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Sockin' to Myself: More than a Cuff [Mar. 4th, 2012|05:17 pm]
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

One sock now has a growing heel flap.   Today I photographed it "posing" on its ball of yarn as if that were the foot. 

L: Front of sock (a half inch of stockinette below ribbing doesn't show: too curly. 
R: Side of sock, with heel flap hanging down behind.  Heel flap's on a cable.

Heel flap will be longer soon. 

I keep putting my foot through the top of the cuff to check the size..and now, with the heel flap, it has some resemblance to a sock--like a wrist-warmer's relationship to a glove.   When this heel flap is done, I'll do the other sock's heel flap, and then...it's 'turning the heel' time.   (Note today's "accomplished" mood.  This may not last when the heel-turning part is going on!)  I was able to knit a couple of rows before choir rehearsal this morning and another between first and second service.

[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2012-03-05 12:06 am (UTC)
Turning a heel is fun, but I admit when I first read the instructions, I was bewildered. Then I tried it, and I understood what my knitting friends told me when they'd said that heel turning is magic.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-05 12:26 am (UTC)
When I get the heel flaps (both of them) to the right length, then I have to FIND the instructions. And understand the instructions, since I'm incapable of following instructions I don't understand. (And sometimes ones I do understand...I need to know both how and why the instructions work, and whether alternative methods exist.)

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[User Picture]From: fair_witness
2012-03-05 12:40 am (UTC)
Well, it can depend on what sort of heel you're turning, but basically you're working decreases from the center of the heel flap, which causes the heel flap to contract and form a little shelf or half-cup. Does that help?
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[User Picture]From: karalianne
2012-03-05 12:39 am (UTC)
As Stephanie (Yarn Harlot) says, just trust the pattern as you're turning the heel. It will turn out, and it will be amazing! :)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-05 06:45 am (UTC)
Pattern? There's supposed to be a pattern?

I don't have a pattern per se. I have an old sock that my mother made, with moth holes all over it (stored it in the wrong place.) It fit my skinnier 24 year old legs. (The foot would still fit my 65+ yo foot, but the ankle is too snug on my fatter ankles and lower leg.) I got from that sock to where I am by staring at the sock and then my foot and leg, and then the sock, and then my foot and leg, until a mental image of sock parts and leg/foot parts began to emerge.

When I say I'm not good with directions that don't already make perfect sense to me...that's a fact. Directions, patterns, whatever...I read them, and either an almost solid 3-D model arrives in my head...or doesn't. If not, then I cannot trust them. Absolutely can't. I have to understand patterns & directions at a deep level or...I keep thinking about them until I do. (Yes, this was a problem in organic chemistry, too. "Just memorize [a whole mass of stuff about which things hook to benzene rings in what positions and order]; you can understand it later." No. I have to understand it FIRST. It's very inconvenient, but it's how my mind works.)

Anyway, first I have to find a pattern that sort of resembles what I'm trying to do, and then understand it, and then transform that pattern to what I need to do with the sock in hand. But first I need to finish this heel flap and then the other one so I'm ready to work on one heel immediately after the other. So far, the printed and online directions are very much in the "just do what you're told and don't think about it" mode, which isn't helpful for my way of thinking.
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[User Picture]From: tattercoats
2012-03-05 09:10 am (UTC)
I have explained heel turning to assorted curious friends and acquaintances, usually with some success, albeit with more arm-waving than LJ can support.

You'll have to imagine the arm-waving.

The heel turn I use goes like this; at the bottom of the heel flap, you'll knit a bit over half of a row, decrease one, and then turn your work.

Then you'll knit to a bit past the halfway point on the other side, decrease one, and turn.

Knit back to where you decreased one first time but knit one stitch further decrease one, and turn.

At this point I am describing a small rainbow in the air with my hand. The base of the heel flap is the horizon in a child's painting of a rainbow. Your first rows are the inner colours. Your rows build curved layers onto the outside of the rainbow, one at a time, each time swallowing one more stitch in the decrease, and each time creeping towards the edge of the paper - ie, the heelflap.

When you've reached the last stitch on both sides, you'll have a little cup at the end of your heel turn, and you'll have (ideally) half the stitches your heelflap started with (the pattern I use goes from 28 to 14 stitches. YMMV.)

Add extra arm-waving for 'yay, you've turned a heel!'

The PROCESS is straightforward, but I do still refer to a pattern for the initial numbers of how far along the row you go before turning.

Wiser heads than I may know the magic formula for finding that number if you let us know how many stitches your heelflap has?

Best of luck!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-05 02:27 pm (UTC)
32 stitches in the heel flap. Is there anything peculiar about the decreases, or will "knit two together" work?
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[User Picture]From: karalianne
2012-03-05 05:42 pm (UTC)
I think K2tog should be fine, though some people prefer to do it angling different ways depending on which side of the foot you're on. I believe mine were all K2tog (or possibly P2tog as well, I can't remember and my copy of the book is at home... and I'm not).

Hm, if I remember I will look it up tonight and give you the exact page where she talks about how to turn a heel. :)
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[User Picture]From: karalianne
2012-03-06 02:08 am (UTC)
Got it, page 136. She explains how to figure out how many stitches you need in the middle before you start doing the short rows (as in, how far to knit before you go back) and exactly how to make it happen. If you read those instructions and look at your mom's sock, it will probably become really clear. :)
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[User Picture]From: karalianne
2012-03-05 01:43 pm (UTC)
Oops, my bad. :)

I made my first sock following a pattern from Knitty, but when I got to the heel I followed a friend's advice and went with the instructions in All Wound Up. Even though she talks about trusting the pattern, her directions were clear enough that I could understand what was supposed to happen and visualize it in my mind - and as a result, I understand short rows really well.

(I'm a visual/kinesthetic learner, so I do understand what you mean.)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-05 03:08 pm (UTC)
And I have a copy of _All Wound Up_, though it's now disappeared because on Saturday a friend gave me a copy of Ellen Sweets' memoir of Molly Ivins and cooking, _Stirring It Up With Molly Ivins_. (For anyone who's a Molly Ivins fan, or an Ellen Sweets fan, or a cooking fan--there are recipes--you want this book. Molly Ivins in the kitchen--it explains a lot about Molly Ivins. Cooking, feeding people. The genuine love that made her critiques of the cold-hearted so devastatingly accurate.)

The short rows made sense after I stared at my mother's sock long enough. Gusset. Yes, of course. The human foot, I already knew from trying to draw it, has sections resembling triangles and other resembling trapezoids...and a few other even more irregular shapes. Therefore gussets are needed. I remember my mother explaining to me, when I was a kid, about her sojourn as a liaison engineer for the Army Air Corps at a Douglas Aircraft factory during WWII, where among other things she explained aircraft design to women factory workers who knew sewing but not factory work. The importance of smooth curving joins between parts of the airplane (wings to fuselage, for instance), she told them, were like sleeve gussets. (She also sewed, including designing clothes.)

The thing I don't get yet is the SSK (or is it SKK) instruction in dealing with heels and gussets. But I still need to finish the heel flaps and find _All Wound Up_ (having just handed _Stirring It Up_ off to my husband in the hope he finds it as funny and also realized my cooking style is the less-educated version of Miss Molly's.)

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[User Picture]From: xrian
2012-03-06 02:56 am (UTC)
There are a couple of ways to do this decrease.

You may actually find it simpler at first to do "SKP" instead. It works just as well and looks *almost* as good, although SSK is faster once you know how to do it.

To do SKP:
(1) Slip one stitch from your right needle to your left without knitting it. Be sure you are holding the yarn in back of the work when you do this or it will look funny.
(2) Knit the next stitch from your right-hand needle in the usual way.
(3) Take the slipped stitch on your right needle that you didn't knit. Pull it over the stitch you just knitted and drop it off the end of your right needle so it isn't a stitch any more.

Personally, I found the hardest part of the turning--the-heels directions the first time I did it was the concept that you stop knitting in one direction, turn around and go back the other way EVEN THOUGH you were not at the end of a row yet. It sounds like you already know how to do this, so you're ahead.
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-03-05 01:35 am (UTC)
Those cheery red socks are gonna make you smile every time you put them on!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-03-05 06:48 am (UTC)
Looking forward to it. Once the cuff got a couple of inches long, it was fun to slide my foot through it, and up to where I want it to sit, and feel how comfortable it was. Now that one sock has its heel flap, it's fun to "put it on" and see the heel flap clinging to my heel (well, not exactly clinging, but I can see how it's going to be a sock.) I once had a pair of red wool socks, loved them, wore them out...will be very glad to have more.
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[User Picture]From: amm_me
2012-03-05 01:38 am (UTC)
Oops, anonymous was me.
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[User Picture]From: gifted
2012-03-06 10:27 pm (UTC)
Looking good! As someone who can only knit in straight lines, I'm baffled and impressed by this process.
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-03-07 12:30 pm (UTC)

Knitting, stress, and war...

Back in 1948, my future mother-in-law was in Jerusalem, at the American Colony, with HER mother-in-law, and there was a war going on, with fighting in the vacinity and the men gone to it. They were in an area of what is now (now that The American Colony is a lovely hotel) called "The Cellar Bar," and elder MIL taught younger MIL how to knit.

Younger MIL told me, years later, that her MIL had said--"it's really the only thing you CAN do. You can't read--you can't focus on it, because you're too concerned. You can't sleep. This gives you something you need to think about some-and something to do with your hands."
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