||[Jul. 16th, 2012|03:26 pm]
Because I have trouble seeing the stitches I need to pick up, along the sides of the heel flap, I pick them up with smaller-diameter needles, then knit them off the smaller ones and onto the size I'm using for the rest of the sock. Working as I do with four "standing needles" and one "working" needle, a sock can already look like a dangerous object to non-knitters. But adding the "heel flap side" needles after turning the heels means each sock has six needles...and so I coined the term "sockupine." Here they are...
On the right, the sockupine with both heel-flap-stitches needles in place, and with the single needle across the bottom--makes the rectangular shape of the original heel flap clear. On the left, the sockupine with the heel stitches divided again...each will pick up the flap stitches on one side of the flap, and then it'll be the four standing needles again, making a weird diamond shape The left one shows the heel turn (toward the camera better than the right one. If there were feet, they'd be pointed at the camera, toes level with the single horizontal needle in the right image. This is the "Denim One" pair, and the blue looks bluer and less faded/gray than in real life. (They've had been joined up yesterday but for power outages and storms...I can sort of do ribbing in the dim light of a rain-lashed window in the afternoon, but not anything as complicated as this, and I'm glad the top half of GreenTwo's ribbing will be well hidden under my slacks. Turns out I can do ribbing, but not perfectly. I'm suspecting that my foremothers who knit by candlelight did not produce absolutely error-free knitting.)
Interesting, I've been trying to gear myslef up to make socks, but have been concerned about the picking up of stitches and pondering what to do about it. Now I know, thank you!
Different books tell you different things but when knitting the heel flap, I slip the first stitch of each row, then--in picking them up--pick up the back loop of the stitch. I've done it all ways--hardest was the first time when I didn't slip the stitches and had to fight my way into the nice snug edge stitches. Made my hands ache.
The dirty little secret none of the books mentions: If, after doing your best, you end up with one or more unwanted gaps between the heel flap and the new, forward-facing rows, along the side of the heel flap...you can fix that. Finish the sock. Turn it inside out. Thread a yarn needle with the same thread and weave across the holes, pulling the stitches snug they way you wanted them in the first place. Really good knitters would turn up their noses, but if you don't hand them your socks to turn inside out (keep your shoes on!) they'll never know. The socks feel fine. Not that I'm admitting I actually did that...(GGG)
The whole heel thing is mystique. Knitting the heel flap itself is easy--you've already knit the top of the sock in the round, and the heel flap is a) flat and b) only half the stitches per row. Turning the heel is a bit tricky but not mind-numbing tricky. The best explanation for turning a heel that I've found is in Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Yarn Harlot's) book _Knitting Rules_. It's what I used on my first pair of socks, and it worked the first time. Heel turning IS clever, and you should feel proud of yourself for doing it, but the major part is overcoming heel-turn-panic, which I had a red-hot case of, the first time out.
Basically, if the finished product fits over your foot--it's a sock, and you can wear it. Now some people do not like the socks they've knit (take a look at the Ravelry "knitting heresies" discussion if you don't believe me.) They say the socks hurt their feet when they walk on them. Well, nobody likes painful socks, but I think it's a feet problem and not a sock problem. Some feet just aren't meant to have hand-knit socks on them. My feet would love to wear hand-knit socks 24/7/365 if I had that many hand-knit socks. (OK, maybe a little less than that if I had a private pool in which to swim....)
The picture isn't accurate for color...it was taken under a CFL light fixture and a camera flash. it looks more saturated and several shades darker than it is. I'll take picture of the yarn tomorrow if it's bright out. I like it too, but it's one of those colors that reacts a lot to the color of the light on it. If you want to look it up (but I haven't found any of the color image of this yarn online to be very good) it's Ella rae Classic color #46.
I'm reasonably sure (but haven't looked it up) that some knitting guild somewhere has used crossed needles in its logo. I'm thinking (just because I have nothing else to do and no deadlines to meet...HA!) starting an online knitting group of women who write, fence, and knit...we like sharp things of all kinds, you see. We already have a group of writers who fence ("The pen is mighter than the sword, but the wise woman wields both" is our motto) but adding knitting...well, at least half of us also knit.
2012-07-17 02:07 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you did get some of that rain. Hope it was enough to really help.
"Knitting in the rain" isn't that a song from a musical? ;)
An inch. A very welcome inch. Other people got pounded...I'd have liked another inch or two, but I'm grateful for the inch. The toads are singing in the lily pond.
2012-08-02 02:20 pm (UTC)
Since I learned to do short row heels, I never knit socks with heel flaps any longer, but your suggestion is really clever.
I don't have a livejournal, so this is posting as anonymous. A friend from Open Diary suggested I check out your blog here.
2012-08-02 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Heel Flaps
Hi, Linda. Thanks for IDing yourself.
Short-row heels don't give me enough space in the instep when putting socks on. It was always a problem with me, even when I was younger and I had no swelling issues, trying to pull commercial socks (which have what amounts to a short-row heel) on and off over my heels and high instep. (Socks when I was a kid didn't have elastic, or much elastic. Cotton socks--no stretchy, and when they were sweaty--ick.)
What I really like about heel-flap heels is that they do--they have more gusset than short-row heels. One of my sock books discusses the different heel turns in the context of high, average, or low instep, and the reasons why a high instep does best in heel-turn designs that offer more gusset rows.
I know a lot of people like short-row heels, and I might if my feet were a different shape. The delight of making my own socks is that I can customize them to my particular feet. Happy feet are the goal--and if yours like short-row heels, then that's your smart way to go, and if mine like heel-flap heels, then that's my smart way to go.