Thursday, 9 October 2008


Over the last three Saturdays I have been teaching a beginners' sock class at IKnit. I really enjoy these classes as it gives me the chance to really get to know the students and to spend several hours rabbiting on about one of my favourite subjects - socks! This class was no exception,Andy, Veronika and Jennifer were a pleasure to spend time with. I hope that they came away from the class sharing a bit of the sock love!

As a conscientious teacher I made sure that I had plenty of examples to share so there has been a lot of vanilla sock knitting going on chez Yarn Archive HQ recently. Here is my class sock, knitted in Austermann Step. Infused with aloe vera apparently. We used Brittany birch needles which up until now I haven't been particularly keen on due to my capacity for snapping them. I'm pleased to see that Brittany have made a couple of improvements by adding a sixth needle to the pack and not stamping the size on the middle of the needle so as not to weaken them. I had no trouble at all knitting this sock with them.

I also worked on a sock in parallel in case anyone struggled with their 'homework' and needed a spare sock to work on in class. These are in Koigu which, I have to admit feels so nice to knit with I galloped away and finished them in double quick time.

I was also asked to demonstrate the magic loop method of sock knitting so I am working on this one in Yarn Yard merino which is knitting up very nicely. I still can't work out how people feel that this is a faster method than working with dpns - all the pushing and pulling of needles seems to take me twice as long.I also seem to get much more noticeable ladder at the point where the stitches are divided - anyone got any advice?

Last Saturday, once class was over there was much excitement at Iknit when Erika Knight paid us a visit and gave a very interesting talk about her design influences and to launch her new book 'Men's Knits'. She also brought along the original jumpers which really brought the collection to life.
She is very friendly and approachable such that I forgot my normal reserve and after she had admired my new entrelac scarf lured her and her lovely expert knitter into the basement teaching room to discuss the joy of socks. She very graciously inscribed my book thus:

I can see myself knitting several patterns in this book and how could I resist when they are modelled like this by our lovely IKnit proprietors!

and Gerard.

Finally, I am making up for my deficiency in the previous post by showing you the Shetland roving in its unspun state. It's intriguing isn't it?

And here's a little pink predrafting.

Have you?


Malin said...

I think the ladders may be caused by a too short or a too inflexible circular needle. Then the stitches can be pulled apart and form ladders. I use KnitPicks 80 cm needles for magic loop socks, but my Addis are not as flexible so I need a 100 cm needle with those.

And of course be careful to tighten the first one or two stitches on the needle a little extra, just as with dpn's.

Hope this helps!

Malin said...

And, no I haven't :-/ But I'm still nursing so everything's a bit lumpy bumpy anyway and changes all the time. Or do you have any checking-while-still-nursing tips?

ambermoggie said...

I suppose some of it is that we all knit differently? I find magic loop much quicker and far easier on my arthritic hands. I do use the knitpicks harmony circulars though and I think they have 80cm cable. It is very flexible and easier to manouver

Auntie Noo said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that doesn't "get" magic loop, but then life would be so dull dahhling if we all liked the same stuff wouldn't it! :)

And Yes I Have! ;)

kathryn said...

I use either Addi turbos or knitpicks circs, always 80cm long and I prefer the metal for almost all yarn finding the pretty harmonies just too "grabby". The knitpicks are sharper and have a more flexible cord. Both Addi and KP have the smoothness you need to make the "pushing and pulling" easy.

Sometimes the ladders are caused by over tightening the first st and then the ladder will in fact be between the first and second stitch...

After the divide make sure that the previous stitch (at the end of the last half of the round) is close to the first stitch by making sure you've pulled just enough of the cord through. You want the stitches as close as they would be if there was no divide and that soon becomes second nature.
Otherwise I think it's just what you get used to.

Hope that's helpful!

janey said...

My 2.5mm circular is the only circular I have that isn't addi but is a bog standard prym set! However I find magic loop much better than dpns I don't lose any sts when I put the work down. I always pull fairly tightly when I change needle to avoid the ladder thing going on, I know they tell you not to but I don't find it a prob.