Saturday, November 27, 2010

Afterthought heel/kitchener stitch

After reading around on the web, the heel made by using a waste yarn 'zipper' like I described a few posts ago is still called an afterthought heel. I don't think it should be called that, because it wasn't done as an afterthought, it was planned. Maybe they should change the name to forethought for the planned one and keep afterthought for the one where you go back and cut your yarn to unzip the live stitches (called steeking).

Personally, I think one should use the waste yarn zipper, it's much easier and doesn't require counting stitches/rows to get it right on both socks, you know exactly where it's at because you can see the contrast color waste yarn and don't have to worry about accidentally ruining a perfectly good pair of socks.

While I'm at it, why are so many knitters scared stiff of the kitchener stitch? To me, it's practically mindless. My mantra is K, P, P, K-which means slip the yarn needle through the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit, slip the stitch off the needle, slip the yarn needle through the next stitch on the front needle as if to purl and leave it on the needle, slip the yarn needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl and slip that stitch off the needle, slip the the yarn through the next stitch on the back needle as if to knit and leave that stitch on the needle, lather, rinse, repeat until all stitches are worked off the needles. What this does is weave the stitches off the needles with an invisible seam that looks like it's been knitted, nothing to it and nothing to be frightened of.

Now, before anyone starts whining "But you've probably been doing this all your life!", let me explain. Yes, I've been knitting since I was about nine, which is a little longer than forty years ago now. But I didn't try knitting in the round until after I was much, much older. And socks are a recent attempt as well, in my knitting life, anyway. My first pair turned out rather well because I followed the pattern to the letter and the first time I tried weaving the toe off, I was a bit nervous because I'd read that kitchener stitch was difficult. When I got to that part and carefully read the instructions and started, I just had to wonder "Who are these people who said this was difficult?"

So, while I've been knitting off and on for practically all my life, I was a fairly older woman before I tried kitchener stitch and I found it no harder to do than learning how to knit in the round with double pointed needles (which is also not as difficult to learn). If you think of it the way I finally did, you'll find it's not so hard either-you may have four separate needles in your work and one spare, but you'll still only be working with two of them at a time and the rest just sit there and wait their turn. The hardest part is casting on and joining, then after the first round, the rest is a piece of cake. So, just have some chocolate handy to munch on until you get to the piece of cake part and you'll do just fine. Of course, if you really want to get into something that'll blow your mind, get into knitting an entire pair of socks on dpns-using the doubleknitting method-but only if you're really adventurous, because that is a project that will have you using words that got your mouth washed out with soap when you were a kid (if you have parents like mine-who favored the backhanded approach-literally). TTFN.

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