Years ago, as legend has it, there was a knitter named Judy. One day, our dear Judy was home in bed, too ill to knit. She began to play with her sticks and string, and had the kind of a-ha moment for which we all yearn. She hadn't solved world hunger or second sock syndrome. She had developed, in her own words, "a more humane way to start toe-up socks".
The world took note. More specifically, Knitty took note, and, in that magical Knitty way, the thing went viral. Epic. Pandemic. Magical.
There remained a subset of knitters, the poor unfortunate souls, who thought JMCO (yes, it gained instant acronym status as well - take that, LMFAO) was not for them. They would never knit toe-up socks, so this technique was not important to them.
I hold in my hands a book that will change those minds. In the words of Ann Budd, "Judy Becker revolutionalized how stitches are cast on for toe-up socks; with Beyond Toes, she may revolutionize how stitches are cast on for just about everything else."
Knitting Adventures with Judy's Magic Cast-On
photography by Vivian Aubrey
2011, Indigo Frog Press, $28.95
This book capitalizes on the tendency we knitters have to adapt, tweak and toy with techniques and methods. Judy's simple, concise and effective method inspired many variations, many of which appear in the pages of this book. Want a vest with a neat and tidy tubular cast-on? A pair of mittens whose starting point cannot be identified? A stuffed pig built from the rump end up? How about a lovely lace shawl, artfully constructed from the centre out? It's all here.
Presented as a treasure map with each variation of JMCO as a point of interest, the knitter is encouraged to play, to explore and to make these techniques their own. 23 patterns by 22 designers (including one by Judy herself and two by yours truly) include a staggering array of socks, caps, garments, household items and much more. I already have some favourites (Bobsled mittens, I'm looking at you), but this is a book I could see knitting in its entirety over a number of years. The variety and scope of potential projects is unmatched on my bookshelf.
If you'd like to take a peek at the patterns - and believe me, you do - click the cover above to be taken to the book's main web page. If you'd like to win a copy for your own bookshelf, leave me a comment. I'll draw a winner once I've received 25 unique user comments, so send your friends on over!
Edit to add: the book is autographed by Judy herself. Good luck!