I promised a discussion of the toe up heel class taught by Chrissy Gardiner last week at The Yarnery. I finally managed to finish the last heel stump (sounds gory, but no socks were harmed in the writing of this post) so here it is.
The class is based on Chrissy’s book, Toe Up! This is a solid book that describes a number of techniques for toe up heels and toes with a little binding off and casting on thrown in. Perhaps not the Rosetta stone of sock techniques, but more than adequate, and Chrissy is a pleasant teacher who throws in lots of extra bits of advice won from lots of sock knitting experience. I’m pretty sure I didn’t need the class to learn what it taught – it’s all there in the book – but I did need the class to make me do the exercise of knitting 3 different stumps and learning the stuff. The idea is you will try on your stumps and pick the fit you like the best, but honestly, the worsted weight yarn made the fit weird, so I don’t quite buy that.
Chrissy’s short row heel is a bit different from standard ones – she wraps in the opposite direction and picks up the wraps with a twist. I think it helps eliminate holes. That said, still not a fan of short row heels – look at how they distort the tube of the sock. To me that says poor fit in the ankles. (Maybe there is something to this heel stump fitting, after all.)
The afterthought heel is just as usual. I’m glad the class forced me to knit one – it does fit my pointy heel pretty darn well, but I’m afraid I find it fiddly and why would you actually ask for two more ends to weave in?
Finally we have the hybrid – a blend of short row to turn the heel and then a gusset. I do love me a gusset. This one is worth experimenting with in sock yarn, I think, especially as we ran out of time and so short-changed our gusset length. But look at the tube of knitting at the ankle – near horizontal! A couple more gusset increases and I bet we would have been there.
Two biggies that I take away from the class – first, a better understanding of how to calculate when to start short row heels and/or gussets (Chrissy’s book has nice worksheets that lay out the calculation). And second, a super-easy stretchy bind off. You throw a yarnover in between stitches and pass it over the new stitch along with the previous one. It makes a nice little braid along the edge and is very stretchy indeed. Not as slick as a tubular bind off, but way faster. I used the bind off on the collar of the Onesy Twosy which has already been delivered to its target baby.
I hope you get some good knitting time in on all of your travel this week. I know you’ll be writing that speech in your head as you knit, so I’m not worried about that at all.