I’m always down to learn a new trick or technique. In the past year, I’ve gone from using the highly uncomfortable but familiar pinch-the-yarn style of English knitting to the more naturally flowing Continental. I learned Norwegian purling to help make ribbing more bearable. Just this month, I actually used Kitchener stitching to close out a pair of socks – without even having to look at a tutorial first to remind myself how to get started. Given how much I hate toe-grafting, I’d say that’s quite the accomplishment.

So given my distaste for closing out toes (and running out of yarn because Kroy Socks comes in much shorter balls than most other sock yarns… if it didn’t launder like a champ I’d avoid it entirely), it was inevitable that I’d gravitate towards toe-up socks and patterns. I learned the figure 8 cast on, and then by virtue of being obnoxiously anal, I wound up having to re-do it a dozen times for the same pair of socks. In short: I got really, really good at it.

But I kept seeing people talk about how wonderful (and, well, magical) Judy’s Magic Cast On is. Now, I’m sure Judy is a nice lady, but I was skeptical about this. The proponents say that it’s right the first time, every time, and that you don’t have to worry about tightening up that first round of stitches. As long as you remember to twist the stitches in the second half of the initial round, you’ll get a smooth and neat toe.

This might be a good time to mention that another way I’ve come pretty far in my knitting is that I’ve really come to hate knots. I don’t join yarns with them any more (in fact, I’ve had to spit-splice like a madwoman for a particularly obstinate yarn – lots of weak spots, but I guess it’s to be expected in a yarn kit that’s been tucked away in a closet since the 80s). I’ve even taken to starting my cast ons without using a slip knot (TechKnitter seriously knows everything). One thing I like about the figure 8 is that the slip knot doesn’t become a part of the knitting – it’s just an anchor, and once you reach it, you can slip it off and undo it.

Now, the JMCO may be able to be done without using a knot. But just going by the (very helpful) tutorial, which says the knot counts as a stitch, I wound up with a visible knot on one end of my toe.

So I guess I don’t believe in magic. Not to say it’s a bad method or the people who use it are wrong, it just doesn’t provide me with the kind of result I want. The figure 8, well, does. Sure, you have to go back and tighten each stitch manually. It honestly doesn’t bother me that much. In fact, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I even have a dpn I use expressly for it.

So this, like the supposedly stretchy “sewn” bind off, goes in the circular file. Saw it, tried it, meh.

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