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I don’t know if I’ve confessed this to you, blog, or if I’ve just not confessed it lately, but in the vast world of knitting skills, one thing I have still not been able to drill down into my neurons is Kitchener stitch. It’s just one of those things. After only a decade of consistent knitting I’ve finally gotten to a point where I just need a reminder of how to start it and then I can merrily Kitchener along no problem, but I still always need to look it up first.

Last winter I had a bit of a breakthrough when I had 2 projects in the space of a week that needed Kitchenering – the tops of a pair of mittens, and the under-arms of a seamless sweater. (If this is a brand new technique for you, the short description is that it’s a way of sewing together 2 rows of live stitches into a seamless fabric). That went a long way to sealing in the knowledge. I suppose it’s fair that if you don’t use a technique on every project, you’re going to learn it more slowly. Sock toe - horizontal seam One of the popular spots to use Kitchener stitch is in the final toe seam of top-down socks with a wedge toe. For the longest time when I was new to sock knitting I just avoided Kitchenering altogether, so I just did a mattress stitch horizontal seam instead, because I knew how to do that. After 10 or so years of sock knitting, I still do this. I bind off all the stitches, leave a long tail, and then come back later (sometimes days or weeks later), and sew up the toe.

Case in point, these socks have been finished for 2 weeks but I still hadn’t finished them, so today I finally decided they were getting done. My shortcut solution, it turns out, still involves a lot of procrastination, but don’t worry, I reassured my current seamless sweater that its under-arm seams are still going to get the Kitchener stitch treatment. I can evolve slowly. There’s usually more than one way to do something in knitting, thank goodness.

Have a great weekend, knitter friends!

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Pattern: A Nice Ribbed Sock (by me)

Yarn: Socks That Rock Mediumweight, colourway ‘grawk’

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Challenge is relative

This morning I met up with local knitter friend Dilia, who is currently finishing her first pair of socks. I’ve done a few lessons with her and a friend over the last few months, since they wanted to build up some basic skills and look at doing some projects. Once they got into the building blocks of knit, purl, and even some simple cable twists, they said “how about socks? can you show us socks?” and my answer was of course, yes. Socks are great. More sock knitting can only be good.

Apr11-DiliaSocks

I’m pretty sure there are knitters out there who would pale at the idea of taking on socks for their third project ever, but because I enjoy knitting challenges I am fully in favour of supporting it in others. And I think that in most cases with knitting, if you want the final product badly enough, you will learn the things you need to learn in order to complete it. So, I didn’t tell them until later that knitting in the round with DPNs, turning a heel, and learning two different decrease methods are not the usual early project steps for new knitters. Dude, you want to knit socks? Well heck, let’s knit some socks.

Apr11-DiliaSocks2

And lo and behold, Dilia now has her first complete sock and is half done the second one. (I do believe she is using Malabrigo Rios, so I give her full marks for yarn seelction). Here she’s using my Weekend Socks pattern, which if you’re looking for a relatively quick sock to practice on (or just a quick and warm pair of socks anyway), this one is available free and uses worsted weight wool. My own pair in Louet Gems worsted is a pair I tend to wear in place of slippers on cool days.

Apr11-DiliaSocks3

We then took a brief jaunt to Spun as well (I haven’t been in ages, despite their being more local to me than Toronto – the Toronto pull tends to be strong! – but their yarn selection continues to be pretty great) and she got herself set up with some fingering weight sock yarn and a pair of 2.75mm needles and is all ready to go for more knitting action. (I set her up with my Nice Ribbed Sock pattern as a stepping stone from the Weekend Socks – it’s also free and uses a ribbed pattern for a bit of interest and snug fit)

Anyhow, if there’s something you want to learn how to knit but have been putting it off, think of Dilia and how she knitted socks for her third project ever, and go ahead and knit that project, man. It’ll be so worth it.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!
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