Natalie (http://knitting.xaviermusketeer.com/) says that we cannot have Sockuary two months in a row, however easy it would be (January, February, Sockuary…), and it was I think her idea in the first place, so I bow to her on that. Sighkey has suggested that the excessive number of sock posts on my xanga lately is a result of my having multiple shoemaker ancestors. But I think it is simpler than that.
It is because, having just been through Sockuary, there are so many bloggers saying that heels are hard to do! THEY ARE NOT HARD! There are many insane online suggestions for how to do heels in special weird ways and how to avoid them by doing wild feats of kntting. STOP IT ! THEY’RE NOT HARD! DON’T MAKE ME TAKE MY SHOES OFF!
Give me a moment to compose myself. I cannot expect to persuade my readers of this fact, I know. Not at this distance. If you lived near me, I would come to your house and force you to make heels until you admitted that I am right, but as it stands, I will just have to show you my socks a few more times.
I’m still using sport weight and #6 needles, so I’m working on 40 stitches. I did the heel flap back and forth on 20 stitches (that is, half the total number). I knitted in heel-flap stitch until I got a square — roughly 18 rows. Now I am turning the heel. Here they are, the dread “short rows”! I have done a wrong side row: P12, p2tog,p1, turn. “Turn” just means turn the work over and go back the other way. You don’t have to wrap things or make holes if you don’t want decorative holes for some reason. You just turn around. Then on the right side, I have slipped the first stitch, k5, k2tog, k1, and turned the work over and gone back the other way. On the purl side, s1, p6, p2tog,p1, turn. Now here I am, ready to go back the other way on the right side. Do you have some yarn you need to swatch? Give it a try. I’ll wait for you. Slip 1, k7, k2tog, k1, turn. Do you see a pattern here? Each time, you get up to the point where you turned on the previous row, knit (or purl) two together, one more stitch, and turn. So the next row will be s1, p8, p2tog,p1, turn. Then s1, k9, k 2tog, k1, turn (this time you are at the end of the row, so turning will not seem odd. Do it just the same way). S1, p10, p2tog, turn. S1, k10, k2tog, and stop. You have 12 stitches and you have turned the heel.
Now you pick up stitches along the edges of the heel flap, so that you can get a circle again. With this number of stitches, you will pick up ten. In the picture below, you see that I have picked up my ten stitches on the same needle I was using to turn the heel. If you are using a swatch and pretending, that’s really all you can do. But you will notice that there aren’t any holes, and it wasn’t hard. If you are using bulky yarn or eyelash yarn or something, you might have holes, but you shouldn’t be using that kind of yarn for socks anyway.
In this picture, I have the ends of my sleeve needle tucked into the sock so they won’t get in my way while I do the heel. You can see that I have just picked up the stitches along the edge of my square there, and they have now met up with the stitches for the front of the sock, which have been waiting patiently while I turned the heel.
In detective novels, the old ladies say, “Just a moment dear, while I turn the heel,” and then carry on exposing the murderer.
If you are really doing a sock, you have 20 stitches across the front to knit, so you knit them up onto another needle. You can now pick up ten stitches along the other edge of the heel flap. This will get your sock back into a circle, so you can finish knitting it.
Notice that I have put those 10 stitches on a third needle. Now, using that third needle, I knit up half the stitches from the heel — 6. I now have 16 stitches each on the side needles and 20 on the front. I am now ready to do the gussett. For the gussett, you knit the first needle till you have three stitches left. K2tog, k1. Knit clear across those 20 front stitches. Knit 1 stitch on the third needle, and then ssk. Knit to the end of that needle. You see that you are decreasing at each side, one stitch away from the front. Knit one round plain. Then decrease again. Do this until you are back to your original 40 stitches. Put the whole schlemozzle back on the sleeve needle and knit till it’s as long as you want, and do the toe.
Another of my favorite knitting blogs is Dweezy’s. http://www.xanga.com/item.aspx?user=dweezy&tab=weblogs&uid=196578722 This link will take you to the startling tale of PETA and the floppy Aussie sheep. It reminds me of the story “Alligator River” which we used to use in writing classes. In the story, Greg (or whatever his name was) crossed an alligator-filled river, leaving his sweetheart Rosemary on the other side. Rosemary asked Sinbad if she could borrow his boat to follow Greg. Sinbad says yes, if she will sleep with him. Rosemary consults her friend Dave who says, “Oh, well, that’s your problem.” Rosemary sleeps with Sinbad, follows Greg, tells him — and he casts her off. The point of the story was to generate thrilling discussions on who was most wrong and who the least wrong in this group of people. Then everyone had to write an essay.
Dweezy’s story is like that. Is breeding floppy sheep worse than threatening to poke wool knitters with pointy sticks? Is encouraging the extinction of sheep by giving up the use of wool (hint, O sentimentalists: few people will keep unemployed sheep for pets. Do you think they will go into the woods and compete with deer for food?) worse than arguing with your hairstylist? We need to get our favorite xanga philosophers, The Water Jar and The Antithesis of Emo, to debate this point. Only after the moral questions have been resolved will we ask Leonidas to find out whether there is any truth to the story of the Aussie sheep. We would not want to spoil the philosophical question with mere facts.
(The Antithesis of Emo is here: http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=antithesis_of_emo The other folks are at left under “subscriptions.” You needed a few more blogs to read while you knit your socks, right?)
Dweezy is making spiral socks, which I have made from Melanie Falick’s Kids Knitting. They are fun to make. He also has an excellent tip for sock-knitters who want their socks to match: make sure you have enough yarn for two socks before you begin. Between his tips and mine, I think you should have no trouble.