Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Moebius magic?

A few weeks ago, I bought Meg a 47" circular needle so she could try out that funky Moebius Cast On by Cat Bordhi. Two weeks elapsed and the needle had yet to make its debut, so I decided to give it a shot myself.

Maybe I'm alone in my viewpoint here, but I would characterize Cat Bordhi as a bit overenthusiastic about the techniques she invents. Granted, I'm not inventing any new techniques, so kudos to her, but I distinctly get the feeling that she gets more joy out of some of these techniques solely because she invented them, not because the techniques themselves are inherently joyous. For instance, she describes her tubular bind-off in Socks Soar on 2 Circular Needles as "pure joy," but I've personally found that grafting 94 stitches together to produce a rather unattractive edge more annoying than joyous. It also put the last nail in the coffin for my toe-up sock adventures.

She refers to her moebius strip projects as "magical knits." Certainly it is interesting, but magical? Huh. Maybe I'm too much of a deconstructionist to get the point. The moebius cast on is actually nothing more than a provisional cast on done in a circle with a twist at the end. The first row is very futzy, and once it gets started, it's fairly uninteresting. Additionally, you have to alternate knit and purled sections, otherwise you'll get the top half completely in stockinette and the bottom half in reverse stockinette, which I think looks a bit dumb. Also, I found that doing an I-cord bind off on 100 stitches was complete misery. Admittedly, I'm not a long, drawn-out bind-off kind of guy, but this was only the sample; most of her projects would require 200+ stitches to bind off in this manner! Absolute yuck.


Regardless, I was pleased with my new weird knitted thing.


Meg found a use for it almost right away.


The cat was less than thrilled. So was I, as I had to crawl under the bed to get my moebius strip back.

17 comments:

Vintageme said...

Good grief I hardly understood a word of that ..I just discovered modular knitting so I can make Mum a shawl .I love the picture of the cat under the bed ..they hate things over their heads ,ours would try to crawl backwards out .There is so much to learn in the knit world.Holly.

laurie in maine said...

I got our library to replace the Socks Soar book that someone said they returned but did not...only to set it gently back on the returns counter for someone else with my next visit. No renew needed as I think I shall stick to my pointy DPN's!

meg said...

Um, honey, next time we show the world the cat under the bed, we should dust first.

Vintageme said...

Having looked up Cat Bordhi and been sinularly un-impressed I must re-assure you that under my bed is a whole World .....Dad says a small tribe lives under there .

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to find someone else who is less than enthusiastic about toe-up socks. I keep thinking there's something wrong with me! I have Cat's book, but that whole bit about the reverse pattern has put me off. Maybe I'll donate it to the library.
Dorothy
http://missouristar.typepad.com
dswaite@mac.com

meg said...

Oh, toe up socks? What for? I've watched the Fool suffer through two or three pairs now, and ... eeh. I'll stick to the usual way, top to toe. Although ... I'm a total convert to socks on two circulars.

the fiddlin' fool said...

I have to agree. 2 Circulars is an excellent technique, but Turned Toe, the tubular bind off, and the Moebius Cast On... eh.

Anonymous said...

I am in total agreement! The moebius thing is a one-trick pony.

But I'd like to come to the defense of toe up socks. If you have big feet, like myself and my husband, then starting at the toe means never running out of yarn. I particularily like to use the technique with yarns like Lorna's laces.

LaurieM
laurie_corriveauAThotmail

the fiddlin' fool said...

I'm glad that toe-ups work for some people... really I am. I have just found it really difficult to judge how long the foot should be, and half the time I have to rip back to before the gusset.

I have fairly large feet, so I do understand where you are coming from with the not worrying about running out of yarn. If I feel like I might run out, I usually knit to the toe of one sock, knit up to the toe of the second, then close them together on 2 circs. That way I will run out of yarn at the same spot. I don't particularly care for short socks, so a different-colored toe bothers me less.

Knitting Rose said...

Toe up - not a huge fan, but only because I can't bind off LOOSELY. No matter what. Otherwise it is ok. I prefer cuff down. If my toes are different, I really don't care. Moebius - OK, but most of the things can be made non-moebius easier. 2circs - havent tried, I really like Magic Loop (2S1C)though - only because I can fiddle at the same time on each sock. LOVE my Dpns! BTW I LOVE your blog! you are the ones who inspired me to blog.

The Purloined Letter said...

Amen! I do see (at least for us nerds) how much fun she must have been having herself. The reading about her joy in designing was really great--but the knitting itself? Not much. I feel like I do with a whole lot of Elizabeth Zimmermann: LOVE her writing style and excitement but don't always feel the same about the patterns for real garments....

Faith said...

I hate it when people make their book to be more than it is. Either the book rocks, or it doesn't. Grr. I just blogged some less than stellar reviews on a few famous books. Let's call it like it is!

Tallguy said...

Hahaha... I just had a fling with my moebius, and I think I'm done with it now. It was interesting to do.. at least, the cast on. I did a sample without any problem. When I cast on with the moebius yarn, I just couldn't get it. I made it way too large... and re-did it. I just couldn't get that stupid cast on right!! But I won't give up, so tried again and again! Finally, I did it, and in the process discovered an alternative (much much easier) to the method Cat uses. So all was not lost. You know, it did take me weeks and weeks to finally do the last lace edging and get it off the needles. I think I lost interest in it.

I really like doing toe-up socks. I had to try this new invisible caston method, and some increases, and suddenly I had TWO socks on the circ. So I couldn't really stop now, could I? And they became socks. I did the after-thought heel, which is a lot easier to do than with the toe-up gussets. I still like the heel flap and gussets (now THAT is fascinating to do!!) but need to measure my yarn very carefully so I don't run out. I often do contrast toe and heel. And definitely prefer to do both socks at the same time!

Vanessa said...

Wow! Interesting comments on this mobius!!! I did not buy the book but did copy the mobius pattern from the show knittygritty at DIY.com - I too purchased the needles - not cheap to say the least. Have the yarn, pattern and needles - now I am wondering if I should even try it?? I know someday I will but your comments gives one a little to think about.
Thanks

the fiddlin' fool said...

I hope my comments don't deter you from trying it, especially since you've already bought the needles! Definitely give it a shot and form your own opinions. There are certainly plenty of people who find this quite relaxing and enjoyable, and you might be one of those folks.

Anonymous said...

"The Moebius Cast-on" first appeared in 2002 in an "a-hum" toe-up-two socks at a time, sock book called "Crazy Toes & Heels", much earlier than Bordi's book. The moebius from the inside out has been on the "planetshoup" web site since before 2000. She is a "borrower" not creative inventor. She was a kindergarten teacher and continues to write as if she was still teaching the same age of people.

And yes, I love toe-up socks from the before mentioned book, two circs, two socks at a time, and with the methods you can do a lovely toe-up heel flap sock with no heel flap, short-row heels or aterthought heels. I like knowing that I will have enough yarn in the end, and the double crochet cast off there is very stretchy and gives a lovely top finish. There are formula's using rows-per-inch and stitches-per-inch so socks are a perfect fit. No guesswork as to when to start the gussets or lengths. Oh, and for the top-downers" you can do them also, that is what makes us all different and the same. We all just love to knit and we end up with the same thing no matter which way we go. I guess we Easterners do things backwards... I also make my sweaters and other garments top-down. No seams to sew and always a perfect fit, and correct sleeve length.

Addicted to socks! You bet 'ya, and proud to be so.

I just loved reading your blog.

Never made a moebius, never will!

val said...

Cranky Cranky Cranky! I need that bit of enthusiasm personally.. helps me get through endless rows.