Saturday, March 27, 2010

Little Gussets

Big Difference!

Some times when sock knitters who are familiar with the “standard” gusset of a Flap/Turned/Gusseted (f/t/g) heels hear about my little gussets for after thought heels—they are confused.

Gussets, or at least sock gussets, to them have a singular meaning.
Fact is-- gussets are common to both knitting and sewing—and come in all sorts of sizes and shapes (and generally function to create ease)

MOST gussets are triangular in shape—but sometimes gussets are paired to make diamond shapes (most frequently in the under arm)—and even simple triangles shapes can be paired.

I liken my little gussets to a jodhpur shape—a bit of extra ease that looks silly or strange when seen like this.

But that does wonders for the fit and feel of the heel and instep!

They are simple enough to make—about 1 inch before heel placement, INCREASE- 1 stitch, each ‘side seam’, (2 total) every other row.

10 rows or so later, you’ll have added 10 stitches to the width of the sock.
If you are working at a pretty standard gauge of 8 stitches to the inch—10 stitches are 1.25 inches of added ease--about 15%!

Most often I add this ease in the instep—and make the heel with ½ of the total stitches minus the gusset (that is, 30 stitches for heel – ½ of the basic 60—even if at the point when I make the heel, I momentarily have 70 (10 extra gussets stitches) for the sock.

I like these little gussets, too, because the increases number of stitches only slightly interferes with the self striping pattern—and one of the reasons I go with afterthought (vs. F/T/G heels) is to maintain the stripe pattern.

These socks—what with the cable design on the front (at the ‘side seams’) have the gusset on the back (heel) side of the work—working the gussets on the back changes things—(the shape more than the fit) too.

So the 10 extra stitches will go into the heel. What kind of difference will that make to the heel?

Well do the math! An average 60 stitch sock (and this sock is slightly larger, 64 stitches) Plus 10 extra stitches means the heel gets worked (in the round with
30 (plus 10 on back of heel) and 30 (plus 10) on sole of heel—or 40 plus 40—80 stitches in the heel! That’s almost a 30% increase! If the heel is worked, shaping it similar to a French or flat toe (as I most often do) –the 20 extra stitches means 10 extra rounds--If I decrease 4 stitches –every other round.
10 rounds? A 3.5 inch heel –not a 2.5 inch heel. An extra inch of heel!
A heel that is bigger to start, longer in the end, and still has a ‘flat’ grafted bottom (of about 8 to 10 stitches)-- If you prefer short row heels, the gussets work about the same--more stitches to start--result in a wider and deeper short row heel.

Lots of sock knitters don’t like after thought heels (to shallow, to snug) but these little gussets—blips!--make a huge difference.

Since I took the photo’s (early this AM) I have knit another inch on the socks—(I am at work today--and knit the inch on my AM commute. Chance are, I’ll get a few rounds done at work—and more done on the way home, this PM.
These socks are racing to completion!

1 comment:

Robin said...

What are the metal pcs above your needle? At first I thought they were stitch holders for the insteps, but if you are doing afterthought heels you are still knitting in the round correct? So do you use stitch holders instead of waste yarn for your afterthought heels?