The Unusual Balbriggan Heel

1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue

1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue

Yesterday’s Soldiers’ Socks, mentioned a Ballbriggan heel so casually I figured that 100 years ago it was a commonly known type of heel. Research is in order.

Balbriggan – Named for the town of Ballbriggan, Ireland, in 1843. Was first applies to full-fashioned hosiery made from unbleached cotton. About 1860 the name was applied to knit underwear of the same material. Originally it was used only on high-class goods, but it now covers everything in light-weight flat underwear mad of yarn, stained to the shade of Egyptian cotton. ~ Southern Merchant, Volume 20, 1907

Balbriggan Harbour Socks by Archives and Old Lace

Balbriggan Harbour Socks by Archives and Old Lace

Balbriggan Harbour Socks by Archives and Old Lace. This is a free pattern and the blog post is a fun read! All the research I’ve found about this heel, everyone has glowing words about how much fun the heel is to knit. For those of you who have Nancy Bush’s Folk Socks book or the Sock Architecture book, the pattern is in the books.

Detailed instructions for knitting the heel are found at Liberty’s Yarn blog.

This heel is definitely on my list of “must try”.  Go do a search and see all of the lovely examples.

QNow go have a fun crafty day!

Soldiers’ Socks: Heel-Flaps and Heels

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Published Feb. 9, 1916 in the The Sydney Mail.

Just at the present time the lives of the majority of women are bounded by knitting.  Every worker asks the other how many stitches the casts on for the top of the sock, what sized needles she uses, and the class of wool she prefers. When all this has been satisfactorily explained, the question of heels and toes comes uppermost. One woman swears by the Dutch heel, another by the common or square heel, and a third by the Swiss heel. It is wonderful how many ways there are of turning a heel, and how excited the novice feels when she has negotiated the corners, as it were, with success. Every woman can cast-on and knit round and round for the leg, but the heel is quite another matter. Each worker should acquaint herself with several methods. It is a pity to be tied down to any one style, and after all there is a certain amount of variety even in a small change like this. There are many kinds of excellent heels, some being suited to one kind of foot, others to another. Amongst the number may be mentioned the Dutch or horseshoe heel (to the writer’s idea one of the very best), the French, or round gusset heel, the manufacturers heel, the Balbriggan heel, the square heel, the Swiss, the Welsh, and the Niantic. The last named is to be seen on the majority of machine-knit hosiery; but as it has no gusset it is not as elastic as the other kinds.

The general rule for heels is that when the ankle is reached the stitches are evenly divided, half being used to work on for the heel, the other half left for the instep. But as there are always exceptions each variety of heal will be dealt with in turn. For the Dutch heel the stitches are divided as above. Knit to the seam stitch, purl it, and then knit along for a quarter of the number of stitches on the needles; turn, slip1, and then purl back to the seam stitch; knit this, and then purl for another quarter of the stitches. This will give the exact half for the heel flap, with the seam stitch in the center. The worker must now knit as many rows as there are stitches, as the flap is square. To turn the heel knit to the seam stitch, purl this, and knit 5 more. Take 2 together, and turn. Slip 1, purl to the seam stitch, knit this, purl 5, purl 2 together. Continue these two rows thus until the whole of the stitches are knitted off, and 14 stitches remain for the top of the heel.  

The French heel is eminently suited to the high instep. For this proceed in exactly the same way for the flap as just described for the Dutch heel; but the “turning” is different. Slip the first stitch, knit plain to the seam stitch, purl this, and then knit 1 stitch more, knit 2 together, and knit 1; turn, slip the first stitch, purl 4, purl 2 together, purl 1; turn, slip 1, knit 5 (the seam stitch is now abandoned), knit 2 together, knit 1; turn, slip1, purl 5, purl 2 together, purl 1; turn and continue, knitting 1 stitch more each time so that the heel widens out as the work proceeds, and all the stitches are knitted in. The last row will be a purled one. Knit across, and pick up for the gusset in the usual way. The square heel also requires half the number of stitches, with the seam stitch in the centre. This stitch is then abandoned, and work must be proceeded with (one purl and one plain row) until about three inches of flap are completed. The stitches must be then cast off, and the cast off stitches sewn neatly together. This of course, makes a seam in the middle of the heel; but it should not be uncomfortable if properly sewn. At the same time, this heel is not general for soldiers’ wear, but it is simple to accomplish. The wool is then joined on from the right hand corner of the instep needle. For the manufacturer’s heel proceed in exactly the same fashion, but knit as many rows as there are stitches. Then proceed to shape the flap. Knit to within three stitches of the centre, knit 2 together, knit 1, knit 2 together, and plain to the end. Purl back. Repeat these two rows four times, when cast off and se up. The gusset stitches would be picked up as previously described.

There is a little variety with regard to the Welsh heel. Again half the number of stitches must be arranged on one needle, with the seam stitch in the center, the heel flap consisting once more of as many rows as there are stitches. Then slip 1, knit to within 10 stitches of the seam stitch, then *wool over the needle to make 1, knit 2 together, knit 5, knit 2 together, knit 1, purl the seam stitch, knit 1, knit 2 together; turn, wool over the needle to make 1, then purl to 10 stitches past the seam stitch; turn and repeat for * until all the side stitches are knitted in. Do not make a stitch in the last purl row. There should be 17 stitches when the work is completed. Later on some hints will be given on the finishing of the toes as well as full directions for refooting a sock.

Q – When doing a search for Welsh Heel, this article came up as a hit. I found it quite interesting. In researching old sock knitting patterns, the heels always refer to a “seam stitch”. It appears that pre-knitting-in-the-round, socks would be seamed up at this point. I’ll be discussing the seam stitch in upcoming blogs.

QHave a happy crafty day!

Curls and Q Typealyzer Results or Hahahahahaha!

One of my favorite blogs, Colour Cottage, had a link to Typealyzer which, somehow, analyzes the writing on your blog. Typing in this blog, the results are below. I have bolded the info that fits me. Other parts make me laugh. I am anything but “a smooth operator”. And, I’m always out of the loop for where the action is, even though I do like my brand of fun….. knitting, sewing, crafts, bird watching, etc. These analysis’s are a fun entertainment.

By describing herself, Pia of Colour Cottage is, in fact, describing me! “It also made me wonder whether one can be an extrovert loner. I do enjoy (select) company when I’m in it, and I definitely don’t try to blend with the wallpaper, but I need to recharge my batteries forever afterwards. And I never seem to get hungry for it, I can just potter about alone for weeks if I’m allowed. I simply do not notice that something ought to be missing.”

The analysis results for yesterday’s blog are:

ESTP – The Doers

The author of is of the type ESTP.

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities. They are active people who want to solve problems rather than simply discuss them.

ESTPs are the most adept among the types at influencing other people. Promoting is the art of maneuvering others to one’s position. Concrete in speech and utilitarian in action, they are smooth operators. The ESTP knows everyone who matters and everything there is to do because they are very resourceful, always knowing where the fun and action is.

They like to indulge themselves in the finer things in life and to bring other people with them. Their goal in life is to sell themselves and their ideas to others. Dramatic and debonair, they are gifted at earning others’ confidence.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Common satisfying careers: PC Technicians, General Contractor, Building Inspector, Surveyor, Mechanic, Forester, Stockbroker, Real Estate Broker, Police Officer, Firefighter, Athlete, Computer Technical Support

Notable ESTPs: Alexander the great, Winston Churchill, George S. Patton, Donald Trump, Ernest Hemingway, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Julia Roberts, Milla Jovovich, Alfred Hitchcock and Jabba the Hutt.

It’s All About The Socks in German


Frischer Kaffee by Sylvia

Frischer Kaffee by Sylvia Regenberg

You must, must, must visit Sylvia Regenberg on her Fido blog (after you read this one). See those beautiful socks pictured above, knit using Online stretch? Sylvia knitted the sock and then posted this picture on Addicted to Knitting Socks FB page. I was in love! The pattern, the colors! Yikes! I followed her link to a free pattern on Ravely called Frischer Kaffee (Fresh Coffee). After downloading the pattern, I clicked on another link and was lead to a German sock pattern forum. There are so MANY beautiful, fabulous free sock patterns that it makes my head spin!! Really! No, I cannot read German, however I did not let that stop me from figuring out the patterns.  Copy and paste the pdf text into Google Translate to get the general idea. Knitting Fool has the best knitting terms translated into English site. It also works the opposite way, if you are a German speaker, you can click on German to see the English terms. Always remember that the German language loves compound words! Frequently two are more words are combined together to make one long word. These are the languages available:

Knitting Terms Translated

Knitting Terms Translated from Knitting Fool

Sorry, if you’re hoping I’ll translate a whole pattern for you, not gonna happen. Retired or not, I will always be a teacher. 😎 I’m working on a pair of socks right now and will use the measurements for those socks in this post. This post is with the assumption that you, dear reader, are familiar with the basic design for knitting socks, this one is cuff down. Just recognizing a few terms can help you figure out the pattern without “reading” all of the words. For the socks I tended to like, it was the different legs that I was interested in. You can knit your own cuff, heel, foot and toe. Also remember, that translations from any language cannot be “exact” since sentence construction is individual to each language. Here are some general terms:

Stricken = knit

gestrickt = knitted

krause masche = purl stitch

glatt rechts = stockinette

Maschenanschlag 59 Maschen = Cast on 59 stitches

  • Maschenanschlag = cast on
  • Maschen = stitches
  • Masche = stitch

pro Nadel = per Needle

  • Nadel 1 = Needle 1  – see how many stitches on needle 1, etc for Nadel 2, Nadel 3, and Nadel 4. (Or, use two circular needles as I do, and cast 29 stitches on each needle)

Bündchen die Maschen or Bündchenmuster = Rib stitches

runden = rounds/row

Schaft = leg

10 Runden Bündchenmuster habe ich den Schaft angefangen. ” = Knit 10 rounds of rib then start the leg, see how you only need to recognize a few words?

Schaftlänge (Shaft length) = Leg length

Mustersatz 1 für erste (1st) und dritte (3rd) Nadel = Chart for 1st and 3rd needle
Mustersatz 2 für zweite (2nd) und vierte (4th) Nadel = Chart for the 2nd and 4th needle

  • Mustersatz = chart

Note: Since I use two circulars, I just combine 1st needle and 2nd needle on one circular and 3rd and 4th needle on the second.

29 Maschen für die Ferse = 29 Stitches for the heel

  • Ferse = heel
  • Bumerangferse = Heel row

So, work the heel on 29 stitches. Use your favorite heel pattern or, if there is a chart, use that.  Most sock knitters have a heel they like. Knit your favorite gusset, then knit the foot to the toe. If the pattern pattern continues on the top to the toe, continue the pattern.

Tomorrow I’ll cover the charts. They do not seem to have a “universal knitting chart language” as the US does.

QThanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful crafty day.

Tap, Tap, Tap and Design A Quilt

I Spy !

I Spy !

I Spy 2

I Spy 2

I’ve discovered the Quiltography app for my iPad and I’m in love. With this app, the most I’ve ever spent for any app, I am able to quickly design and create quilts. Both of the I Spy quilts above were designed using the app. The Enchanted Pond quilt, in My Quilts below, was designed on November’s plane ride back to San Diego from Honolulu. I had the fabric loaded into the app and just played around trying different blocks, different quilt layouts, etc. Kept me occupied and busy for many fun hours, the trip takes 5 1/2 – 6 1/2 hours depending on the wind direction.

The below three pictures are the main screens; the welcome screen, the second screen swipe, and the third screen swipe. I’ll be going from left to right through the screens, capturing projects and showing what each item is.

Welcome Screen

Welcome Screen

Swipe to second screen

Swipe to second screen

Swipe to third screen

Swipe to third screen

Welcome Screen:

First column – My Stuff 

My Stash:

My Stash

My Stash

Some of the fabrics in My Stash. You can see that I have 209 fabrics in the stash. The ones in this picture are Enchanted Pond by Moda. Curls has a fabulous quilt top made from these fabrics and they are so totally my colors that I was green with envy and had to order a Layer Cake too.

My Blocks:

My Blocks

My Blocks

Just a SMALL sample of the 210 blocks I’ve created. You can see my latest, three blocks in the top left. The other blocks are for I Spy quilts, with just a hint of the Enchanted Pond in the bottom right.

My Quilts:

My Quilts

My Quilts

These are some of the quilts which I’ve designed. Super easy and fun to design.

My photoQuilts

Doots PDF

Doots PDF

My photoQuilt is awesome. Chose a picture and the app will quickly change it into a quilt pattern, showing all of the colors needed. Then save as a PDF which gives page-by-page instructions for creating the quilt. This is one of my daughters.

Second Column – Block Template:

Block template designer

Block template designer

Now you can create your own block templates from scratch. Pick a shape to add it to the grid, it positions itself ready to be resized, rotated and flipped into place.  I’ve used the template block designer both to create something unique and to replicate a blocks I love. You get to name your custom-made blocks. The one drawback is that the app does not allow the rotation of the shape to the exact degree I want.  I wanted to place a square at a 60 degree angle and could not.

Third Column – Fabric

Add Fabric

Add Fabric

This is the add fabric screen.  You can take pictures of your stash, or, which I did for Enchanted Pond, grab online pictures of the fabric from the manufacturer.  What pictures are in my stash you ask? The Enchanted Pond fabrics by Moda, about 100 I Spy fabrics, colorful prints for the I Spy blocks and my new Kiss Kiss fabrics by Moda for the latest blocks. Hey! I’m beginning to sound as a Moda rep! Hum….. You are able to record how much you have, where you got it from, when you purchased it and even how much it cost. The program even scans the fabric and picks out the top five colors to automatically tag the fabric, see where it has spots for Color 1 – Color 5? The app fills that in for you. So if I want to search my stash for “Blue” fabric, all of the tagged blue fabrics show up. Nifty!

Second Screen

First Column –  Block

Stock Template blocks

Stock Template Blocks

Custom Template Blocks

Custom Template Blocks

Use the stock blocks or design your very own custom block! See the custom blocks which I have designed? The modern star is based on a block I saw by LaineyBug Designs and Red Pepper Quilts was seen at their site. Click on the + tab on the Template Block Screen, upper right, to get to the Template Designer.

Second Column – Quilt

Quilt Design

Quilt Design

Now that you’ve added your fabric and designed your blocks, it’s time to create your quilt. I found the app so easy to use, that I was able to design the quilts quickly.  Search through the blocks you have previously created, or maybe new ones designed specifically for this new quilt. Enter the number of rows and columns needed for your quilt. Add a border around your quilt if so desired.

The app allows you to adjust the sashing width, add cornerstones, and flip and rotate blocks. The quilt design tool also allows you to link matching blocks, this saves you time and lets you change multiple blocks instantly. Which is a tool I’ve used many times. Just tap and highlight the squares to be changed on the quilt, then tap the block that’s to be place in the squares. This app is all about the tap, tap, tap! Tap on a quilt square, then tap on the block on the right and voila! The block is placed into the quilt. Also, notice the ? – you can click on that anytime in any screen and it takes you through a guided tutorial on how to use that function. Super great!!

A yardage calculator was added in the latest update! Hurray, the designer of the app really listens to what quilters want/need. When you’ve designed the quilt, click on the circular button under “NEW” towards the bottom right. The yardage calculator screen pops up.

Yardage Calculator

Yardage Calculator

 Third Column – photoQuilt

Doots photoQuilt

Doots photoQuilt

Have you ever wanted to turn a photo into a quilt? This is so totally easy. Click on the photoQuilt button, select the picture and it’s done. The photo is now a quilt with all of the colors needed. Click on the PDF button and the app makes an instructional PDF for you. No fuss, no muss! A photo quilt pattern in under a minute!

I’m not going to discuss the third screen. It’s all of the “other stuff”. BTW, I’m not being paid, or bribed, or otherwise coerced to write this review. I just LOVE the app. So the next time you wait at soccer practice for you child, in the dentists office, fly, etc create a quilt!

QThanks for stopping by. Now go have a crafty day.

FO: Tidal Wave Socks

Tidal Wave_

Tidal Wave Socks by Deby Lake


Tidal Wave and Shoes

Tidal Wave and shoes

Love, love, love the way these socks fit! Softer that soft! No judging! But….. I actually blogged about starting these socks on July 15, 2012, This Sock Pattern Is Much Better! Yarn? Debbie Macomber Petals, (merino, angora, and nylon). Pattern? Tidal Wave Socks by Deby Lake. WIP finished = check!

QThanks for stopping by for a visit. Now go have a crafty day.