Meg Swansen, Barbara Walker, Sidna Farley (apparently, though I am not actually very familiar with her own writing), Cat Bordhi, and others who inspire fearless knitting and elegant technique by their own designs and or writing. I think we should have little figurines or stickers (like the She-Ra Princess of Power™ colorforms I had as a small child...) to keep in knitting corners like talismans or baseball cards...

*Tomes of Knowledge™ include but are not limited to: Knitting Without Tears, Knitting Workshop, Knitting Around, Knitting from the Top, all 4 Knitting Treasuries, Fair Isle Knitting, and, in another genre, but not less important, The River Cottage Meat Book, Les Halles, Soup, and others...

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