Jake loves the color orange. I got this gorgeous (if you like orange) Trekking yarn at The Yarn Basket that fateful day in September. See here for the story on Max. I got this to make surprise socks for my little sock hog, Jake.
I got out an Addi Turbo (my needles of choice) in a size 0. I chose the 0 over a 1 or 2 simply because it was what I found that day. I keep buying sock circs and they keep disapearing. The smaller the needle, the better (tighter stitches and durability you know) but I will use up to a size 2 if that's all I can find. When I start adult socks I can usually make a good guess at my gauge and the required number of stitches based on the feel of the yarn and the stitch pattern involved.
It's been a while since I made socks for Jake and darn it...he grew. My gauge with this yarn/needle combination is somewhere around 9/in. I cast on 48 stitches. I made the cuff. I knit the leg. I made a beautiful heel flap. I turned the heel. I started the instep decreases. I tried it on him in his sleep.
I cast on 56 stitches the second time around using a tubular cast on for the very first time. On something so small it was a giant pain in the ass but very cool looking once done. I made the cuff. I made the leg. Mom tried knitting with my size "ohmygodthesearetiny" needle in one huge loop so some of the leg stitches were clinging-on-for-dear-life tight (but that's ok, I got them to even out). I made another beautiful heel flap. I did the decreases. I haven't knit on this for a while. When I got it out this morning it occurred to me I should forgo the surprise part and try it on his ever growing 5 yr old feet.
I am now casting on 64 stitches. I measured the child this morning and we should be good (with a little room for growth) at 64. The first time I used the tried and true long-tail (or slingshot) cast on method. As mentioned above I used the tubular method the second time. This time I am using the knitted-on method. I realized in making this decision (for the third time explative deleted) that this great variety of methods is one of the things I like so much about knitting.
The cast on methods I have used so far in my short knitting career:
- Long-tail or slingshot
- Knitted on
- Cable (fancy cousin of knitted on)
- Backwards loop (or e loop)
- Long-tail with 2 different yarns
- Provisional using a crochet chain of waste yarn
- Provisional using a crochet hook and crocheting the chain around the knitting needle
- Provisional starting with waste yarn and just changing to the working yarn
- Magic figure 8 for toe up socks
- Circular for the center of a shawl
- Mobius for magical knitting
Even with a dozen different ways to start my knitting I know there are tons more. I recall reading about a Latvian method but I have not tried that one yet. (Help for casting on can be found here, here, here, here, and here to show you just a few of the many resources available)
The point is that while knitting is simply pulling loops through loops the infinite variety of it keeps me mezmerized. I enjoy learning new things (especially if it is knitting related). I find I have to really pay attention if I am trying to figure something new out. That slightly uncomfortable feeling when the muscle memory isn't there giving way to the almost comfortable feeling of "heyIthinkI'mgettingthehangofthis" and finally having that feeling of success when the fingers and the brain are in concert and finally comfortable with the task at hand and have developed a new rhythm is a wonderful experience to go through every so often and I highly reccomend it. Discovering the variety of available cast-on because I keep forgetting to measure Jake's feet...not the same thing!
Yarn for surprise socks for Jake--$25
Favorite circular knitting needle--$15
Knitting the socks in the right size the FIRST time--Priceless!