Extra Credit: Handling long floats

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If you took me up on the challenge I made in the introduction, and selected your own color chart--or even drew one for yourself--you may be facing some rows with more than five stitches in a row of a single color. In this case, the float carried along behind will be long enough to tangle your toes in. We wouldn't want that!

These long floats should be caught into your knitting every now and then, to keep them from hanging loose on the inside of the sock. You can do this while keeping the yarns wrapped on your two hands simply (she says!) by moving the carried yarn into the opposite position to the one you'd use for stranding. Let me show you. I hope the photos make this clear enough.

[Catching the left-hand yarn]
To catch a float of the left yarn into a stitch made by the right yarn, hold the left yarn in a position close to the back of the left needle tip. Insert the right needle as usual into the stitch on the left needle, and use your right hand to loop the right yarn around the right needle, underneath the left yarn. Move the left yarn back into its normal position.

Short explanation--reach under the left yarn to knit the right yarn. In the photo I'm holding the blue yarn forward and knitting the white yarn below it.

[Catching the right-hand yarn]
Catching a float of the right yarn is a little trickier. I do it by using any available finger on my left hand to pull the right yarn forward and down, while I knit the left yarn over the top of it.

Short explanation--reach over the right yarn to knit the left yarn. In the photo I'm pulling the white yarn forward and to the left and knitting the blue yarn over it.

[Chart of pelican] Just as an example of the kind of chart that would need to have its floats tied down, here's a freebie--a pelican chart based on a Peruvian folk pattern that I use on Lopi hats (I've repeated the tail part only so you can see how it fits in). The dots mark the places where it would be good to tie the float down. Also see the tip on the Socknitters Tips and Techniques section, which talks about how to make these caught stitches less visible.

Photos by Dale Clark (thanks, Dale!)

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