Increases and sock toe up cast ons

G'day all!

My local knitlist has been discussing increases for a few days. For some unknown reason, I decided to post about how I increase, and when. I am no knitting guru, and you'll need to work out which increase method works for you. (part of this post went onto the knit list)

My mum taught me two ways to increase.

One is knit into the front and back of the stitch (M1) but this is darned hard to do when you are purling. This method leaves a little bar in your work but should not leave a hole unless your tension is pretty loose or your yarn thick and thin. I use this increase when I am knitting a toe of a sock (obviously toe up socks ;-).

The other is lifting up the yarn between the stitches on the previous row and knitting into the back of it if you want to not have a hole, or into the front of it if you like having a little hole (like an eyelet) in it. This increase I rarely use cos I often end up with a pucker. It is hard to do on socks cos the material is usually fairly firm.

Then I discovered lifted increases, which is where you lift up one side of the stitch below and knit into it. You can knit into the left or the right side, depending on which direction you want to increase in. I read all about this in Annie Modesitt's "Confessions of a Knitting Heretic." I use this method on tops and jumpers, but found it was almost impossible on socks cos you can't increase every second row easily using it.

There are probably more increases (apart from the obvious yarn over) but so far I haven't needed to use them.

I tend to agree with Annie when she says there is no one correct way to knit (or increase or decrease, etc). However, some increases work better than others depending on what appearance you want from your work, or what you are knitting. If you have the chance, play around a bit with different sorts of increases, see how they work for you and what you want to achieve. Some of the knitting books show the differences between the different increases (and decreases) really well. I love the way you can make or break your knitting by using the more aesthetically pleasing increase or decrease.

Now in other bloggy news, thanks to Trudi for pointing me to the Ashford site where they have details of their knitter's loom. Unfortunately, boo hiss to Ashford for making all details of the loom a flash movie or interactive thing. OK, flash is flash but the combo of OS and computer architecture I use (Linux and powerpc/mac) is not flash compatible. There are some freeware things out there that struggle along with it, but basically if it is in flash, I cannot view it. So I sent Ashford a rather cranky email. OK so I might be one of a thousand or two users in the world but Flash is not compatible with blind people either - their computers cannot translate pictures into words for them. Blind people do weave and knit - tactile arts are fun for them, if they are so inclined. So I told Ashford I was underimpressed and would much prefer the choice of a PDF or even (*GASP*) a webpage with the details! It can be done without flash! It does not have to be all whiz bang amazing huge files that people have to download for hours only to find out it is not what they want. (I admit we have cable but for those on dial-up...)

Gosh, I'll get down off my old crabby high horse now, but why use flash only? Why not give the option?

Chris pointed me to a loopy cast on (thanks, Chris!). I have used this cast on a number of times, mostly earlier this year. I found that I ended up with twisted stitches - I must knit into the wrong side of the loopy bits (dunno what I am talking about? Follow the link!) and I end up with a row of stitches that I seem to have knitted into the back of. I'll have to see if I have any pics of the toes of these socks - I don't think I do. I'll stick with the new turkish cast on for the time being cos it is working for me without much need for thought. As I said before, different things work for different projects, and likely different people. I do find these types of cast on a lot less tedious than short rows where you do the provisional cast on by crocheting a chain and then knitting into the right bit - I invariably knit into the wrong bit and have to cut the waste yarn out. LOL Anyway, the toe of the sock in yesterday's post has the turkish cast on - isn't it pretty? No twisted stitches at all!

Ok, gotta go do a tad of shopping - I am out of some really basic foodstuffs.



  1. I'm with you on the Turkish cast-on. I don't usually do toe-up socks, but I did last time. It was a piece of cake compared to the figure-8 agony I went through before.

    Need groceries? My cat will be holding me at gunpoint if I don't get him some canned food this morning. ("What, dry only? I can't live on that!")

  2. Lynne - I wonder if you're doing your twists backwards?? Interesting bit about increases - I use right and left twisted loop increases, which leave holes at large gauges, but not on fingering weight socks.


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