Man Can Not Live By Bread Alone…

So we’ll get back to knitting!

First up, the socks. Solar Energy is the color name for this yarn (Dicentra sock yarn), and it’s a good name for it. It’s quite sunny in appearance, and for a change it’s sunny outside today. The ducks are out there on the lake doing their little head-bobbing thing around each other, pairing up as couples, so baby ducks can’t be far behind. Well OK, they are a ways off yet, but I can hope.

A reader, Michelle (no blog), asked a week or so ago how I managed to do gussets without holes. I’m not sure I have any magic tricks, but have tried several things in the past. One thing to remember is that even if you get holes at the corners, they tend to disappear with washing and wearing. If all else fails you can always cheat and cinch them together on the inside with a bit of yarn and a sewing needle when they are all done. Yes, I’ve been known to do this. It does get better with practice, so if you get holes, just keep knitting socks. After several pairs, it seems to go away. I’ve also found that mine are much better since I’ve gone down to 2 or 2.25 mm needles for my fingering weight socks.

Here’s what I do currently. I’m a heel flap and gusset girl, all the way, so if you do short row heels, I can’t help you. First, I don’t pay any attention to how many stitches the pattern* tells me to pick up along the side of the heel flap. I do a slip stitch along the edge of the flap, and pick up one stitch for each slipped stitch. Sometimes I end up with 1 more on one side of the flap than the other; no worries, I just decrease more on that side. Trust me, nobody will be able to tell.

So here I am at the corner, after I’ve picked up the stitches along the first side of the flap. You can click on all of these photos to make them bigger.


Now I pick up one extra stitch right inside that gusset corner, sort of like a raised increase. A tiny crochet hook makes this easier. I’ve seen instructions to pick up this stitch in the running thread between the two needles, just to the left of where I’m picking up, but I’ve found that this tends to make a little hole of its own, like a “make one” increase does.


Now knit across the instep stitches. When you get to the other heel flap, do the same thing.


Some knitters pick up two stitches at each corner, the second just opposite the first, so it would end up on the instep needle. I don’t bother with this, as just doing one seems to do the trick.

Here’s my finished gusset corner:


By the way, that little crochet hook is one of my most-used knitting gadgets, and believe me, I have lots of knitting gadgets. It’s got a tiny crochet hook on one end, and a pointy “probe” end on the other.


I use this so much that I have two of them, one in my regular gadget bag, the other in my sock knitting kit. Patternworks has these, though I’m sure you can find them elsewhere. The little probe end works great for getting knots out of things.

I’ve also still been working on the eggplant Jo Sharp sweater, though you wouldn’t know it by my progress. I’m currently marooned on sleeve island. After getting part way through the sleeve increases, I decided I didn’t like the holes that I was getting with the “make one” increases I was using. So I ripped all the way back to the seed stitch border and started over, using raised or lifted increases instead. Increasing inside seed stitch is just a bit more entertaining than doing so in stockinette stitch. Here’s where I am after all the ripping and reknitting.


All those little pins? I think I’ve posted this before, but I use them to keep track of increases (or decreases). If I have to increase x number of times, I string that many pins together and pin it right to the sleeve, then take one pin off and mark the increase as I make it. When the pins are gone, I’m done.

Please ignore all the extra dog hair. We have Rae the neighbor Corgi with us for a few days, and she’s left fur all over the house. I was way too lazy to vacuum and dust before I took photos.

Speaking of Corgis, here’s what happens when you leave a Corgi in a room alone. This used to be the cable needle in the sleeve above.


Fortunately, I have a whole bunch more of these (see gadget comment above).

Next time: My latest knitting gadget.

*I actually don’t often use a pattern anymore for socks. Or, I do, but it’s in my head. Plain ribbed or picot top, stockinette cuff, heel flap/gusset, standard decreased toe, grafted together. The number of stitches I start with at this point is one of those “force be with you” things.

About Lorette

My name is Lorette. I learned to knit in 1999, and took up spinning in 2009. I'm a physician specializing in internal medicine, and live in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy my blog!


Man Can Not Live By Bread Alone… — 18 Comments

  1. Great fix on the gussets…my fix is very similar. Must be time for you to learn to cable without a cable needle.

  2. Oooh, I love that crochet hook tool! I have a bunch of itty bitty crochet hooks (stash from Grandma and past doily crocheting on my part), but having that probe bit would be a huge help. Great idea.

  3. Pretty yarn, and a great fix.
    I love my “dentist” tool. I got mine from Patternworks several years ago, and it really comes in handy for sock knitting

  4. The pin trick is fantastic! I hardly ever do sweaters simply because I can’t keep track of the number of increases, or decreases I need to do! I’m definitely going to use this trick.

  5. Eggplant is looking beautiful.
    Gotta get me one of those crochet hooks. You and your gadgets! You could start a whole blog on just gadgets and gizmos.

  6. I love the color of the sweater! And, duh, what an easy and logical solution to keeping track of decreases – I know I never would have thought of that one …
    As for the Corgi vs. the cable needle – better that than your sock or sweater!

  7. I like the pin trick – will definitely do that on my next sweater. Hmmm – did the Corgi owners conveniently forget to tell you that this is the time of year that Corgis start to “blow” their coat? During most of the year they don’t shed that much, but come spring all of their winter coat comes out in about a month. We brush Hester every day and by the end of the shedding season will have a full grocery bag full of downy fur.

  8. I would not remember to transfer the pins over. And then I would second guess myself to death. The little tick marks on the pattern sheet is bad enough to remember to do.
    I like that crochet hook tool.

  9. I can confirm the presence of corgi destruction! And I’m scared to death by the “blowing” of coat comment! It’s our first season with Mr. K!

  10. The same thing happens when you leave a labrador alone with a dpn too.
    My favorite bumper sticker I saw ages ago when I was a teenager was:
    Man can not live on bread alone, he must also have peanut butter and jelly.

  11. Yup, pretty much what I do. But I don’t have the patience to stop each step and take a decent photo. Thanks for adding to the general knitting knowledge.

  12. Wow, that’s a neat trick. Too bad I don’t really do heel flaps/gussets anymore, unless it’s written in the pattern. Half the time I’ll just put a short row heel in anyway. But. I might be able to use this for a short row heel too. After all I still get a little gap in there. Hmmm