Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Emily Ocker -- Where are you? It all began when my customer Judith came in and wanted to knit the Nomad Hat and Scarf from the latest Interweave Knits. After looking for the perfect yarn for almost an hour we finally found something that would give the same gauge but not be too heavy -- Bulky Leisure an alpaca/cotton (50/50) mix in a tweedy red colorway. Then, the question came up -- can you help me with the cast on. Sure I said. I looked at the pattern and there it was. The Emily Ocker Cast-on. Now, I heard of this cast-on before. Gwen was going to teach a top-down class last fall and included in her description was the teaching of the Emily Ocker cast-on. So I knew it had to be something special. I looked at the directions in Interweave Knits. Not a whole lot of information there. So, I went online and sure enough found tons of references. I found a tutorial, complete with pictures and another website with a neat explanation -- It turns out that Emily Ocker was a neighbor of none other than Elizabeth Zimmerman and this is her favorite cast on. Special indeed! But wait, I actually found pictures of the famous Ms. Ocker on another website complete with pictures of her showing the cast-on herself. What a find!

So now I found myself trying to learn how to do this cast on while Judith and her husband are staring at me. I tried with some practice yarn and after a few tries, I actually got the hang of it. You need a crochet hook and you hold the yarn so that it forms a circle and actually do single crochets around the circle. A little tricky but just realize that you go under the circle, grab the yarn and then go over the circle and grab the yarn and pull it through the loop on your crochet hook. Sounds simple, but believe me you need to practice for a bit. Then, I tried it with the yarn I want to use to make my Nomad Hat -- which is Woolbearer's Alfresco. A single spun hand dyed wool/acrylic mix. Kind of chunky. The Emily Ocker cast on was a little trickier with this yarn because of the bulk, but I did actually master it and can't wait to start knitting up my hat. Thank you Emily Ocker.

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