Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Figuring it out for myself

I have knitted for four years now. I have knitted hats and scarves galore, a dozen or more pairs of fingerless mitts (knit in the round, with cables), a couple of baby sweaters, and some robots (like teddy bears but robots, get it?). I have cast on and knitted a couple of inches on a pullover sweater for me. But I have been completely intimidated by socks.

There's this complicated-looking thing you have to do to make fitted socks. Tube socks, sure, you just knit around and around until you like the length and you're done; but the sock on your foot probably has a right angle in the ankle/heel area with one arm going along your foot and the other arm reaching up your leg. It's called turning the heel: you knit a rectangle down the back of the foot and then turn your work to knit from there circularly towards the toes. I've read many sock patterns and I just couldn't figure out how it worked; even the most basic sock, which is just an inch or two of ribbing above the foot still needs that turned heel.

I finally found a pattern that I could make sense of, one with pictures and reassuring admonishments to just follow the directions and it would work. And I was pretty sure, after reading through the pattern a few times, that I could do it--I could follow the directions, anyway, and supposedly I would produce a sock.

So I measured my ankle and cast on some stitches to check my gauge, and plugged those numbers into the formula. I cast on and did a couple inches of ribbing and then...

I knit the heel flap. It hung down from the nice anklet-shaped ribbing, a rectangular flap of stitches waiting for me to do the next thing. So I did: I turned the heel, following the directions to knit short rows, picking up a stitch off the other needles at the end of each one to join the work. Joy! It worked! I had a little 90 degree cup at the end of the flap, just as if it were hugging around my heel to the sole of my foot.

So this shelf-shaped thing was hanging from the ribbing, and I had to turn the flat piece into a round one. This was where I lost my way. The instructions said to do something and I just couldn't make sense out of it. After counting all the stitches on the 3 needles and reading them through again, I had the "a ha!" moment and continued following the pattern. And here it is, so far:

The heel is at the top left; top right is the ribbing that would go around your ankle. The needles at the bottom are in the open section where I am knitting towards the toe.


Stef said...

You rock!

Kai Jones said...

And I've already cast on and turned the heel for the second one, so the first one won't languish unwanted and unpaired.