Wednesday, June 17, 2009

That Story I Promised You.....

Plus some soap, and a pretty.

This is that extraordinary heel, that I took on faith as "more than usually magical" (I think those were my words). I should have known better.

But even after 20-odd socks, there are still heels which I have not knit, and I thought this would probably be like the Dutch heel--mysterious and particularly well-fitting.--Here, you observe, are the picked-up gussets. Note the curious slope to the heel.--I picked up the gusset, began to knit, then realized that the instructions did not tally with the number of stitches I needed. (I did not actually swear. Recall that I still live with my mother.) A long, painful tinking and readjustment, so that I could decrease the gusset on the bottom of the foot, where it would be easier, work better, and I could actually decrease enough to fit my foot.

I have currently knit less than 1/2 inch of gusset (you see, here, my current progress). I started picking up the gusset stitches, my camera tells me, June 2nd. Even allowing for a weekend lost to tinking, I should be well down the foot!

This angle, though, may show the difficulty a trifle better. Note the bulge. You do not, by the instructions, knit short rows anywhere in the heel. While decreasing in the middle, you knit to the end, every row. This creates a certain bulginess, which alas is not duplicated anywhere in the heel of my actual foot. (Or perhaps I should say Blessed be God.) So, for almost two weeks, I've been not ripping the heel of this stocking, and re-knitting it so it actually fits my foot. Instead I've been knitting Baroque, and very pretty it looks, though I don't have a photo to show you (no reason--just haven't thought of it, and Lord knows there are enough pictures in this post already).

I think I have finally found the difficulty--she is rather vague in her phrasing, so I took "decrease in the center (knitting to the end every row) until you have 7 small panel stitches in the center, then decrease on either side of this small panel" to mean, Keep knitting to the end of every row after you have the small panel in the center, while she meant (and certainly seems to have knitted), After you have the small panel, knit 7 st in pattern, decrease and turn--thus eating up one st on the edge per row, and forming a flap like a Dutch heel. As this is more or less the solution I had decided on, I feel considerably vindicated. But even that isn't going to make ripping out this d*ned gusset and heel much more pleasant. *sigh* Motivating music required! (And if you are wondering how I can possibly have misread the pattern that badly, or if you are simply consumed with curiousity about the source of my trials, the PDF is here, the charts here, and the designer's site is here.)

Oh, yes, and I knit this as well, while I've been avoiding the stocking heel of doomy doom-doom--it's a soap sweater, a necessity in my bathroom, since there is a drip that wears away the soap in double time, no matter where in the shower caddy I put it. Things I would do differently next time include knitting a real round toe, instead of a befuddled mish-mash of round and wedge, knitting a bag with a drawstring instead of trying to decrease for the other end, and knitting the thing in thicker yarn, or doubling it, because in fingering weight the accursed item took more than a week. I'm reasonably happy with it despite all that, though. It will no doubt do what I intend it to--be a washcloth-cum-soap-saver--and that admirably.

And the pretty! I have a new spindle, despite having no fiber to spin on it (I undoubtedly will get some presently, but I have no stash at the very moment). It's a Golding 2" brass ring, solid (obviously), out of Lignum Vitae or ironwood. I confess from the picture on the site I was expecting something of more walnut hue, but since I loooove green, and also since Mom looked it up (we were both dying with curiousity at the cryptic citing of Lignum Vitae) and mentioned that it commonly turns green when finished, sometimes with black accents. So they may have just had one which was all black accent in the photo.

I will say, spindles are a treat to photograph, even ones that are an elusive green tint combined with a dark oak shaft, compared to yarn. My camera is not very good anyway, and softness defeats it utterly--it simply hates to focus on items without clear edges.

My new spindle. I has a happy. :-)

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