Monday, February 11, 2013

Magic Looped and an Apology

When Pyroclastic was accepted for publication by Knitty, I was thrilled. I'd written the pattern the way I prefer to knit socks--I use 5 double pointed needles and distribute the stitches so I don't have to use a lot of stitch markers. When I was contacted by the technical editor, I learned that I would have to rewrite it as what I call needle neutral. At the time I knew how to knit using two circular knits. I had never knit using magic loop. I really couldn't imagine how to write the pattern to accommodate various needle choices. In my mind, if you knit with two circular needles or magic loop you most likely had knit from patterns written with reference to double pointed needles and knew where you needed to place markers.

Pyroclastic calls for markers to keep track of the increases and decreases that shape the foot. I could visualize those regardless of needles used. What I couldn't visualize for magic loop was how one kept track of the division between the top and bottom of the foot. So I came up with what I thought was the answer. It was messy with a lot of markers, four of which were moving every two to three rounds. I knew it was messy.

When the pattern was published, I got a lot of questions from people knitting it using magic loop. I couldn't really help them much. I bought the magic loop pamphlet and read it. I just didn't try it.

I finally got around to teaching myself magic loop last year. I don't use it for socks because I like my double points too much. However, I love magic loop for working sleeves in the round. Frankly, I find double points larger than US 5 bulky and awkward. Right now, I'm knitting a sweater using Cotton Fleece. I dreaded knitting the sleeves because the body is on the heavy side and I thought I'd be moving it a lot while knitting the sleeves. With magic loop, I've figured how to work the sleeves without moving the sweater much. Plus, I didn't have to change from a 16-inch circular to double points when there were too few stitches to work comfortably on the 16-inch circ. 

To all those knitters that have struggled with Pyroclastic and it's crazy number of markers in the Knitty version, I'm really sorry I didn't learn this technique earlier.

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