Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Socks! Toe Up, Two-at-a-Time With Stripes

As I've already said, one of the perks of my return to work is that I have time for knitting while I commute. Yay knitting!

I've been wanting to learn how to knit two-at-a-time socks for some time, but never seemed to have a good reason to change my normal sock procedure. However, after picking up some self striping sock yarn when a LYS closed (isn't that sad btw?) I had my opportunity.  A plain knit sock without a stitch pattern tends to work best for striped socks. But it can be a bit dull to knit, leaving me at risk of succumbing to Second Sock Syndrome

The gist is that you cast on two socks instead of one and knit from two balls of yarn - one for each sock - using the Magic loop method, which is already my preferred way. Normally two-at-a-time is done top down, but during my commute I puzzled out how I could knit the socks toe up using Judy's Magic cast on. Later I found corroborating evidence on Knitty, that this is, in fact, a legitimate way to do things. (Isn't it equal parts frustrating and validating to see that someone else invented the wheel before you?) 

Two at a Time Judy's Magic cast on photo from Knitty's very helpful instructions!

Once I wrapped my brian around how to knit two at once, the rest was pretty easy.  The "pattern" is my own Socks a la Clio, my master sock "recipe" which has appropriated the best parts of a few different patterns and grafted them into a glorious frankenpattern.

Basic Socks a la Clio (appropriated from better-than-me knitters)***

There are 2 things I don't love about these socks. The first is the yarn. It's Cascade "Sassy Stripes" superwash, a 75% wool/25% nylon blend. There's nothing wrong with it, per se. It's just a little less soft and cushy than some of the other sock yarns I've used. What can I say; I like the cushy yarns.

Second, after doing the heel, I ended up with one very very narrow stripe that looks sort of like a mistake. At least it looks like a mistake to me. I should have done something about it, but that would have required ripping out two completed heels instead of one. And I really didn't want to do that at the time.

And perhaps that's the rub with two-at-a-time socks. You do finish both your socks at once, which is no small thing. Plus they are identical. But if you make a mistake, you make it twice rather than learning from your first mistake and avoiding it the second time.

So, will I knit two-at-a-time socks again? Probably yes. And I can see how it would be advantageous to use this technique for pairs of things, like sleeves, once you've worked out your fitting issues. But I don't know if it will become my new norm.

What about you, my fellow knitters? Do you prefer to do things one or two at a time? 

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