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And on the Home Front: Green Socks Have Heels - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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And on the Home Front: Green Socks Have Heels [May. 17th, 2012|02:31 pm]
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[Current Mood |accomplished]

Today my husband and son are out of the house--husband went to the city, picked up son, and took him to the dentist, after which they'll go to a movie and eat.   So it was the perfect time to turn the heels of the green socks.  Yesterday's knitting was such a depressing event that I was a bit scared, even though I've now turned the heels of the other pairs successfully.   The heel turning went very smoothly, and I'm happy with the way the heels look. 


The "eye of partridge" stitch shows clearly on the heel flap.  I did the heel turn itself in stockinette.  The center portion of the heel (the part with stitches that run "straight" from the back of the leg around and under) has eight stitches.  That's the same as on the blue pair that preceded this pair.  The heel flap itself is 28 stitches, two stitches narrower than the blue pair's heel flap because I decreased four stitches below the cuff ribbing.   Now to pick up the stitches along the side of the heel flap and reconnect the heel to the top of the sock. 

With the family out of the house, I should be able to do this without interruption.  I'd like a nap, actually (short of sleep again last night) but it's too good a chance to miss.   It felt really good to have today's knitting do so well, after yesterday's fiasco.


From: (Anonymous)
2012-05-17 07:53 pm (UTC)

What fiasco!

This is Karen, and I believe that your socks are gorgeous!

Need I say more?

Except that, when you pick up stitches on the sides on the Eye of Partridge heels, I hope the fact that there were so many slipped stitches won't confuse you. In effect, you have only knit a little more than half the rows you worked so hard to create -- meaning that you may not want to pick up as many stitches as there are rows?

Yes, there is math involved. No matter what happens, wool will set it right!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-05-17 08:16 pm (UTC)

Re: What fiasco!

Thanks for the compliment!

The way I worked the Eye of Partridge, there are the same number of slipped stitches on the sides of the heel flap as there would be on a regular heel flap, so I don't think that will be a problem. I hope.

The fiasco started several days ago, with the ribbing on the cuff of what was to be a red sock. One sock went fine, just as the others have done. The other, for reasons I don't understand, suddenly acquired a major problem. I ripped back to what I thought was "healthy" below the problem--not an easy job to do that and get all the stitches rescued (it involved many DPNs and a tool my mother had) and back on the four "standing" needles I like to use in the round. Let the ripped yarn "rest" (wrapped around the outside of the ball) and yesterday tried to start again with it. The problem recurred. Faced with more hours of attempted fixing that might not even work, I ripped it back to yarn, wound the yarn onto the ball, and will cast on that sock again from a fresh ball while that yarn recovers and loses its kinks. That fiasco #1. To calm myself from this, I pulled out a gauge swatch I'm doing on a different size of needle--simple, back and forth stockinette, just to prove I could still knit plain stuff. And suddenly there was a triangular part sticking out, where I'd inadvertently added several stitches, one per row. Fiasco #2. So much for calming down before choir practice (or for having a nice rectangular gauge swatch.)

I'm very pleased with the look of these heels--they're the smoothest yet, and I like the way they flow down from the Eye of Partridge pattern. I need to finish these socks in less than two weeks, though, and I have many other things that absolutely must be done in the same time period. So it will be a bit of a challenge.

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[User Picture]From: xrian
2012-05-18 01:30 am (UTC)
I've learned through time to rip back to the row just ABOVE the row I intend to start from. Then I pick up a needle and poke it through the stitch the yarn is coming out of and only THEN pull on the yarn to "unknit" that stitch. On to the next -- poke new needle through, pull old yarn out. This makes the process of ripping back much less traumatic -- fewer missed stitches, split stitches, stitches picked up the wrong way around, stitches that run before you have a chance to pick them up...
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-05-18 02:09 am (UTC)
That would have been a great idea...if I'd thought of it. I'll remember it! Thank you.

In this instance, since I didn't pick the right place to rip back to, it was doomed from the start.

But--both green socks now have turned heels and one of them is reattached to its top and the first two decrease rows of the gusset have been worked. Then my hand cramped, so I quit. This time I used the "knit into the back loop of the slipped stitches on the heel flap edge" method, and sure enough, no gaps to fill. I'd like to attach the other green sock's heel flap this evening, but it's after 9 pm and my difficult knuckle is swollen and sore, so I think I'll let it go until tomorrow.

Meanwhile the blue socks--that I wore yesterday and washed today--dried in only one day, thanks to a warmer and drier day.

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[User Picture]From: xrian
2012-05-18 02:19 pm (UTC)
You've inspired me, BTW, to get out some yarn I'd been admiring for a while and start a pair of "fat socks" for myself. I needed to do something in a pattern that I know well because my "real" project at the moment requires thought and figuring (and lots of ripping) and I don't always have the energy to THINK after a full day at work.

One Woodsie Sock is done and the other one is started. (WoolEase color "Autumn".) I ordinarily don't like variegated yarn, but this one is nice and subtle.
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[User Picture]From: fabricdragon
2012-05-17 08:32 pm (UTC)
sometimes socks just refuse to behave for no reason.. i am glad these are behaving!

also.. i know its odd, but.. sometimes honestly certain yarns sem to behave better with different needles. like they hate wood, or metal, or something
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-05-19 01:36 am (UTC)
Green socks are now reconnected, and I'm on the gusset section.

Lessons learned so far:

1) Knitting into the back of the loop when picking up stitches along the edge of the heel flap does indeed take care of gaps. I used a one-size-smaller needle to pick up those stitches and it was then a lot easier to knit into them off the needle than off that curly edge with the larger needle.

2) The narrower heel flap (because of reducing stitches in the ankle to prevent baggy ankle) meant the heel flap didn't go as far around my heel after turning the heel. The gusset thus starts farther back on the thick part of the ankle/foot connection--with more of it to get past.

3) And that means normal gusset decreases (every other row) may be too "steep" and the sock too snug (depending on your definition of "too snug") in that critical area. Luckily, I have been trying on the socks every few rows, and discovered that the second decrease row came too early. So--more non-decrease rows until the snugness lets up, and then again trying on every row or so. I "fixed" this by stopping the decreases after two for several rows, which turns the gusset triangle into a rather odd trapezoid, but feet come first.

4) Next pair, if I still like the decrease to 56 stitches below the ribbing, I will go back to a 30 stitch heel flap (the top will be narrower, temporarily) and ensure I have enough ease in this area by adding another non-decrease row before starting decreases--and perhaps using a shallower decrease at first (decrease every third or even fourth row.) The top of the foot will be narrower, but that won't matter once past the gusset. An alternative (depending on how snug the 56 stitches turn out to be in the ankle) is to back off the decrease there by two, and decrease by one on each of the "front" needles, none on the back. Can't tell yet. The thing is, I have swelling in that area sometimes, and I don't want a tight sock. I also don't want a sock that falls off my foot.

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From: (Anonymous)
2012-05-19 08:08 am (UTC)

The narrowness may be a result of the pattern stitch?

My name is Karen, and I've never used, I think you called it "eye of pidgeon" stitch (that I know of -- many stitches have multiple names, to put it mildly).

I have done multiple k1, slip1 variations, and one thing I can say for sure is that, in addition to adding warmth (the reason I was interested, having once been able to have ice-cold hands when the thermometer read 100 degrees F.), but, by building a double layer, they also provide less stretch.

All of those "floats" lack the ability to stretch as much as your standard stockinette (and only a tiny fraction of any form of ribbing), so you may have just ended up with a heel flap that isn't as stretchy as the ones in your previous pattern.

Since it sounds like you're warming (pun intended) to the extra effort of this particular stitch, you might want to do a guage swatch (with leftover yarn) where you block the swatch, then use a ruler to measure what sewists call the "percentage of stretch" against the same size swatch in stockinette. This difference should tell you a lot about how the "floats" are limiting the horizontal stretch, allowing you to adjust either the heel flap or the rest of the foot accordingly.

If, when they're done, the extra work makes it seem worth it, of course.... I think it might well, because, in addition to increasing durability, the double layer of knitting should provide a wonderful extra layer of padding to the heel!
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-05-19 04:10 pm (UTC)

Re: The narrowness may be a result of the pattern stitch?

I think you're absolutely right about the decrease in stretchiness of the heel flap being part of the cause. I had thought the "floats" would give it extra stretchiness, but when I kind of tugged at it, it had barely more stretch than woven material--less than some woven materials on the bias. Will have to remember that for future planning.

If I do a stitch that thickens the fabric, I'll have to count on the fabric not stretching. Interestingly, it seems to be only 2-3 stitches snugger than I like, which means if I hadn't decreased as much as I did above, it would've been fine--with that stitch on the heel flap. (And the "heel stitch" also has the alternating knits and slips, and would thus have the same lack of stretch, I'm guessing.)

What I wanted thickness for was to help stabilize my heels (narrow) in shoes with wider heels--it's not possible, in hiking/sports shoes, to get the heel variations you can get in some dress shoes. My heels slide up and down, putting much more wear on the socks. That's why I'd asked my mother for hand-knit socks with double-thick heels--and sure enough, those worked great in the hiking shoes and boots I had at the time.
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[User Picture]From: kengr
2012-05-25 06:48 am (UTC)
You made Jay Leno's monologue tonight (thursday). Not by name, but he was talking about the (sic) English science fiction writer proposing barcoding people.

I was tempted to send an Email noting that you were American and not serious (linking to this post) but I decided to let that be your choice.

(edited to add)
Arggh! This was supposed to be a reply to a different post...

Edited at 2012-05-25 06:50 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2012-05-25 12:27 pm (UTC)
I discovered from a friend in another city that I'm actually behind the times...San Antonio schools are adding RFID chips to student ID cards in one school (and planning to expand to others) so they can track them...because state school funding is based not on enrollment but on attendance, and this way they can find (or think they can find!) truants and drag them in so the schools don't lose state funding.

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[User Picture]From: kengr
2012-05-25 12:44 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, that's old news. Several other school districts in the US are doing it or trying to. And the parents in at least one are up in arms because it makes it too easy to track kids *outside* school. Fear of kidnappers and all that, I guess.

I fully agree about "think they can find". I know I'd have been smart enough to either ditch the card or wrap it in aluminum foil if I was skipping class!
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