Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Heels and Toes

Having finished the Jack Sparrow socks for 'im indoors, I have now embarked upon a second pair for #1 son. I'm using a different colourway to avoid the inevitable, "You're wearing my socks!" from one or other of them:

I may also make more modifications to the pattern (which I hardly followed at all for the first pair).

I used short row toes and heels just because there's no Turkish Cast-On and therefore no contortions and there's no grafting, either. Short rows? Easy, no? Well, yes. Easy, but there are several ways of doing short rows. You couldn't do better than look at Nona's series of posts about this very topic (as I did). First she talks about the wrapped stitch short row. This is the classic one; if you even know what a short row is, this is probably the one you know. It's the one I know and it's the one I normally use.

Then she speaks about the yarn over short row. I haven't actually tried this method, so I really have no room to talk, have I?

Lastly, she writes about the Japanese short row (which also appears in my bible, Montse Stanley's "Hand Knitter's Handbook" as the "catch" method). I thought I might give this a go. Nona's method uses safety pins (and if anyone knows a source of coil-less safety pins, would they please speak up), though Montse Stanley doesn't - she just expects you to identify which loop to pick up with the naked eye. I was wrapping 13 stitches on each side of the central 10 stitches for the heel, which meant I had 26 safety pins hanging off the knitting like some crazed punk rocker in days of yore. After I rid myself of all the metalwork, I really couldn't tell the difference between the Japanese short row heel and the regular wrapped stitch short row heel, possibly because I'm using black for the toes and heels and you can't see a thing anyway. End of experiment and back to my regular short row method.

The trouble with short row heels is that they can make the sock difficult to put on, particularly if the wearer has a high instep as 'im indoors has. If I had only looked back over my notes for the Rainbow Socks, I would have seen that "The heel is worked over more than half the total stitches to allow for a high instep." Plagued with latter wit (as my dad used to say).

With the second pair of Jack Sparrow's I'm thinking about using a modified short row heel which also incorporates a gusset and has a heel flap on the sole, which I saw on the Lots of Yarn blog. I'm about to start that now, so watch this space.

I'm obsessed with socks. The latest edition of "The Knitter" has a pattern for Spiralling Socks, shown in a rainbow colourway. Very zizzy (tt). I couldn't resist. Google was my friend and I found the yarn (Zauberball from Schoppel Wolle) at Modern Knitting, a company I have never come across before. I ordered one ball of the Tropical Fish and one of Fuchsia, mainly because I got free shipping over £16 (though I now see that has risen to £18). I ordered late on Friday evening and imagine my surprise when a small package was flung in through the open door of my kitchen this morning followed by a cheery, "More yarn?". Isn't the Royal Mail marvellous?

Too much writing, too few pictures?

Back Field this morning:

(Raw materials dots in the background)


'Im indoors says it should be "Knee-high by the 4th of July" (said in what he considers to be a Southern drawl). If anyone can shed light on the origin of this pearl of wisdom I'd be very grateful. I suppose it all depends how high your knee is - it's just about up to mine now.)

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