Fat Knitting Superhero, disguised as Mild Mannered Yarn Shop Employee.

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Post-Holiday laziness

I haven’t forgotten you, dear blog, just been busy with Thanksgiving and enjoying some post-Thanksgiving sloth. 

I have gotten several new crocheted birdies done.  I’m so addicted to these!

Anyway, tomorrow, the top-down sock series will continue, with heels!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Would you like a way to cook your turkey quickly, leaving more time for knitting on the holiday?  Try this!

And Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!

A Cure for Tired Brains

It’s been a long day!  It started with almost 4 hours at Yarnivore getting everything ready for the big sale that starts on Black Friday (lots of really FANTASTIC yarns will be on sale at 20% off!).  Then I came home and have been working my BRAIN typing up a fantastic new sock pattern!  I’m really excited about this one, but I’m keeping it SECRET for now.

Anyway, after all this, my brain is tired.  Very tired.  Wiped out.  Fortunately, Wren Ross has a cure.

The cure?  Her delightful CD, Wren Ross’s Greatest Knits.

I have a weakness for the silly and sweet and this CD is both.  It has everything from a very bluesy Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, to a sentimental tear-jerker about a sister who spins and weaves, to a sad spoof of Greensleeves that addresses all our fears about fit.  It even has an adorable parody of 76 Trombones, made into an actual, workable pattern for a basic knitted hat!

It’s just the balm I need to soothe and relieve my tired brain!  Get a bit of brain-cure yourself, with this free (shortened) mp3 version of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.

Off I go to slip the disc into the machine (and perhaps to order a copy for my giftee at our local knitting groups’ Secret Santa).

Today’s post…

…isn’t really a post.  It’s a statement that my back frickin’ HURTS and I want it stop and I’m cranky.

I’m going to go self-soothe by knitting crocheting birdies from the most awesome Linda Permann‘s book Little Crochet to use as gift Christmas ornaments.  Darned things are supremely addictive – I knitted crocheted 2 of ’em so far today, using Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn, like she did for hers.  I do need more beads, though, as I haven’t anything appropriate.  Which means I have to go bead shopping before Christmas.  DARN!  (HEH)

Crappy Cell Phone Pic because my back hurts too much to go search for the camera

Top-Down Socks – Leg

Now that you’ve cast on, and presumable done a bit of ribbing for the cuff, you have a choice.  Either continue with ribbing all the way down the leg, or just do an inch  or so of ribbing and finish the leg in some other stitch pattern.  Your choice!

The only thing you want to remember is not to make the leg too long.  It can be as short as you like, but calf anatomy limits the leg.  Basically, you don’t want the leg to be long enough to need calf shaping, unless you plan to go all the way to the knee, in which case, it’s technically a stocking, not a sock.  Just make sure that your sock-leg won’t go higher than the base of the gastrocnemius muscle (aka calf muscle – but gastrocnemius is fun to say).  For most legs, that means about 8 inches max – maybe 9 inches for a tall guy or 6 for a small woman.

Anyhoo, just make the leg as long as you want it!  Easy!

Top-Down Socks – Cast-on (part 2)

A sock needs a VERY STRETCHY cast-on (unless you want a sock that cuts off your circulation).  You can try to do a long-tail cast-on loosely enough that it will work, or you can do other tricks, like casting on 50% more stitches than you need and then decreasing them away in the first round.  OR – you can just do a cast-on that is inherently more stretchy.

My favorite stretchy cast on for socks (and hats and gloves and anything else that needs a LOT of stretch) is the Twisted German cast-on, also sometimes called the Twisted Norwegian cast-on, or as my friend and former boss Melanie called it, the Twisted Drunken Crazy German cast-on.

So, without further adieu, here ’tis!  The second video shows how to join stitches to knit in the round and conceal the jog at the beginning of the round.  ENJOY!

Top-Down Socks – Cast-on (part 1)

It’s finally time!  Hooray!

First, a small bit of math to figure out how many to cast on.  First, look at the ankle and foot circumference measurements.  If they are within ½ inch of one another, we’ll use the smaller of the two.  Socks need “negative ease“, so we don’t want the bigger number unless it’s a LOT bigger.  If the difference between ankle and foot circumference is greater than ½ inch, use the ankle measurement alone.  Take that number and multiply it by 0.9 (to get the negative ease), then multiply that by your stitch gauge (stitches/inch).  Round the results it to the nearest whole number.

Ankle or foot measurement (whichever is smaller)___________ x ___________ sts/in ≈ ___________ sts for cuff

If you’re lucky, this number is exactly what you need for your stitch pattern to work out.   Say you want to do k2p2 ribbing for the cuff and your math gave you a number divisible by 4 – that’s LUCK!!  Most likely, it’s not.  So, round it again.  In most cases, you want to round down to the necessary number of stitches, but if the stitch is particularly inflexible, you may need to round up.

Tomorrow: techniques for casting on

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