Thursday, February 26, 2015

The things you do for love, and the birdfoot heel



I decided to use up the leftovers in a couple pairs of socks.  These are always the socks that I experiment with, and some of my best, and worst, ideas have been tried out in leftovers.

My socks are knit in the round, on a superba double bed.  Recently, I was using my CSM in the comfy company of several CSM people, and I took a few minutes to expound on why I like the double bed knitting machine for socks more ;than the CSM.  It all comes down to flexiblilty.  I can have more or less stitches whenever I want.  It made me think.

I want to make socks that have more room around the heel and the arch of my foot- where things get stretched out the most when I wear my socks.  I mean, I want there to be more stitches around the sock in that area,
I also wanted to try out a couple of modifications to the short-row heel.  I wanted the heel to actually use MORE THAN HALF of the stitches.  I think I have figured out how to do that.  I also wanted to use a short-row that put all the needles back into work at one time, instead of one at a time.  Okay, then.

I managed to get these experiments into the socks, and I am pretty satisfied.

I started out by knitting 3 x 2 rib over 72 stitches- so 90 actual stitches in the ribbing- .  (see my recent blog entry for all the details on this. )
Then, I set up the rest of the sock in the round, 36 stitches on each bed.  I knit 4 rounds and increased 1 stitch on each side on both beds, by moving out the outer 2 stitches by one needle, and filling the empty needle with a crossbar from the row below.  Then I **knit 8 rounds, increased 4 stitches** two times.
Now I had a total of 84 stitches, 42 on each bed.  I knit 8 more rows after the last increase row.
Here's a graphic represention of the stitches that I added and, after the heel was complete, subtracted.

Now for the heel- I wanted a heel that used a total of 48 stitches, so I would be shortrowing the 42 needles on the back bed, along with 3 needles on both ends of the front bed.
Here's how that works.  With carriage on right, set up your carriages to knit the back bed, but pass the front bed.
Before you knit across the back bed on the first row of the heel, I handknit the three rightmost stitches on the front bed, wrap the yarn in the hook of the next stitch, then handknit the three rightmost stitches again to get back to the edge.  Now, I knit the back bed- moving the carriages to the left side, where I hand knit the 3 leftmost sttiches on the front bed, wrap in the hook of the next needle, and handknit back to the end.  For the next two rows, I handknit 2 stitches,wrap, handknit back, on both ends, and for the net two rows, that's right! handknit i stitch, wrap, handknit back on both ends.
Now, carriages on right- wrap the yarn in the hook of that rightmost needle on the front bed, and set my back carriage to hold position.  On the first row, pull the end needles on both the left and right ends.  On each row, pull both the right and left next needles into hold position until there are 12 stitches left in the middle, and the carriage is on the right.  (You have knit 12 rows of the heel).  
For the next row,  on the left side, I put all but the end needle back in work position, and knit to the right.
For the next row, on the left, pull  the next (2nd) needle into hold position, and on the right, I put all the needles except the end needle back in work position and knit across.
Now, the carriage is on the right, and I pulled the end needles to hold position on both ends every row until there are 12 or 13  (I forget, lol- something close to that) needles left and carriage is back on left.  I put all the right side needles back in work position and knit to the right.
I set up the carriages for circular knitting.   I make sure that the carriages are no longer set for hold position.  I put the needles that are still in hold position on the left side of the back bed back into regular working position.  I used a transfer tool to put the stitches back in the hooks, and the hooks lined up in regular working position, ready for the carriage.
I knit the first circular row- first right to left across the front bed, then left to right across the back bed.
I was now done with this heel.
This stripe really allows you to see how the heel is done.  By the way- this short row heel is very smooth on the inside- no ridge.  And no holes.

Now,  it was time to reduce the number of stitches, so I knit 4 rounds  and decreased by moving the outer two stitches in one needle, doubling up the 2nd and 3rd stitches from the ends, on both beds and both sides.  **Knit 8 rounds and repeat the decrease**  until back to a total of 36 stitches on each bed.
Then I completed the sock, making the toe by shortrowing on the back bed only on 36 stitches down to 12, and back up, using a self wrap on the on the way down, and 1 up, 2 down on the way back to 36 stitches.

So, how do I like them?  Well, the fit is exactly what I was after.  My socks, going forward, will have a wide load section.  My feet will be happy for it.
As for the birdfoot heel, I like how smooth it is.  Also, since the fussier part, for me, of knitting the heel is putting the stitches back into work, this heel simplifies that part.  I find I do not need to move around the weights as often as with a conventional shortrow up and shortrow down heel.  The birdfoot heel using more that 50% of the stitches, has the effect of moving the pivot point for the heel higher up the ankle, and more forward.  This, combined with the additional stitches, means that the front of the sock over the arch doesn't need to stretch quite as much.  Now for some wear testing.

3 comments:

Yvette Chilcott said...

Very interesting! I love making socks on the knitting machine, and have a passap duo80 coming into my life this spring.

sharonwue said...

You can do everything I do, in sock making, on a passap. I have a 6000, and had a Duo 80. The difference, using my instructions, is that there is no 'holding position' on the 6000. You do the back bed part of the heel using pushers. Did I mention I love Passaps? Almost as much as I love superbas. Good luck Yvette.

sharonwue said...

Oops! I should have said: you do the heel and toe on the FRONT bed, using pushers, when you use a passap.