Star Toe Up Socks

Have you tried Toe Up Socks? They are my go-to method. But maybe getting started has you hesitating. The popular way to get started is with Judy’s Magic Cast On, by Judy Becker, which mimics the Cuff Down grafting of the toe, in reverse. I find it challenging to work well. If you have it down terrific. If not, I have an alternative that is easy and totally works.

It’s called the Star Toe (I did a video, have a look) which begins with a cast on of 8 stitches, in your usual cast on method, Phew. Divide the stitches onto 2 double pointed needles or the 2 tips of your circular needle for Magic Loop and start increasing.

star toe 2 needle start

Double point users: I only divide my 8 sts onto two double points for the first round because putting 2 sts on each of 4 double pointed needles leads to much dropping of needles and cursing. As soon as I have enough stitches I add in more double pointed needles.

The toe is divided into 4 sections. Right now there are 2 sts in each of the 4 sections and 2 sections are on each of the needles. As soon as you start the Increase Rounds below the 4 sections become obvious.

star toe 4 sections

The star toe works by increasing into the first stitch of each section. I use the Kfb increase (knit into the front and back of same stitch).

Round 1:  *Kfb, K1; repeat from * to end of round. – increase of 4 sts (12 sts on needles)

Now you have enough stitches to add in more double pointed needles. Magic Loopers just continue as set up.

Round 2:  *Kfb, K2; repeat from * to end of round.

Round 3:  *Kfb, K3; repeat from * to end of round.

You get the general idea here. Continue to work increases into the first stitch of each of the 4 sections until you have approximately 1/2 your total sock stitches.

 

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Now introduce a Knit Round, alternating a knit round and an increase round.

Next Round:  Knit.

Increase Round:  *Kfb, knit to end of section; repeat from * 3 more times.

Repeat these last 2 rounds until the Star Toe is the correct size.

How do you know it’s the correct size? Measure across the width of the toe OR stick your toes into it. Note: the sock toe is slightly bigger than it appears! That’s because it’s stuck on straight needles so stop increasing when it’s a little tight and it will be correct.

I just finished a sock for my husband. I don’t worry about the exact number of stitches when I start, I just work the toe until it’s the correct width across (4 1/2″) for a 9″ circumference sock for his foot. Then I knit and knit and knit for his size 11 foot.

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It turned out perfectly. Onto sock number two.

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And the toe fits!!

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Hope that encourages you to get started on a Toe Up sock. Thanks for reading,

Deb

Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry.

Deb Gemmell patterns

Relax with YO

Holes or no holes, that is the Raglan Pullover question. Why does it matter what increase I use anyway? Why is knitting a Top Down Pullover different than knitting a Top Down Cardigan?

Well, of course a pullover is different than a cardigan in lots of ways. But there are specific reasons for choosing your raglan increase very carefully when knitting a Top Down Pullover.

A pullover is worked in the usual manner, with an Increase Round where one increase is worked before and another increase worked after each of the 4 Raglan Markers. For a Pullover this is followed by a Knit Round. Work these two rounds over and over.

That’s fairly straight forward until … the phone rings, there is a ping indicating you have  a new message, someone asks you a question or …

You pick up your knitting again and … oops, which round am I working? Is this an Increase Round or a Knit Round? Your increase itself has that answer.

As you knit toward each Raglan Marker you look to see whether you need to work a set of increases (Increase Round) or knit on through (Knit Round).

If you are using a YO (Yarn Over) increase this is easy to do. If you see this … YO with arrowsa YO sitting on the needle before the Marker and another YO after the Marker you are going to knit on through (Knit Round).

If you see this …  No YO with arrowsno YO before or after the Marker. You need to make a YO before the Marker and another YO after the Marker according to your Increase Round instructions.

Holes can make knitting your Pullover a much more relaxing knit.  Now do you want holes or no holes?

Thanks for reading,

Deb

Deb Gemmell patterns

Cabin Fever Books and Patterns

Any Gauge Freedom – getting started with kid’s size

Do you have stash yarn with no specific pattern to go with it? Would you love to dive in, find some beloved yarn and get started on a sweater for a special little someone in your life? I’m working on an Any Gauge Kid’s Pullover right now in a baby size.

I’m using Cotton Tweed , a DK weight yarn from Cabin Fever, in gender-neutral Lime. I don’t have anyone in mind for this so I’m playing it safe. This gender-neutral thing gets a little old, don’t you think?

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Since this pattern is for Any Yarn that means EVERY GAUGE can work. To get started I need to figure out the number of stitches I’m getting in 1″ (G) for the yarn I’ve chosen. I could knit a gauge swatch but I must admit that swatches lie for me so I’m going to take a leap (not really a very big leap since I knit with this yarn a lot) and go by the gauge on the ball band to cast on for the neck opening. The Neckband will be picked up later and can be adjusted for size.

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Ball Band reads 22 sts in 4″  ÷ 4   =  5.5 sts in 1″ =  

Once I’ve cast on for my neck opening and knit a couple of inches on my pullover I can get a much more accurate gauge. Sometimes, after knitting for a bit your gauge can change. You might relax as you get into the knitting. I will measure the stitches over 4″ again and divide by 4 as a double check on my G  (keeping all fractions of stitches).

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I’m still right on gauge. Yay.

I need the accurate gauge to figure out the number of stitches I need for the Bottom of the Yoke for the size of Body I want to make. That’s where the sweater needs to fit. I’m not even close to that yet. Knitting On for several more inches.

Catch you at the Bottom of the Yoke where I will be doing something strange with the sleeves,

Deb

Cabin Fever has multi-gauge books on Ravelry.

Deb Gemmell patterns on ravelry.

Podcasts and Blogs

Are you looking for stories about knitting adventures and especially, misadventures? We  all like to know we’re not the only ones, right? Do you want to hear or read interviews with your favourite knitting celebrities? Do you love watching knitting tutorials? Maybe you just want to while away an hour knitting and listening to some knitting talk.

This list is a very small sample of some of the blogs and podcasts our Knitting Guild members read and watch (thanks to Kaila who is a huge podcast watcher). This is a real mix. Several were new to me and I’m looking forward to seeing what they are all about.

Can you add to this list? I know there are many more podcasts and blogs out there. I’d love to hear about some new ones. Please post a favourite or two in the comments.

Blogs to read:

Yarn Harlot, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee  yarnharlot.ca  If you follow blogs at all you probably already know about this one. She’s been blogging for 15 years with stories about knitting and her life. Great reading.

Arnall-Culliford Knitwear by Jen Arnall   A-C Knitwear Blog  If you want to learn different techniques this is a blog for you. She has lots of video tutorials which she links to in her posts. This year Jen is working on a new techniques book so there will more information about the new techniques coming soon.

Knits from the Woodlot  by Gayle who writes about knitting and other things that interest her, like cooking. Look for her new designs with a special interest in reversible knitting.

The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done   A look at new magazines and books when they come out. She comments on each of the different designs. If you enjoy a candid review of new magazines this is a fun read.

Knitting and So On  I like this blog because of the unusual constructions she uses and explains. It’s translated from German so also brings an international view to my world. She has links to her own tutorials and others so you can enjoy some new people you haven’t discovered yet.

Podcasts:

Fruity Knitting  A couple living in Germany who podcast every couple of weeks.  I especially enjoy the interviews with knitters from around the world. It’s a small peek into their motivation, inspiration and their approach to knitting design.

Arne and Carlos  Two men coming to you from Norway, who are really into both knitting and crochet.  They tackle lots of topics and techniques and quite often work and finish a whole project in their podcast while you watch.

Kammebornia  A podcast from Sweden with subtitles in english for those of us who do not understand swedish, although you may know a few more knitting words after watching this than you did before. I just had a short look and there is beautiful photography and lovely colourwork projects.

Espace Tricot  is a knitting store in Montreal, Quebec. The two owners show you lots of projects which they have knit and been given by yarn companies. A view from the other side of the counter.

Four Boys and a NL Girl   This one is new to me. A down home look at knitting and embroidery stitching coming to you from Newfoundland.

Nice and Knit   Two friends who, in their 4th podcast, are talking about going to the Vogue Knitting show. If you want to know what it’s like to be a vendor you get an inside look.

player.fm/series/knitfm   Knitfm is an audio podcast by Hannah Fettig and Pam Allen which was discontinued 4 years ago but is still available for a listen. Both of these women are fantastic designers and I am going to get my knitting out and listen to all 15 episodes.

So what do you listen to? Which blogs do you read?  I’m sure there is terrific knitting information and entertainment out there that I don’t know about yet. Please add to this list. 

Thanks,

Deb

Deb Gemmell of Cabin Fever:   patterns on Ravelry

 

Knitting Friends

I am always glad I’m a knitter but never so much as this weekend when I contemplate the wonderful people I have met through the clicking of needles.

This weekend I sat and knit in a hospice where a knitting friend is living out her last days. I have been to 11 knitting retreats that Sharon and her friends ran and she has been to 4 or 5 of the retreats that I run. Double the retreat fun. We are retreating buddies.

At the Sudbury retreat Sharon baked a cake every year as a treat after the Friday evening entertainment. It was always the first thing I wanted to check out when I arrived.

001One particular year we wondered if she had lost her baking mojo since the cake was decidedly lopsided. Not her usual perfection. She told us it took her three cakes to get it to look like that.

 

Sharon had become obsessed with the moebius or more like moebii (is this the plural?) because from her Mary Poppins carpet bag she pulled out moebius, after moebius, after moebius, after moebius.

This is the moebius cowl I knit in her class the year before.

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In profile it looks like this. Thus the lop-sided cake. (If you want to bake one, the secret is to put something under one side of the cake pan as you bake it to get the correct shape. I’m sure you’re running off to do that right now!)

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A moebius cowl would have been called a dickie in earlier times. As Sharon was baking these cakes she kept reciting “moebius dickie, moebius dickie, moebius dickie”. Which became … a lopsided cake with blue icing and whale cookies circling the outside. I’m sure you’ve caught the reference.

My rendition since I don’t have a photo.

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Have a piece of cake and toast your knitting friends with me. Yum.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

My patterns on Ravelry

Double Decreases, which one to use

Lace knitting involves lots of awkwardness and sometimes you have to work to make it as pleasant as you can. There is a chart to read and if you screw up there you’re in deep trouble, yarn overs which can be easy to miss and decreases where the slant is important and needs to be kept track of. Lace knitting is beautiful, the more complex, the more beautiful. It’s hard to resist.

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The lace dress that I almost didn’t wear. My wedding glitch.

Can we remove some of the pitfalls? Knitting Techy Talk begins here.

First of all you need Markers. In the body of this lace sweater I was working 20 repeats of the pattern.  Without markers I could make a mistake in the second repeat and not realize until I didn’t have the correct number of stitches at the end of the round. That would be the end of lace knitting for me, right there, that round. The knitting would be winging it’s way across the room as the air turned blue. I did that with my first lace project. I have learned a few things since then: Use Markers.

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With markers after every 10 stitch repeat, how far wrong could I go? Believe me I corrected quite a few errors within those 10 stitch repeats as I was knitting this top but I didn’t have to rip rounds back. (OK, I admit there was that one section I had to rip back but I was already so far down that I didn’t mind doing it.)

Unfortunately, for this stitch pattern the markers created a problem. Sometimes you just can’t win.

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double decrease blog post, 123

 

The Double Decreases (the inverted V) at the end of the repeats are the problem. Once the markers are placed the Double Decreases used in this pattern are awkward to work. The 3 stitches involved in this decrease are numbered on the chart and you can see that the Marker is between stitch #2 & stitch#3. There lies the problem.

This pattern uses this Double Decrease: Slip 1 stitch knitwise, knit 2 stitches together, pass slipped stitch over. Easy enough until … you add in markers for each repeat.

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double decrease blog post, 123

This is really how it works: slip stitch#1 knitwise, slip stitch#2 purlwise, Remove the Marker, Replace slipped stitch#2 back onto the Left needle, knit 2 sts together (sts #2 & #3), pass first slipped stitch over and Replace the Marker. AWKWARD.

I decided there needed to be a change. You’re allowed, I’m allowed, we’re all allowed to mess with patterns. I changed that Double Decrease to a Center Post Double Decrease.

Center Post Double Decrease:  Slip 2 stitches together knitwise (sts #1 & #2), knit 1 stitch (st#3), pass 2 slipped stitches over.

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With the markers in place this really works as:  Slip 2 stitches together knitwise, Remove Marker, knit 1 stitch, pass 2 slipped stitches over, Replace Marker. DONE.

Yes, it looks different but the ease of knitting made it totally worth the change.

I like the result.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

My patterns on Ravelry

My wedding glitch

It’s been a busy holiday season. We had Christmas, New Years and our daughter’s wedding. If you’ve been through the wedding roller coaster you’ll know it’s a wonderful and joyous occasion, with many small glitches and ultimately, an amazing celebration. These young people can really throw a party!

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I did finish my wedding top and then almost didn’t get to wear it.

My lace top turned out longer than anticipated and yes, I was sewing the ends in the day before leaving. I had made a dress. What should I wear with it now? I had anticipated wearing slacks so I had to scramble to put together some alternatives. I asked two of the bridesmaids to accompany me to my hotel room to help make the final fashion decision: slacks vs different legging options. I took everything out of my case and … no dress. OMG. I was sooo careful to put everything in the same bag when I packed. How could I have left it at home?! I swore the girls to secrecy and sent them back to the bridal prep room. Paul and I quickly decided we would go shopping for a new top and when I opened the closet to get my coat, you guessed it, there it was. I had no recollection of putting it there. None. I know, the wedding is not about me, but my dress IS.

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More on the process of knitting it in the next couple of posts. And more photos I hope since I didn’t take any, not one. Now it’s back to my regularly scheduled life. It’s hard to adjust but I’m sure it will click back into place in the next week or so.

Do you have a wedding glitch story? It would make me feel better since I felt like an idiot.

Thanks for reading,

Deb

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My patterns on Ravelry