Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Good Stuff & Cool Cast-On Trick!

Scroll down for my "long-tail cast-on without running out of tail" tutorial, but first some shameless commercialism - I've got some fabulous new yarn in the shop, thanks to Khris over at Chewy Spaghetti! Here is a little yarn p*rn for your viewing pleasure. We have Steely:

And Budding:

And Brawny:

Is that not a little something for everyone? Khris calls this yarn sport-weight, but I'd consider it worsted and it gets gauge perfectly for Karen's Sugar-Free Socks as well as the latest addition to the GYW pattern line, Hubby's First Socks (A Unisex Sock Pattern)!

These are Bill's famous Christmas socks, knit in worsted-weight Artyarns Supermerino so that I could handle that 12"-long foot! If there are any other ladies out there with a size-15-footed man, this is the sock pattern for you! I couldn't imagine making him fingering-weight socks, although I may try some sport-weight at some point (but don't hold me to it, honey!). The pattern is sized for women's M through men's L. The sock kit should work for anyone not knitting for a giant... Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern:

There will be some more very nice new stuff going up in the shop in the next week or so (assuming I can get my act together to photograph everything, which is a big assumption), including brand-new exclusive colorways from Mama-E, based on a couple of your favorite bloggers! I just heard from a little birdie that the box is in the mail, and I can't wait to get my hands on the new yarn. My office is truly a sock yarn lover's dream these days!

Never run out of tail again!
And now for the tutorial. Don't you hate it when you're casting on for a sweater or some other knitted object that requires a gazillion stitches, and you run out of tail for your long-tail cast-on with about 50 stitches left to go? I learned a wonderful trick for avoiding this during one of my Joan Shrouder classes last summer, and it has saved me from this fate several times (I use this every time I need to cast on more than 100 stitches). It also avoids the problem of overcompensating and ending up with ten feet of extra yarn left over when you're done casting on.

This is such a common-sense kind of thing that I've been assuming that everyone knows it already. But I brought it up at my knitting group a few weeks ago and the ladies all went crazy when I showed them how to do it. So here's how to do this magical thing, for anyone out there who hasn't learned it yet.

First, get two balls of the yarn you're using to cast on with (you can also use two ends of the same ball if this is easier). Hold the two strands together and make a slip knot about 6" from the end (or however long you like to leave your ends to weave in).

Here I am, casting on for my Lacy Cabled Scoop! I finally did it! Now, you just pretend one of those two strands is your long tail, and start casting on!

Ignore the slip knot and the two tails coming from it, and cast on with your endless tail. Once you're done casting on all your stitches (don't count the slip knot as a stitch because you'll be pulling it out), cut the strand that's over your thumb, leaving enough to weave in.

Sorry about the blurry picture - I'd already put my big lights away to keep the children from climbing on them, and the flash picture turned out even worse. You now have a couple extra ends to weave in, but in exchange you got the perfect length of yarn for your long tail and you also get to pull your slip knot out and so won't have any knots in your cast-on edge. I know some people can long-tail without starting with a slip-knot, but I am not one of those knitting ninjas.

On the mend...
We are all in recovery here at Chez Knittin' Mom. I've still got a little bit of a cough, but nowhere near as bad as it was a couple days ago. This was truly the cold of the century! The main remaining symptom is a totally plugged-up head. Normally I can't stand our television above 12 on the volume scale, but last night I had it up over 20 and still couldn't hear it very well. I'm also suffering from some serious vertigo off and on, which is incredibly annoying (and nausea-inducing), but I no longer hope that my cocktail of pharmaceutical and homeopathic meds will somehow combine to put me into a coma and end my suffering...

I've managed to get some serious knitting done, despite my symptoms. The Classic Elite scarf is done and ready for blocking, and I've got the first few inches done on my Lacy Cabled Scoop (you can see those pics over at the KAL blog as soon as I can get over there to post them). I just found out that I'm going to have to drop everything for a few days to get a Sock Madness-type super-secret design project done, but that will be something that I can't work on in public (truly, this is TOP SECRET national-security type stuff), so I'll have to work on either the LCS or my Sockret Pal socks at the Guild meeting tomorrow night.

Time for some food - I'm finding that a large Chai is not enough to get me through the entire morning!


Blogger Sonya said...

I'm with you on the cold of century thing. *cough*cough* Co-workers are calling me Typhoid Sonya. (so rude)

What a great long tail cast on idea! Makes a lot of sense, but I sure never thought of it. Joan S. is teaching at my LYS's knitting retreat in June. I'm looking forward to soaking up her knowledge.

I keep forgetting to mention how much I like the gentleman's sock pattern you have in the latest Cast On. Very masculine. Kevin's getting a pair for his birthday.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

Thanks for the fantastic tutorial!

I'm glad you are starting to feel better.

Those colorways are seriously fab.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I've found luck with proping my pillow up at night to let gravity help with drainage and using a funky Sudacare shower tablet in the shower. No drugs, just vapor stuff that lets you make your own little humidifier in the shower.

Glad to hear that you're all on the mend, it hit our bunch up here too.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Bitterknitter said...

Thanks for posting the tutorial! I keep trying to explain that cast on to my mom (over the phone) and she just can't grasp it (visual learner)! Hopefully, she and I will be able to knit together in person SOON!

Take care!


1:38 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Great tutorial!! Also, BEAUTIFUL new yarns! I might have to use my $5 off coupon from SAM2!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Budding is gorgeous!

Thanks for the long tail tutorial. I never knew that. You'll save me many future hours of frustration. :)

2:27 PM  
Blogger msubulldog said...

Ooooh, Budding is to die for! Can't wait to see what other fabulousness the shop will get!

So glad you're feeling better. :)
*running off to check out Bill's blog. . . .

4:15 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Ooh! I know exactly what you mean with the stuffed up head. I wear hearing aids, so every bit of sound is important to me. Keep taking decongestants and drinking warm steamy things. Your eustachian tubes are likely plugged. Either by mucus (the steam will helps soften and loosen it) or swollen (that's what the decongestant tabs are for)Feel better soon.

8:01 PM  
Blogger KathyMarie said...

OMG you are totally a knitting ninja! I love that neverending tail caston. Love it, I say!

Brilliant! Thank you! Exclamation Point!!

2:19 PM  

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