Saturday, 18 July 2015

Eleanor's Pattern of the Weeeeeeeeek: Fish Lips and Kiss Heel

Something a little different today - I haven't finished the project! But I've finished enough to say that it's worth talking about.

So, this is the Fish Lips and Kiss Heel. If you spend any time looking at socks on the internet you'll know about this heel. It seems to have ripped through the Addicted to Sock Knitting group on Facebook like wildfire. I've noticed it for nigh on a year but finally got around to making one last night:
 I've been thinking about socks in this yarn (King Cole Drifter - the new one) for about a week and managed to hold myself back until the never ending dress was finished (kinda, just needs blocking). I know I'm always on about how shit DK socks are but I'm thinking of these are more around the house socks - you know when it's summer and it's been a hard day and you get home, have a shower, get into cotton pjs and sit around knitting watching the sun go down? Bliss. Footwear is difficult there. Bare foot is the obvious option but then they get dirty and you're feeling pink and clean from the shower. Flip flops next but I wear them all day so it's like work wear for me. Slippers too hot. Hand knit socks too warm. Hmmmm. DK cotton-ish socks knitted at a looseish gauge!? Perfect! I hope.

So I started them on the bus last night, knit knit knit whilst catching up with Question Time (gah! I hate politicians) and finally, at about 11 o'clock I was ready for the heel. I had a little spare money in my papal so I went ahead and bought the Fish Lips and Kiss instructions that I've been looking at for a while and then kicked myself because I had no idea that this is not just a heel pattern, it is a lifestyle. Haha.

The woman starts with an explanation of how you work through the instructions. Then an explanation of how she came up with the idea - a deep deconstruction of shop bought socks and why they always seem to fit everybody (hint - negative ease and a bit more). Then an explanation of how to measure your foot (or anybody else you're making for) which is where I fell down because that really needed me to start from the beginning but I was already in bed , the the foot knitted and ready to knit the heel. Then detailed (and bloody brill) instructions on how to make the heel. And finally photographic explanations of the unusual stitches therein.

It's basically a short row heel - similar in my head to the sweet tomato heel that I still haven't tried but is free but the way that she does short rows is ridiculously easy! She says somewhere in the information that this method can be used for all of your short row needs and I think she's right although the wrapped(ish) stitches seem kind of.... bouncy. A bit like the difference between normal rib and fisherman's rib. If you know it.


I've made that extra large because I don't trust my photography...

I suspect that this is my fault because I ended up with a hole on one of the sides of the heel and not the other and I know that I forgot to give it a good tug which she suggested, so basically, I need to get into the swing of it.



The instructions are great! Really great. But maybe a little overdone. If I were her I'd do a cheat sheet at the beginning or end which is just written words in sentences that the more experienced can follow and then the rest of the bumph (in the nicest sense of the word) can be for later. I was a bit taken aback by the amount that I had to read, especially as my glasses were downstairs and there was no way I was getting up so I struggled through... the struggle is real. However, the stuff that you may think is extra, like the explanation of how she deconstructed shop bought socks, actually helps work the sock and explains some of the weird bits that she asks you to do. Obviously, the information about how to size and shape your sock is necessary - no quibbles there - but I stand up for the rest of it too. Print it out/download it to your ereader and call it bedtime reading some time???

Good pattern, well recommended. Especially if you find yourself stuck in a rut with your sock knitting. I know I always come back to the heel flap and turn (and now I know why.... not giving anything away) but I think this will be on all of my Christmas socks just to give it a fair go.

Now, my top tip this week is a bit preaching to the converted. I've had a lot of new customers this week who've been frequenting other shops (tut tut) but these other shops are old fashioned in the way that they try and keep customers within their four walls when we have a WHOLE INTERNET out there! And the internet isn't just computers talking to computers (well, it's that a bit) but for the time being those computers need humans to put stuff on them. The internet is therefore just humans speaking to other humans. So it's like going to a big knit club and hearing all the amazing stuff that people have been getting up to, or the comments they make on patterns or the problems that they face but HUGE! Refusing to engage with the internet in your knitting life is like sitting next to the bath and wondering why you still stink.

There are some incredible things out there! This woman who spent years knitting socks and refining and researching and working out and finally writing up a beautiful pattern and offering it to us for one measly dollar. Boom! And without the internet I wouldn't have that. No doubt I'd simply have the King Cole Zig Zag pattern which is great but it's not the be all and end all. It has six variations and that's only in stitch pattern on the legs, the cast on, rib, heel and toe are all the same for every variation. How boring would that be!? And what if that doesn't fit you? And what if one little variation like lengthening the heel flap would make it perfect for you? How would you have the confidence to do that if you'd never heard of people designing their own pattern or reverse engineering or whatever it is we hear of these amazing people doing on the internet?

Yarn shops tend to be conservative, slightly old fashioned place and that's part of the charm. That's why we like them. But we also like radical knitting don't we? We like the kind of knitting where it isn't about our size or your shape but about engineering something that fits you to a tee. That is radical. That is self love. That is important. And people that share that information are out there, unlikely in your local yarn shop (although we pride ourselves on being part of the movement), they're on the internet. Unburden yourself - free your needles, free yourselves!

Oops. Got on me high horse a bit there, didn't I? I'm off to put a sock in it. Once I've finished it.

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxx

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