Tag Archives: Knitting


It’s here – and it’s gone.

Blink and you’ll miss it.

That’s what it means to be ephemeral…like the temporary local yarnbombing this March. I nearly missed it myself – I didn’t hear about it until about a week and a half ago, and since then the weather has been dreary and drippy and soggy more days than not. So I spent a little while this morning taking pictures for the current WordPress photo challenge, before the clock loses its hat and scarf and the knitted benches and the pompomed fence v a n i s h.

Duck-billed Sockosaur, with Selfies

There are strange creatures in my house. Not too long ago, I came across something I never expected to see –

DuckBilledSockosaurusSideView1the fearsome duck-billed sockosaur.

There’s only one thing to do when you’re invaded by sockosaurs: KEEP KNITTING!

And then take a few selfies.

Will This Work, Part 4 – Amazing.

I’m amazed, anyway.

Last fall, mostly out of curiosity and also because I got really tired of the seams in my socks chewing into my toes (handmade socks don’t generally have those seams across the top of your foot), I decided to see if I really could knit a pair of socks.

At first, I wasn’t sure the cuff was big enough to let my entire foot through. (Fortunately, knitting  st  r   e   t   c  h es.)

SockHeelTurnThen I came to the part where the sock needed to make a right-angle turn, because that’s what feet do. The directions made no sense, no matter how many times I read them. Knit a heel flap? What’s that? Turn the heel? Turn it into what? It was all obviously impossible. But I was halfway done, so I might as well just keep going, row by row, doing what the directions told me to…and all of a sudden

RedSockSideViewI had a sock! And a while later, I had a pair of socks. And they’re so very very comfortable that I might just wear them every day if they weren’t the kind of wool you have to handwash and let dry lying flat (which takes a couple of days).

I wanna make some more socks!

Will this work, part 3 – As the sock turns

Last time I talked about socks, I had discovered that my tiny little ring of knitting actually was big enough to stretch over my heel. So far so good. But next, I had to blindly trust the pattern directions to lead me through a series of meaningless socky technical terms.

The heel flap, for instance. Have you ever heard anybody talk about heel flaps? I haven’t. What in the world does it mean?

SockHeelFlapIt turns out that a heel flap is a rectangular strip of knitting flopping down from the back of the leg (which you’ve already finished knitting by this time). You put half the leg stitches on a holder shaped like a giant safety pin, and knit back and forth on the remaining stitches until it’s long enough to cover your Achilles tendon. Yay! One heel flap done.

After that, you need to “turn” the heel ninety degrees so the sock can continue out to the end of your toes. But how?

ShortrowsIt’s all in the short rows. You knit a little more than halfway across the heel flap – remember the heel flap? – then turn around and purl a little past the halfway point in the other direction. You keep knitting (or purling) partway across the heel flap, going a little farther each time and knitting a pair of stitches together as you come to the end of each row, until you make it to the very end of the heel flap again.

SockHeelTurnAnd this is what you wind up with. It really does make a right angle turn for the back of your heel to nestle into. Amazing.

Now I need to deal with the “gusset”. After that, the project looks like pretty smooth sailing out to near the end of your foot. Then it’s time to do some more decreases to close up the toe end, and finally sew the last few stitches shut – and, at that point, theory says that you should have a brand new sock to wear 😉

We’ll see.

Will this work, part 2…

Knitting. Gotta love it. Either that, or throw out the yarn and needles. About a month ago, I decided to see if it really is possible to knit socks. (I know, I know. The world is full of pairs of socks; obviously there must be some way to knit them.) But right away, I ran into a problem – the cuff looked too small to ever pull onto my foot and around my heel and up my leg.

SockTopViewThere didn’t seem to be enough sock at that stage for a realistic test, so I kept knitting. Around and around and around, spiraling down my theoretical leg, until I finished the first part of the pattern (lacy little diamonds).

SockToesThat looked long enough to give it a real workout getting past my heel. I’ve been dividing the knitting between three needles and knitting with a fourth, but I spread it over all four to provide more flex (and a bigger safety margin so the stitches didn’t fall off the ends of the needles) while I pulled the sample on.

SockHeelAnd…it worked! Up my foot, stretch-stretch-stretch around my heel, and onto my calf. Yay!

SockLegOf course, this is the easy part. I’ve finished knitting the rest of the leg; no problem, just keep spiraling. Exactly like a sleeve or a hat or a pullover sweater, except that socks are smaller. Now, though – now the sock has to make a right-angle turn. Human feet are a weird shape, when you stop to think about it.

I won’t pretend the directions for the next stage make sense when I read them. Heel flap, turn, gusset – gibberish, if I try to picture how it’s all supposed to work. At this point, I’m just planning to knit along row after row, obeying the pattern, and find out what happens.

Wish me luck.

Is this going to work??

Another fit of curiosity took hold of me recently, and I decided to see if it’s really possible to knit a pair of socks. So far, I’ve got most of the cuff done – the cuff’s only a few rows long – but I’m getting worried.

RedSockCuffThat little circle of yarn has to stretch far enough to go all the way around my heel. Is this thing really going to work out?