“Because I can” pt 3.

BrianHello fellow fiber enthusiasts!

Now the work begins.  I have contemplated all kinds of ways to get this project started, but when all else fails, consult an expert.

I was at TNNA when this whole concept started to be formed and while there I had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with Cat Bordhi.  Many of you will know her as the queen of the mobious but many more of you will know her for her innovative sock constructions, which can be found in her book New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I told Cat that I was interested in doing this project toe up since I am planning to knit the socks to fit my feet, and this way I can try them on as I go.  She said I should do smaller socks, but I’m up for the challenge.  Cat generously offered me a toe design and spent a few minutes showing me how to go about it.

I wish I could remember the story … there is ALWAYS a story!

I have to make a confession here … the toes were knit on smaller needles then moved to the larger needle.  I tried to figure out how to cast on with the long needle, but it was more than I could wrap my brain around.  So, as each toe was completed, I moved them to the large needle.  I did it backwards, starting with the Saturday sock and moving to Sunday.  Needless to say, I think I have this toe pattern memorized now.


The fun part (NOT) was when I discovered that one of the toes was moved onto the needles upside down.   It took me 90 minutes to undo that error and have everything in line for knitting in the round.

I really wanted to make the first attempt something special, and our Knit Night proved to be just such an occasion. I was sure I had all my ducks in a row with my 14 skeins of yarn neatly stored in the shoe tree, but alas … disaster soon met my needles and I was in a tangled nightmare.  I discreetly put the project to the side and went back to helping others with their entrelac scarves.


I thought I needed to have a fresh outlook on the problem.  I remembered that when I had the yarn on the table it seemed easier to manage, so I decided I needed to figure out a way to have the yarn above the needles.  After another trip to the market (the name has been generalized to protect the innocent), I soon had a combination of gadgets to make this thing work.  I picked up a basic clothing rack and opted not to put the wheels on the bottom.  I then hung two shoe trees on the clothes rack (one above the other) using shower curtain hooks.  I chose to use two shoe trees because I needed the yarn to hang width wise, not length wise.


This contraption allowed me to have the yarn above me while I was knitting (I couldn’t find 14 friends to each hold a ball of yarn for the duration of the project).  Something else I discovered was that now I had a great way to store the needle when I wasn’t knitting.  I chose to put stitch markers at the two ends of the 14 socks, because nothing frustrates me more than having to re-establish the loop on magic loop.

Now I had my yarn, my needle, and my equipment for attempt #2!  Well folks, we had a winner!  This worked beautifully for knitting the first 14 halves of the socks.  Alas … there are two sides to the socks, so for the first few passes, I would move my chair to the other side of the rack and knit from the back side.  Although this worked, my friend asked me why I didn’t just turn the socks around, so I held my breath and gave it a shot.  Here’s a very brief video that shows how it looks when it is turned.  This was filmed while I was knitting at a city street fair, so I apologize for the extra noise.

It was a lot of fun to have this at the festival, but I sure got some interesting questions.  Some people thought I was making hats for the seven dwarves.  I can’t wait until they are long enough that they look like socks.  Well, I’d better get back to knitting.  I hope to find some more public venues to work on the project, so you can drop by if you are in the area.  I’ll keep you posted.

SDG Prince Entrelac

26 thoughts on ““Because I can” pt 3.

  1. Brian, needless to say, I LOVE it. I am trying to suppress the foolish person who dwells inside me who is saying she wants to try knitting a herd of socks at the same time too. A herd, a flock, a school – what do you call a huge number of socks congregating in one spot?

  2. That is brilliant! A little crazy, perhaps, but brilliant!

    Once you get a little further along, you’ll be able to do what I do when doing a mere two at once – I tuck the ball for each sock into the toe of the sock. Tangle-proof!

  3. Gosh, sometimes I can’t manage my one ball of yarn. This is amazing! Can’t wait to hear more about this project!!

  4. That is… oh wow. Can I tell you you’re my hero? Because you totally are. Talk about extreme knitting!
    When I tried 2-at-a-time ML I got discouraged because it was taking “sooo looong” to see any progress (even though when I was done, I would be done with both socks instead of just one). Wonder how long it will take you to knit all 7 pairs?

  5. And here’s me thinking I was tackling wild and crazy stuff by getting the two-socks-at-a-time book, and watching someone else do four socks at once on circs. Wow, a whole week’s sock wardrobe on one gigantic needle!

  6. Awesome! Once you get past the heel (or the yarn balls are small enough) you can just tuck the yarn into the sock & voila, no more tangles!

    Might be a bit heavy that way, though…

  7. Brian, that is sooooooo cool! Love it, love it, love it!

    I once knit 12 tiny toe-up socks all at once. You can see them still on the needles here: http://www.persistentillusion.com/blogblog/archive/2006/02/16/587/teeny-tiny-socks But 12 full-sized? Crazy cool!

    Tuck the balls inside the socks when you start to turn the heels. Otherwise you will drive yourself nuts with yarn tangles! (ask me how I know)

    And… It’s really easy to start them on the same needles you’re going to knit them on if you use Judy’s Magic Cast-On. Just saying. 🙂

  8. I do hope you used Judy’s Magic On! Judy and Cat are both friends of mine; and both will get you in trouble every chance they get, LOL!

    I would suggest this is the perfect opportunity to learn to knit backwards; very useful technique for edges on lace shawls, etc. but in your case it would eliminate the need to turn the needle or sit on the other side of the rack to knit the “back side” of the sock. And like that cast on, you’d totally have it memorized by the time you’re done.

    And PLEASE say you’re doing plain ankles, because if you decide to do different patterns on each pair then you are definitely on the train to Crazyville. Just sayin’.

    BTW, are you going to be at Sock Summit in August? I’d love to meet you!

  9. You have got to learn the Turkish cast on…it is so easy i almost wanted to cry…i will never use anything else.
    Joyce William’s had a sock KAL on
    and you can go there to get the information…it is a toe up, no gusset, shortrow heel…i now love knitting socks…if u r on ravelry u can find me kski if u need more information…
    i think it is so cool…all those socks at one time…

    Let’s get Knittin

  10. wow what a great idea to tuck the smaller ball into the sock as u knit…sometimes it is the easy stuff that goes right by us…thank you

  11. Good for you! i can’t wait for the next blog and hopefully there will be more pics! 🙂

  12. whoa… this is far beyond what I would like to accomplish.. I am just trying to do ONE pair.. Thanks for the humor♥

  13. Great Idea. I would love to have a 10 foot cable as well. Can I get one.

  14. Just hopped here from Ravelry – talk about a production line…
    You’re not by any chance an engineer in your other life? This is the sort of crazy yet cool things my engineering friends seem to thrive on.

  15. I love this! I also like doing socks toe up, because it’s easier to adjust the size as you go, than top down…but you CAN try on top down socks just as easily as toe up, you just can’t adjust the width as easily, usually…if you have a good width, top down can be tried on for length just as well as toe up.


  16. This has to be the most fantastic project I have run across! Please continue to post on the outcome.

  17. While it’s not helpful now, when I knit 2 (or sometimes 3) socks at a time (I did 3 christmas stockings with colorwork a few years ago for family) I just use Judy’s Magic Cast On (or the Turkish cast-on or the figure 8) and cast on one sock toe, then the next (and sometimes the next after that). The hardest part is to keep them all safe while you cast on more and not lose any stitches.

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