Sunday, August 20, 2006


Those of you monitoring me in this race are aware that I did abandon a single sock very early on. It was my feather and fan sock in Claudia's Olive Navy. I really wasn't happy with the way it turned out and wasn't willing to waste a skein on the match just for the sake of finishing a pair of socks that I hated.

Instead, I opted to finish one other sock in Claudia. To make things interesting, I decided to try the Widdershins pattern from Knitty. It's a toe-up sock that has nearly all the makings of a traditional sock (except the Kitchener stitch). You start with a magic cast-on, increase to full foot diameter and then knit until three inches before the heel. Then you do increases for the gussets, the heel is done, and you wind up with a beautiful heel flap that's way more sturdy than the short row heel I was previously in love with. See?

Yes, I now it's hard to see, but for the schooled sock eye, you can see the heel stitches running almost perpendicular to the stripes on the foot. This is Claudia's "Black Walnut" colorway and I love the patterns as much as I love this pattern. Now I just have to knit until I have just enough yarn to cast off and I'll be done.

Why I love this pattern:

1. The toe is nice and mitered. Ordinarily I cut myself short doing short-row toes with the crochet cast on because they are time consuming. The result is a stocky toe that doesn't taper as much as I'd like. On a similar note, the fact that there are no stitch pick-ups necessary to avoid holes makes it even better.

2. No holes at the gusset area. Just as there are no holes at the end of the shrt-row toe, there aren't any at the gussets, either. The invisible increase gusset absolutely rocks, and it flows beautifully into the heel flap. No pick-ups necessary along the slipped stitches.

3. Sturdy heel. Traditional heel flap. Enough said.

4. Well-written pattern. Brooke Chenoweth did a great job with this. I found no problems or struggles at all.

5. I still don't have to worry about running out of yarn. This is my No. 1 problem with the traditional sock. I detest not knowing how long I can make the leg without risking a severe yarn shortage. Yes, I know that if I know just how far I can take a skein of yarn from experience that's different, but what about when I've started a new sock with a brand-new yarn? Then I need to make an anklet only to find I have enough left for a partial foot. This way, I'm good.

I know that everyone has their own particular preferred means of knitting socks, but anyone who has tried a short-row toe/heel pattern and hated it ought to try this pattern.

Eleven days left this month and I'm chugging along. Today, I take the boys to my aunt's farm for four days and my knitting time should increase at least a little bit for the next few evenings. I'll be chugging along on the leg for the lone Widdershin (the mate will be cast on Sept. 1) and the Hemp Ponchette. I'll do as much as I can on the Sheep Shawl as well (I did a few more rows last night, but like the ponchette, progress is hard to see).


janine said...

I shall have to try that pattern, I am a toe up convert, but I do like the fit of a gesset heel :-)

Wendy said...

Maybe when I'm allowed to cast on again, I'll try that pattern . . .