Friday, July 10, 2009

Arch-Villain Knit-Along: Gusset and Heel

All right, I've put this off for as long as I can. You've indulged me enough, and I thank you for your patience.

The thing is, I'm still not sure what the best heel for these socks should be. For my experiments, I've been using an Evil Genius heel, but I've been thinking that Fleegle's heel would generally work much better.

Regardless of what heel you pick, the process is the same:
  • Calculate your rounds/rows-per-inch, and multiply that by the length of your foot to get total number of rows.
  • Figure out how many rounds/rows your gusset and heel require.
  • Subtract gusset & heel rounds from the total. You now know how long to knit before starting the gusset section.
When you're ready for the gussets, stop decreasing, but keep working the increases, like this:
    Right side: Work to marker, k1, M1L, work to center top.
    Left side: work to 1 st before marker, M1R, work to center bottom.
Continue until gussets are complete and you're ready to make the heel.

Fleegle Option

For the Fleegle heel, your gussets equal 2 less than the circumference of your sock ÷ 2. For example...
  • (60 ÷ 2) - 2 = 28
  • (64 ÷ 2) - 2 = 30
  • (68 ÷ 2) - 2 = 32
  • (72 ÷ 2) - 2 = 34
My prototype sock is 68 stitches. I'm getting 12 rounds-per-inch, and at a target length of 9.5 inches, I'm shooting for 114 rows for this sock. For the Fleegle option, my gusset and heel section is 32 rounds, so my sock will be 82 rounds before beginning gusset shaping. On round 83, I'll stop decreasing and continue with my increases every other round until my sock is 100 sts in circumference. Then I knit the heel (my instructions are here in the "Turning the Heel" section).

Here's What I Did Instead.

For a 68 st sock, the Evil Genius formula calls for 12 gusset increases on each side. Since I'm increasing on alternate rounds, that's 24 rounds. The formula adds 10 short rows to turn the heel. So my gusset and heel section is 34 rows, and I should knit 80 rounds before starting the gussets.

However, on round 71, my decrease lines and increase lines bumped into each other. I meant to do that. It happened sooner than I'd hoped, but it wasn't a problem. I just started my gussets a few rounds early, and knit 8 rounds plain before turning the heel. (As kippahandcollar said, it's probably better to knit a few rounds plain after the toe before starting the arches. My lines wouldn't have bumped into each other so early).

I turned the heel on 20 stitches for the heel base. That's why I placed my decreases 10 stitches out on either side of the center bottom: so that they would slide into the increase lines, which would then line up with the heel. The experiment wasn't completely successful, but the socks aren't an utter failure.

A couple rounds plain, 6 or 7 inches of ribbing, a loose bind-off, and we're done.

What Do You Think?

Gussets on these are very different from the cuff-down versions of arch-shaped socks. Do you think the socks could be improved by placing them somewhere else? Maybe they would hug the heel better if they followed Cat Bordhi's "Riverbed" architecture, coming out from the bottom of the foot to surround the heel?