Don't knock it till you try it

[Warning! Rockin' Sock Club spoiler ahead!]

I am a big proponent of the phrase "Don't knock it till you try it." I totally agree that you should try something before you declare you don't like it, whether it be a new food or some sort of activity, like, say, knitting. You can't honestly tell if you will like something or not before you really give it a chance. Like oysters and clams, or escargots. All things I'm really not a fan of, but at some point in my life, I've tried them. Then and only then was I allowed to utter the phrase, "I don't like clams." Fair's fair, right?

Same goes for knitting techniques. In this particular case, the provisional cast on. I consider myself to be a fairly competent knitter, although I do admit to never having tried a provisional cast on. Not that I think this makes me any less of a knitter, but still.

So these here Rockin' Sock Club socks...the Inside Out socks...they call for a provisional cast on, and a short row toe. I know a lot of people use these techniques, and many for just this purpose, which would be forming a very neat toe on a sock. Don't get me wrong, I love how mine has so far turned out. But I won't lie to you and say this was the most relaxing knitting I've ever done. The first half of the toe went along fine and without incident, although I secretly feared that I would have to redo it if I'd knitted my cast on into the wrong set of bumps on my crochet chain, even though I'd practiced already.

What got me was the light and airy phrase of, "un-zip your provisional cast on and place the stitches back on the needle." Yeah, okay. I think this was the most fussy knitting technique I've ever tried! I think it was worse than un-binding-off something and tinking back 5 rows of lace! First off, I was under the impression that knitting cannot "run" from the bottom up, suggesting that you're safe when you get all those live stitches out there just waving around. Not so, at least in my case. A couple of them jumped ship down to the next row and I had to fish out my teeny tiny crochet hook to catch them. Also, the waste yarn didn't come off too easily, it required a bit of tugging (hence the aforementioned problem of wayward stitches). Once I got a few off the waste yarn, I put them on the needle. But just doing that was tough enough that I stopped worrying about which way they were facing, and just concentrated on getting them on the needle. I then found that doing them one by one was the way to go, since they were tight and hard to get on the needle. Once all 32 of the stinkers were safe, only then did I fuss with turning [most of] them around to face the way they were supposed to.

Ugh! There were a few choice words coming out of my mouth as I was grumbling my way through this process. I decided then and there that I don't like provisional cast ons. Maybe in a larger gauge, but not this one. Needless to say I did all this in the Moose-less peace and quiet of our bedroom.

All that said, I LOVE how it turned out. It is truly a fabulous-looking toe, and I can totally see why lots of people love this technique. But I'm just wondering, for me, is it worth the half-hour of angst it caused? I don't know. Perhaps I'll have a better answer after the second sock. I'm just not sure if it's my inexperience that made it tough, or if I'm doing something wrong. I used a bit of different sock yarn as my waste yarn, was that an error? Should I have used a thicker yarn? I won't change my technique for sock #2 but for future reference I ought to investigate.

Once I got into the ribbing, I took my knitting downstairs in hopes of being able to watch TV with my husband and get a little knitting done too. HA. It only took the kitten about .5 seconds to sniff out my knitting and come "help." So I put it away, after having only done a few stitches. Later I thought he was asleep on the back of the sofa and I got out my sock again...nope. I got a mere 3/4 of one round done.

Hopefully this weekend I will get some more done! Although I'll definitely have to retreat to a Moose-less room...while I have been typing this, he's been running around, clicking the mouse, walking on the keyboard, and chewing on my hair. Then he sat on my shoulder for a while watching the cursor move around the screen.



Andi said...

Me too! un-zip the provisional cast on, hahahaha. I picked up one stitch at a time, too. Let me know how thicker yarn works (I was using sock yarn also!)

Anonymous said...

try a smooth cotton yarn of the same general size, and when you unzip, only unzip one stitch at a time. If your stitches are tight try picking them up with a smaller needle and then transfer them to the correct size.
Veronica (fellow STR club member)

Laura said...

The toe really does look great. I'm not doing the pattern but the provisional has intriged me for a while. You commented on my blog about Max's post (he really has a lot to say!). I love the name Moose for a cat. I here you about Kitten Knittin' OY! Thanks for the comment.