So a few weeks back I was helping Jen turn her first sock heel via Yahoo Messenger (since we live a continent apart and couldn't meet face to face). This worked well enough, especially since she did indeed complete that heel successfully and has gone on to do the second heel un-aided (HOORAY FOR JEN!!) But at the time, I so wished I had pictures to show her what I was trying to explain. So tonight I turned the heel on a pair of slippers I'm making and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get those pictures. I'm still trying to learn how to use this new camera, so the pictures aren't the best, but I think they show the steps pretty well. And bonus, the new camera software lets me put little text blurbs right on the pictures, how cool is that?
So these pictures show how I pick up my gusset stitches and get back into working my sock in the round on magic loop after I have turned the heel. You start by working across what ever heel stitches you have. Now use the same right needle to knit up one stitch in every long stitch along the side of the heel flap (making note of how many stitches you pick up). Now all my heel stitches and the first half of the gusset stitches are on the right needle. Slide these up onto the cable and prepare to knit the instep stitches that have been hanging out on the back end of the cable while you knitted the heel. The instep stitches are now slid on to the left needle and the right needle is ready to knit them.Knit across the instep stitches. The instep stitches are now on the right needle. Carefully slide them on to the cable keeping the loop between the end of the first gusset and the start of the instep. It may be helpful to slide the heel stitches onto the left needle at this point, just don't bring them all the way to the tip until after you pick up the 2nd gusset so they don't slide off.Now using the right needle, pickup one stitch in each long stitch along the 2nd side of the heel flap. You want to aim to get the same number of stitches you picked up on the first side. However, if you don't, you'll just do an extra decrease on whichever side had more stitches. Now you are back to where your heel stitches start. Continue knitting across the heel and first gusset without pulling the loop through in between. Your goal is to have your loops at the intersections between the heel and the instep. I find this by far the easiest way to knit a sock, always keeping the heel stitches on one half of the magic loop and the instep on the other. Knit across the instep stitches. Now you are back to the beginning of the heel side. There are way more stitches on this side of the needle than the instep side. Decrease at the beginning and end of every other row on the heel side only until you have the same number of stitches on the heel as on the instep. And that's all there is to working the gussets on a sock. Easy-peasy.
The model, by the way, is the Spa Socks from the Spring 2007 issue of Knit-1 magazine. The yarn is K1C2 2nd Time Cotton (one of the only cottons I can stand to knit with). The needle is a 32" US 8 Susan Bates Silverado. Unfortunately, my US 8 Options are being used for Milan so I had to settle for the Bates. I do like my Bates needles very much, but the cable is far less pliable than the Options and I've become very spoiled these last few months. I think it's time to order some second sets of points in my favorite sizes!