Thursday, January 12, 2012

In which I discover the downside to slipped stitch short-row heels

Dale survived the first day of afterschool not without some drama. I told him that it will get easier when he gets more used to it, and that if he focuses on playing and less on waiting for me to get him, he'll have more fun and the time will pass quicker. He protested less this morning so we'll see how it went.

So the February sock is progressing nicely:

I've turned the heel and now I'm continuing the Stansfield 30 pattern up the leg. I plan to knit until I run out of yarn.

I'm not thrilled with Knit Picks Chroma Worsted. I can't deny that the colorways are gorgeous and they work up into beautiful soft bands of color. The yarn itself is a source of major frustration. It's single-ply and loosely spun, so a lot of the time I'll pierce the strand with my needle and split it...which I usually don't notice until after a few stitches down the road. The yarn itself is also very uneven, with random thin spots that would make me go back to see if I did indeed spilt the yarn again, just to find out that I hadn't. It's fun to work with, but I don't see this as being a go-to yarn for many projects. Maybe I'll have better luck with the sock-weight Chroma.

Of course, it's not superwash, and single-ply yarn means that my socks will wear fast. But I was aware of both of these shortcomings before I cast on. I did want to give the sock some chance at a long life, but at the same time I didn't want to break up the color bands with a flap heel, so I decided to give it a slipped stitch short-row heel. I wasn't sure if this was possible, but I figured I'd try.

First lesson I learned: you need an even number of stitches for the heel for best results.

Second lesson I learned: slipped stitch short-row fabric is not as stretchy as regular stockinette. It has stretch, but not as much.

Third lesson I learned: it REALLY shortens and tightens the heel! I knit a couple of extra rounds before starting the short-row, and I still find the sock to be a very snug fit. I'm currently debating if I should rip back and reknit it longer, but yet another downside to single-ply yarn is that they don't rip back well.

Here's a close-up of the heel:

Looks pretty good and the fabric is nice and thick, but I have to keep the shortening in mind. Some of the leg pattern appears right at the edge of the heel turn, and that will be worn through very fast. I think a slipped stitch short-row heel would work better on a top-down sock because I can control its position better.

I'll have to think about whether I want to rip back and reknit the heel.

Last night, I finally had to toss a pair of socks: Sock 6.0. I don't know what caused the first hole (weak yarn point? wear? moth?), but I darned it. A week later I found that a stitch had slipped loose and was slowly unraveling itself down the sock. I tried darning it again. Another break. I figured a two-darn limit was good enough and tossed them.


  1. I really like the look of that heel, it looks really sturdy. I hope the socks end up exactly like you want them!

    1. Thanks. I really like the heel too but I have to plan the rest of the sock better so it accommodates the shortened heel. Problem is that I'm still fairly new at toe-up socks and I'm still figuring out where I should start any heel in the first place :)