Friday, March 01, 2013

Sockitis Gusset Remedies

Best Quote I Heard All Day
“One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”  J.K. Rowling

Sooner or later, some damn idiot will knit a fucking book. Yeah, do the words via intarsia. Knitting has gone out of sane limitations these days.

So I'm still designing socks, finished all the lace designs. Rather than put them all in one book, I'm going to upload the individual patterns. All of my designs are cuff-down, not toe-up. Why? Because if you have a hefty instep, cuff-down socks will fit your feet far better due to the heel shaping. I have a couple of designs with short-rowed heels but I prefer a gusseted heel.

I've had people on Ravelry ask me questions about sock designing so I figured here is the place to yack about it. If you're looking to become a knitting designer, sock designing is a good start. If you're teaching beginners who are ready to make something, cuff-down socks are great because they include techniques that beginners need to learn--increase and decrease types, shortrowing, stitch pick-up, and grafting.

Gapped Out Gusset

Many people don't like to do a standard heel gusset due to the potential heel and leg junction issues. I have a very simple technique that I use for my patterns. When you're done with the leg length and are ready to knit the flap, start off with one knitted row, then one purled row, sans initial slipped stitches. If you do the flap with nothing but slipped stitches at the beginning of each row, the first two rows with slipped stitches will make a gappy mess when you're picking up stitches for the gusset.

So after the two plain stockinette rows, then go for the *Sl 1 purlwise" pattern for the rest of the flap rows. Yes, adding the two stockinette rows means that when you pick up the gusset stitches, you will have to pick up either one or two extra stitches there. For example, if you have 15 slipped stitches on each side of the flap, you'll use those to pick up the gusset stitches and then add one or two more from the initial two stockinette rows. So you'll have either 16 or 17 gusset stitches, not 15.

Here's a picture of one of my gussets, done this way.
A perfect junction. What you need to do with the one or two added stitches is to decrease them immediately, on the first two rounds. Then continue the decreases every other round. Got it? Yeah, try it.

And when picking up the gusset stitches, don't forget to knit them through the back. Whenever you pick up stitches, do this.

Sockin' Needles

A while back, I wrote about Magic Loop and how I wasn't going to bother with it. Well, I was wrong. I still use double-pointed needles but often, depending upon the design, I go for Magic Loop. My favorite DPNs are my Signature Needle Arts needles. Fabulous pins!

What I like about them are the points. You can get either Stiletto or Blunt points. Mine are Stilettos, although if you have the bad habit of poking your needle point into the yarn, you don't want these. Plus, these needles are incredibly expensive--$34 per set. I also go for Addi needles too, especially for my circs.


Credit for Edit

 I've been busy writing directions but now that it's Friday night, I'm done for the weekend. If you read the comments in the last post, you can see that the editor of Yarnwise, a UK knitting magazine, left me a message. Yes, she has asked me if I would like to do tech editing for them. Yes! I love editing directions because I've done it for years and want knitters not to yell, "What the fuck does THIS mean?" My friend, Lars Raines, is working on a Lopi sweater book, which I will edit for him. Lars does beautiful designs so I'll let you know when it's published.

Another reason why I wrote that interactive book for Open Air Publishing. I love beginners. Remembering when I first got into knitting seriously, when I was 23, there was no internet, no training videos, very few knitting books, so I had to figure out shit on my own. I recall reading a vest pattern in a Mon Tricot issue, the magazine that taught me how to be an intermediate knitter, that had directions for shortrowing.

I'm saying to myself, "WHAT? Stop knitting in the middle of the row? NO!" And then I picked up some yarn and needles to see if this was actually a mistake or a real method. Duh. It was. Made a wedge. Wow! That experience made me realize that you can manuveur yarn loops in amazing ways. Shortrowing is rare and handy, for sure!

Later, skanks. I'll be back next week.


Deb Hughes said...

Hi, Mar, welcome back and congrats on the tech editing work!
Thanks for teaching me something new: on socks, I always picked up more stitches on the heel flap to close the gap but never thought to add a couple of rows--and I've never knitted picked up stitches through the back. Will try! Your show row story reminds me of my first sweater. I'd gotten a kit from my grandmother and she'd gone to bed, so I had no one to ask what "YO" meant. I decided to ignore it and just keep going....lesson learned!

Donna in VA said...

Thanks, I love learning something new!

Marilyn Roberts said...

From now on, you'll be reading how-to info. Having written the beginner's book, I realize that all the tips I've known for years are not necessarily known by many knitters. So next week, I'll probably write about altering lace patterns. Something I do all the time.

Ariel said...

Sooner or later, some damn idiot will knit a fucking book. Yeah, do the words via intarsia.

I hate to tell you this, but it's happened.

I've actually been thinking I might do "the book that teaches colors" or "the book that teaches letters" in some nice superwash yarn, if I can figure out an easy way to make it disassemblable so it can be washed.

Also, I think you can get the same shape of heel in a toe-up sock. You do the gusset with increases, then you do decreases along the edge of the heel flap. (The first toe-up sock pattern I ever followed did this, actually.)

Deb Hughes said...

I've only been knitting 46 years...and I know what I don't know exceeds what I do know!

Anonymous said...

So glad you're back....I've missed your rare and handy comments! Good tip on the sock heels, thanks!