I never knew the heel was so special. I never knew it would consume so much of my time, or research. I consider myself an intermediate knitter, most days. When it comes to the heel of my fourth “pair” of socks (I admit it, the cats led the third pair into the beginnings of second sock syndrome, which I plan to resolve shortly after this pair is knit), I still need to look up how to set up and distribute the stitches to knit the heel. This was not included in the instructions. I wish it was, but not including it gives me a great chance to plug a favorite helpful site:

http://www.cometosilver.com/socks/SockClass_Start.htm

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Maeve inspecting the knitting

I have used this site for many a sock question: How do you turn the heel? How do you divide the stitches when not specifically told? How do you create a heel of a sock? What the heck am I doing? Which needle is needle #1 again? Silver only asks for a donation if you can give it. I try to when I use the site.

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Scamp investigating my heel knitting

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Both girls checking on my progress, Scamp pretends she’s not interested

Now, I have the heel stitches divided and am ready to knit the heel. But first, I must make another decision: which heel to knit. I get three choices–the stockinette stitch heel, the slip stitch rib heel and the eye of partridge heel. If I were knitting solely in black, I might choose the stockinette stitch or the slip stitch rib as the stitch will not be noticeable. However, I’m planning to switch to cream(finally!) about half way through the heel. That means the eye of partridge will be a treat to knit, since I haven’t knit that one up to this point. Each heel does come with specific instructions in this section. Let’s see how it goes.

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Half-way done with the heel

I’ve knit the heel and I chose the eye of partridge stitch. It was a little tricky on the black yarn, but I thought it best for the tension to keep the stitch the same. I knit four sets of four rows in black, then I switched to the cream for the last four sets.

Here is the heel after switching yarns:  

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I chose the half and half as I plan to make the bottom of the sock cream. I’m hoping to keep the top black. Currently, I’m jumping ahead to the foot. I want to keep the higher part of the gusset black and wondering if I should knit in the round and carry the cream thread along the stitches for the gusset reduction. The other option is to knit both colors together for the reduction of the gusset, which will make for a tight stitch and could change the tension.

I’ll have to decide once I get there, because I’m almost winging this from this point out. I’ll still follow a standard sock pattern, but not many are knit like this. I am considering knitting two rows at a time knit and purl to keep the colors separated. First, though, I need to turn the heel. That part’s almost looking easy compared to the sections to come.

Coming to a Heel

May 2, 2013

I wanted to be so much farther along on this sock. I had planned to finish the leg/ankle section, knit the heel flap and turn the heel by tonight. But substitute teaching is more than knitting and watching videos…though the knitting makes for interesting conversation and helps keep the kids’ interests…well some of them. So, I haven’t gotten there. As I completed 22 out of the 32 rows I needed for the heel flap, and reworked two of the last four rows, I had to ask myself how much it mattered. I can focus on the pattern and show you what a partial heel flap looks like…photo to be taken shortly.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/vanilla-latte-socks

This pattern provides three options for the heel flap. I didn’t know there were options for a heel flap before I looked at this, but I was taught in the Navy, if you have 1,000 welders welding the same joint combination, you will still get 1,000 different welds. The same applies for knitting. Each knitter has their own tension, their own style and thankfully, their own yarn. They even have different patterns. Here, with three options, I decided I could play it safe and create an easy stockinette stitch style heel flap, which works on a Row 1: Slip 1, knit x…to end of row. or to pick a new style.

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The heel flap is extending 1.5″ or so “up” from the leg section of the sock.

I picked a new style. After shifting thirty six of my seventy two stitches to one needle, I settled on trying the Slip Stitch Rib. After all, my sock is ribbed. And I’m all about trying some new things, so long as its not too overwhelming. Notice, I’m still working on dpns (double pointed needles) and I haven’t attempted a toe-up creation from the sock world…I like to take my changes one or two at a time.

The slip stitch rib looked quick to knit up. The Eye of Partridge pattern was also available for the heel flap part of the pattern, but I decided I may save that for the next pair of socks. For now, I have shown you my progress, and since my other large commitments are easing off for now, I can focus on my sock and hopefully remember to take photos of this sock as I finish the heel flap, turn the heel and create the gusset. If I’m really on top of my game, I’ll get there this week. We’ll see where I get to. I’ve also been selected to call in for jury duty this month. I may be able to knit if I’m called up, but I’d rather be working. In addition, I’m not sure if we’ve gotten crazy enough to call knitting needles weapons, oops, perhaps the term they would use is “Potential weapons.”

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My part-time assistant, Squib, Kitten, and any other name that comes to mind as he’s knocking things over, sniffing in my knitting bag, and stealing my photography set-up. He thinks I set this up just for him.

Now, back to the classroom. I mentioned last week that I have taken my knitting into the classroom. For certain older grades, its almost a requirement. For lower grades, I find I’m more effective if I’m hands on and walking my butt off. I had second grade this morning and first grade this afternoon and once I got caught up on my notes, I just wanted to put my head down on my desk with the lights off as I threatened to do with the kids if they didn’t want recess. They chose recess. I almost did put my head down on the counter at the post office once I sent my charges home. So, for next week, I will have a heel flap finished, and hopefully have turned the heel…I’ll likely have to turn the heel over the weekend, as I find its best to finish in one sitting with few distractions, when possible. Wish me luck;-).