Turning the Heel

May 9, 2013

This is said to be one of the hardest parts of the sock…and some days, it is. Personally, I think turning the heel is not so bad, but picking up stitches to begin the gusset is tougher in my humble opinion. I’ll likely get to that next week. Though I hope this week does not feel more like a critique of the pattern than an explanation of turning the heel, but they may go hand in hand.

003

The toughest part of turning the heel is what are referred to short rows. Short rows occur when one knits partially down the row and turns the work to purl. The best advice I received before beginning my first pair of socks however, was “Just do what it says.” I believe for many experienced knitters, or for those with the conception that a row must be complete to be ready to move on to something else; it is very difficult to turn work in the middle in order to form the triangular or trapezoidal shape needed to hold the heel.

I didn’t show many sock monkey rear ends as I photographed them in previous blogs, but they were knit much the same way, with short rows and turns. Some patterns required wrap and turn methods, which were new to me, but not terribly difficult. Back to the socks, I knit the short rows and made the heel turn, working in the gaps from turning two stitches at a time. I do not specifically recall making the heel this way on my first pair of socks, but I do not recall making the heel of the purple socks the same way I’m turning the heel of the green socks.

006

I believe its working, but it isn’t as I recall. How much of life really is? Now, for a note about the pattern, so I can recall this if I make this pattern again someday, aside from the second sock. As I knit the stitches for the first short row of the heel turn, I wondered about the numbers as they increased in increments of 2 instead of 4 or 8, which I thought would make more sense. I do not feel as if I made a bad heel, just not a perfect heel. If I find it’s awful, when I finish, you’ll will likely get to read an entire blog post about ripping out half a sock or worse, half of two socks. However, I will probably live with it, as they’re my socks, and make a mental note to improve the next pair when I finagle more yarn. For now, the heel turn is done, and the gusset is begun. Thus begins the journey to the next blog.

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In the meantime, a small note from an imperfect knitter. Though I will touch on this in the next blog, sock patterns appear to be knit so magically they return to their correct number of stitches as you pick up 12-18 to whatever number of stitches are determined should be picked up on the heel flap as work around the sock. I never seem to manage this, so I decrease as I knit and I will let you know if this pattern includes said decreases or not. This method has worked in the past, but we’ll see how it continues until I find the magic method, or decide ‘Clearly  one of us has underestimated the other.’

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