Sunday, July 13, 2008

Turn a Corner, Turn a Heel

This post is a big shout-out to my gal Nicki, who is a very accomplished knitter but who for some reason had as much trouble as I did figuring out the heel of her very first sock. So great was her consternation, in fact, that I think the lady attempted like six pairs or something before she finally got a pair of Crazy Monkeys nailed down, and then proceeded to make the whole free world try one on.

I mention this because Leyburn, you will not keep me down.

I finally figured out the short-row heel. It's not rocket science by any means, but my confusion stemmed from the stranded stitch pattern on the instep and stockinette on the sole.

See what happens? Every fourth row of the lattice stitch is full of floats, not stitches. That means that every fourth row on top is not knit, but it is knit on the bottom. Therefore, you have 33 percent more rows on the sole than on the instep. I had no idea how that would affect my heel.

Finally I just said darn the torpedoes and went for it. I used Wendy's Toe-Up Sock tutorial, and simply worked it out to have fewer short rows placed just so, and by all appearances, I've got it.

I brought these socks with me to work on in the lobby before seeing Tongue and Groove's Red Balloon (my as-yet-to-be-written review, eep, will appear in the Chronicle on Thursday). While waiting, a nice couple next to me asked after the sock. Like any of us knitters who have passed the crazy point and stamped our passports, I was pleased to tell all.

"Gosh," the woman said after a bit. "That's kind of a lost art, isn't it?"

Lost? Well, I did spend six months trying to figure out a short-row heel, but I'm not lost anymore, thankyouverymuch.

I politely informed her of the great knitting movement, and of the popularity of sock knitting in particular. But goodness me. It's like when I was knitting during a rehearsal break last December and a fellow actor said, "Geez, I didn't know you were eighty."

What's your favorite response to comments like that?


Gena said...

Nice job getting the heel figured out! I can definitely see why it was trickier in that pattern than in a plain boring pattern.

Hmmm, maybe we could all respond by pointing out that we are carrying really pointy metal sticks that could do serious damage to eyes? No? Too harsh?

I just kind of laugh off the odd looks and comments; maybe point out that it helps keep down the stress.

Sally Comes Unraveled said...

I think for the lost art woman, I would say, "You'd be surprised."

For the other guy, try "Geez, I didn't know you were stupid."

Glad they're coming along nicely.

Star said...

It looks lovely! I was knitting a sweater on the train the other day, and got into conversation with the girl sitting next to me. She was probably fifteen, and had recently learned to knit; she told me about her scarf, I pointed out interesting details of my sweater.

"It's a nice sweater," she said. "Is it for your grandkid?"

I should point out that I am TWENTY-NINE. Sigh.

Nicki said...

:::High Fives Cobbalicious:::

We did it!!

And about the raft of people in this world who believe knitting is the province of old ladies: They need to get out more.