Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Be Heeled! In Which Count Sockula Gets A Revelation

Good evening, my children.  Turn down the lights, sit back, and listen to another tale from the kingdom of Sockopolis.

So you know how, in spite of short-row yearnings, Count Sockula was unable to fashion a short-row heel that actually looked like a real, flap 'n gusset heel? One that had depth? One that fit?
Coming up instead with pathetic little half-heel nubbins?
Well, my children, the answer was so seeeeeemmmmppppllllle!  MUAHAHAAAAA!
In a casual little aside from one of my sock books, just a footnote really, there lay a picture of a short-row heel and some text that read: 'If you have problems creating a heel with depth, you can use up to 60% of your total stitches.'
Yes! Thievery was the answer.
Imagine that! Use MORE stitches. Steal from your instep stitches to add to your heel stitches! And here I was, using the 'normal' half of the total sock stitches for my heels. Silly Count Sockula.
Out came the needles and workbasket. Out came some Red Heart scraps. On went the Count's usual 32-stitch I-need-to-perform-an-experiment socklet. (From the toe up this time, just for laughs).
Count Sockula may have been absent the day they taught math, but I do know that sixty percent of 32 is not an even number. And 32 isn't all that big a number to start with. So (also just for laughs), I stole four stitches from the instep: two for each side of the heel.
It worked. A real heel, with enough depth not to be laughed at by all the other heels in the sock drawer.
And now, behold the triumph of the short-row heel!

Yes, I know they are not identical twins. They are not even fraternals, but cousins.  But they are real heels.

 Now, once upon a time, in the ancient days of double-pointed needles and flap/gusset heels, Count Sockula was obeying the sock books and CUTTING the yarn (just as the books demanded) before knitting heel flap and turn.  Because, as you know, the yarn ends up sticking out of the middle of where your heel flap would be.

And then one day, another book said, 'Forget cutting yarn!  You can re-arrange the heel flap stitches so the yarn comes out at the beginning of the flap.  You can even knit half a row and purl back.  No one will notice, and we won't tell."  

So it was then that the Count discovered the joy of not cutting heel yarn.  And then came two circulars, with no stitch re-arranging whatever.

Imagine the sense of freedom the Count achieved at the prospect of not having to pick up gusset stitches at all!

This Cousins Sock-speriment has been an exercise in freedom.   I haz a happy.

And here they are compared to a dishcloth sock with a flap/gusset heel.

Once the heel is completed, placing the extra stitches back on the instep is optional, and only slightly hazardous.

Count Sockula imagines one could also make extra heel stitches, not steal them, and then work the extra stitches away once the heel is completed. But this has not yet been tried.

So---unless Count Sockula is the only knitter in the entire kingdom of Sockopolis with this heel problem---if your short-row heels are also lacking depth, you might want to try the simple expediency of  stitch-stealing for yourself.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dishcloth Socks! In Which Count Sockula Defies All Logic

Behold! And tremble in fear, my children!
*Lightning-flash, thunder-crack*
Yes. It's true.
Count Sockula makes socks out of DISHCLOTH YARN.

Because, you know: colors prettyyyyy.
And Count Sockula, as yet, is quite impatient. Quite. Sitting there squinting at size zero needles and almost a hundred stitches? Alas. Not the Count.
Now, cotton yarn has problems. Such cannot be denied. People have tried to warn Count Sockula off cotton yarn, and with good reason. It is in no way stretchy. It is hard on the hands as one knits. And socks made with dishcloth yarn will exxxpaaaaannnnnddddd into fishnet as you wear them. Whee. Feel the nice cool breeze caress your feet through the gaps in the stitches!
This is exactly what happened with my first pair of dishcloth sock yarn: each time I wear them, they turn into fishnets, especially the soles, which were knitted with a different cotton yarn so soft and pliable it was probably made for clothing, not dishcloths.
And they were knitted on two needles, as well. Section by section. Cuff and instep. Sole and heel. Toe. Then stitched together. What I noticed is that the thicker section, the instep, was indeed made of dishcloth yarn, and it was holding up better.
The stubborn part of me insisted on trying again. I switched to a smaller needle (a size 6, if you must know0, more stitches, and this time, knitted the sock in the round, without seams.
Not bad! Better, in fact. Like a hug for my feet.

I was on a roll! Now you will note this next pair has two different-looking heels. Count Sockula is still trying to conquer the no-wrap heel, but this heel appears to be nothing more than a pathetic little bump. The other heel was done with a flap and gusset, and looks much more heelish and fits better. But flaps and gussets can be---trying.   Count Sockula still finds the idea of a no-wrap heel intriguing. Perhaps some day, I will master it to the extent that it actually looks like a heel.

On to the latest, again done with conventional flap/gusset heel. They are fraternal twins, as are almost all my socks these days. Since I am still watching Prince of Tennis, I call them Mixed Doubles.

Of course, since these are mostly bed/house socks, they don't need to fit as well as conventional socks, but you would be surprised how well they do fit.   Go ahead.  Try a pair.   Good for padding around the house or tucking up in bed.
 Coming soon:  Be Heeled!  In Which Count Sockula Gets a Revelation.

Until then--
Muahahaaa. Behold!! Socks made from dishcloth yarn.