Midori asked about the Pomatomuses in this comment, saying that she’s making a very small pair with a third of the stitches taken out, but is unsure how to do the heel. This seemed like a challenge to me… right then!

(I checked back in Midori’s blog and found that she’d already come up with a solution, but I’m going to post this one anyway. I’m curious to see how it differs from what she came up with.)

The original pattern calls for 24 stitches on each of three needles for the leg, so I’m going to guess that Midori has begun with only 48 stitches. If I were making a sock this small, I would be using four needles instead of three, and work the Chart A pattern once over each needle (four repeats = 48 stitches), instead of twice over each of three needles (six repeats = 72 stitches).

So then, the heel. In the original pattern, you begin with 72 stitches. At the heel, you put 36 stitches, or half of the original, on each of two needles. When you’re beginning with only 48 stitches, you would put 24 – half of the original – on each of two needles, then work the heel flap back and forth over the stitches on one of them. The original is 36 stitches for 28 rows. Math, which has never been my strong point, seems to indicate that the heel flap should now be worked for 18.6666 rows. How about 18? 18 sounds good.

Turning the heel, hrm. I’m figuring this out as I go along. In the original, it begins “sl1, k19, ssk, k1, turn work.” Well, 19 stitches is one past half. So, try “sl1, k10, ssk, k1, turn work.” Because you have eighteen stitches, half is nine, and one more than that is 10. Then work the rest of the heel turn. I haven’t done many flap heels, so I can’t say that I’ve got this right, but it should be a starting point for you to work from. On the RS, you will knit to one stitch before the gap, ssk, k1, turn. On the WS. you will purl to one stitch before the gap, p2tog, p1, turn. Do this until all the heel stitches have been worked. (I highly recommend putting in a lifeline after the heel flap and before the turning, so in case I’m incredibly wrong, you won’t have to rip back too far.)

Again, math seems to indicate that you will now pick up ten stitches along each side of the heel flap for your gusset. You now have the original 24 stitches on the instep needle, 10 stitches on each of your gusset needles, and uh… however many stitches left on your heel needle after turning the heel. You may need more or less gusset decreases to make the sock fit snugly, since your foot is so small, but if you put the sock on waste thread or lots of extra needles, you can try it on as you go.

Now you have 24 stitches (depending on what row you’re on) across the top of your foot, and stockinette stitch for the sole. The part of Chart B where it says “repeat twice?” Don’t repeat it. Voila, 24 stitches across the top. You can probably put the sock back onto three needles at this point, with the 24 stitches on one needle, and the others split onto two, then work down to the toe.

My first Pomatomus is about 10 rounds from beginning the toe. Almost done!

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One Response to “In Which the Pirate Shrinks a Sock.”
  1. Midori says:

    Hi Pirate, thanks for your comment and interest in this! :-) I think we ended up with more or less similar solutions. My heel turn was 8 rows instead of 14. On row 1 I knitted 12 (sl1, k12, ssk, k1, turn) instead of 19 and after that always knitted or purled one stitch less than in the original pattern. After row 8 I had 15 stitches left and picked up 12 stitches on both sides of the heel. And yes, I had 24 stitches on needle 3, which fits the pattern perfectly.

    Knitting these was fun and I’m really happy that the resizing worked. Next I’ll try some other pattern and I want to knit them toe-up. Good luck for your Poms – almost there! :-)

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