This week, I chat with Katherine Misegades and share a template for three afterthought sock heels.
What A Heel
Afterthought heels, also called inserted heels, are great for when you just don't want to work a heel along with the sock - when you're knitting in the dark or on a plane and are getting motion-sick anyway. I also like them, just anyway, because they open up a lot of style and construction possibilities that might be hard to work in the usual direction.
There are a few ways to prepare for this kind of heel. Here are two of them.
Planned heel: When you reach the point in the sock where you want your heel to go, work half of your stitches with waste yarn, then work them again with your working yarn. This leaves a single row of different yarn, for half of your sock's circumference. When ready, simply pull out the waste yarn and place stitches on needles.
Fearless Jedi heel: Make your sock with abandon, working away and ignoring the heel. When you are finished, determine where you want the heel to go and cut a stitch in the center of what would be the half-round for your heel. Pull back stitches until the heel stitches are free and go from there.
In her book Ethnic Socks & Stockings: A Compendium of Eastern Design & Technique, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts details a third method she calls the auxiliary needle technique. It's far too complex for me, but the intrepid knitter should check it out.
A problem some knitters have with afterthought heels is holes at the corners, where the yarn of the picked-up stitches leaps from one side of the sock to the other. One way to handle this is to pick up two or three stitches to cover the gap, then decrease them away. If you pick up those extra stitches at least one full stitch into the meat of the knitting, your gaps will disappear. Cat Bordhi showed me this. She is totally awesome. She covers a different construction method for snipping and making sure your stitches are secure in her Houdini Sock pattern.
The heel samples are knit over 72 stitches, on #3 needles (it's a bit loose for my taste, but it's what I had available.) The third page of the document is the same as the second one, designed to print more clearly.
I also cover what I call a "strap closure." It's a way to close off the back of a heel that is quite pretty, and also offers a canvas for a great deal of embellishment. A version of it is detailed in Ethnic Socks & Stockings: A Compendium of Eastern Design & Technique, but this is my take on it.
I had a chance to sit down with Katherine Misegades in person. We had a great talk. I hope you enjoy it, too. For those of you in the Fort Wayne area, Katherine teaches at Sarah Jane's Yarn Shoppe. A listing of all of their classes is here. They are also on the Crafty Calendar that Joyce and I maintain.
In an email to me after our chat, Katherine wrote:
"I'd summarize my interest in knitting and design as wanting others to succeed and be as happy in their creative endeavors as I am. That is why I enjoy teaching, share my website with Jolene Treace, work with Andrea Wong, etc. There is room for everyone."
Isn't she great?
Also, I forgot to ask her about it, but I saw the idea on her blog first. Try using the filament from a string trimmer for blocking wires. I just found 200 feet worth on Amazon for about $6. Pretty good deal, if you ask me, and can't rust.
My review of Ethnic Socks & Stockings: A Compendium of Eastern Design & Technique
...And A Time To Knit Stockings, by Katherine Misegades, is available as a book on CD from Schoolhouse Press.
Twisted-Stitch Mittens and Mitts pattern is not on Ravelry (yet), but you can see a photo here.
Ellen Roberts' site is Shepherd's Moon.
Jolene Treace's Blog