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Archive for October 1st, 2007

I Owe Presbytera, and Big!

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Over on my beloved Stephanie/Yarn Harlot‘s weblog today, there is a guest post writer. She’s none other than Presbytera from Lansing (blogless). This woman is skilled with words in more than one way, and the post is a great explanation of how she knits without swatches almost all of the time.

I’m with her. I call this “Folk Knitting,” when you go with what makes sense and what you know from experience. This is how knitting was done for centuries… you went with what you knew already. My friend Altu knit many sweaters in Africa, and none used a pattern, just common sense.

Many times I don’t need a swatch because I have information about the yarn and what kind of fabric it will create with any particular set of needles. Remember, I knit socks a lot. As in, over 150 pairs to date. Most yarns I can figure out without a swatch, that is if the yarn is like others I’ve used.

I don’t make many sweaters, and so I’m more likely to swatch before diving into a sweater project. These are yarns I don’t know well and I want to find a fabric I like a lot. But for socks, wristwarmers, other things I’ve done a lot? No need, I dive in and usually it works. I rip when it doesn’t, but that is not very often.

But why am I reeling and swooning… and feeling that I owe Presbytera a bit of a (huge) favor? Well, once upon a time she took my toe-up sock class, using my LynnH First-Time Toe-Up Socks pattern…

…no doubt she does her socks a little different than the ones she made the first time, since she does socks a lot now and she’s a “Folk Knitter.”

But the first photo in her blog post shows socks made essentially like my pattern. And she mentions how she does the toe (an 8-stitch, 8-row square) which is how my pattern starts. Later in the comments she mentions my pattern in reply to folks’ questions.

Sigh. I feel famous. Maybe some folks will enjoy trying my pattern… which is more of a formula with lots of photos on how to do things, than a “do this my way” sort of pattern.

My guide tells folks how to pick yarns and needles to go well together, no matter what the thickness of the yarn is… I’ve knit these socks from fingering weight yarn on size 0/2mm needles, and I’ve knit them with Lamb’s Pride Bulky, probably on size 6 or 7 needles (I can’t remember right now) as slipper-socks… see photo at right (green… the under-socks in that photo are also from this pattern).

And it doesn’t require a swatch. In fact the yarns pictured here (all the same sock structure) are in fingering weight, sportweight, worsted, and bulky. All start with an 8-stitch/8-row square and are increased in a knit-to-fit method.

Thanks, grrl. I do owe you big.

(Photos? First-Time Toe-Up Socks made in all sorts of yarns/gauges, with several types of leg treatments. If you click on the rainbow ones, you can download a PDF file for free, telling you how I did the leg. I think it looks good with handpainted yarn.)

For the record, my sock structure was inspired by some I made from the software called The Sole Solution by Mary Moran of Knittingzone.com. Mary and I met online but have met now in person and I feel she is a friend. She also now sells my patterns in PDF format on her website.

Mary’s sock had a different cast on, perhaps a different increase and a slightly different heel. They did start with a “square” of fabric, though. Mary did intend for designers to use her program as a tool for patterns, and I just feel I want to mention her. The program she wrote *does* require a gauge to be entered before it can produce a pattern, however.