Friday, 18 January 2008

Socky goodness and a problem with wraps

So, I've decided I like knitting socks. This is my second proper pair that I'm working on and I'm smitten. The pattern is the plain version of Widdershins from Knitty, which is worked from the toe upwards, but has a cushy heel flap that looks as though it was knit from the top down.

Warning - knitting tech talk follows (if you'd rather avoid this, skip between * and *... hey, that's like a knitting pattern):

The heel is turned with short rows, and at the end of every short row, you're supposed to do a 'wrap and turn' (i.e. wrap the yarn around the turning stitch). It took me a while to work out what to do with the wrapped stitched after I'd turned the heel and was joining in the gusset stitches. The pattern said that on the final round of the heel turning part, where you do a whole round past all the wrapped stitches, whenever you meet a one, you have to to knit the wrap with the stitch it wrapped around. Hmm, this is sounding complicated just to write about it! Anyway, at first I did as I was told by the pattern, but while the wrap picking up thing worked on one side of the sock, I ended up with gappy holes on the other side. I knit and frogged the whole heel three or four times, and threw it across the room in disgust (at which point my sister, who was staying at the time, nearly suffered a knitting-related injury) before I figured it out.

When I had finally calmed down, had a cup of tea and gone to my 'happy place', I eventually worked out what was causing the problem. The gaps were appearing because I was knitting the wrap into the wrong stitch on one side of the sock. The gaps appear because the heel is worked back and forth, but the rest of the sock is knit in the round, and switching between the two styles makes a hole where the turn is. The point of knitting the wrap in with the turning stitch is to close the gap where a short row turn has been made. However, on one side of the sock this gap appears before you reach the wrapped stitch, and on the other side, the gap happens after the wrapped stitch. That's because on one side you're knitting forward in relation to knitting in the round, and the other side you're going back. So the cure for the gappiness? When you do that first row in the round after the back and forth short-rowed heel turn, on one side you knit the wrap with the stitch after it, and on the other side you knit the wrap with the stitch before it.

I've no idea if this is the orthodox method, but it sure worked for me. And my first sock is now pretty and non-gappy, I'm very happy with it. I'm just about to reach the same point on its partner, so just in case I'm wrong about all the above, watch out for flying sock needles!

Here endeth the knitting tech talk.

In the meantime, I've decided I like the look of the Widdershins socks very much and have been scouring the net for more pretty sock yarn. As if I need it, have you seen my stash on Ravelry??!!


Squeaky said...

If you find wrap and turn to be a bit tricky, you might want to look into the yarnover method for short rows. That is what I usually use. You make a yarnover as you turn, then work that yarnover together with the stitch across the gap.

goldfishgirl said...

Ooh, that sounds interesting, thanks! My next pair are also going to be Widdershins - so I'll give the YO method a try.