Sunday, August 06, 2006

Notes on Widdershins heel

I promised to make some notes on adapting the reversed round heel shaping from Widdershins for a different number of stitches. (This still counts as the weekend, right?)

Here are my original heel shaping instructions, before they were edited for Knitty. Note that I didn't specify what sort of increases or short row method to use. In my original socks, I actually used paired increased, but thought that might be a bit too picky for something that will usually be hidden inside my shoe. For the short rows, I've been using the yarnover method lately. So, if m1 increases and w&t short rows aren't working for you, feel free to try another technique. The socks don't depend on those particular methods.
Heel Gussets:
On the following rounds, continue to work instep in pattern while increasing on stitch from beginning and end of sole stitches every other round until there are 47 sole stitches.

Turn Heel:
The sole stitches now consist of 14 sts for right gusset, 19 heel sts, 14 sts for left gusset. Work across right gusset. You will now be turning the heel on the 19 heel sts. The heel is shaped with a combination of short rows and increases. It is your choice how to handle the turning stitches.
Row 1: k to 2 sts before end of heel sts, inc1, k1, turn
Row 2: p to 2 sts before end of heel sts, inc1, p1, turn
Row 3: k to 4 sts before gap, inc1, k1, turn
Row 4: p to 4 sts before gap, inc1, p1, turn
Rep rows 3 and 4 until there are 27 heel sts

Work 1 round even to smooth out the short rows, ending in center of heel sts.

Heel Flap:
You will now work in rows across heel sts, joining the gusset sts.

Row 1: k to last heel st, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset
Row 2: sl st, p to last heel st, p2tog last heel st and 1 st from right gusset
Row 3: *sl st, k1* across heel, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset

Rep rows 2 and 3 until left gusset sts are gone. (There will be 1 unworked st left on the right gusset that will be picked up on the next round)

Work across instep sts. K2tog final gusset st and first heel st. Continue instep pattern across heel sts.
So, where did the numbers come from? I based my numbers on a top-down round heel and then reversed the shaping. The number of gusset increases is based on the size of the two gussets plus the heel below the turning. In a top-down heel, you knit a heel flap on half the stitches (usually for about as many rows as stitches), then turn the heel with short rows, working decreases along the way. There is often a line in the instructions like "knit to one stitch before the gap, ssk, k1, turn" and similar purl shaping. After the turning rows, stitches are picked up along the heel flap (usually about one stitch for every two rows) and the gusset stitches are decreased away on subsequent rounds until we are back to the original number of stitches. So, for my 54 stitch sock, I would work the heel over 27 stitches, the flap would be 28 rows long (I need an even number here and it's better to have a slightly deeper heel than one that is too shallow.), the turning rows would decrease from 27 down to 19 stitches, and I would pick up 14 stitches on either side of the heel flap.

For the reversed round heel we have to do a little advance thinking to figure out how many gusset increases we need, work the turning rows with increases as shown above until you have increased the heel stitches to their full width, then decrease away the gussets until you are back you the original number of stitches and work the cuff.

I'm a big geek, so I actually came up with an equation to figure out the approximate number of heel stitches. For a round heel with a flap n stitches wide, the number of stitches below the heel turning is h(n) where h(k) = k for k<n/3 and 4+h(k-6) otherwise. (I also wrote a small Python script to compute that, rather than coming up with a closed form solution. I'm a lazy geek.) Of course, the easiest thing to do is use the numbers from a preexisting top-down round-heeled sock.

I hope this helped. I'm glad so many of you like my pattern and are interested in adapting it.
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David Demchuk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
David Demchuk said...

Oh my God--Brooke! Not just the method of calculating the heel, but a formula! And a Python script! This is the most delightfully geeky knitblog moment I've had in a long time! Thanks for sock's future can be saved!

Zortified said...

I really love these instructions - I used them after I frogged the sock the first time, and it worked perfectly! or as perfect as my socks ever get.

How much do I love that you gave us the formula? That you figured out the formula? Yay! Knit geeks.

Carol said...

Thanks for the further info on the heel. It's so much easier to understand what's going on with the heel from the description here than the description in knitty. (I guess the editors wanted all the heel directions to look about the same to be, in their minds, more easily accessible to their readers. And they may be right.)
Now I've got a new favorite heel -- this one -- assuming it works out this time around.
And thanks for the formula. I'll have to look at it more closely some time to see what I should have done.

Jess said...

Yay knit geeks!

Jane said...

This is my favorite sock fun to do--especially two at a time on long circulars! I need to try it for a 9" foot...since the 8" fits my daughter, but not me!

yarmando said...

"The turning rows would decrease from 27 down to 19 stitches." The 19 comes from where again? Is that in formula? I get that I'm solving for h, but what's k?

Apparently, I spent too much time in 11th grade math writing poetry.

Carol said...

Embarrassingly, I had to ask my son, who's studying math at university what k was. He told me to think about it. It finally clicked.
I still couldn't figure out how to program the formula but did get it into closed form.
I think it reduces to
h(n) = n – 2 – 2 * int(n/9),
where int(n/9) stands for the integer part of n/9.
btw. I really like the heel.

Knitty Cat said...

I give up. I'm doing a short row heel.
Know any good insructions?

Knitty Cat said...

Ok, I just sat down and figured it out my own way. Thanks for the inspiration, the heel is lovely!!
(I'm so excited!)

Julie said...

Hi Brooke,

Thanks so much for Widdershins! I'm so in love with this pattern. YOu've made my holiday knitting for 2006.

I love these notes, but the formula is beyond my meagre capacity. I tried some simple multiples a la Zimmerman, and posted them over on the Knitty discussion board. Hoping people will test my thoughts to see where my thinking has run awry or where it could be embellished:

K2Karen said...

Hi Brooke...I love this heel. Love, love, love. I always make socks with different stitch counts, so I finally worked up some generic instructions for myself and a table of numbers and put them up on my blog. (Hope this reworking is ok, I did credit you and linked back to the original.)

Kiwi said...

So glad you posted this! I was going to contact you asking about modifying the pattern, and then I found this! Excellent.

emmacrew said...

I just finished a heel using the instructions in this post (that is, the "work to 4 before gap" etc.), and compared what I was doing to the Knitty instructions. And I noticed that my stitch count went down by one stitch per row (p 20, k 19, p 18, etc.) while the instructions have the stitch count going down by *two* per row (p 17, k 15, p 13, etc.). I'm pretty sure I interpreted this post correctly, so I wonder if the Knitty numbers are incorrect. Any insights?

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