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April 02, 2008

As you were, comrades!

I thought of another way to illustrate the helical path of stripes: I wound a length of stripy grosgrain ribbon around a roll of paper towels.

Think of your vertical color repeat: if you're using two balls of yarn, it's two stitches high; three balls, three stitches, and so on. If you're playing with grosgrain ribbon, it's the thickness of the ribbon. As you knit your sock, your vertical color repeat wraps around as one entity - the stripes never cross one another, and the edges abut. Where I sliced my ribbon at a shallow angle - that's where you would introduce all the different colors at the onset of the spiral (and remove them at the end of your work). The idea of attaching the yarns at equal intervals would necessitate an even shallower cut, of course.

Question: I really, honestly don't need to twist the yarns?

Answer: Please don't ;). Twisting the yarns will change the order of your stripes. I'd need to cut up my ribbon along its length to demonstrate twisting, and I don't want to do that ;). Just go with the flow, and always pick up the lowest available strand - no twisting and no holes!

Question: How do I make stripes which are more than 1 row thick?

Answer: By attaching several balls of yarn of the same color, one right after the other. The number of balls equals the height of the stripe - 2 stitches high needs 2 balls, 3 stitches high needs 3 balls, and so on.

Question: Are you seriously going to stick a heel in there somewhere?

Answer: It wouldn't be a sock without one!

First, identify your heel stitches. As you know, this is typically half of the total number of stitches. If you're using dpns, some people like to put the heel over needles 1 & 4. Others like the heel over 3 & 4. It really doesn't matter: just decide which ones will belong to the heel.

Next, knit your spiral such that the heel yarn (the yarn with which you'll knit the heel) is on the left side of the heel stitches AND the other yarns, however many you're using, are not. You don't want your other yarns to be in the middle of the heel, either. You'll be working back and forth over the heel stitches using the heel yarn, and you don't want to trap any of your other working yarns in the process.

Here you see the heel yarn (B for Blackberry) hanging on the left side of the heel stitches. At the point the photo was taken, I was about to turn my work and purl back, thus starting my short-row heel. Note: all the heel stitches are currently blackberry - you probably can't see this, I'm going to ask for your trust on this one. Depending on the instructions you follow, you can count this as the first row of the heel. Of course, no other yarns are in the way, so I can proceed full steam ahead!

Fast forward 30 minutes...

What I want you to see is that (wouldn't you know it?!?) the yarns are in exactly the same positions as they were before I started! So, what more is there to say? As you were, comrades! You've successfully inserted a heel, and now you continue knitting as though nothing happened!

Question: How does it work when you get to the end of the tube?

Answer: Same as the beginning! I will abandon each strand in turn, spacing them out evenly over the circumference of the sock. I will tidy up any holes by carefully weaving in my ends. But I'm getting ahead of myself here ;).

Before I go ahead and finish the sock, do you want me to take out the short-row heel and show you how to finesse a flap heel into this colorful contraption? You can do it without breaking any yarns - it just requires a certain set-up so everything flows correctly.

Posted by Kathy on April 2, 2008 10:24 AM


Brilliant! Thanks for the explanation. You've made it clear, logical, and understandable. I look forward to your tutorials! When can we expect a book?

This is so interesting! Even for a non-sock knitter like me. Are you going to write up these instructions in one place? I'd love to see it as a "pattern." (I guess it would be more of a "recipe.")

I think I'm finally starting to get it. Thanks for having so much patience.

Demo a flap heel? Yes, please!

I would love to figure out the heel-flap for myself, but I might as well let you do it for me. Thanks!

I am so in love with this sock, thanks for sharing it with us. And yes, I'd love to see the heel flap please.

I would love a heel flap demonstration. I find them more comfortable.

i think I've FINALLY got it.. haha i noticed just like your ribbon that your first "stripe" on your sock - for instance the white - doesn't go completely all the way around at first and then it does... i was confused at that at first... but i get it now!

Ah yes, heel flap , please. What with my high instep, short rows just don't fit my foot, as much as I love the look of them. I know, I know, commercial socks don't do flaps. My handknit socks have a tighter, less flexible, gauge on the theory that they will last longer. I can't bear the idea that they would actually wear out. The real solution for that, of course, is to have so many handknit socks that, worn in rotation, they will last years and years.

Oh yes please! A heel flap! Thank you.

i am loving this continued tutorial. if you could do a heel-flap also that would be great!

Another vote for show us the heel flap! Thanks for the excellent tutorial so far.

I really love this idea. I'm assuming that this is easier with the short row heel, and I'm happy to use it as I'm trying to get better at this technique.

"Yes, please," to the heel flap question.

And "thank you" for the end-of-the-tube question. I'd still like to see it when you get there, if you don't mind.

I would love to see a heel flap!

Yes please!

This is an excellent tutorial! I'm so trying it out after I finish my moseys.

Thank you AGAIN for this terrific tutorial! The more methods, the merrier.

Hey Betty -- have you tried working a short row heel over more (60-75 percent) of the stitches, instead of just 50%? I also have a ginormous instep, and that method has helped my short-row heels fit.

Not that there's anything wrong with a flap heel -- I just wanted to pass on the advice another knitter shared with me at the time :)

heel flap = 1,000 x yes!

I think you and Cat Bordhi should get together and figure out how to make socks insideout, upsidedown and sideways with cables that don't require a cable need and lace that doesn't need any k2tog. A cuff down sock thats grafted without kitchener stitch. Dye yarn that looks like a 28 color repeat Starmore Fair Isle pattern in garter stitch. Then the two of you can abandon socks and open an engineering firm and figure out how to build housing on the moon.

LOL!!! I am with Meg McG... I can only imagine what the two of you would cook up.

Oh showing us a heel flap would be wonderful! Please do!

Yes, please show me a heel flap :) Your explanation is excellent, even before using the ribbon. Thank you!

Yes! Please show the heel flap option!!

Is there no end to your amazing-ness? Seriously, you have a way with explaining with words that is truly a gift. For me, it's like trying to give someone a haircut over the phone; I can't tell them, I have to show them. But you manage to do both. Wow.

Too amazing! Please show us the flap heel. I am thinking that learning to do this would be a good step to mastering Fairisle. Am I making a logical connection, or do I STILL not get colorwork?
I am truly enjoying your tutorials.

Beautiful presentation! You have taken something that seemed impossible and explained it in words (and pictures) that truly take the mystery out of it. I can't wait for the next installment of your tutorial :)

I love love love your spiraling stripes. And your pictures make it so clear how they work. Just one question: In the "before" pic, it looks like you knit around to the point where you would drop the lilac and pick up the natural. But instead you "skipped ahead" to the blackberry and knit that section so that half your stitches are now blackberry instead of one fourth. Do I understand that correctly? Thanks and yes please on the heel flap.

YES YES YES! Pretty please :)

I wish my brain would wake up and grasp what you have been showing us. I think I need to grab needles and go for it to understand. I am mega-interested in this.

Yes on the heel flap! I was wondering how that would work.

I'd love to see the heel flap please!

yes, heel flap please!

I think I have the same question as Ann. And I would love to see the heel flap!

PLEASE! Heel flap! I want to make my own pair, and short-row heels just don't fit....

Thanks so much for the offer -- I'd love to see you do this with a gusset heel!

Yes! I want to see! :)

It is a beautiful sock and I really do appreciate your detailed instruction of the technique. I never ever would have thought of that. Still, it seems very fiddly to me.

Yes, please, I would love to see the heel flap demo. Thanks for going through this technique in such detail - it is truly an amazing concept.

Yes, Please, I'd love to see more!

I am soaking this up like a sponge, thank you so much for sharing this and all the detail and pictures. I was absolutely intrigued with the first post, but didn't quite grasp it - on the second one, it all made sense!

I'm not a regular commenter, but am a regular reader, and I do really appreciate all the effort that goes into your postings, particularly these educational ones - Thank you!

Yes, please, show us.

I do prefer the traditional heel flap, I think it is more comfortable. Can you elaborate on that?

Grumperina for Sock President. Thank you so much for these tutorials.

This is so cool! If there's more to see that's cool then let's have it!

Thanks Grump! I've been watching this build, can't wait to see your toes, too!

Yes, please do the heel demo. I think I'll try your technique on my next pair of socks. Thanks for sharing!

I DID a heel flap! I made the flap and heel turn of one color, then just picked up stitches with whichever color was in the right position. It was a little nerve racking, but it went OK. I'm cruising down the gussets now... I'll try to post a picture on my blog.

And it's all thanks to you, Grumperina - I love my candy cane spiral sock! This is a great technique!

Yes! Please! Heel flap-and-gusset heels work best for my odd feet, and I confess I am fascinated. I'd love for you to show me how to do this with a flap. :)

Dude, you're making me want to whip out a bunch of yarns and get to making stripey socks! Will you make up a nice printable pattern and add a linky to your sidebar later? Pretty please?

Oh, and yes, flap please!

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