Toe Up? Top Down?

Socks… you can knit them toe up or top down. Either way works just fine.

I prefer to knit mine top down. That’s how I learned to do them when I as about 9 or 10 years old. And it seems to suit my brain. When I try to design them from the toe up, I get all kuffuffled, and my brain just freezes.

My friend Jodi (see her beautiful yarn here!) knits all her socks toe up. If she tries to go top down, she gets all twitchy.

We tease the heck out of each other over it. We tell each other “You knit your socks upside down” and “You knit backwards” and “If only you knit them the Right Way”. But notice the “tease”. It is all in fun, and we sincerely admire what the other guy does.

And then there are the intolerant knitters. The ones who say to me “You have to knit them toe up. If you don’t, they won’t fit. You can’t try them on if you knit them top down”. “You are doing it wrong”. Your socks suck because they are top down”.

Or they say to Jodi “You have to knit them top down. They don’t fit right knit toe up.” and “your socks suck because you knit them from the toe”.

Excuse me?? I try them on all the time. I just pull them over my foot and up my leg and see how it is all working. And I’ve seen Jodi’s socks on her feet and they fit perfectly. No wrinkles or crinkles or pulling.

Then there was the day when it was all just too much. I was sitting waiting for an appointment, knitting away on a sock… 3 dpns holding the stitches, and knitting with the 4th. Two women came over and started commenting. First, according to both, I was wrong because I was knitting top down. Then one of them said, “And she’s using dpns. She should be using 2 circulars”. The other said “No, she should have her stitches on 4 needles, and knit with the 5th”. They got into a rip roaring argument, and it was likely a good thing neither had their knitting with them, or there might have been a serious accident with a needle. When I quietly slipped away to my appointment, they were still going at it.

And all this is why, when I am teaching a knitting class, one of the first things I ask as everyone is casting on is:
What is the correct way to knit?
And the answer is: If your hands don’t get sore, and you are happy with the fabric you are producing, then the way you are knitting is the Right Way.

I also have my standard answers to the remarks containing “you aren’t knitting right”. If they are not rude, my answer is “Thank you so much for your opinion. I’ll try that when I get home”.

If they persist or are rude, then my answer is “Thank you so much for your opinion, no matter how ill informed it might be.”

I have come to the conclusion that some people have intolerant minds, and there is really not a lot that can be done about it. Except ignore them.

Lifelines in Knitting

I first learned about lifelines for your knitting about 8 years ago. Which means I knit for a heck of a long time without them. Now, everyone reading this may already know about this fancy dancy handy little trick. But you may be like me. An old fart knitter who didn’t.
When you are knitting away on something complicated, or something that is just not intuitive, you will come to a row where you gaze at your work, and have that happy moment where you know all is well. All the stitches are correct, and line up, and the whole thing looks amazing.
Here is where you put in a lifeline! All you do is take a slick piece of yarn (or #10 sewing cotton, or even dental floss) Thread it through the stitches on your needle, leaving a good piece hanging off each end. Now carry on and knit. Keep doing this at intervals as you go.
And, when that moment comes, as it often does, that you look your work and realize that 5 rows back in this *8@% lace pattern that yarovers on every row, and knit 17 tog…. you only knit 15 together. Pull out your needle…Riiiiip. And there are those stitches, those perfect ones where all was well, neatly held on that lifeline thread. Pick them up with your needle and off you go!
A 5 minute fix instead of a 3 hour tear your hair out oh MAN I dropped that yarnover, oh hell, I might as well rip the whole thing and start over fix.
It works for any knitting really, not just lace.
And not just complicated lace. It works well on easy lace that you are knitting while distracted. With a llama lace weight that has a bit of a halo so the stitches really don’t like to rip back, and when they finally do, they like to run back a couple of extra rows.
Like in this wrap. In an easy peasy lace. In which I did not put the %&@* lifeline because it’s easy lace. And I’ve knit it before.