It’s been a busy month for me personally so again it will be a shorter Newsletter—apologies.
With things beginning to open again I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, we might be able to meet in person in September, even if we have to wear masks. I’ll be contacting the school after Easter to see if we can at least book a room provisionally. I’ll also begin to think about a programme too, so if you have any suggestions then please let me know. I did think however that the first couple of meetings at least might be knit and natter as I am sure we have lots to chat about! We will try and keep it to knitting, crochet and yarn related subjects if possible, otherwise we’ll need more than just a couple of evenings!
Socks (part 2)
How are you getting on with your socks? Have you started yet, or just got things ready to have a go. Where do you start?
Toe up, cuff down or TAAT?
Ok toe up, and cuff down are self explanatory, but I hear many of you asking what TAAT is. Two At A Time! Some people lose interest when it comes to knitting the second sock, or they want them to be finished together, so they prefer to knit both at the same time. It also means that both socks should be exactly the same size. Back to Winwick Mum for a TAAT tutorial, or again look on YouTube.
What are the advantages of toe up? For a start there wouldn’t be a seam at the toe to chaff. Another advantage is that the cast off can be worked very loosely which might be important to you if, for example, you have a high instep. If you’re working toe up there are a number of different ways of casting on. Take a look at this method demonstrated by A Sockmatician.
This next video from Very Pink Knits shows a different method of starting a toe up sock, and also combines it with magic loop and TAAT knitting. This video is almost an hour long so you might want to watch it in stages. And of course if you do watch this other similar suggestions will be there so watch others for different ways of doing the same thing.
Cuff down is just as the name says. Knit from the open edge where you put your foot into the sock, down past the heel and to the toe where you cast off or kitchener stitch to close. If you’re not keen on the cast on methods for toe up, then this could be the way to go. With care, you can try on as you knit too. I also use this method if I’m not sure I will have enough yarn to complete the whole pair of socks as the cuffs, heel and toe can be knitted in a different sock yarn, especially now you can get plain colours to complement your chosen yarn. You could also weigh your yarn so you can use half for each sock and complete in a contrasting colour. The change of colour would be inside our shoe so nobody would see it!
Personally I need to use a size or two larger needle to cast on so that the cuff stretches enough to get it past my heel. If you don’t get the cast on loose enough it isn’t as easy to unpick and remake it as if you’d knitted toe up.
I have also heard of people starting at the heel and knitting up and down from there, but I need to explore that a bit more as it’s not something I’ve tried. Another method is sideways which again I haven’t tried yet. Look around the web and you’ll find all sorts of variations.
Types of heel:
There are more different ways to work a heel than you would ever think possible. The Curls and Q website is a good place to start. (They also have a page for toes with suggestions for both toe up and cuff down methods.) There are links to a number of sock patterns too including at least one for split toe socks for those that wear flip-flops. The Knitting Geek website has some good pictures which may explain the differences between the various styles of heel.
If all those options are a bit daunting for you, then take a look at the Chilly Dog site
One sock I have knitted with an afterthought heel and matching toe is a mini cable spiral sock It’s a free download pattern on Ravelry. I have used this pattern a number of times with and without the pattern on it. There are plenty of other afterthought patterns on Ravelry which can be accessed easily by searching in the patterns section for sock and afterthought heel.
If you’re knitting socks for a growing child you could consider knitting a tube sock. That’s one without a heel, so measure from toe over the heel and up the leg/calf. As the child’s feet grow the sock lowers the leg becomes shorter.
Socks can of course be knitted on a knitting machine as well as by hand, either flat or in the round. These days I tend to knit in the round starting and finishing on waste yarn and adding a marker row for where the heel is to come. Then finish the sock by hand. I’ll look back through the Newsletters and see if I’ve given any instructions for this before, and if not I’ll include it next time.
Let me know if you have any questions about or have any problems when knitting socks and I’ll try and answer them next time.
My Stay and Home and Keep Busy List/Chart
Well, this month I’ve only managed a little hand knitting and no crochet or machine knitting. But I have done a lot of sorting out, and not all of it from here. My papercrafts stash has gone up by at least 50%. The box of papercrafts surplus to requirements and requiring rehoming has also been filled to overflowing too. I’m not talking a small box either, but what is often described as a large moving box! I also have far more knitting needles than I will ever need, so if anyone knows someone who would like craft or needles do get in touch.
The little knitting that I have done has been to start a new project, but does use yarn from the stash. It’s a cardigan, size 6-9 months, in white DK acrylic. I get on fine on the straight bits whilst I’m watching the TV, but the raglan shaping also includes a bit of pattern. Whilst it is simple I do need to concentrate and count both rows and stitches, especially when it comes to knitting the second front and reversing the shaping! The scarf that I started last month is turning out a lot wider and chunkier than it looked in the picture, but I will continue with it for a while and instead of being a scarf it may end up as a cushion cover! I found one cushion pad left in my stash that should be just the right size!
I’m still looking out for a charity or other suitable fund raiser that would like to be the recipient of the things that I and others knit. The one that I offered them to some time ago would gladly receive the money but we would have to sell them ourselves. Others require specific items, but I like to knit what is calling out me and to try different techniques. I believe many of you also like to knit what you want and with yarns you have. I’m running out of space to keep what I’ve made so far so hopefully will find somewhere soon.
Browsing the World Wide WebKaren kindly sent me a link to a site she found and I think many of you will find it interesting. The website is called Arnall-Culliford Knitwear and they have a Confident Knitting section with plenty of patterns and tutorials. They have video tutorials for many of the techniques in their patterns, and the one that caught Karen's eye was for a folded hem. This is a technique many machine knitters use but not quite so many hand knitters. However you knit your hem it can flick out. This video tutorial and the accompanying pattern is one of the best methods of preventing this. Karen has started knitting a pair of mittens and said that the method of increasing for the thumb is interesting so I’ll have to look to see if there is a video of that too.
Naturally having watched the video tutorial I had to look to see what else they had. The stretch cast off video shows a method I haven’t seen before, but I will definitely be giving it a go.
Marriner Yarns look to be introducing more yarns and colours to their range. They also have yarn on cones. They have free delivery for orders over £25 and a standard delivery rate of £2.95.
Do you have a knitting friend that you want to send a gift to? Look no further than The Hebridean Tea Store. They have a range of Tea and Knit gift boxes.
Some exhibitors are hoping that the shows will be able to go ahead in the Autumn, but none seem to be offering tickets yet. It could be that ticket numbers are limited or have other conditions applied, so do check carefully if you plan to go to one. Even a year on my various stashes show no sign of being reduced, so either I haven’t been as busy as I thought or the stash was larger than I thought!
Don’t forget to give your knitting machine a bit of a spring clean, especially if you haven’t used it for a while. Removal of fluff and a bit of fresh oil will make it sing!
Show and Tell
From emails received I know some of you have been busy knitting and crocheting away, but for various reasons you’ve been unable to send photographs. I shall look forward to seeing the various items, or photos of them, when we can all meet again in person.
I think I received an email from Roz almost as soon as the last Newsletter when out. She attached photos of her latest knits. The blue cardigan is repurposed (pulled back and reknitted) yarn. It’s a hand knit. The white cardigan was knitted on her Brother knitting machine using a garter carriage. And the two pairs of socks were hand knitted but Roz said they are a bit too thick.Roz has also made a wall hanging on her Brother machine as she wanted something bright and cheerful. The pattern was from a magazine called Worldwide Machine Knitting from January 1980.
Gaynor has told me that she has started thinking about knitting and crochet and has an idea of something she would like to make. She added “I have decided it will have to be a pattern I make up myself and I hope the picture I have in my mind will come through my knitting needles when I decide to start. (I really enjoyed the evening we had together in St Johns Hall constructing our own patterns and this has given me the courage to go on to make quite a few of my own knitting patterns since. Thank you Liz for the encouragement.) The pattern will probably be a combination of both crochet and knitting to get the effect I am after. I also need to have a look in my knitting book of techniques too as I need to learn a different cast on method for this. I like a challenge. Watch this space.
I have also received this photograph from Nina. Her latest creation is actually lilac in colour rather than the blue shown. Nina has used her standard go to knit radar pattern. The yarn is Uppinghams 4ply boucle type. Nina says it’s nothing clever but she needed a jumper in this colour.
Carole sent me four pictures of things she has finished recently. She said: The yarn for this first cardigan is King Cole Cherish. I think it knitted quite nicely. I did not try to match the sleeve; it just happened. The yarn is a bit thicker than say Stylecraft so I needed a second ball for the bands (size 6 months).
This next cardigan is made in Stylecraft Merry-Go-Round. Knitted as usual on 1 needle with the sleeves attached at the armhole
These crochet squares came back from Spain so I just had to join them a hotch potch of yarns.
Peter had been asking for a new cardigan. I think the last one is about 30 years old but still going strong The yarn is Stylecraft Batik. I think it's a bit boring but he likes it and it is comfortable.
No photos from me this time. I have been doing a bit of knitting, but by the end of the day my energy has all gone. Maybe next time.
Until we meet again
and carry on
Knitting or Crocheting!
Hands, Face, Space
Keep Active, Stay Positive - We will meet again