On Having a Post in the Can

When I was a kid, I was a geek.  Anyone who knows me now is not surprised to hear that.  I’m still a geek…and an intellectual snob.  I will always be the kid who got their homework done early, who read ahead in the assigned book, who raised their hand in class, and did the extra credit problems.  It’s happening again.  I love this weblog and it has become a priority in my life.  I have a sense of responsibility about blogging daily.  Today, I wrote a post that is not for immediate publication.  It is stored away, waiting for the right day.  How about that-a draft in the can. 

Meanwhile, I have other things to talk about.  I started that sock, and I have to report on it.  I finished the first sock this morning, then cast on the second, and I’m a couple of inches down the cuff of this mate.  A funny thing happened on the progress through the first sock.  I learned how to knit a bit tighter.  I’m not sure what came over me, but I had a strong desire to tighten up my stitching as I approached the gusset of the sock, and I began to choke up on my yarn and I pushed the stitches a little closer to the tip of the needles, and tiny little stitches came out.  Of course the difference isn’t obvious when my foot is in the sock, but I can appreciate it with the sock in my hand.  I want to be better at this, and with socks I think knitting more tightly can definitely be an improvement.  Anyway, I have photos.

If you’ve never knit a sock, it’s good to know what the parts of the sock are called and what order they are knit in.  Traditionally, socks are knit from the top to the toe.  There are patterns around for “toe-up” socks, which are knit the other direction, but that is less frequent.  Starting at the top, you have the cuff, which extends from the top of the sock to the ankle.  In this photo, the cuff extends to the right, and you can see the next section, the heel, as an almost square single knitted piece at the left (the big pink block): 

austermannsockpartfinisheda.jpg

The heel is knitted by continuing to knit half the stitches and letting the other side rest.  Here is a view of the heel from the inside (shows the wrong side of the heel).  Your sock pattern may have you work the heel with alternating slip stitches, to build a stronger, more durable heel fabric. 

  

austermannsockpartfinishedb.jpg

You may have heard people express angst about sock knitting, with big scary talk about “turning the heel”.  In actuality, this is a very orderly process that brings the heel around to connect to the top and sides of the sock.  It doesn’t involve any super-complicated stitches, just reading and following directions about knitting the stitches and turning your work.  Turning the heel produces a triangular area that you will recognize from your store-bought socks:  the gusset.  I am a short person with relatively short feet (US 7.5).  I have found that sock patterns tend to make a longer gusset than I need, making the sock bag in front of the ankle, so this time I decreased more quickly.  I made gusset decreases  as follows:  decrease row, decrease row, knit row; instead of what was recommended:  decrease row, knit row, decrease row, knit row.  My sock fits perfectly.  Here is a photo of the gusset triangle. 

austermannsockfinishedgusset.jpg

The area over the gusset on top of the foot is the instep.  It is knit at the same time as the sole, knitting in the round again just as we did on the cuff.  Finally, we have the toe, which is shaped to fit and then grafted together to make a smooth join.

austermannsockfinishedtoe.jpg

 The grafting on this toe is not obvious in the photograph, but it is another area that generates negative remarks about sock knitting.  Most of us graft using the kitchener stitch, and with clear instructions it is easy.  Here is a link to a very good tutorial on www.knitty.com:    http://www.knitty.com/issuesummer04/FEATtheresasum04.html.

Finally, this is the sock in it’s intended position:

austermannsockfinishedonme.jpg

Yippee!  I love this sock!  One down, one to go! 

Peace.

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3 Responses

  1. Beautiful sock! Can’t wait to see the other one. Bet they don’t match. (grin) (Those are the best kind.) Mom made me a pair of brown/tan socks a few years ago. Kind of afraid to wear them, don’t want to wear them out. Guess I could learn to make my own?!! If I wear them and don’t sell them, they don’t have to be perfect, do they. hmmm.

  2. Wow…those are really beautiful! I heard I missed you at the bread factory last weekend…Beth said you were there..we are going to New Orleans for a week on Saturday, so I will catch up with you in a couple of weeks…sorry about the sciatica..I had that once and saw a neurological chiropractor and she fixed me instantly….that really hurts…

  3. I can’t believe how fast you knitted those socks! I can almost hear our needles clicking mach 1. They are absolutely beautiful.

    I’m glad you weathered the storm. I can only imagine it was very scary. I remember as a child hiding in the basement with the dog when the sirens rang.

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