short row struggles

I started knitting a Christmas stocking this week.

The pattern is Henry's Stocking (that's a Ravelry link) from a recent issue of Cast On magazine, which I picked up at an LYS specifically for this pattern. I'm knitting this for two reasons: 1) I think it would make a nice gift, and 2) I wanted to try two-handed fair isle knitting on something no one will wear in case it makes my gauge totally wonky. The colorwork is going okay, though I find it kind of annoying on DPNs. I'm looking forward to trying two-handed knitting on a sweater or hat, something large enough to use circular needles.

I can't say who it's for, but the stocking is going to be a gift this year. If, that is, I can get past the heel. It's a short row heel in garter stitch stripes, and it just isn't working for me. The directions are fine, I know how to do the wraps and turns, so the actual execution isn't a problem. In fact, one side looks just dandy:

The problem is that the other side looks like ass. See?

I think it's the color changes, and the fact that every stitch gets wrapped twice. This means that some of the stitche are wrapped with both colors, so when it comes time to pick up the wraps and knit them, you get a wad of yarn that is not all the same color and it's sloppy. Also, some stitches are looser when you change colors. I actually ripped the heel once and tried again, pulling the yarn tighter, and it helped some, but I still think it looks like ass.

I see two solutions to this problem:

1) Leave it as is. One side looks fine, and it's a Christmas stocking that will be hung up for a couple weeks out of the year. The ugly side can be facing the wall.
2) Rip the heel again and do it all in one color. It won't be as charming as the stripes, but it will look neater, and I doubt the recipient will get it and say "Hey, thanks! Nice stocking! But I wish the heel had stripes."

I think I'll go with the latter. Sloppy knitting bugs me. The fact that I'm giving this to someone who is not a knitter has nothing to do with how well I want this to turn out.

Before I rip, though, I wonder if any knitters out there reading this might know of a better way. Is it possible to do short row garter stitch stripes without the funny lumps on one side?


Mrs. Allroro said…
I'm not a knitter, but I do wear knitted things, and my immediate thought was, "Why not just do it in green?" It's such a busy pattern anyway, that I think it'll look classier :-)

That will be a great gift, by the way. You inspire me to want to learn to make something beautiful for people. I thought it was super sweet making the mittens for the farmers market people.
Liz Bracken said…
Just left a comment on your Ravelry project with a suggestion. I finished two of these last month.
Anonymous said…
Since this is a garter stitch heel, you don't have to pick up any of the wraps - just leave them around the "necks" of those stitches. After all, it's a stocking, and even with doing them in sock yarn, it works out just fine.

Take a look at my Mermaid socks (i've done a few) on Ravelry.
Rosemary said…
If you haven't already decided to do a single color heel, you can conceal the wraps behind the stitches when you knit across and pick them up. Check out this Cat Bordhi video for how to do it.
Jessi said…
Nothing useful to add, but I love it!

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