Thursday, 21 January 2010


I don't know about you, but I seem to go through periods of obsession with one hobby or another or one facet of a hobby. At one time, it was cooking - the hundreds of cookbooks I own date from then. That obsession wove its way from ethnic cooking through to the search for a decent banana bread recipe (one which didn't involve cinnamon), and finally to low calorie and low fat recipes. Now, I only buy cookbooks written by Nigella Lawson, or where the Weight Watchers' points have been calculated, or where they fit into my 1940's obsession (ration book cookery, anyone?).

Craft-wise, I've been obsessed by knitting pretty much exclusively since the year 2000. Occasionally crochet butts in, but my other needlecrafts (dressmaking, cross stitch, needlepoint, tatting) don't get much of a look-in. I'm not even sure I could read a tatting pattern at this point.
My current knitting obsession is creating a pair of toe-up socks in Buffalo Gold #4. Remember, I'd bought a skein at the Knit & Stitch Show at Ally Pally last year?  Well, as my Christmas present to myself, I bought a second skein so that I could get a pair of socks and a pair of gloves out of it. (Buffalo's reputation for warmth won out in the snow.)

The Buffalo Gold #4 retails for £38 a "50 gram" skein at I Knit London (the skein measurements are rather generous.  I've yet to find anyone on Ravelry who has had a skein weigh less than 60g, mine are 75g and 65g).  I'm using the 75g skein for the socks and I don't want to waste an inch.  Ravelry lists it as worsted weight, although my original thought was that it was DK.  On 3.5mm needles, I get a soft, dense fabric.

I've only ever made one pair of toe up socks (the Baudelaire socks I showed off finished earlier this month) and I liked the heel they had. Do you think I could find a free pattern for toe-up worsted weight socks? No.  I'm improvising and measuring as I go.  Getting to the start of the gusset easy - even calculating the gusset was simple, but the heel?  Knitty's Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula was for a short row heel, which isn't what I want.

I spent Sunday obsessing about how to turn the heel to create a "flap" on a toe-up pair of socks knitted in worsted-weight yarn. I tried to figure it out from the Baudelaires and couldn't.  I stared at them for what felt like hours.  Finally, I resorted to a search engine.  Six or seven entries down, I found Knot Another Hat's toe-up sock formula.  Result!

I haven't got much further than where I was on Sunday night - I'm about 4 rows into the heel, but suddenly I understand how this works.  Reading the worksheet was a true light-bulb moment.  Thank you, Knot Another Hat.

- Pam (now, if you'll excuse me, I have some knitting to do)

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