Saturday, January 2, 2016

Thumb Joint Socks

I finished a pair of socks! I can't really claim they are my first finished object for 2016 since the knitting was actually completed in December. It just took me forever to weave in the ends.

Since buying the book "Sock Architecture" by Lara Neel at Rhinebeck in (gasp) 2014, I've been experimenting with alternative constructions. Not that I've knit many pairs of socks in the last year.

Usually I knit top down socks with a traditional heel flap, round heel turn, gusset, and wedge toe.

After reading Sock Architecture, I first experimented with the Round Toe shaping in the book. It does provide a nice fit. I think I'll stick with it. She also includes a Swirl Toe, which seem shallower than the Round Toe, and I might try that next before I commit.

For heel constructions, I tried the, uh, Square Heel. But so much time passed between the first and second sock that I couldn't quite remember what I had done and the two heel turns don't really match. So that might have to be revisited because I can't really judge the heel turn fairly in those circumstances.

I went really wild on the socks I just finished. Totally out of my sock knitting comfort zone.

For these socks, I worked an afterthought heel. Specifically her Thumb Joint, Hat Top construction.

The idea is you make the heel as deep as the wearer's thumb, which might make measuring easier because you always have your thumb with you.

The verdict is still out on this whole afterthought business. Socks are my easy, mindless project. That is why I always knit the same socks, the same way. I don't have to think about it much. I knit the leg until it is as long as my hand, knit the heel flap and turn, then try on the sock to get the foot length. Simple.

With the afterthought heel construction, the knitting process was very disjointed. I wasn't sure how long to knit the foot because I couldn't try the sock on. I ended up knitting a few rounds of the foot, putting the stitches on waste yarn, then knitting the heel.

Not very much of an afterthought!

Then I went back and finished the toe. Of course, I carefully wrote down how many stitches and rounds were involved at each step.

The notes made the second sock go a little smoother. I was able to put the waste yarn in for the heel and continue straight to the toe. That was kind of nice, and probably how the experience was supposed to go.

However, I was working on them for so long, with such long breaks in the process, that I sort of forgot about the heel situation on the second sock. For a moment, as I was finishing the toe shaping on the second sock, I got that little thrill of excitement when you finish a project.

Then I remembered I had to go back and knit the heel. ugh.

At least the heel wasn't all that big, which meant it didn't take long to knit.

Weaving in ends was avoided for far too long and didn't take much time when I finally did it. There were, however, extra ends to weave in because of the afterthought heel.

As you can see, I'm a bit whiny about the whole thing. On the bright side, they are pretty socks. I imagine this construction would allow you to have a lot of fun with colors, or using up scraps, if you plan ahead.

I'm just not positive it has won me over. But, I suppose, that is why we try new things. Don't know whether or not you'll like it until you try it!

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