Knitting in the round is undoubtedly my most favorite way to knit things. I will happily steek a cardigan, and if I were a little braver and more of a pattern follower, I’d be happy to steek sleeves – I’m working on that one. Once I have a better grasp on designing the tops of sweaters, no question. The reasons are many, not least of which I’m a pretty speedy knitter and a less speedy purler and after the efficiency discussion last post, I’m sure it’s clear that knitting is a more efficient use of my time. Also I love color work and that is just miserable on the purl rounds. I convert anything that can be converted to in-the-round to it. In this sense I think EZ was brilliant (I am not a huge fan of garter stitch, but other than that, I think she’s pretty ok).
There seem to be two camps on in the round knitting when it comes to equipment. Double pointed needles or magic loopers. I have been a dedicated dpn lover. I love circulars for sweaters and things where the circumference is similar to the needle length, but for small things, mittens being my most favorite of all time, I’m all dpn all the time. And one reason, I’m sure you’ve all guessed, is that I’m faster at it. I am capable of magic loop, I understand the concept, but all the sliding around of the stitches and cables just drives me crazy. Aside from just that it’s faster for me, there is something very comforting to me about having 5 needles on there and going in circles and circles and circles. I love thinking of all the other people throughout history who have done exactly the same thing.
Now, here is the rub. I am not a sock knitter. I have, however, discovered that I am madly in love with hand knit socks from hand spun yarn. I’m not sure what it is about them but they fit and feel great, and they make me happy. But I hate knitting socks. And I’ve thought about it, since I love mittens and hate socks, I’ve determined that it is the heel that I hate. Upon further contemplation, I don’t hate knitting heels. When I’m doing it, I’m fine with it. And this leads me to wonder why I hate them. I’ve determined it’s the matching and second sock syndrome. I knit one sock at a time, and I don’t use patterns. I’m a toe up girl, since cuff down makes me feel either like I’m wasting material, leaving me with 100 yards of yarn I don’t know what to do with, or living on the edge, wondering if I’ll have enough to finish if I make leg longer. Toe up eliminates both of these scenarios, since you start at the toe, you knit, and when you run out of yarn, you’re done. Voila. Pas de problem. Since I don’t use a pattern, I keep putting it on my foot, and when it’s big enough I stop increasing, when it’s long enough I put in a heel, etc. This works great for the first sock. But matching the second one while not hard is not always exactly right, which is irritating to me. Plus knitting two of something you weren’t even psyched about knitting one of is kinda a drag. What would solve this problem? Doing both at the same time. And now, folks, what is the most efficient way of doing THAT?
Yes. Unfortunately I have to admit it’s magic loop. A few nights ago, I decided to do the sleeves of the new-favorite-sweater and since I was being kind of lazy and because I was dreading second sleeve syndrome, I thought, well, I’ll try this two at once thing one more time. And at first it was terrible. There was yarn tails and working yarn everywhere, loops of the cable, things sliding everywhere. I hated it. But partly because my goal this year was to learn to spin a consistent 3 ply sock yarn, and I need to at least try and get this two at once thing, and partly because I was too lazy to fish out my dpns from my bag, I kept going. And you know what? I got it. I sorted out a way to hold them that I felt ok about and after a while stopped having yarn twisted everywhere.
Now as exciting as this should be, I’m a little upset. I feel a conflicted. I love my dpns and I feel like I’m cheating on them, or just cheating in general with magic loop. I mean, my dpns and I, we’re tight. We’ve knit a lot of things together! Well that, and I’m the worst changer in the world. Change and I are not friends. Down to how I knit my socks… And while I’ll still knit mittens and some sleeves, I’m afraid it’s like the typewriter – it still works, but we’ve moved on to better things. However, being an open minded knitter, I must admit that I don’t mind it much and it would make knitting socks much less daunting and prone to not-matching. So I ordered a few circular 0 and 1’s from knitpicks and I’ll see how this goes. But I think I’ll always be a dpn girl at heart.