It is #1 daughter’s birthday today, Son-in-Law’s graduation day from nuclear chemistry school (whatever they call that), and #2 daughter’s first day of classes.

Dweezy says they are calling it “Juneuary” where he lives, it is so balmy. But Natalie (http://knitting.xaviermusketeer.com/) says it is Sockuary, so I will give in to the temptation to discuss socks. (Go check out her scarf, too — it’s very pretty.) CheriM (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=CheriM) also has posted her snazzy sock’s picture.

Feebeeglee asked about using garter stitch for the heel of a sock. I’m thinking that it might be too stretchy, but I have never tried it. I normally use the Sock Heel Stitch. I don’t know any other name for this stitch, or any other use for it, either, although I guess you could make a cell phone cozy out of it if you wanted to.

As you recall from our last thrilling installment, you have a cuff and have knitted to the point at which you must decide whether it is a sock or a mitten. Now — for a sock — you make a heel.

To make a heel, you knit back and forth on one third of the stitches. Purl all wrong side rows. On the right-side rows, knit one, slip one, all the way across. Knit the edge stiches on every row. Continue this until you have a square. You can tell it is a square by folding it diagonally. If it is a square, it will fold into a tidy triangle. Many people just do 2 rows fewer than the number of stitches, but I find that having to stop and count gets in the way of reading, while making sure that it’s a square doesn’t. Up to you.

There you are with the cuff, and a nice little knitted square. Now you turn the heel. Here is a photo tutorial of turning the heel:

http://www.royea.net/sockdemo2.html

This is the part that people think is hard. I would say that it is hard the first time you do it from written instructions. However, it seems to me that all the complex things people do in order to avoid turning the heel are harder, after you have figured it out once. What is more, all the supposedly easier heels look and feel distinctly inferior to the good traditional turned heel. Have someone physically show you, if possible. Otherwise, be brave and bold and try it! Be mentally prepared to frog it a few times if necessary. Once you have done it a time or two, you will find it easy.

You know I am opinionated. I say, if you can’t turn a heel, buy your socks!

Here is #1 son’s mitten. He wanted it loose and grunge-like, and I have done my best. If it were longer and had a heel, it would be a sock!

Both my boys are home with stomach flu, so I am spending my non-work time with them. Mostly saying things like “Lie down! If you are too sick for school, then you are too sick to be rampaging around like that!” After one of these speeches, #2 son walked carefully into the kitchen saying “See how quiet and peaceful I’m being?” and threw up on the floor. I should still be able to finish the second mitten before it gets cold. Then maybe I’ll make some socks…