Thursday, August 14

A tree frog and my toe up sock cast on

We have an unusual visitor hanging around our yard--a tree frog. Aren't these usually only found in the tropics or very hot climates? We don't have a clue where it came from. Hubby has seen it hanging on the side of our house in the evening. Last night, I saw it for the first time. I had the kitchen window open and saw something move outside. I took a closer look and saw this! The tree frog had jumped into the wisteria outside the window! Can you see the green frog in the middle of the picture? It's almost the same shade as the leaves. We've had a number of brown toads around this year but this is the first green or tree frog I've ever seen. We welcome toads in our garden as they help keep the bug population under control.

I'm busy designing and knitting a new shawl pattern. This one is a Faroese style with beads. Progress has temporarily ground to a halt while I wait for more yarn to arrive. Shame on me for starting this project, knowing that I didn't have enough yarn to complete it. :-( I couldn't help it. This shawl wanted to be knit up in some Miss Babs Bamboo Baby yarn that I bought at the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair. Too bad it was only a 400 yard skein.

In the meantime, I finished a pair of Regia toe up socks I started in March. Yipes! Where has the time gone? I decided to start another pair. Cold weather will be coming back one of these days. In my stash, I found a partial ball of a wild Opal colorway from a Ravelry trade. I'm lucky that I can knit a pair of socks for me with about 200 yards of yarn. I have a small foot.

I divided the yarn into 2 balls and cast on for toe up socks. I've been using 6" Crystal Palace bamboo double points. This time I decided to use some Chiao Goo 5" dpns that I purchased recently at Threadbear. I love these needles!

The first sock flew off my needles in only 3 days! (The other pair took about 3 months! LOL!) I started the second one last night. See how far I am already? These 5" needles are much easier for me to knit with than the 6" ones. They're making it a joy to knit socks instead of a chore.

I've also "uninvented" an easier way to start my toe up socks. For me, it is much less fiddly than any other cast on for toe ups that I've tried. I used to start my toe ups with a crocheted cast on using a piece of waste yarn. When I picked up the stitches on the cast on side, I had to carefully unravel the waste yarn and place each stitch on my needle without dropping any of them. I found it to be slow, fiddly, hard to see the stitches I was working with, and very aggravating if I dropped one of them or had to start over again.

Here's my new twist on a toe up cast on.

With my sock yarn and a crochet hook, I crochet cast on directly onto a dpn. Cast on about 1" worth of stitches. (For me that's 10.)

Knit 5 rows in stockinette (knit 1 row, purl 1 row).

Next you're going to pick up stitches in the crochet cast on. Take another dpn needle, place it under both loops of the first stitch of the crochet cast on edge and pull through a loop of sock yarn. This creates 1 stitch on your dpn. Repeat until you have as many stitches on this dpn as are on the other one. This method pushes the row of crochet loops from the cast on to the inside of the toe where it won't be seen.

You do not pick up any stitches in the end of the rows. Pull the first stitch or two tightly to close the gap around the end between the two dpns. Trust me, this works.

Divide your stitches evenly between 4 dpn needles, if you're using dpns. Now you'll begin knitting in the round. Start with a round of toe increases. Alternate with a round of plain knitting (no increases) until you have enough stitches for your sock.

If you don't know how to do a crochet cast on. You will find pictures and instructions at this link.


Anita O said...

Nice. I like the socks, and the color is awesome. I might have to get smaller needles as well for socks.

Have you tried the magic cast on? It's great! And very easy. there's a video on YouTube that demonstrates it.
Have a great weekend.

Vicki said...

I've been knitting toe ups for 3 years. I've tried the magic cast on and every other toe up cast on I could find on the web. The magic cast on doesn't work for me. Too fiddly and too slow. For me, knitting a tiny rectangle to start is a much faster and easier way to start the toe of my socks. No needles falling out; no struggling with tight stitches; no loose stitches that need to be tightened up later.