Thursday, May 10, 2007

Toe up

I'm trying to be a dedicated sock knitter.

It is my goal to try everything and anything, to make certain that I have mastered the art of the knitted sock. I want to be able to pick up any pattern at any time and knit it; I want to take whatever tools are at my disposal and use them, no matter if they are double pointed needles, circular needles, or herbs and a spell book.

I've read Cat Bordhi's books on the circular needle fad, I've tried that. I'm not a fan. But that's okay! I can forgive myself for my lack of enthusiasm there, the reason is simple. I want to recapture with knitting what has been lost in our Wal-mart culture. I honestly believe that we shouldn't take for granted the fact that we can run out and buy socks five for a dollar, I want to understand that there was effort put into their construction, that someone worked to give me these socks.

I also want to be able to remember, every time I pick up my yarn, the fact that my grandmother knitted socks for her whole family doing the exact same thing I am doing right now. She turned the heels. That was her thing. No one else in the family could turn heels as well as Gran. Although she died before she had the chance to see me knit a sock, turn a heel, graft a toe, I know she would have been proud. The torch was passed. Honestly, that history alone makes me incapable of giving up my DPNs.

As I flipped through the new IK, I read an article on toe up socks, where instead of starting with the leg, turning the heel, knitting the foot, and grafting the toe, you cast on, knit the foot, the heel, the leg, then cast off.

How freaky is that?

My first thought was that this idea would just be wrong. Then I thought it would look ugly. Then, I decided it had to be done.

I cast on. I made myself a toe. I turned the heel, I worked up the leg. Let me tell you what: it looks exactly the same.

But still, I am not a fan. I am a traditionalist. I have the way I make socks, and that is not going to change barring the advent of new, sturdy, non-warping wooden DPNs that won't stab me when I trip and fall on them and still is sharp enough to do lacework.

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