Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Socks

It's probably quite evident that I like -- enjoy -- knitting socks. They are so much fun doing them, and are quick, and have so many interesting parts to them so you don't get bored, and are just so useful too. I always am worried that one ball of yarn won't quite make a sock for my larger-than-petite feet, so have to come up with some creative ways to make that yarn go further. This only applies to commercial yarn, since I can spin up my own and never run short! hahaha

I've always liked the principle of toe-up socks. There is a sense of accomplishment when knitting up the cuff, and you can continue until almost all the yarn is used up, leaving only enough to cast-off, and there is no waste! That is the way it should always work out. However, I don't really get along well with short-row heels, and the after-thought heels are only slightly better. That eye of partridge heel flap is one of my favourites (variation of the Traditional heel flap) and seems to fit much better. But to turn the heel in reverse is quite a trick. And then you have that gusset to do -- also in reverse -- which means you have to know exactly what your dimensions are and can plan ahead. Some of you know that I don't do this naturally!

So for a long time, it's been going through my head that there has to be -- simply HAS to be -- a way to knit socks toe-up AND do the heel flap complete with a gusset. Yes, there are a couple of patterns out there with gussets and some have attempted to do a heel flap. Some have actually done a sock in the normal manner, by putting the flap at the BOTTOM of the heel where it gets more wear; now this seems to be logical to me. I've been thinking about this for some time, and one night (I must have dreamt what I had to do), I awoke with the whole thing perfectly clear! Is this what is meant by a EUREKA moment?

Now, the first thing I had to do was make up a mock-up of the heel -- that is the part that had me stumped. I have to do this quick, because these night revelations are very fleeting! I've had these before, only to forget all the details within a matter of minutes.

The little heel worked out quite well. I was impressed! There are possibilities here! I think I have come up with a winner this time! Okay, now for the real test -- a full-fledged sock, with my own version of the provisional cast-on, the toe increases, the gusset increases, and the amazing turning of the heel, and then the flap. Well, this was just too much fun, and in a matter of a weekend, I had the sock done! I amazed even myself! I used just some stray yarn that I acquired somewhere (some kind of acrylic, but I didn't care) and I made it to fit my foot since it was the only foot anywhere nearby that I could try on periodically to make it fit. I was so very pleased with the way it progressed, and I think there was a kind of zen feeling, seeing how all the numbers seemed to work together. There really IS a system here! As I was doing the leg, I was thinking I may have to make it just a bit wider for the calf; I increased a couple of stitches in the ribbing of the cuff. When I had cast off, I didn't really need those increases, and it made the top just a bit floppy. So out came that cast-off row, and I pulled out a couple rounds (I never rip!!) and re-did the ribbing without increasing. It fits perfectly now!

I was really impressed with my accomplishments. Well, okay, so this isn't the first time I've knit a sock, and I'm quite certain this is not a new method of doing them toe-up (nothing new under the sun), but what amazes me is that I constructed the whole sock with my own brain, without finding a pattern in a book, which shows me that I truly understand sock construction. I know all the different parts of the plan, know how to get what I need, have all the skills to accomplish it all, and certainly have no fear of sock knitting. You know, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Now, the next step is to do another one exactly the same, AND this time writing down all the steps so that someone else will be able to do the same thing. I'm starting right from scratch, with two sticks and some string, and taking lots of pics along the way to document the whole process.

It's going to take a little longer this time!


yarmando said...

Dude! I'm reading through your post, getting more and more excited about a new toe-up sock pattern, and you just leave us all hanging???? Get with it, man. Give us pattern instructions already.

Dina said...

I prefer toe-up socks and used the Queen Kahuna method for calculating gussets. I also modified cuff-down to toe-up patterns with success using the QK gusset and heel. She does have a book detailing her toe-up (and cuff-down) technique here. NAYY. There's another lady who created the Sockulator V; you just plug in your gauge and other info and you get directions for knitting a toe-up sock with heel flap. BTW, I love knitting socks too :)

FiberQat said...

At the risk of having a skein of bulky thrown at me, I was wondering if you had explored the Widdershins pattern on Knitty.com where this particular issue is discussed. Mel the Knitting Vet has worked out a formula for working out the pattern for any sized foot http://cabezalana.blogspot.com/2007/01/widdershins-generic-version.html.