Monday, October 22, 2012

Knitting Socks: The Gusset

Ahhhh. Well, it's almost starting to look like something intentional. What the heck is a gusset, you say? Well, that's that triangley bit there in the middle below the cuff. And what's it good for? Adjustment and fit.

If you've ever worn a tube sock, then you'll recall how you always end up with a "bunch" of sock right across the top of your foot where the ankle is. Very uncomfortable. The gusset eliminates that problem.

My sock doesn't look too bad at the moment, but it wasn't all lilacs and roses. When I last reported I was working on turning the heel and feeling mighty smug about things. And then...ta-dum, ta-dum, ta-dum...I started the gusset. Little did I know what I faced.

Difficulties and irritation abounded. I almost gave up--until enlightenment struck. You see, I had bits and pieces of the sock on other needles waiting for me to get to them. When I picked all those threads back up, it was like a bag full of kittens wrestling.

Threads were taut. Stitches were so tight I could barely slide them on the needle. And I grimly forged on, determined to make it work.

About five rows later, I realized my problem. The stitches were twisted because I was knitting from the wrong direction. I contemplated the prospect of pulling out all those twisted stitches and then decided I could make them work for me, as is. When I started knitting--from the right direction--immediately, the problem went away and it was smooth knitting from then on.

Sometimes my writing is like that. I might have too many bits and pieces so I lose track of the threads. The story lines all get muddled up and for a while it looks like a mess until I get them straightened out.

Other times I'm just approaching the story from the wrong direction. My critique partner will call a halt. "What are you doing???" I'll go back and have another look at the pattern. Usually, at that point the difficulty is clear. Sometimes I can make it work with a few adjustments. Sometimes I have to rip out the work and reknit the story.

But that triangley thing, the gusset, is critical to making the story work. That's the shift from beginning to the middle, the place where all the action happens. Whether my story gusset is a thing of beauty or a mess depends on how much attention I'm willing to devote to it.

How about you? How's your gusset doing?



  1. I don't have a gusset, but a very cool project!

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