I officially have Socks Fever! Not only are these my first ever socks but they are done using a technique called Toe-Up Sock Knitting! Which simply means instead of knitting the socks from the cuff down to the toe, they are knit beginning from the toe on up! Is this any better traditional sock knitting? I guess the benefit is you can try them on as you go! For me this method just seems more fun, you can see the sock form right away which is more satisfying to me. And best of all the worst part is done once the foot is formed so you’re home free from the ankle on up to the cuff! Another benefit is that these socks are done using circular needles (2 needles) instead of double pointed needles (4 needles). Nice!
As part of my Spring Knit, Sew, & Crochet Class Mania, I took this one day 7-hour class taught by Melissa Morgan Oakes at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio here in New York. We learned Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On, increasing the gusset, shaped heel cups, and heel flaps, all from the toe up! We were able to finish our sample baby booties all the way up til the ankle in one class. We were required to use Lion Brand Yarn and purchase the book. But it was a lovely productive class and still worth the money. Class, 7 hours, $95. Book, $10.95. US Size 6 Circular Needles 40 inch, Addi Turbos, $17.50. Lion Brand Yarn – Baby Wool, Worsted Weight, 98 yards, $5.29.
Note: I liked Judy’s Magic Cast On which is a variation on the Magic Loop (a technique used for tubular knitting or circular knitting when using circs instead of dpns). The major difference is you cast on to both needles at once with your fingers rather than using the basic cast on and them splitting the loops into 2 groups by bending the wire. What I like is the cast on is lightning fast and I feel easier than your traditional cast on. A drawback is the first row must be knit slightly different because of the way the stitches are oriented.
If you’d like to find out more on your own, check out Melissa’s book, Toe Up Socks – 2 at a Time. Or check out Knit Picks who has a lovely free downloadable pattern that includes everything you need to know! Also note, these sample socks are baby size except I managed to mess up the foot so it is too long! Stay tuned for my first real socks!
SCOOP! Melissa, who’s been knitting since 2000, grew up in a family of knitters and sewers and crafters, and learned to crochet and sew at a very young age. She has enough yarn in her stash to keep her knitting for the rest of her life! and enough to knit just about anything without having to leave her house! Now that must be some stash! Some of her new knitting ventures include a new book “Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting” coming this May and a new website with downloadable patterns and shop. Some other fun facts:
Her Local Yarn Shop is WEBS!! That’s right I had no idea it was actually a yarn shop, I’d always known them from their large online site dedicated to a huge selection of very nicely priced yarn! But it is indeed a brick and mortar yarn shop and to some it’s their LYS! Not only is it her favorite LYS but it’s where she first began teaching and what lead to her first book, 2 at a Time Socks.
Current Favorite Yarns:
Everyday Goto Yarn – Valley Yarns Northampton by WEBS. Yes, they carry their own line of yarns as well. This is her first choice for “crafty projects, outerwear accessories that will see actual snow and ice and warm sweaters”.
Goto Sock Yarn – Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. A popular hand dyed among the knitting/crochet community!
Artisan Hand Dyed – Spirit Trail Fiberworks. “I love what Jen does with color, and I love her yarn bases, which range from luxury to workhorse and back again. I am particularly smitten with her Sunna Sock Yarn“. Sunna is a mix of superwash merino, cashmere, and bombyx silk! That’s a fancy sock!
Special Treat Ultra Luxury Yarns – Yarns with rare fibers like anything from Buffalo Gold made of Bison Down mixed with fibers like Tencel and Bison Guard Hair for their Home Dec yarns like Buffalo Gold Rug Yarn. And Qiviut by Moco Yarns made of Musk Ox Down! Two yarns I’ve never heard of until now!! And 2 fibers I’d love to check out in person. I took a peak at the prices on both and let’s just say you don’t want to know!
SCOOP SCOOP! Melissa mentioned this lovely woolen mill out in New Hampshire called Harrisville Designs where they have a large Knitting and Weaving Center dedicated to preserving textile heritage. They spin and dye their very own yarn collection that feature some lovely mixes like flax and wool. I hope to visit one day!! It’s on my list of yarn excursions! LivingCrafts.com has a lovely article on them including great pics!
Something fiber fanatics will find neat – Harrisville spins Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter Yarn! Yes, these are the people that spin Jared Flood’s beautiful yarn. How cool is that?! An artisan yarn from Brooklyn Tweed’s debut line made of American Wool developed with an aim in supporting the American Textile Industry. As exquisite as his urban/suburban (think Brooklyn brownstones meet graphic designers) knit designs. Timeless. Stylish. Modern heirlooms.