When I last blogged, I had just finished knitting my first pair of socks. I used the “afterthought heel” method, leaving a grafted row where the heel would go, then knitting the heel last. That method seemed less intimidating, an easier way to knit a pair of socks than the more traditional method of making a heel flap, heel turn, and gusset.
Heel flap? Heel turn? Gusset? I couldn’t imagine what those things could be. Even after knitting a multitude of sweaters, shawls, blankets, and tote bags, that knitting terminology scared the living daylights out of me.
Then I actually tried knitting a pair of socks using these traditional elements, and bingo, I mastered them on the first try. I’m not a knitting genius; these techniques just aren’t that hard.
Here’s the honest truth about this terminology:
“Heel flap” just means knit straight down for a couple of inches. Put half the stitches on a holder to keep them out of the way. Your pattern might call for you to slip some stitches. No big deal.
“Heel turn” just means flip the dang thing around to the other side when the pattern says so. Make some decreases along the way. Again, no big deal.
“Gusset” just means you pick up some stitches, then decrease along the sides of the sock for a bit. Again, easy-peasy. You make a nifty-looking triangle before you know what hit you.
There, that’s not so bad, is it? The process of making a sock simply uses basic techniques you probably already know – decreases using either K2Tog or slip-slip-knit, slipping stitches from one needle to the other (easier than actually knitting or purling), or turning your work around backwards. To learn to do these skills, view a couple of YouTube videos for a few minutes. Google these terms, and a zillion video links will pop up, most of them free and well-done.
It’s the knitting terminology that scares us from improving and expanding our skills, I’ve learned, not the actually knitting of the sock itself. So if you’ve never gotten out of your comfort zone to try a new skill, remember that whatever you’re learning likely won’t be as difficult as you imagine – whether it’s knitting or any other life skill.