When I first learned how to knit in the round, it was on a set of four aluminum double points that my great grandmother had. I hated it. I kept on poking myself in the wrists or in my stomach when I tried to rest my arms, and my ladders were epic. Granny told me to give the yarn a little tug when I was doing the first stitch on each needle, but there were still ladders. To this day, I hate double points. I can handle them now, since my gauge has both loosened up and evened out, but I still poke myself when I’m not paying attention, and I still get the hint of a ladder.
Six years ago, I decided to knit myself a pair of gloves. I’d knit mittens before, but they were always knit flat and then seamed up the outside edge, if they were finished at all. The intended gloves never came to be, because after I’d divided the stitches into fingers I discovered that my hand proportions are all off and nothing was going to fit, but I did discover that the magic loop was a clearly better method than the dreaded double points. Shortly after that, I knit myself a pair of mittens using the magic loop and some black yarn that I had on hand. They were loosely based on a pair that my mom’s cousin had knit for her in college and which had never fit me because they were small on my mom’s tiny, dainty hands and I have gigantic, manly hands.
Then I was using the magic loop for everything. This was the era of not finishing anything, so there isn’t much to show for it, but I did get pretty good at wrangling those needle cables into the proper shape. I recognized that I was suffering from second mitten syndrome, so I tried to knit two mittens at once using the magic loop. It was an epic failure. The ladders made a comeback in a big way, my gauge tightened up like crazy, and the project got abandoned for all eternity to the black hole that is my under-bed zippered storage thingy (aka the cover that come on my mattress pad).
For my pointe shoe covers, I did some research and decided that knitting two at a time on two circulars would be the option for me. (Credit goes to Sheron Goldin’s 2 Socks on 2 Circulars for the method that I used to cast on.) After checking out the technique on an ancient, stiff-cabled circular from Granny’s collection and a Knit Picks needle whose cable keeps popping out, I decided that it was worth it to buy two Addi Turbos, both US 8, in 24″ and 32″. (I love Addi Turbo needles. I love them especially now that they’ve changed to the more flexible blue cables.) I made a variety of swatches in a variety of cable patterns, and cast on this morning using a 2×2 rib with a mock cable in each rib every 4 rows. It’s the simplest of all the patterns I tried out, but for trying a new technique, I think that might be the best idea.
I also wound my gigantic skein of Caron One Pound into two yarn cakes, put them in a plastic bag with the top tied off, and cut holes for the yarn to go through. The best part of this is that I can pick up the bag and haul it around without worrying about the yarn getting twisted and tangled near the balls, and the yarn cakes lie flat so the bag doesn’t roll around.