Yep, that sock was knitted top-down. Sneaky of me, no? Here’s a transcript of my telephone conversation with L-B last week when I told her about it:
Me: I’m knitting a sock top-down.
L-B: What??!! You need to warn me before making a shocking statement like that!
Me: I was thinking: why can’t I reverse my slip-stitch heel from my toe-up sock to make it work top down? I’d do the gusset increases while working the slipstitch heel, then short rows to turn the heel, then decrease the gusset stitches, and work the foot. That way I can do a top-down sock without counting heel flap rows or having to pick up stitches along the sides of the flap.
L-B: I like picking up the stitches along the heel flap.
Me: I don’t like having to keep count. When I’m on the train, I like my knitting to be automatic and not have to think.
L-B: So, in other words, you are going to all this work because you are lazy.
Me: Yeah, pretty much.
There it is. L-B pretty much nailed it. I figured out this heel because I am lazy.
To recap, what I did was to cast on (over a needle 2 sizes larger than my working needle), knit a ribbed cuff and stockinette leg. I started the slipstitch heel and gusset increases while still working in the round. Then I worked only on the heel stitches to short-row a “heel cup,” and then worked short rows back and forth only on the heel and gusset stitches to decrease the gusset stitches back down to my original number. Then I worked in the round to the toe. For the toe I did 4 decreases every other row until I had 12 stitches, then grafted the toe shut. Ta-da! A sock.
I tricked many of you who entered the contest by knitting top down, because I am always bleating about how I hate knitting socks top down. I also tricked a number of you because my photo really didn’t show the toe too clearly — you really couldn’t tell that it was grafted. So I didn’t take any points off for people who got the toe construction wrong.
(Incidentally, if you can figure out how to get from my blog to my flickr page of this sock, you can view a huge version of the photo.)
A number of you got it right. And a lot of you guessed other creative ways of constructing the sock. You people are smart! So I picked a winner at random from those of you who figured it out. The winner is:
Alexis D! Alexis has been emailed, and the skein of Wollmeise will soon be wending its way to her.
Thanks to everyone who submitted a guess. A number of you suggested heel constructions by names that I’d never heard of, so this was an interesting exercise for me.
Anyhow, I wrote up the pattern and here it is, in pdf format:
The pattern is also posted on my free patterns page (link in the sidebar).
L-B suggested the name. I was gonna call it the Top-Down-No-Pick-Up-Stitches-Along-the-Heel-Flap-Gusseted-Slip-Stitch-Heel Sock, but that seemed a bit much. Because the prototype was knit from Tempted yarn, and the temptation was strong enough for me to briefly abandon my toe-up only status, the name seems fitting.
Note that the pattern is written in two sizes, medium and large, and in the pattern I am starting with either 66 or 74 stitches. For the sock I knit, I started with 64 stitches so I could do a k2 p2 ribbing around, then I increased a stitch in the heel stitches before I started the heel.
Also note that I wrote this pattern up from my scribbles as I worked the sock. It really hasn’t been thoroughly tested yet, so proceed at your own risk. I am currently knitting the second sock, so I’ll be able to test my pattern as I knit to make sure there are no errors. If you find one, feel free to let me know.
I make no claims to having invented this heel, but I did figure it out myself by doing it. That doesn’t mean that someone else didn’t figure it out before me. I have just never seen it.
Will I start to knit all my socks top-down? Heavens, no. But it is nice to have options. If I see a cool top-down pattern I want to make, and the pattern doesn’t lend itself to being turned upside down and knit from the toe-up, I will likely be able to adapt it to fit this pattern.
I started another project.
And Lucy is back on the job!