Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sad day in Sockopolis: In which Count Sockula feels like a total heel

For some time now, Count Sockula has been wondering about different sock heel styles.

The conventional heel-flap-turn-then-gusset type produces the best results.  Nice and crisp, 90-degree turn, with plenty of room for your actual heel to fit.

But sometimes it is just so dreary picking up and then decreasing those gusset stitches.

What to do?

Enter the various other heel types: Lifestyle Toe-up.  Fleegle.  Afterthought.  

Now, a foray into Count Sockula's favorite Red Heart yarn to try out two different kinds of heels on one pair of socks, both done from the toe up. 

The results?  Two sad, much-frogged socks that are finally, finally finished. 

First, we started with far too many stitches.  It was going to be a clown sock.  Frog one.

Second, we underestimated the number of cast-on stitches for the toe-up beginning.  Frog two.   

Finally, on to the socks.  At last (using #8 needles, both metal circulars and wooden double-points) they reached completion.  Usually that event makes Count Sockula happy.   Not this time.

Behold!  The top-sock heel doesn't.  Even.  Look.  Like.  A.  Heel.

It's just a pathetic little nubbin of a heel, a mere bump lying there flat and exhausted, piteously muttering, "Look at me...  I stand as a disgrace to your knitting skills!"

Don't know why.  The numbers work out.  The heel just never looks like a heel.

See?  From a different angle---this time the offending heel on the right:

The first heel, an Afterthought heel, at least LOOKS like a heel.  And the Afterthought heel has that circus come-on of seeming easy.  You just knit over a piece of placeholder yarn, then come back in when the sock's done to reactivate the 'held' stitches and finish that heel!  Wheee!  Nothing to it!   Done it successfully with baby socks! 

The problem is, for an adult, the Afterthought Heel foot always ends up too long.  Even when you take into account the fact that an Afterthought heel produces a longer foot and adjust your measurements accordingly. 

This particular Afterthought heel sock had to have its toe picked apart and shortened by two inches.  Frog three, and out.

I like the bull's-eye look of an Afterthought heel, especially with self-stripery yarn.   Hate the tedious picking up of stitches and the invariable gusset holes.

But at least the Afterthought is simple and needs no pattern.  You basically pick up the held stitches and make a toe where your heel should be.  That's right, a toe.  Doesn't make sense to put a toe where the heel should be, but that's how it is.

These socks took waaaay tooooo long to finish, because by the time Count Sockula was on the leg part, it was like rolling a boulder uphill.  A giant boulder made of boring, much-frogged sock particles.

At least I liked the colorway (Latte).

After all that sturm and drang, Count Sockula gratefully returned to conventional heelage.   This scrappy little pair is the result:

Nice, right-angle heels.   The way they should be.  Maybe picking up gusset stitches isn't such a bad thing.