Thursday, May 24, 2012

The sun burnt away the haar fairly early on Tuesday. Yesterday was sun-all-day, and it looks as if today will be the same. Three days of summer, and one is prostrate.

Our 10-year-old car sailed through its MOT test yesterday. Our practice throughout life has been to buy a car new and run it into the ground. “The ground” has usually, if not always, been hit during the annual MOT test. As I remember New Jersey in my distant youth, all a car had to do was start, have lights that went on and off, and brakes that would stop it. The British MOT is more demanding, and my memory is that most if not all of our cars have perished not from mechanical faults but because the floor was rusted through. The motor industry seems to have solved that one. It’s a Skoda Fabia.

On one car we had a Ziebart life-time-guaranteed rust-proof treatment done when the car was new. Ziebart went bankrupt before the car expired from rust. What does one conclude?

I thought I had cracked the dining-room-ceiling problem on Monday and Tuesday. On the latter day, I spoke both to our broker and to the insurance company themselves, both prostrate with apologies for the delay. Since then, silence. There are two firms in the chain of command between the insurance company and the actual ceiling-knockers-down. Should I now phone one of them? Or what? I’m tired.

So the thing is to turn to knitting.

By the time I had frogged my first attempt at (what I shall now call) the Strong-Fleegle heel, and recovered the stitches, and unsplit and reseated them where necessary, I decided I might as well just go ahead and knit it again. The yarn and the needles for Alexander’s socks are now in the knitting bag. I can always cast on in the waiting room.

All went smoothly with the heel turn:

This is certainly one that will go into the repertoire. Probably the one I will use on the next socks I knit for my husband, who has been grumbling about too abrupt a right-turn for the heel. It is also very satisfactory, in the large and jumbled list I now have of sock-techniques-to-try, to reduce two to one. I am very inclined to believe (as we agreed recently must have been the case with IK’s and VK’s very similar sweaters with twisted fronts) …to believe that Strong and Fleegle came up with the idea independently of each other.

I think the two major remaining mountains-to-climb on that sock list, are Candace Strick’s revolutionary technique, and the Andersson heel. I’ve just re-read the latter, and I think it may be a modification of Strong-Fleegle, not very clearly expressed. Both Candace and Andersson are toe-up, oh dear, but maybe that’s just as well because I am eager to try Suzanne’s utterly easy-sounding cast-on (comment Friday, May 18), and eager to master Judy’s Magic cast-on.

Here’s a question for you: when you are turning a heel, how do you slip the first stitch on the right-side rows? On the purl rows, clearly, you slip purlwise with the yarn in front. If I were knitting a complete row, I would do the same on a knit row, and then pass the yarn between the needles. But is that right for a heel?


  1. Anonymous9:10 AM

    I always slip the first stitch of a knit row knitwise with the yarn at the back of work (or slightly tugged out to the right, to be completely accurate) on a sock heel. It works well and doesn't add any bulk. S x

  2. Likewise I always slip the stitches as the rows are : knitwise at the start of a knit row and purlwise for a purl row. No special manouevres with the yarn. It seems to look good by my fairly moderate standards.

    By the way, encouraged by something you said, I have just tried a Dutch Heel, and find it is just right for my feet. Thanks!

  3. Things got a bit more stringent in NJ, but this brought to mind something I had forgotten. One year our car (we always had old beaters) failed inspection. My mother waited a few days and had my cute 18 year old self take it in. It passed with flying colors. I learned something about life and my mother...

  4. Barbara M. In NH1:09 PM

    when we were poor graduate students, living in New York, the annual car inspections were done by local gas stations. If your car had a problem, you had the option of having it fixed there or going to another gas station and returning for another inspection afterwards. Of course, it was much easier to take option number one, but we always wondered if a different service station would have agreed that there was a problem. In the four years we were there, we had to have our headlights re-aligned four times! As far as I know, that particular repair has not been necessary in the 40years since, on cars tested in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa , New Jersey or New Hampshire! quote a coincidence, don't you agree?

  5. Ruth in Ottawa2:06 PM

    I too slip the first stitch knitwise on the knit rows of my heel flaps (subsequent slips on that row are done purlwise). This gives a twisted stitch on the side of the flap which seems to yield a tighter, neater pickup of the stitches for the foot.

  6. Anonymous4:12 PM

    I'm in the minority - I slip my heel stitches purlwise regardless of side. Yarn kept on the wrong side.

    Inspections in NJ got much tighter after you left, but have now been loosened again. Now it is every 2 years, with new vehicles (off the assembly line) being given a pass for the first five years. And now the inspection is just for air pollution, not for brakes or anything like that. It is easy but does give me some worries about the maintenance of other vehicles on the road.

    Good luck with the Ceiling people today & tomorrow. One would like to see some progress made before the weekend.

    Beverly in NJ

  7. I should probably warn you that my toe-up cast-on doesn't create a seamless toe. It's never bothered me, but diabetic feet may really notice. When I knit for my mother-in-law (diabetic and in her 60s), I use a short row toe or go top down so I can graft.

    If anyone really wants pictures, I'd be glad to take a series and post them. (Jean, I didn't think you'd need them. You have a clever visual brain when it comes to knitting!)

  8. =Tamar9:53 PM

    I believe the rule is, always slip purlwise unless clearly specified otherwise for a known reason.

  9. =Tamar9:54 PM

    When I lived in NJ, a great deal depended on which lane you were in for the inspection. Headlights were especially subject to lane-variance; once the repairman told me, go back in half an hour and be sure to take a different lane. It worked.

  10. Anonymous10:44 PM

    When slipping for my heel turns, I used to do k-wise on the right side and p-wise for the wrong. Now, I've begun to just do p-wise. For the heel flap edges, I always slip the last stitch p-wise, yarn in front. When I knit it on the return row, it makes a twisted chain edge that is snugger and easier to work with. Joe-in Wyoming

  11. Like Beverly I slip purlwise, with the yarn always on the wrong side.
    Your fleegle heel looks wonderful. And I love that colour zauberball. I knit a shawl with it, which I love.

  12. I took a class with Cat Bordhi recently and I can highly recommend her sweet tomato heel. I like it best of all the heels I've tried so far. The heel is made up of wedges like a tomato and can be customized to the recipient. It is also very easy to memorize and much less fiddly than other heels. Her star toe beginning is also very easy - I've started 6 socks just so I can do the star toe!