Heel Post

We love to knit socks, which is why we brought out our own sock yarn – Head Over Heels – just over a year ago.

There are so many decisions to be made when you embark on a pair of socks.  Will you knit it top down or toe up? What kind of pattern brings out the beauty of the yarn?  What kind of toe do you prefer?

When it comes to heels there are lots of different options.

The most popular is the French heel which has a flap.  Sometimes knitters get a bit flummoxed by turning this heel to achieve the shaping but this heel is really very straightforward and the slip stitch on the flap makes it nice and durable.

In parts of Europe, you might see this one called the strong heel or even the Dutch heel.  It is particularly good for people with a high arch and allows you to carry on your patterning across the heel.  The technique involves increasing on every other row before turning your heel and returning to the foot tube.

The after-thought heel is very useful if you are knitting socks for someone that often wears through their heels.  You knit the tube and work in a piece of scrap yarn to mark the position of the heel.  When you have completed the sock, you go back to the heel, pick up the stitches around the scrap yarn and work the heel in the same way as a basic toe, grafting to finish it off.  Some people prefer this method because there is no turning involved.  If the heel wears out, you can simply unravel it and knit a new heel.

There are lots of videos on YouTube that will give you more information about how to work all of these heels.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the new Head Over Heels Allstars – a collection of colour combinations from our very own Blogstars as voted for by you – which launched at the beginning of September.

Colour Therapy

What’s your favourite colour?  Have you ever thought why you are drawn to a particular shade?

Colour affects us all in different ways.  Red might be your favourite because it lifts your mood but for others, it’s just too intense a hue.  The way colours are put together might be harmonious for one person and clashing for another.

Your relationship with colour may be quite complicated, a mixture of personal experience and cultural bias as well as your current state of mind and emotions. In western countries, the colour white expresses innocence and purity but in eastern lands, it is the colour of mourning.  The colour blue has a cultural association with clear skies, a very positive image for us, but to our ancestors, it was even more important because it meant no bad weather. Colour is so deeply rooted in our history that it has even become a part of our everyday language in phrases like ‘seeing red’, ‘feeling blue’ and even ‘mellow yellow’.

So what is colour?  Without going into too much of the science, colour is light and energy which is visible to us through reflection and refraction.  The amount an object absorbs the light gives it its colour – isn’t that amazing?

The ancient Egyptians and Chinese believed that they could use colour to heal– a practise called Chromotherapy – impacting the body and emotions. They used red to stimulate, yellow to purify, orange to increase energy, blue to soothe pain and illness, and indigo for skin problems (!).

There is a lot of research out there that shows how colour can affect our moods and emotions.  Being shown the colour red can cause people to react with greater speed and force – great for athletes; in clinical trials placebo pills in warmer colours were felt to be more effective by the subjects; you may have noticed more LED lights in your neighbourhood because blue hues seem to lead to less crime.

Colour in the home and at work can enhance your mood, but it really is down to your personal preference.  A quick trip to your local DIY store and you will see a huge kaleidoscope of colours for you to choose.  When my kids were young I had a red feature wall in my bedroom which I found restful at the time.  Now my kids are older, I prefer a muted blue, so your life stage can also have a huge influence on you.

As knitters and crocheters we are exposed to colour all the time.  The way it stimulates our brains can be exciting and soothing at the same time.  Combined with the feeling of the yarn passing through your fingers, following a pattern and the anticipation of your completed projects, your craft is ticking so many boxes for our personal wellbeing.

Colour is an extremely personal subject and our only advice would be to enjoy as many or as few shades as make you happy, whether you are wearing them, filling your home with them or selecting them for your next project.

As John Ruskin said: “The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.”