Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Truly An Afterthought

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last post. I got comments here, on Facebook, Plurk and privately! I loved hearing about your numbers and it is making me stick to finishing a few things before I start something else. To that end, on with the show!

I've been a little bit obsessive about self-striping sock yarn lately. If you're friends with me on Ravelry, you may have noticed that I have been increasing my Vesper sock yarn stash a great deal especially (I love destashes). I'm willing to try out almost any self-striping sock yarn though. I have a few others in my stash and this one was calling to me. The yarn came all the way to me from Australia! From the lovely etsy shop Yarn Vs. Zombies. When I saw the cute hand wound balls, I knew I just had to get one and this one is so fun! It's called: It came from the Deep. Isn't that great? It's a wool and nylon blend and while it's not the softest yarn, I think it will wear really well so I'm very excited about these socks.

I decided to keep them as purse socks and just knit on them a bit here and there when I had a chance so I don't think they've even had a blog mention. I also decided to do something I hadn't tried before. A true afterthought heel. I love the afterthought heel with striping yarns because it keeps the stripe sequence going, then you can go back and add in a heel later. I decided that with these socks, rather than adding the waste yarn, I would simply knit a toe, a tube and a cuff of ribbing, then go back and cut the heel in later. Sounds scary doesn't it?

First you knit two rather odd-looking tubes with toes.

Check. Don't they stripe so nicely! It's Black, Brilliant Blue, Green and a sort of Purpley Blue, in case you can't tell in this funny winter lighting.

The idea for the afterthought heel came (I believe, I haven't researched it myself) from Elizabeth Zimmermann. The idea was to just enjoy knitting your sock and think about the heel later. That's what I did too! Although it seemed like these went on and on and on. (Probably because they only got a row or two here and there.)

Next you dig out a trusty tape measure and measure for heel placement.

I'm going to share how I did this as well. First, I measured the toe to find out how deep it was. It was 2 inches. That's important because your heel will be the same depth. Then I measured my sock from the toe up to 2 inches shorter than the length of my foot (because that's how deep the heel will be).

My foot is 9 inches long. Therefore I measured to 7 inches (9-2=7) and picked up a needle full of stitches all the way across the sock.

There should be half the number of stitches you had while knitting the sock and make sure you picked it up so the toe is flat! You don't want your heel on the side of your sock but rather on the bottom.

Now you're ready to cut.

If that scissors lying there on the knitting makes you a little woozy, don't worry that's normal. I have found that large amounts of coffee are important for this part, although not so much that your hands shake, that would be bad.
You want to cut ONE stitch in the middle of the picked up stitches and unravel it out to either side, picking up the stitches that get freed on that side.

Well, it looks like a hole doesn't it? I knit around with 4 needles holding the stitches and a 5th to knit with so I've spread out the stitches onto 4 needles. I also picked up 2 stitches on either side of the sock to help minimize holes on the sides. Don't worry, you can decrease them out right away.
Now, just knit a toe.

I know it sounds (and looks) a little bit goofy but trust me, it works. Simply decrease down just like if you were working a flat toe on a top-down sock. Then graft the end.

Weave in the ends (Yikes! That seems like a lot!)

Then do it all again on the other sock.

It does look a little bit goofy just lying there.

But they fit great!

(Provided you put the heels in the right places)
There we have it, another finished object! Doesn't it feel wonderful? Well, it does to me, with my warm, new socks toes.
Pros and Cons of this method:
Pro: You can just knit and not think about the heel until later, meaning it works great for a purse sock or other mindless knitting.
Con: There are extra ends to weave in. If you do a waste yarn afterthought heel, there are only 2 ends, in this case, each heel had 4 ends. It can be a bit of a downer but not impossible to overcome.
Con: I still prefer the fit of a heel flap sock.
Pro: The stripes stay striping exactly the way they were through the rest of the sock.

Overall, I do like the method and I will use it again but it won't surpass all the other sock-heel methods that I know.
Note: I haven't forgotten about the food blog post I mentioned on my last post. I'll get to it.

1 comment:

Sava said...

Thanks for the little tutorial. I didn't know how to do that! I don't know about fit but I think I like the look of the afterthought heel better than a heel flap.