Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel done on a Circular Sock Machine

I recently made a video that is actually a montage of stills explaining one way to do a sweet tomato heel on a circular sock machine.  It might be a bit over detailed.  I emphasize keeping the latches open largely because I was just getting used to using my machine and I had dropped lots of stitches because of latches NOT being open.

On the other hand I neglect to explain some things like where to start the heel and other things.  In this blog entry I will expand on the things I neglected and briefly explain an alternate way to do the STH(sweet tomato heel) on a CSM.

Anyway, here's the video
And here's the steps in detail
  1. Start a sock on your CSM either toe up or cuff down.  If toe up, stop about 2-3 inches shy of the foot length desired, depending on how big the foot is.  If cuff down, top about 2-3 inches shy of the leg length desired, depending on how big the foot is.  I find the STH takes up about the same as a regular heel, but slightly larger.
  2. When the yarn is left of the front of the machine, around 7 or 8 o'clock, lift the needles in the front right of the target heel needles, plus one needle.  
  3. Lift the needles in back too.  
  4. Crank to knit the last needle down
  5. Raise the rest of the needles up one from the left side of the heel target needles.
  6. Raise the last needle passed on the right
  7. Pass to the left
  8. Raise the last needle passed on the left and lower 3 needles on the right
  9. Pass to the right
  10. Raise the last needle passed on the right and lower 3 needles on the left
  11. Repeat steps the last 4 steps, 8-11 until two thirds of the needles have been engaged.  This will leave 17 or 19 needles up if using a 54 slot cylinder, 20/60, 24/72, [26 or 28]/80, 32/96, etc.  Your last round of the 2-step might need to be 2 needles lowered instead of 3.
  12. As you do the last pass to the right, lower the rest of the needles as they become free to be lowered.
  13. Crank around the back once
  14. Crank around the back a second time
  15. You have completed one wedge of your heel.
  16. Repeat steps 2-14 two more times
As far as heel forks go, for this sort of heel, 3 individual heel forks work better than a V-heelfork because this heel uses two thirds of the stitches instead of just half of them.  You will need to adjust your heelforks more often than with a standard heel and they need to be more spread out.

The alternate way to do a STH is to make your wedges have a descending number of stitches instead of an ascending number of stitches, that is, the method above starts with the minimum number of stitches and increases by 2 stitches each row until two thirds of the stitches are used up.  To do descending wedges one starts with two thirds of the stitches and decreases by 2 stitches with each row until you reach your target heel number.  Instead of raising one needle and lowering 3, you may wrap one needle and raise 2.  I happen to prefer the bunny hop. 

Cat Bordhi developed her Sweet Tomato Heel over many months, working closely with over a hundred test knitters of all skill levels. During this time she distilled her illustrations and explanations again and again, until her test knitters and tech editor agreed the instructions were as clear and perfect as possible. In order to be sure that her work is not misrepresented, Cat asks that designers who wish to use her heel in their patterns send their readers directly to her free videos as well as to purchasing links for her eBook, Cat’s Sweet Tomato Heel Socks ($20), and to the eBook’s individual patterns ($6 each). She is encouraged that many knitters have been able to work from the free videos alone; if not, the eBook or individual patterns will give you the detailed instructions, illustrations, and explanations you need.

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