two color knitting or… mamluke socks

26 07 2006

{scroll down for sock-related content}

i am a natural continental knitter. (back when i re-started knitting could never understand having to pick up your hand off of the needles…what if the project fell off?!? and won’t it slow you down? of course, at the time i only thought metal needles existed, and i frequently had to pick up dropped stitches resultant to the needles deciding to slide out on a whim…(yes, it was the needles’s fault). so, i asked myself, how would i do two-color knitting? i was not much in a rush to learn how to knit fair isle anything, as that style reminded me of the matching sweaters that my family wore when we sang christmas carols in the neighborhood. they were pretty tacky, even for the 1980’s.

first i tried to knit english style. didn’t work so well. my hand did not want to let go of the needles. i thought for sure that i was doing something wrong. at the time, i didn’t have any knitting buddies as i retaught myself using the internet and some books (my mother taught me how to knit and purl when i was eight but one barbie scarf later, i was done….). but then i discovered and i found the tv show knitty gritty (incidentally, i haven’t found a project that i would knit from that show…but i was nice for me to see other people knitting). but it wan’t until i learned how to knit backwards that my hands could understand what to do. (perfect for entrelac and intarsia and any i hate to purl project). here’s an interesting tutorial, if you are interested.

finally, what pushed me over the edge to try it: i think i was the last person on earth to pick up teva durham’s loop-d-loop. but i fell in love with a couple fair isle patterns (you’ve seen them, so i won’t clog bandwidth with large photos):

060726_loop-d-loop2.jpg 060726_loop-d-loop1.jpg

i want!!! (and i don’t like large projects, for the most part)

so i immediately cast on for these socks…as my warm up project for the above. my original intention was that these would be started on my ebonies, but instead, i opted for aluminum because i was bummed about not having a full set of 5 ebony dpn’s at the time, never mind the fact that i also only had 4 aluminum needles.


mamluke socks from folk socks by nancy bush
dalegarn baby ull in black and cream (2 balls each)
50 gm/ 165 m; 100% machine washable wool
started: july 17, 2006
needles: 4 – #2 susan bates aluminum dpn’s

they seem huge! and i’m having trouble with the floats. okay, okay, i’m getting a little better. near the top of the cuff you can see that i didn’t give enough slack. towards the end i seem to be more consistent…i’m not sure that i love these socks, but it sure is neat having to wrangle with two colors.

i have found that the best way for me to handle this is to hold the main color in my left hand and the contrasting color in my right. yes, i am throwing with my right and knitting continental with my left. it’s a nice change of pace, and i’m finding i can’t put my sock down. of course, i’m knitting much more slowly…but oh well.

yesterday i found that i can still knit with my normally tight tension as long as i leave enough slack for the floats. i’m liking the resulting fabric much better than what you see above. admittedly, i’m too lazy to frog the whole thing. i think i’ll just frame the one sock and hold it as an example of bad fair aisle knitting.

still, despite the uneven tension, i’m darn proud of my accomplishment. and, i’d like to add that i taught myself!

edited to add:

incidentally, does anyone know of a good internet resource for this type of knitting? i’d like to learn more about catching long floats…




4 responses

27 07 2006

Wow! cool socks! I’m just learning how to knit continental but keep letting go with my right hand anyway. Not sure I will ever change completely, but like the idea of one color in each hand.

29 07 2006
NatureBatsLast is THE website for a spectacular video of two-handed fair isle.

7 08 2006
crankygrrrrrl » old fo, mamluke update and cankles (not necessarily related)

[…] speaking of longer-lastingness (of knitting hell) the mamlukes, meh,i am so discouraged!! last week i went to a sock knitting group (yeah! first organized knitting social i’ve had the privilege of attending) where i was told i could solve my tension problems by carrying my floats (boo! bad student!). i’ve never been very good with strict instruction (sorry lynn!)…i need more of a process where i get the gist but then ‘wing it’ from there. this is why the internet and books are the first place i got to for instruction…then i just ‘figure it out’. up until my attempt at fair isle knitting, this has been a successful process for me. […]

25 09 2006
telegram! « crankygrrrrrl

[…] telegram! Filed under: knitting, stash, WIP — crankygrrrrrl @ 2:47 pm esteemed sock gods and goddesses STOP having trouble with motivation for sock wips STOP need good sock mojo STOP please rescue mamluke and molly STOP will wait for your divine intervention STOP please hurry as socktoberfest is fast approaching STOP […]

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