Falling Down MKAL - Week 2 - End of Leg, Heels and Start of Foot

Ok... where did September go? For serious. I can't believe we're already into October - I feel like 2014 just started!

Anyway, all whining about time aside, HOW MUCH FUN did you have making these socks? Was it too much in the first week? I hope not. I tried to take cues from the first MKAL this spring which seemed like the socks were broken down TOO much and folks were antsy for more in one week so I hope I've hit a better balance. Feel free to leave your feelings about this in the comments so I know if you're finding it a better balance of clue in a week.

I DO know that some of you are ROCKING your socks already. Check this out:

Here we've got @bcrlmom using Acer Aces for her socks and making some major strides. 
(what DOES "bcrl" stand for, Gretchen?)

@christelleb78 showing off her amazing gauge... seriously - that ribbing?! Ah. Maze. Ing. 

Mighty Poplar is looking good on the backs of @kznits socks... I love seeing those blocks falling away. 

And last but certainly not least, @sixmunchkinstitching is getting a great start using a lonely skein she had on hand. 

Squee! I just love seeing your socks coming together. It makes me all warm and tingly inside. :) 

Let's get down to some BIZ-NISS about this weeks clue release. The pattern part on the remainder of the leg is pretty clear, right?! Just keep on doing what you've been doing up to this point with the next piece of the chart and you're off to the races. It's this 2aat gusset heel that needs some discussion. 

Let's chat about my choice of heel first. If you've worked the Hermione's Everyday Socks before, this is going to look mighty familiar. It was my first successful gusset heel so I've stuck with it because I think a) it looks awesome and b) it is, in my opinion, one of the easiest gusset heels to work with. The designer called the heel a "Modified Eye of Partridge heel". Here's why:

A standard Eye of Partridge heel looks like this:

The slip 1/ knit 1 pattern runs from end to end of the heel. And, again, IMO, it's REALLY  HARD to pick up those slipped edge stitches. For me. I'm not saying that it's hard in general, I just lose the stitches really easily somehow and end up with the wrong number of stitches. Like, all the time. 

What the modified version of the heel does is create a section, 3 stitches wide, that is pretty much a road map saying "Hey, you, pick up the stitches here, and here, and here..."... You get it. 

Hat's off to Erica Lueder for her awesome modification of this heel that makes Meaghan a happy knitter. 

So you've worked your flap, you've turned the heel so you have your decreased number of stitches on what will be come the bottom of the heel (the very back part where the sock cups the bottom of the back of your heel) and now you have to pick up these stitches. So here we go - my best attempt at a photo tutorial of these tiny stitches. 

Below you can see the 3 st garter panel down each side of the heel flap. 

And here's the heel with the turned stitches on the bottom. 

And here's the count of the garter rows up the side of the flap starting from the leg side (the 14th row of garter is right up against the needle).

To start picking up the stitches to create the gusset:

1) Locate the first bump adjacent to your live heel sts. Put your needle into the first WHOLE stitch, making sure you're picking up both legs of the st, and we're going to pick up and knit a stitch from this stitch. 

2) You're going to repeat this process just above each bump along the side edge of your heel flap until you have the required number of picked up sts. 
3) Now you have to pick up one more to close the gap. Now, let me preface and say that this isn't REQUIRED but I think it closes up any would-be gaps very nicely. See that little "V" between the left leg of the stitch on the heel, and the right leg of the first stitch on the Front needle? Make a stitch using those two legs. Easy peasy, Mac 'n' Cheesy! 

You're going to repeat this process on the 3 remaining sides of your heels. This starts the gusset section and turns the stitches so they're now all running in the same direction as the instep of your sock. 

Now, let's talk about the craziness that is about to ensue when you have all of your heel sts on the back needle. I know... I know. It's totally wacky, right? But it's doable. I've done it. I've seen other folks do it. You'll survive. I promise. I do recommend being over-generous with stitch markers if you feel like you're going to move stitches all around on your needles. Mark the instep sts and the heel stitches where you can so that if the cable of your needle gets pulled through in the wrong spot you won't panic and throw your knitting down in disgust. By no means are stitch markers required but if this is your first crack at 2aat cuff-down socks, it might be advantageous. 

 So once your stitches from the gusset are all decreased and you have a beautiful little triangle of gusset stitches on either side of your socks, you're ready to keep going with the Foot chart. The foot will be comprised of the Instep stitches (these are the stitches on the Front needle that make up the top of the foot and house all the design) and the Sole stitches, which are the stockinette stitches (knit all sts, all rounds) that will hide under your feet. It's a lot like working the leg except you don't have to worry about any design on the bottom. It's so fast!

Alrighty - I think that about wraps up the tips and tricks for this weeks' clue. Remember to keep posting and sharing your photos on social media. I love seeing them pop up. 

How, you ask?

Join our group on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-unapologetic-knitterTag me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/socalmeaghan and use #fallingdownmkal, #unapologeticknitter and/or #tuksockmkal.

And by all means, if you have questions, email me at meaghan@unapologeticknitter.com or message me on Rav (http://www.ravelry.com/people/SoCalMeaghan), leave a comment here, or leave questions in the Discussion board for the MKAL on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-unapologetic-knitter/3013583/1-25#23). 


There have been issues with me seeing questions on Ravelry in the past because, despite me being the owner of the discussion board, I don't get notified when people comment; I'm only notified if I'm tagged. So,  if it's urgent, please be sure to ear burn me. 

To do this enter my username in square brackets and follow it by tying the word "person" in parentheses: 

Lastly, a friendly reminder about our prizes. To be entered to win one of our fabulous prizes, please submit your photos to me via email, Instagram (being sure to tag @socalmeaghan) or in our Ravelry MKAL discussion NO LATER than 11:59pm PST on Thursday, October 30th.

Happy Knitting!!!