Monday, May 28, 2007
Fun for Feet!
I finished the socks I've been knitting for myself this week. I love the sport wt yarn as it works up a bit faster! This pair I made with an afterthought heel which is really slick. You knit the sock down to where you think the heel ought to be, knit across 1/2 the stitches with waste yarn, put the waste yarn back on the left needle, and then knit across those same stitches with the main yarn.
(It is the same idea as Elizabeth Zimmermann's thumb trick for mittens. She tells how to do it in Knitting without Tears. That is such a great book.)
You just keep knitting till you are ready to shape the toe of the sock (about 4 inches on these socks). Once that is done, you remove the waste yarn, put the stitches back on the needles, and shape the heel as if IT was another TOE! The amazing thing that happens is when you put the sock on your foot, that pouch becomes your heel! It is called a Peasant Heel and has been around forever. Very easy to reknit if you wear a hole in the heel. Which is why women started making them that way, I'm sure! I had to darn a lot of my socks this past winter and decided that making a Peasant Heel made a lot of sense. Instead of darning, I'll just take the heel out if necessary and knit a new one--any old color will do! Can't you just picture a beleaguered mother trying to keep socks on the feet of her many kids, knitting away! Better yet, teaching the older ones to knit their own socks!
The sock itself is very comfortable. I haven't blocked them yet, but wool is always so accomodating to shape itself! I rarely block my socks, just pull them on and let my foot shape them. Over a little time, they find the best shape! Hey, these are "keep my feet happy" socks!
If you want some step by step directions for the Peasant Heel (and a lot of other heels, as well) check out Nancy Bush's Folk Socks.
Fascinating book with lots of history and techniques. Enjoyable reading!
I have another pair of mittens about 1/2 done. Two strands of fingering yarn to equal a sport weight. I used a self-patterning yarn with black and it is making an interesting tweed. I also found several cones of Brown Sheep sport wt yarn that had been buried in my stash: rose, blue, and teal solids. I'll probably play with peeries and Fair Isle and see what I can manage. I have the book by Sheila McGregor called Traditional Fair Isle Knitting.
The photos are wonderful: hats, sweaters, vests, etc. Again history of the knitting styles and the last half of the book is devoted to nothing but charted patterns of all sizes! Small to large! The small patterns are easily used on mittens and socks.
Knitting is such an amazing activity! We get to play with color and string and make dashing clothing for ourselves and our families!