Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Twist Tail

Yesterday I mentioned how putting a twist into a long tail cast on changes it. And I promised to show you exactly what I meant. Here are 2 sets of cast on stitches. (I know, I know, not the clearest photo—but the close up details are better.)

Standard long tail cast on
First (closest to end of needle) a dozen stitches cast on using the long tail style of cast on. Nothing remarkable about them.

Long Tail Cast on with a braided effect from twisting

Followed by (closest to tip of the needle) a dozen stitches cast on using a braided/twisted long tail cast on. Notice that it's clear even in the slightly blurry image I started with, that the braid is easy to see.  
Depending on what you do next (after the cast on) the edge will be very or not very noticeable.

If R1 is all purls,  the braid will roll forward. 
If R1 is all knit the braid will roll under.
If R1 is ribbed (as my R1 is) the braided edge will be centered on top (and not very noticable).
You might ask: "WHY Bother?" (if it isn't all that noticeable)--Well I like the smooth edge it creates with the ribbing. I know a few cast ons that are great for 1 X 1 ribbing, and the open/closed (aka Estonian) cast on is great for 2 X 2 ribbing, but I don't know of any cast on that is especially suited to other rib patterns--except changing how you work the cast on (--that is working some stitches and knits, and some as purls as you cast on) but I don't like the slight uneveness to the cast on edge with that method.  I like this cast on for its very even edge.

A pretty amazing change, huh? Other perks--It's not quite a perfect match to a standard bind off—but it's close. And it's also a bit stretchier than a standard long tail cast on. It's not stretchy enough for lace--but it's great for socks.  A small change to your technique, and a big change to finished results.  An especially easy cast on to learn if you already know how to do a long tail cast on.

So once again—How to do it:
Cast on one(standard long tail cast on) Lift the thumb yarn (bringing it forward (closer to you) UP and put it on the index finger. The yarn on the index finger gets dropped (to the back) and then pulled forward to wrap around your thumb. With yarns now in a new position, you are ready to cast on one stitch (and repeat the process.)

The motion is fast and easy—the down side is the tail of the yarn gets twisted round the yarn coming from the ball (but it's not hard to slide all the twists down,--and the 2 yarns will untwist).

You can see the movement in my video on the Braided Long Tail cast on.--even though that video shows how to work a 3 strand/(3 color) braid, the twisting/rotating of the yarns is the same. At about/ just before the 3 minute mark I am very clear how to bring the thumb yarn up to index finger--(and you see how the index finger yarn naturally want to fall to back.) 

The video shows a multi-color braided long tail—but the technique also works for a single color of yarn –and just 2 strands. If anything, its easier to do with just 2 strands—and while it twists up just as the multi-color one does, it is easier to undo the twists.

The new sock—are coming along—slowly--Since apparently I can't count. Not only can't I count, but I didn't notice my count was off (even through it messed up my rib pattern) until I had knit 2 inches of ribbing worked!  So—all the progress I made last night was undone.. (and is being redone)

I've found a nice pattern stitch, too. Simple (but slow going) a mostly stocking knit stitch pattern that has a deep puffy texture. But you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see it!

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