I was having a conversation with my daughter this morning over Skype, and in response to her question about what I was doing, I mentioned I was fussing over the heel of my latest sock design. “Mother, why is it always about the heel with you?” she asked. “You are always so fussy about your heels!” It’s funny, because I hadn’t thought that it was characteristic of me to fuss over my heels, but there you go!
The pattern is written, and almost ready to go. Here is a photo of the finished pair of socks. I have to say, I adore the way they look. I like a feminine sock! This version is in Vintage Purls Sock in Whisper of Doubt.
The point of my fuss is this:
Can you see how the sock is just a little bit too tight over the instep? My kind pattern tester hasn’t quite got to the heel yet, so I can’t find out how it fits on her for a few more days.
The reason for the tightness is because there is not enough width around the beginning of the heel to accommodate the foot properly. It is something very easily fixed in a sock with heel flap because you just work the length you need to accommodate the length of your heel. Because I have made things difficult for myself, and incorporated an afterthought/forethought heel utilising an eye of partridge heel, some technical factors come into play in the heel shaping that don’t usually affect the usual plain afterthought heels. Eye of partridge is a dense stitch, and I deliberately decided to see if I could incorporate it because it gives strength to the heel which (in my case at least) is the part of the sock that gets heavy wear. I especially like that the base of the heel also receives reinforcing – the reason why I haven’t abandoned this in favour of a reverse heel flap with eye of partridge. I could use reinforcing thread I suppose, I do know that.
I also really like the way it complements the look of the sock. For this stitch to work in an afterthought heel, I have worked out I need to work in about 10% extra width before starting the heel. I also need to add rows before starting the shaping because the dense stitch makes a heel that is shorter than the normal afterthought heel. This where things get interesting because it cannot be so long that it creates a baggy bit around the ball of the foot, nor can it be too short, which then also makes the sock a bit tighter than it should be. I’ve been fiddling with proportions, and I think I have reached a happy medium, but I think I need to knit one more sock to make sure I have got it right.
In case you are wondering, I will also include the instructions for a normal afterthought heel for those who would rather not try this unusual heel construction. If you are a habitual toe-up sock knitter, you’ll probably just work your usual preferred heel and it will look just as good.
However, there may be knitters who want to attempt the heel as I have designed it, and so I am persisting. My daughter ended our conversation about the socks by remarking that I always liked to make things difficult for myself. Hmm. Hopefully it will make things easy for you though!
So if you are wondering where the pattern is, that is the explanation! I am nearly finished with the second of the socks in the pretty Galah colourway from Circus Tonic Handmade that I showed you last time, and hopefully that heel will be the one that I like and decide on to complete the pattern.
The final thing that troubles me is that I have recently discovered that I have a heel spur, most likely on both feet. Ironic isn’t it? Perhaps this is why my heels have always been a subconscious cause of concern. A heel spur is an extra growth of bone on the heel. The extra bone is putting strain on my ligaments, causing my feet to swell, but no pain in case you are wondering. As you can see from the photos, my feet are not excessively puffy, but they are not my normal shape. I’ve probably had it for quite some time without knowing. I do worry that it is affecting my ability to get the fit right for those who do not have fat feet, hence the additional need for a pattern tester. I have discovered some exercises that seem to be helping to ease the swelling. Hopefully the condition will go away in due course!
According to the weather service, February is shaping up to be the hottest on record since 1927 for the Wellington area. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is also true for the Wairarapa. I’m glad it’s not just all in my head as it’s driving me batty and making me seriously reconsider the wisdom of moving to this place. The young man has quite aptly described this weather as “boiling alive in our skins.” Roll on Autumn, please bring back the cool weather!
Apart from the socks, the hot weather is obviously influencing my knitting choices as all I can think about at the moment is to knit all the shawls!!
Southern Skies’ final chart is nearly complete. I will be adding a lace border because I want this shawl to be as large as possible.
I am about to start on the lace border section of the Mahy Shawl. This shawl is the second project I’m knitting in the Gift KAL that is happening on My Sister’s Knitter’s Ravelry Group. This shawl is knit in the modern hap method – you work the plain inner, and then knit the lace border on to it. You can read more about hap shawl construction in this interesting blog post by Knit British.
Another shawl that I will start soon is Vitus. This is Sonya Newstead’s latest design, and it is so pretty. She was extremely generous and sent me a copy of the pattern when I admired it. Thank you Sonya! My initial thoughts were to pair it with Circus Tonic Handmade’s Fiesta Fingering in Spangled Drongo (the blue in the foreground), but because this pattern needs 600m, I began suffering from ‘not enough yarn’ stress, even with 50g of a complimentary yarn to make up the balance (which should be a total of 600m – so really, I shouldn’t be concerned). The plan is now to use a merino silk yarn that I have for Vitus, and make Spangled Drongo and the complimentary yarn into a small version of Spring Awakening (another pattern I’ve had for a while) where I will definitely have enough yarn.
Actually, I think I could well spend another six
weeks months purely knitting shawls. I suspect I’m being a bit optimistic about my abilities to knit them all. It is also likely that the eventual return of cool weather will bring about a sudden desire to knit all the socks and sweaters, but in the meantime, would you like to see the other ‘must knit shawls’ that are heading my current queue?
Rosebud by Tin Can Knits (this is a pattern gifted to me by a lovely friend, and I have had good intentions to knit it for quite some time… thinking of knitting it in the pale sage green alpaca that you see in the photo).
Spellbound by Boo Knits (having bought this pattern a while ago, I must knit it! Plus, I love Boo Knits’ ethereal lace shawls. I like the version with a stockinette body – the all over lace is a bit too much).
Liliaceous by Mary-Anne Mace (it’s just a super pretty quick knit shawl. At the moment, my current plan is to use that beautiful autumn leaf coloured 100% wool yarn you see in the photo from Anna Gratton. I may change my mind yet).
High Country Crescent by Mary-Anne Mace (I think I am beginning to have a thing for Mary-Anne’s patterns).
Waiting For Rain by Sylvia Bo Bilvia (hmm, this is now getting ridiculous. How many shawls can one girl knit? It has such an interesting construction though!)
Omelet by Joyce Fassbender (when the Yarn Harlot knitted this shawl a few years ago I thought with awe, “never in a million years would I be able to knit something like that!” Now I know I can. It’s a thing that I need to conquer – that I knit something that I thought I never could).
And finally, I hope I am not premature in telling you that I think I have found myself a temporary contract for a few weeks at least. I haven’t got the signed contract in my hot little hands yet, but it is a start! Thank goodness for that!
Please don’t forget to follow the Yarnville page for news and updates if you’re interested in attending: news about a free spinning wheel clinic by Mary Knox has just been posted. There is now also a Ravelry group for those who would prefer to receive updates this way.