Scene from choir practice last night:

Director: “They say that they have the biggest organ in the county…”
Suwanda: “Lots of men say that. It’s never true.”


But we were talking about Socktoberfest, weren’t we?

Ah, yes, Socktoberfest. square check

I have never been to an Oktoberfest celebration, but #2 daughter went to one recently, and they appear to involve dancing, drinking beer, and saying “What the heck” in various languages. These activities go perfectly with the knitting of socks. Here is the Log Cabin sock at an earlier stage, so you can see the method for checking the squarosity of the heel flap. You just grab the needle that the stitches are on and fold it diagonally to meet the beginning of the heel flap. If you get a proper triangle, you have a square and can proceed.

sock with rose Then you turn that heel and regather all your stitches into a circle, as shown in an earlier post. I put the Log Cabin sock out with the roses for this step.

It is lovely out in the garden early in the morning. It is very jungly, since I gave it over to the weeds and mosquitoes,  but that has not inhibited the roses.

Quite the contrary. Here they are, reveling. They are probably saying “What the heck!” to one another in rose language, and doing whatever the equivalent of dancing and drinking are for plants. late roses

We also have tomatoes and peppers.

Salsa is in the offing.

There is always a bit of a race between late tomatoes and the first frost. If the tomatoes are still green when the first hard frost comes, you have to go ahead and pick them and make green tomato mincemeat or something.

I would prefer to let them ripen and make salsa. At the moment, it is hard to imagine a first frost ever arriving, but it is bound to.

late baby tomatoes This weekend is homecoming, after all. There will be a parade and a dance. #1 son is attending the dance with a girl we do not know. He needs a rather large sum of money to do this, and has run through most of  his summer earnings already, so he has been trying to negotiate a deal.

We always bought our girls prom dresses and had their hair done and all that, and his homecoming expenses seem to me to be in the same category. This doesn’t seem to involve taking him out to buy clothes or sitting and waiting while he gets his hair lacquered into fantastic shapes or anything. We just have to hand over money.

many peppers

It always seemed to me that getting daughters ready for prom was a foretaste of wedding preparations, including the helpless feeling that really it shouldn’t cost that much. I always remembered a colleague’s advice. He told me, when we were doing our first of many prom seasons, “Just run off the cliff.” He gazed out into the middle distance, seeing all the lemmings with their spaghetti straps and dyed-to-match shoes and last-minute trips to the florist for babies’ breath for the hairdo.

This may be true with the boys as well. The groom’s family doesn’t get all that involved in the preparations, but they probably have to fork over the spondulicks for the son’s part of the proceedings.

gusset Oh, that’s right, we were talking about Socktoberfest.

At this point, you have more stitches than you began with. I have 60 here, and I began with 48. So you must get them back to the original number, unless your foot is way bigger than your ankle.

Here’s how you do it.

You knit down from the heel to the end of that first needle (green in the picture), and decrease a stitch. You knit across the front (the purple needle in the picture) according to the pattern you have chosen. Then you decrease one at the beginning of the last needle and knit back up to the heel.

That’s a decrease row.

You must alternate decrease rows and plain rows, in order to get a nice triangular gusset on each side. You keep doing this till you get back to the original number of stitches.

Now, there are very few things you can do to mess up the turning of the heel, but this part — though not hard — is fraught with peril in the sense that you can make a number of different mistakes.

For one thing, you are still doing the front of the sock as well. If you have cables, as I do, or lace or a color pattern or something, you have to keep it going even while you are paying attention to the decrease rows. There is a pat your head and rub your stomach aspect to this which makes it easy to lose track of your pattern. A row counter and/or checking off the rows on your chart or pattern can help with this.

You also have to remember which row is supposed to be a decrease row. Not only is it easy to forget whether you are on a decrease row or a plain row, it is also possible to get confused about whether you began the round gusset detail at the heel or the front (you did it at the heel) and think you are beginning the next round when you are really finishing one up, especially if there is a complicated pattern going on with the front of the sock. The solution to this, for me, is to look at the stitches as I approach them and see whether I increased last row or not. This works better for me than counting.

It is also important that you have paired decreases. That is, you knit two together on the downward needle and ssk on the upward needle. Otherwise, you will still end up with a sock, but you will not get those pretty triangles you can see above.

All in all, it is probably wise to put down your book while you do this, and maybe also not to watch any very exciting movies. If you are watching breathlessly to see what the creepy music means and maybe calling out to the heroine “No! Don’t go in there! Or at least put on a bathrobe first, and pick up a hammer!” then you could easily decrease when you shouldn’t.


In case you are looking for a creepy book to read, I want to recommend one that I will not be re-reading, but of which I was recently reminded: Perfume. Very creepy indeed, and Literature to boot.

#1 daughter has already bought her copy of The God Delusion (I am waiting for That Man to push the button on the book order) for the 2006 Richard Dawkins Readalong. She says she is looking forward to the disputation even more than the book itself, so I hope you will consider joining us in this. Highly opinionated responses are welcome, but being angry and attacking people are forbidden. Or at least, as the apostle Paul exhorts us, be angry and sin not.

I will need to get through the gussets before I begin reading or disputing anything so very enthralling as that.