Sunday, April 27, 2008

Of Dandelions and Lace Heels

Greetings and Dear Laura:

WOW - you are just putting out projects like crazy! Way to go! I guess having all those classes coming up must be really inspirational.... The skirts look great, and very comfortable.

Funny you should ask about the heels and magic loop. It's been a bit of a theme for me this week as well. I'm working on a new theory.

It's like dandelions. My Goddaughter Renata LOVES dandelions. They're her favorite flower - and what's not to love? They are everywhere, they are free, you don't get in trouble for picking them, and mom is always willing to put the bouquet you picked in a glass and admire them. I remember a piece of open ground near their house that is completely yellow with them in the spring. We were driving by one day, and she sighed and wondered why everyone's lawn couldn't be that pretty! She has a point - dandelions are a perfectly fine plant, they are plentiful, hardy and edible. They are a weed and a pest only because they appear where we don't want them to.

I was reminded of this while working on the heels of my toe-up, two-at-a-time magic loops socks. I was kind of procrastinating (I know, I know - me, procrastinate?) about getting to the heels. Somehow, as much as I want to love them, I struggle with short row heels. I can do short rows - really I can. But somehow, heels kick me in the behind. As I was surfing for a pattern that I might be able to knit (!) I noticed that every method claims to be the way to knit short row heels without holes. (Me, I'm just trying to knit them without getting lost in the pattern.) It occurred to me that there was a lot of fuss going on about holes. Holes aren't inherently bad. Heck, when I think of how people get intimidated about knitting lace, when all it is is adding holes to your knitting on purpose....and then it struck me - Holes are the dandelions of the knitting world, and the last thing I need to worry about is holes in my heels. I have decided to embrace them. I don't have holes in my heels - I have lace heels! And glory upon glory - I have two short row heels! Only a little lace, but more importantly, I only had to rip the first heel ONE time, and the second heel not at all!!
The part I struggle with is at the point when you begin closing the heel, and the directions often tell you to knit or purl to the gap, perform some knitting together, then turn and do the same at the other end. But the knitting together seems to leave a bit of a gap, especially on the right side, so I never know exactly WHICH gap I'm heading for. So, I decided to mark every gap as I made it during the first half, so I knew where to go doing the second half.

So ta-da! I have two heels, a little lacy, but not too bad. I think I'm going to work on modifying the short row heels to have a nice little line of "lace" as a design element!

I want to thank you for sharing your red and white sock angst. I took that lesson to heart when I noticed that my stripes were a little off. I had finished the first heel, so I took a row off of the second sock before beginning the heel, to make the stripes match up better. For that I did need to take the first sock off the "loop," so I did the second heel by itself and then moved the first on back before continuing. Now I just have to head for the cuff! I'm making better progress since I'm not avoiding the heels.....

So, to your question about the 60%. I'm such an airhead - I'd heard you say that you do your heels on 60%, but somehow I thought that meant that you left 60% of the heels stitches unworked as opposed to the usual 50%. Your current question finally let me see that you mean instead of having 50% of the total sock stitches involved in the heel, you use 60%. Duh!
(LOL - after working out and typing a 2 paragraph note on how to move the stitches around, I thought to check the comments and saw that Lee-Ann answered you, which is good because a) it took me two days, and b) she was my teacher for magic loop, so she's the authority!!) Anyway, you shouldn't have a problem - just do what she said! (And since I know she's reading, maybe Lee-Ann knows some short row heel secrets..hmmmmm)

I also have to point out some striping magic going on in my socks. You might notice that the striping pattern is not completely even. The darker color stripes vary in width. Which makes it TOTALLY amazing that I pulled out the yarn from the center of both skeins and started with the first piece of aqua that I found, and yet they match! I had no idea that the striping wasn't equal, so the fact that these socks are pretty much identical is nothing short of a knitter's miracle! YAY!

I mentioned that I procrastinated getting to the heels. I saw some cute dishcloths on the Homestead Lutheran Academy and was inspired by the Checked Slip Stitch cloth. Something small on larger needles was really appealing, so I knitted one, and then started a second with the same yarn but the colors reversed. However, now that I'm passed the heel, I'm back on socks.

So, there you go. Other than that, work has been occupying much of my time and thought. The closer this project comes to "go live" date, the more convinced I am that if I have to learn one more complex piece, I'm going to max out my brain. I'm mostly amazed that there aren't pieces leaking out of my ears as it is. I come home too tired to knit most evenings, and THAT'S tired! Knitting at Lunch and I have a plan tho - Tuesday we're planning a road trip to Indy to see the Yarn Harlot, so there will be updates this week. Hmm, wonder if I can figure out mobile blogging....dare I use precious brain cells figuring that out???

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)


Marie N. said...

Thanks for the mention! The checked slip stitch dish cloth is my favorite because it holds up well when scrubbing dirty dishes, it looks nice, it is not a difficult pattern to follow.

Lauren said...

Woot! Can't wait for the YH tomorrow!!!!

Lea-Ann a/k/a KnittingToday said...

:-) . . . I love the Friends activity feature on Ravelry, that's how I know you've updated your blog. Anyways, my new favorite short row heel is definitely the jojo heel. I saw it used in the Smoking Hot socks, which incidentally, I did out of Noro Sock yarn -- rough to work with, but wonderful washed! And followed the designer's link to the original, I think at LanaGrossa's website, and used that version instead. I'll try and get pictures of my heel uploaded to my projects page, I'm on my 3rd pair using it and start another class this coming Tuesday night so will have 4-- a record for me sticking with one style. And, to answer Laura's question on the heel flap, I did do one heel flap, and then the other heel flap. Lea-Ann
P.S. Suffering from yarn harlot envy! Two other locals were also there and keep talking about when Stephanie said ". . ." and ". . . " and laughing . . . geesh! ;-)