Tuesday, March 28, 2006

a white moon's hot the other side's not hang me

I got some red and white striped sock yarn from Jane (let me know when you get my payment, Jane, I sent the check) and decided this yarn was too fabulous to waste with my usual cuff-down recipe, so hey! Let's try a toe-up sock! So I checked out a few different techniques and then thought, well, everyone tries Wendy's advice (do I really need to link to her?) so I flipped on over to Knitty and read her article with three different techniques on how to knit a toe-up sock and away I went.

So I thought.

Not feeling up to a crochet hook and waste yarn, I tried the figure eight technique. Big fucking mistake. You're left with the end of a figure eight and nothing to anchor your yarn to before you start knitting it and everything just falls apart and I'm all thumbs and yeah. Not working. I think, when I get my new computer (this week, Amazon? Please?) I'll be able to take pictures using my new camera and do a photo essay as to why the figure eight technique both sucks and blows goats.

So I read the third technique, and it says it's the easy technique.


In the instructions, Wendy cast on 8 stitches and doubled it to 16 stitches for a 48 stitch-around sock. Uh, what's the math there? Cast on one-sixth (or one-third) of the number of stitches for your sock? Since I don't understand the mechanics behind the toe-up sock as yet, having not, you know, actually made one in my lifetime, it's not feasible to ask me to interpret the math here. I figure my sock needs 64 stitches. That works out to 10.66666666666666666666666 stitches if we go by the one-sixth calculation or 21.33333333333333333333333 stitches for the one-third calculation.

Still not willing to make a wee little sock for half of my foot, and not willing, oddly enough, to chop my foot in half, I decided on the first, and ostensibly, most difficult, short-row technique. I have never had a problem with short rows before.

I ended up with utterly the wrong number of stitches. Also, it says to knit the wrap along with the stitch. This is impossible to do on the purl rows. This is not easy to do on the knit rows. Then you have some stitches with two wraps. Do you knit both wraps? Just the most recent one? Just the oldest and first one? Neither? How the fuck do you do this? There's NO WAY these directions can make sense to anyone. I deal with usability and readability and understandability issues all day long at work. Stuff like this frustrates me. It shouldn't be like this. I am a patient knitter with an endless supply of "I can do that, if I wanted to"-itness.

I'm marking time right now until I get the FUCKING RESPONSE FROM BLUE MOON FIBER ARTS, hellloooooooooooooo? Sock knitter here, wanting to knit your sock, can't do it if your pattern is filled with errors, don't give me any shit about giving answers to the KALers, not everyone is a joiner, you know. I shouldn't have to go to the KAL, of which I am NOT a member, and mind you, I'm not dissing anyone who is a member, I just choose not to be one, and find the answers to my question. I should have received a response, even IF it were to direct me to the KAL for the response. Send me somewhere, just respond, already, and don't assume that everyone in the Sock Club is in the KAL. It's bad business.

So what's the end result? I have a crooked sock toe now. It works, but it isn't pretty, and I'm not sure it's long enough. I have a puzzling pattern for another pair of socks that I can't start until I get a response. I have a ton of usability issues with the interwebs.

Trust me, you don't want to work with me. I'm so very, very, very fucking picky.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have problems like that with trying to figure out socks in general. I don't know why I can't really get it, but I just can't. Good luck to you, I pulling for ya.


8:24 AM  
Blogger Janice in GA said...

Figure 8 cast-ons for toe-up socks will Drive. You. Insane. I can do it, but I hate it. First helpful thing: Don't hesitate to make that last wrap around the needle a backwards loop if you need to. That'll give some structure to the last loop. Second helpful thing: it's marginally easier if at least one of the needles is slightly flexible. The last time I did a figure 8 toe I was using size 1 (I think) bamboo needles. They flexed just enough to let me get the first few rows done without going into screaming rages and throwing the damned thing across the room. Third helpful thing: If you can do socks on 2 circular needles, you can do the figure 8 over the points of two, and then slide one of them so that half the figure 8 wraps are on the cable. This will not help with the dangling ends bit, but if you don't have tiny bamboo needles that you're willing to risk snapping if you get frustrated, it's an alternative.

And on those wrapped short rows, where there are 2 wraps? Yes, as I've done it in the past, you do pick up both wraps. Yes, it's another big pain in the ass. I HATE picking up wraps. Hate hate hate. It's doable, and possible, but the aggravation involved for me makes it undersireable.

This may be why I haven't really found a good toe-up method I'd be willing to use consistently. You have my deepest sympathies.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Trixie said...

LOVED the last line in your post. I am in tears...it was so unexpected and funny. Hugs.

(American Idol tonight!)

9:56 AM  
Blogger Mouse said...

The directions of "toe up" socks baffle me to begin with... I can't believe you actually tried all 3 cast on techniques-- I'd have just thrown the damn things across the room and given up.

Hope you get answers to your questions.. its sad to see that folks paid so much for that STR club and the patterns weren't even test-knit for errors. I would think that would be the first thing someone would do as an author of a knitted pattern is make sure there weren't giant fracking errors everywhere!!

10:20 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

The number of stitches on each needle you start with in the figure-8 cast on (or easy cast-on) should equal the width you want your toe to be. I, for example, like the toes of my socks in fingering weight yarn to be 16 stitches wide, so I would put 16 stitches on each of the two needles. If you've got narrow pointy toes (and clearly I don't), you might want 12 stitches on each needle.

Personally, I don't like the figure-8 or easy cast-on, but included them in the article as an option. FWIW, the article is not abut figuring out the math to make your own pattern, it simply demonstrates 3 different methods for starting a toe-up sock.

If you've never done a toe-up sock before, perhaps it would be best to start with an already written pattern, rather than attempt to make one without a pattern first off.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Janice in GA said...

Oh, another way to start a toe-up sock is Lucy Neatby's. You start by knitting a small garter stitch square (also involves a provisional cast-on, alas), then picking up stitches all the way around and increasing from there. I started one of these, but after I got the toe well-established, I saw something else shiny and dropped the sock to run off after ... oh look, a puppy!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Imbrium said...

I have yet to brave a toe-up sock, but it's on my to-do list. Good luck getting it sorted!

1:14 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I learned to knit socks from the toe up..so seeing someone actually twirling that yarn round and round those needles and doing the stitches was much easier. I must be a visual learner.

Not sure if this will help, but this is the start to the basic pattern I learned with:

Figure 8's with yarn and two needles, warp figure 8's around these with top needle getting first loop and bottom needle getting last loop. With third needle, knit across loops of top needls. Rotate work, knit across second set of loops. Rotate and knit across first needle again. Rotate work. (Work one row casting on stitches, and knit one row plain.)

Increase for toes: Knit first stitch, M1, knit until one stitch remains on needle, M1, knit 1. Rotate to stitches on second needls, K1, M1, knit to last stitch M1, K1.

Knit 1 row no increases.

Continue toe increases alternating with regular knit rounds until desired size. Try on sock when the correct amount of stitches are acquired it should touch your "pinkie" toenail. The number of stitches on needles should be divisible by 4.

Oh myyyyyyyyyyyyy "Pinkie" toenail sounds just on the edge of kinkiness.


P.S. I have probably violated some serious international copyright laws by typing those instructions into this window...I may need to post anonymous and used and assumed name to keep out of prison...

2:26 PM  
Blogger Keri said...

Thank you for leaving a comment. I am attempting my first sock and let me tell ya, those toe-up patterns scare me silly. Glad to see you have the *balls to try it. Here's hoping they turn out wonderfully and that your computer arrives soon.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Man, you have just outlined all the reasons I'm never going to attempt another toe-up sock as long as I live. I tried all three of those methods on that #$&(*#@( stashbusters sprial sock and almost lost what's left of my mind. Oh, and if you don't hear from me about getting your money, it's only that we are going out of town for a few days on Thursday.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Rabbitch said...

Now I'm all a-feared of the toe-ups. Thanks for another phobia, bitch.


1:19 PM  

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