I’ve got heels and toes on my mind a lot at the moment. I’ve just turned the heel on the new design that I mentioned a couple of posts ago and I’m contemplating starting another pair of my Irish Stout socks.
In the pattern, I recommend using some sort of reinforcing thread for the heels and toes if you’re not using a sock yarn with nylon in. For the sample pair, I used ordinary cotton sewing thread since I couldn’t find anything else that I was confident wouldn’t show against the black yarn. Imagine my delight when I ordered some Lang Jawoll yarn to make another pair and discovered that it comes with its own matching reinforcement thread. (Yes, I know I need to get out more.)
By the way, if you’ve having trouble finding the reinforcement thread, it is tucked right in the very middle of the yarn but it is possible to ease it out without destroying the whole ball — if I can manage it, anyone can! To use the reinforcing thread, just hold it together with your yarn as you knit. You do need to make sure that you’re picking up both the yarn and the thread as you knit into the loops but that’s the most complicated thing about it.
The reason I’m still contemplating starting the socks and haven’t actually started is that I’m trying to decide whether I want to make a top-down version rather than the toe-up version of the original pattern. Another toe-up pair would be pretty mindless knitting but a top-down pair would mean that I could publish an alternative version of the pattern for those knitters who don’t want to knit toe-up socks. It would mean more thinking about heels and toes though!
For readers not familiar with Scottish country dancing, the post title is a reference to the dance, The Military Two Step, which is a lot more fun when performed as an adult at an actual ceilidh than when you’re forced to dance it in your school gym hall. Here’s a video by the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra showing how it’s done.