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Colorwork Socks Unpooled

Sock 3 (L) and Sock 2 (R)

Sock 3 (L) and Sock 2 (R)

Here’s that ugly sock again.  Now I have spent years diddling with handpaints in an attempt to really love them ONCE they were actually knitted.  I have tried many things and have finally decided that I only like them if I use some form of slip st in the pattern.  This slip st breaks the rhythm in the yarn and helps avoid pooling.  It also mixes the colors more on the next row, which I like.    I don’t like just giving total control of the color to the dyer.  After all, I am a knitting anarchist.  Thank you, Anna Zilboorg.

So why didn’t it work in these socks.  It’s the heel.  No, really it’s the gusset.  If you change the number of stitches you are knitting in a round drastically, like from 64 to 80, it totally changes how the yarn stacks.  And if you are a tad unlucky–or didn’t swatch the st numbers (me, me, right here, me), you get pooling.

Standard heel and gusset sock 2

Standard heel and gusset sock 2

My problem was that if I increase the rounds so that I could actually knit a gusset which would allow me to actually put the sock onto my foot and wear it, I was going to get an ugly place.

Yes, I could have used two balls of yarn and knit one round with each.  I only want to use two balls of yarn at one time for fair isle which is a much more sensible way to control combining colors.  I did not even deliberate that optional.

Yes, I could have knit an afterthought heel.  But that heel never fits me right.  And I don’t trust it to hold up.  And basically I just am biased against it.  So there.

So I went to my favorite sock reference–Nancy Bush, Folk Socks, Interweave Press.  There is more knowledge per page in that book than any until perhaps the Bordhi stuff.  In Folk Socks I found the Band Heel.

Band Heel turning and bottom

Band Heel turning and bottom

It does not have a gusset.

Band Heel has no gusset

Band Heel has no gusset

I do knit a heel flap on only 32 sts, but 32 sts do not pool.  The secret is that I never knit a round of more than 64 sts therefore—-Sock 3 is perfect for me.  I love the technique I use to knit a firm lattice st and the heel is pretty and the colors blend beautifully as Miss Babs always intended.

Caveat:  When and where a yarn pools its colors is determined  by the length of the colors and the number and style of the st pattern.  This is another reason to swatch.  I knew that.  I wish at least I would listen to me.


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