Sunday, March 06, 2011

Evil Genius Evolves: The Heel

What makes the Evil Genius pattern "mine?"

The general plan came from Widdershins, the toe from Queen Kahuna, the gussets from New Pathways, and the overall fit from Stitch Stud. I just put it all together and stirred in a bit of personality. But I also added stitch markers in the middle of the heel, marking the place in your short rows where you stop, make one, knit one, then wrap and turn. That's it. That's my only real claim to "genius."

And I'm about to throw it away for something better. And easier.

It's the wraps. Everyone hates them, but they seem to be a necessary evil: something needs to be done to close the holes left by the short rows. And then it hit me: what if I used the make one to close the gap?

It's so simple! Instead of adding stitches near the end of each short row, just work short rows and skip the wrapping. In your transition round, where you normally work the wraps together with the wrapped stitch, just pick up a new stitch in the gap.

Before and after shots:

Short rows, no wraps Gaps closed after transition round

The first time I tried it, I couldn't believe it. It was beautiful, smooth, easy, and nearly flawless. I say "nearly" because, as you can see in the picture above right (embiggen), a little hole tends to form at the right-side edge of the heel. It's not unexpected -- a similar hole is a hazard in every sock pattern I've ever encountered -- but I've yet to find an elegant, non-fussy method for avoiding or eliminating it. Any suggestions?

Shoulders of Giants
In my previous post on gussets, I mentioned the role Ted Myatt played in getting me to think about gusset placement and fit. I have to credit Stephen Houghton for pointing me in that direction (as well as so many other fruitful directions). This latest epiphany about the heel was inspired by Tallguy. He patiently explained his ideas to me in email, but it took me nearly 4 years to really get it. Thanks, guys, you are the real geniuses; I'm just an appreciative fan.


Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

that's a similar short-row concept to many no-wrap short row heels. I generally like those methods of short-rowing, although i'm experimenting with using techknitter's nearly invisible increase as part of short rows.

yarmando said...

We're thinking along the same lines, CCK. I'm pondering whether TechKnitter's nearly invisible increase (the same as KRL or Bordhi's LaRinc) might work better than the lifted bar increase I've been doing.

jamy said...

I wonder if you could just do a YO in the gap and knit it through the back loop in the next round? If there's one thing I hate more than wraps it's lifted increases!

As to the hole on the right side, have you seen this?

yarmando said...


A yarnover at the gap won't close the gap. It will just let you make a stitch over the top, leaving a nice hole.

I use Fleegle's instructions for alleviating a hole at the top of the heel flap; they work great. My struggle here is a tiny hole at the bottom.

jamy said...

Fair enough! (I use the YO method to make the increases in your sock pattern, with the wraps, and they don't leave gaps, but maybe they would if I used that increase method later on...I haven't tried yet.) It's funny how sometimes that hole appears and sometimes it doesn't....