about the essentials of life...knitting, designing knitting, yarn for knitting...you get the idea...

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I'm a knitter, knitting pattern designer, and spinner. I also dye yarn with both acid and natural dyes.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How to Knit Socks on One Long Circular Needle, Part One

Like most knitters, I started out using DPN's to knit small circumferences. My kids were little when I started knitting in the round, and there were mittens and hats to be knit on demand and as needed (i.e., they lost one). It was fiddly at first - I've heard it described at wrestling with a porcupine - but I'm stubborn and I persevered until I'd mastered those sets of little sticks.
A few years ago, I discovered sock knitting. For some reason, I'd always thought that socks were impossibly difficult. I must have overheard something from my aunts or grandmother. Socks, I thought, were the true test of an expert knitter. Not for me.
One day, when reading a knitting book - yes, I tend to read knitting books. Not so much for the patterns, as for the how and why of the patterns - I read through the recipe for knitting socks. It was an old, old book, so yes, it was a recipe. Hmmm, that didn't sound so impossible. Pretty soon, I had some DPN's and yarn out and was trying the recipe for myself.
Of course, you know the rest. Knit one sock, wear one handknit sock, and you're hooked forever. I wanted so badly to share that wonderful custom knit feeling that I tried to talk everyone in my family into letting me measure their feet. Since at that time, my family consisted of only men, I was less than successful.
But, I continued to knit socks for myself. And discovered a problem. Pain. My long-ago damaged wrist began to hurt unmercifully. Now I loved sock-knitting, but not to the point that I was willing to exist in pain and perhaps further damage my wrist. I had a problem.
ABQ has a Fiber Fiesta every other year. The last Fiesta, I went on the first day, a Friday. I was relatively new to the area and was excited to explore the merchants' booths to see what was available here. I stopped by the local knitting guild's table and struck up a conversation with one of the knitters. She was telling me how wonderful the group's knitters were - one of them could even knit two socks at once on two circular needles!
Huh? Socks on circulars? I added this tidbit to my list of things to look out for in my continued trek around the Fiesta. I must have been pretty sure I'd find some information or figure it out for myself, since I bought two sets of circulars in tiny sizes at the Village Wools booth.
Finally, at the Good Fibrations booth, Bethe, the owner, told me that she had a book that explained the technique but had just sold the last copy. However, she just happened to be knitting a sock on one long circular. She pulled her knitting out of her fanny pack and showed me how to do it. Right there.
I've never looked back. My DPN's are almost never used. Occasionally for a 3-needle bind-off or some I cord, but that's it. Actually, my straights are in retirement as well. All circs, all the time. Easy, portable, you can try your knitting on while still on the needle, stitches don't fall off, and, yes, easy on the wrists.
I write all my patterns for one long circular. Experienced traditional DPN knitters will not have any trouble converting them, and novices, well, why not try something new?
Curious? I've begun a tutorial. Part One is ready - How to Get Started. Click hereto begin knitting socks on one long circular needle.
I hope you'll give me feedback - I'll edit to improve!


Blogger Chris said...

Hi! I love to knit and I love to knit socks but I could not opne your URL with the explanation... sniff


November 02, 2006 6:45 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

Sorry, Chris. I'm working on fixing that - see post of Nov. 2.
Thank you for letting me know about the problem!

November 02, 2006 1:04 PM  

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