Friday, December 11, 2009

Square Sock toes

This sock toe is great. It's really easy, and it warps to fit any sort of foot. It can be used with most toe up sock patterns....just don't do the toe they suggest, do this one.

Figure out how many stitches you want the foot to be (look in your pattern, or do the math, whatever).

Divide that number by 4. Let's name this number....Alfred (if it is not even, just round it down, and increase those 1-3 sts in the last row).

Cast on Alfred stitches with any provisional cast on you feel like. I like the invisible cast on, here, at (scroll down), but any will do.

Work in garter stitch, knitting each row, until you have Alfred ridges on both sides (this will be Alfred times 2 number of rows).

Pick up Alfred stitches along the next side....if you have two circs, just pick up sts, one per ridge, with the needle tip with the yarn tail hanging from it. Pick one spot at the very edge of the ridge, to pick the st through, and use that same place in each ridge, to make it smooth and even. If you need to, finagle the last sts/ridge just a bit. If you are using dpns, then use a second needle to pick up these sts.

Now take out the waste yarn, putting the new, live sts from the cast on onto another circ or dpn.

Pick up sts along the last side, same as the 2nd side, onto that second circ or a 4th dpn.

Count your sts, making sure you have the required number for your pattern. Each circ should have 1/2 (twice Alfred), each dpn should have Alfred. If you had to round down to get Alfred, now increase to match your pattern and you knit the next row, and put them on your needles as the pattern requires. Continue with your pattern. This toe is a bit shallower than many short row toes, so you may need a few more rows before the ball of the foot. Most patterns measure from the tip of the toe to judge when it's time to start the heel, so changing the toe works for most patterns.

The points of the square will point up the sides, center top and center bottom of your foot.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It's about time I documented the embroidery I did for my synagogue, Congregation Kerem Shalom.


Years ago, our synagogue got a new old new Torah. It was originally in a synagogue in Czechoslovakia. The Nazis murdered all the Jews in that town, and stole the valuables. The Torah was tattooed, cataloged, and placed in storage, to be part of a display in a museum of an extinct race. Ugh.
Here are the red letters the Nazis painted on the rollers. They used to be brighter, but handling has rubbed much of it off. The Torah wasn't well cared for under the Nazis, but it has had some conservation, although I wish it could have some more.

There are many Torahs like this, that were rescued and placed in synagogues for safe keeping. Here is more information.

Sixteen years ago, I was asked to make a cover for this Torah. I drew a tree of life, and embroidered it in wool on wool fabric and lined it in cotton. I kept the stitches simple, it's mostly outline stitch, with long and short stitch, satin stitch, couching, and some simple fillers.

I loved the camel, he was fun!

I really enjoyed the colors, and who could resist adding a lion and lamb to a Tree of Life? As is obvious, I had fun with the animals...when you aren't restricted by reality, you can put a goose into the tree with the seal!

The metal pointer is a yod, used to keep your place when chanting Torah, so that your finger oils don't damage the ink. They are usually decorative, as well as functional, and hang from the rollers, looking pretty, until the scroll is undressed, opened up and read.


Here is a page of the Torah

And here you can see it rolled up, ready to be dressed.

I did much of the embroidery with my then 1 yr old daughter strapped to my back! At her Bat Mitzvah, she carried this Torah around the sanctuary in the traditional processional, and then chanted from it. It's still part of Jewish life cycles, despite its history!