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Old 04-30-2007, 09:45 AM   #1
Working the Gusset
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New sock heel construction idea. Advice please?Will it work?
Well I started another sock for my old pop whose feet get terribly cold and has no adequate socks (they're baggy round the ankle, he has not just skinny ankles but actual Nicole Richie ankles on a good-sized man, I'm talking foot 25 cm around ankle 21 cm, socks' legs too short, cuff cuts into his calf, not warm at all... what's a self-respecting knitter to do besides BUY 20 BALLS OF GORGEOUS SOFT CUSHY PURE MERINO and knit him some. True love guys, when you knit someone so many socks that you no longer count the pairs but measure them by the kilo, he will soon receive about 1.2 kilos of socks since he raved about the first pair.).

I decided to make these ones cuff down, did an amazing thick cushy heel flap, turned it, picked up, did the gusset decreases, and a few inches later, tried it on. The thick heel flap went on the back of heel, the sole had no reinforcement. I tried the sock on the other way, with heel flap on sole (cast-on cuff end hanging off my toe) and it fits just as well. I want to unravel 35 cm of sock and do one in the same order but start off with the toe.
My question is why are heel flaps always done so that the flap ends up on the back of the heel? Presumably there's a reason and it's impractical for some reason? Yet I can't see why, in fact trying it on upside down put the reinforced heel flap under the heel where it will get the most wear right? Can someone tell me why the heel flap is never put under the heel?

If it's because the highest point of wear is on the back of the heel after all because of rubbing against the back of the shoe it won't matter, these will be bed socks/house socks, so my plan will be a vast improvement.
But if there's a good reason that hasn't occurred to me... I may need to rethink.

By the way, I love the flap, I did it like this: every wrong side row slip one, purl across. 1st row (RS) slip one pwise, *slip one knitwise, knit one* knit one, 3rd row slip 1 purlwise *k1, slip 1 kwise* knit one. A 4-row repeat. Basically an eye of partridge I think with kwise slips replacing most of the pwise ones? Ingrid, I take back what I said the other day about slipping sock stitches pwise, I think this way rocks. I got such a thick heel! Recommend it to anyone.

Any ideas on pros and cons of doing it the way I propose, or the reason it's never done this way?

Thanks heaps!
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:55 AM   #2
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Well first of all, you are a true sweetheart to knit all those socks for your pop (dad or granddad?)

Secondly, there are no rules when knitting something yourself (or someone you love). So I say if you like it, go for it.

Thirdly, I've always assumed that the heel flap was where it was because most socks go inside shoes, and the heel gets a lot of wear and tear against the back of the shoe. BUT, if you're making bed socks that will not be going into shoes, the sturdiest part should be the sole... so you sound like you're right on target!

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Old 04-30-2007, 10:17 AM   #3
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God I love the Internet! Post a sock technique question at 2 am, make myself a drink, check again before I go to bed hoping that a sock goddess like, I don't know... Silver... has answered in the last 4 minutes and hot damn! there you are! (seriously I thought 'I hope Silver sees this and can advise'!)
Granddad... yes he's lucky I am an angel. He deserves it though... you know how you love some of your relatives because they are related? Not him he is really good value (was telling me a couple of months ago about the day the Nazis invaded and occupied his town! And how he thinks having polio may have contributed to his skinny skinny legs). There are not that many people who deserve enough handknitted merino socks to never have to buy a pair but he definitely does.

Thank you Silver and my pop will thank you too.
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:30 PM   #4
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Hi Sarah-

The toe-up with "heel flap" method has been done before, and you can find instructions in Sensational Knitted Socks if you want. In these instructions the reinforced (ie s1, k1 pattern) section is still on the back of the heel, but there would be no reason you couldn't switch it. The one caution I would have is that it will feel different that regular stockinette as it isstepped on, which may or may not be an issue for your grandpa. Although it won't do anything for the think and cushy aspect, you could always use a reinforcing thread when knitting the heel-bottom flap. (reinforcing thread is a thin merino/nylon blend that can help slow wear)

Good luck!

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Old 04-30-2007, 05:56 PM   #5
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Thanks I have seen toe-ups with flaps before (live in NZ and don't see books like that very often unfortunately... lots of knitting books from Amazon one day!). Like Knitty's Widdershins. But I've never seen a flap heel put on the sole rather than leg before. Rather than switch it with a pattern like that one, I think I'll do the toe, then foot, and do the heel just like in a top-down sock. It's not the direction (top-down or bottom-up) that bothers me, but the flap being at the back.
I'm doing them with 16 st/10cm wool, when I got to the heel I switched to bright orange (so he can see the toes and heels more easily) and added some other sock wool: not sure whether it had any synthetic in it like many sock wools or was 100% merino/wool, but it would have tightened up gauge a bit. Plus it matched - a hideous variegated pink/yellow/orange that I'm not sure I'll use up otherwise! It gave a cool effect on the eye of partridge heel. But I think I will use two strands of it next time along with the thicker merino... and same for the toe. Thanks for mentioning the texture issue - I may have to send him just one pair like this and ask whether he'd like the same style in all the rest.
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