Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sock Fight

I got this book for Christmas, one of the One Skein Wonder books that I love so much. There is a pattern in it that I just love, a scarf with bumps and lines and sections. When we went to Arizona I wanted a project to work on on the way home, and deciding that none of the hand spun I had with me would do this pattern justice, I went yarn shopping. Unfortunately I got a yarn that was too fine to get the gauge right and still keep the pattern as tight as it needed to be to get the right affect in the pattern. Its very pretty yarn, so I decided to make socks.
I have only made three pairs of socks since I started knitting, the first were booties, that turned out ok for a first pair; the second were toddler socks, that still haven't been worn by a toddler; and the third I made for Derek for Christmas last year, but after Jari ran them through the washer, they were too small for him and I inherited them. This is my fourth pair of socks, but the first to have a gusseted heel. I've always used the short row method (toe up) for toe and heel, and regardless of the fact that I've only finished 3 pairs of socks, I can't count how many times I've done a short row toe or heel, albeit they only turned out right on the occasions where I was able to move on and finish the sock.
I've not done a lacy sock before either, so when I came across the Diagonal Lace Socks, from the Wendy Knits book "Socks from the Toe Up", I decided to try it. I have this book, somewhere, but hadn't spent much time looking at this pattern, mostly because I was scared of the gusseted heel. I didn't think about that when I started the pattern the other day, somewhere in the back of my head I was convinced it wouldn't be a problem, that I am an experienced enough knitter that I could handle it, come what may. ...Right.
I have a friend, a very nice woman who would have made an excellent teacher, who makes socks. A lot! She has drawers full of socks, I know, I've seen them. I found out she'd done this pattern when I called her for help on the heel. I started having problems on Wednesday and had called her to see if she was free to give me a hand on Thursday, but it didn't quite work out and although she got to see the beginnings of my sock, she didn't have her book with her when we met up, so she wasn't able to help at that time.
Yesterday I decided to just try to bull my way through it, try again to get past this bit;
Work back and forth on the heel stitches:
Row 1 (RS) K47 (52) (knitting each wrap together with the stitch it wraps), ssk, turn.
Row 2 Sl1, p31 (35), p2tog, turn.
Row 3 *Sl1, k1; repeat from * 16 (18) times, ssk, turn.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until all of the side stitches have been worked and end having worked row 2.

Pretty straight forward, right? Except that every time I get to 'row 3' I don't have enough stitches. I've frogged it so many times! I cant do it any more for fear I'll ruin the yarn and will have to cut that part out and splice. For whatever reason, I have the right amount of stitches all the way up till that 16th repeat, then poof! one short.
I seriously spend all day yesterday trying to figure out why I was always one stitch short there, even though every row before has the right amount of stitches in it! I never did figure it out, so on Tuesday I'm going to go back to Elko and sit down with my friend and see what she can make of it.
In my net searches to nail down my problem, I also discovered that I'd make a very typical beginner mistake, one that I really should have been able to avoid, because although I've not done lace socks before, I have knitted lace, and I know the reason only odd numbered lines are shown on the lace pattern. Yes, I did that. I skipped all the even numbered rows which are plain knit rows between the lace pattern rows. I was seriously considering ripping the whole thing out when I talked to my friend again last night, but she assured me that although she had noticed that I'd left every other row out of the pattern, she thought they looked great, please don't rip them out.
I split the yarn so I could start the other sock, running on the assumption that I will over come whatever issue I'm having.
Onwards and Upwards!


Laura said...

Ok, step away from your pattern... You don't need it.

Heels are very simple: when you get to that point, split the stitches evenly onto two needles. Knit back and forth on one set. These are your heel stitches. If you want to do the heel stitch, you slip 1, knit 1 all the way across, and slip 1, purl 1 back the other way (for the inside). Always slip the first stitch - this will make it easier to pick up the gusset stitches. When you get to the appropriate length (about 2.5 inches), on the knit side, knit half of the stitches, then one more, k2tog, k 1. turn. count the # of sts you have left after k2tog, k 1. slip first stitch, purl until you have 3 more than you counted, p2tog, p1. turn. Continue knitting/purling - k2tog/p2tog across the space (you'll know it when you see it). When you have gotten to the end, knitting/purling the last 2 sts together on each side, re-arrange your sts on your needles so that your "held" sts (the 1/2 you didn't do anything with) are divided evenly, then k across your remaining heel sts. with a smaller gauge needle, pick up, twisting the st all the stitches along one side of the heel flap. knit them. knit across the instep stitches (the held 1/2), then pick up the other sts on the other side of the heel flap (it's better if you have the same amount on each side, so count the first side and make the 2nd match) and knit them. This takes you back to your heel stitches - divide them in half so that your row begins and ends on the bottom of the foot.

You probably can get it from there, but this is the way all heel flap/gusseted heels are done. once you have it, you don't need no stinkin' pattern...

Jess said...

I also read your blog but just haven't posted on it. Keep on with the sock, you will prevail.

Sharon said...

I don't get toe-up socks. I know Amy loves them, but the short-row heel is nothing I care to tackle. I'll take a good ol' honest heel flap anyway. Cute pattern BTW.