Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Pushmi-Pullyu

To amuse myself last weekend whilst languishing at home suffering from a nasty bug, I cast on for Double Heelix socks by Jeny Staiman, and proceeded to knit... knit... zzzzz. Happy but slow progress ensued.

Double Heelix singleton

The meticulously written pattern made perfect sense, even in my bleary state, and the designer's video tutorial was very helpful working the double helix heel. Although I own a ridiculous number of yarn bobbins, I couldn't find any, so I used mini clothespins to tame the four ends of the apocalypse yarn.

Double Heelix in progress

There's a lot of needles in play because I couldn't bring myself to provisionally bind off per the pattern.

The heel initially made me think of festive peppermints and spiral cookies, but delirious run-on thoughts about Heelix the Cat in the Hat kept intruding. Also nautical and Where's Waldo? musings. That was unexpected, although perhaps it shouldn't have been – theWaldo waving construction technique possesses a certain jaunty Seussian magic.

The double helix heel is very firm and small – significantly smaller than a standard short-row heel or an afterthought heel – so potentially a problematic fit on my Frankenfeet. As written the finished sock would be too tight at the heel and too baggy at the ankle for me. I used stebo79's brilliant modification: added a vestigial heel flap to the top of the heel, then provisionally cast on for a standard leg worked upwards and for a standard gusset and foot worked downwards to give my sock sufficient heel depth without excessive ankle ease. This hybrid approach could be used with a short-row heel, too... oh, the possibilities! Why didn't I encounter this sooner?

Heelix with flap heel

Initially I planned to knit the leg and foot in solid black, but at some point I started worrying about Not Enough Yarn, so I frogged back and added a hand-dyed charcoal. I tried wide stripe and skinny helix stripe schemes before settling on a 2-row stripe (with jogs) to sorta echo the double helix heel. At the cuff I tried another Jeny Staiman unvention, Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, which uses two or three times more yarn than some BOs, evidence of its greater stretchiness. I like the way it allows the ribbing to ruffle, too.

Cuff with Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off

Amid these happy knitting discoveries, I made an important tummy discovery. Lactose is not my friend when I'm not feeling well, so I avoid drinking milk. I now know that certain purportedly healthful and restorative concoctions (including some popular with cyclists) made with whey are 'way worse. Whey 'way worse. I'll spare gentle readers the details.

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