about the essentials of life...knitting, designing knitting, yarn for knitting...you get the idea...

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I'm a knitter, knitting pattern designer, and spinner. I also dye yarn with both acid and natural dyes.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How to Knit Socks on One Long Circular Needle, Part One

Like most knitters, I started out using DPN's to knit small circumferences. My kids were little when I started knitting in the round, and there were mittens and hats to be knit on demand and as needed (i.e., they lost one). It was fiddly at first - I've heard it described at wrestling with a porcupine - but I'm stubborn and I persevered until I'd mastered those sets of little sticks.
A few years ago, I discovered sock knitting. For some reason, I'd always thought that socks were impossibly difficult. I must have overheard something from my aunts or grandmother. Socks, I thought, were the true test of an expert knitter. Not for me.
One day, when reading a knitting book - yes, I tend to read knitting books. Not so much for the patterns, as for the how and why of the patterns - I read through the recipe for knitting socks. It was an old, old book, so yes, it was a recipe. Hmmm, that didn't sound so impossible. Pretty soon, I had some DPN's and yarn out and was trying the recipe for myself.
Of course, you know the rest. Knit one sock, wear one handknit sock, and you're hooked forever. I wanted so badly to share that wonderful custom knit feeling that I tried to talk everyone in my family into letting me measure their feet. Since at that time, my family consisted of only men, I was less than successful.
But, I continued to knit socks for myself. And discovered a problem. Pain. My long-ago damaged wrist began to hurt unmercifully. Now I loved sock-knitting, but not to the point that I was willing to exist in pain and perhaps further damage my wrist. I had a problem.
ABQ has a Fiber Fiesta every other year. The last Fiesta, I went on the first day, a Friday. I was relatively new to the area and was excited to explore the merchants' booths to see what was available here. I stopped by the local knitting guild's table and struck up a conversation with one of the knitters. She was telling me how wonderful the group's knitters were - one of them could even knit two socks at once on two circular needles!
Huh? Socks on circulars? I added this tidbit to my list of things to look out for in my continued trek around the Fiesta. I must have been pretty sure I'd find some information or figure it out for myself, since I bought two sets of circulars in tiny sizes at the Village Wools booth.
Finally, at the Good Fibrations booth, Bethe, the owner, told me that she had a book that explained the technique but had just sold the last copy. However, she just happened to be knitting a sock on one long circular. She pulled her knitting out of her fanny pack and showed me how to do it. Right there.
I've never looked back. My DPN's are almost never used. Occasionally for a 3-needle bind-off or some I cord, but that's it. Actually, my straights are in retirement as well. All circs, all the time. Easy, portable, you can try your knitting on while still on the needle, stitches don't fall off, and, yes, easy on the wrists.
I write all my patterns for one long circular. Experienced traditional DPN knitters will not have any trouble converting them, and novices, well, why not try something new?
Curious? I've begun a tutorial. Part One is ready - How to Get Started. Click hereto begin knitting socks on one long circular needle.
I hope you'll give me feedback - I'll edit to improve!

Friday, October 27, 2006

How to Kitchener Your Sock Toes

Note: There will be no pictures!

For a long time, I needed to get out a book and look at the pictures every time I kitchenered sock toes.

Every time.

As a result, almost-finished socks tended to accumulate. They would pile up on my dresser, stitches held on safety pins, until I got around to getting out the book.

No more.

Now I finish the knitting, whip out my tapestry needle, and close those toes immediately.

What happened? Simple, I paid attention. Instead of following the instructions and looking at the pictures, I thought about what I was doing. And, you know what? It's really easy!

Here's how I think about it:

Hold your two needles with stitches on them parallel with the working yarn coming from the back needle.

Take a look at your knitting. See the knitting on the front needle? See how the knit stitch is facing you? This is the K needle.
Now, look at the knitting you see coming from the back needle. It looks like purl, right? This is the P needle.

Okay, now think about the stitches and the needles they're on as associations, or better yet, teams. The goal of each team (and you) is to get all the stitches off the needle. OK?

Rule No. 1: Go into each stitch twice.
Rule No. 2: Drop the K stitches on the K needle.
Rule No. 3: Drop the P stitches on the P needle.
Rule No. 4: Start with the front needle and then alternate. Logical, yes?

Set-Up: You are setting up here, so no stitches are dropped. Following rules above, you know you can't K on the K needle or P on the P needle. Rule #4 - we'll start with the front needle. Pull your tapestry needle (with the yarn tail, of course) through the first stitch as if to purl. No dropping, remember?
Go to the back needle, we're not dropping, so pull through as if to K.
The set-up is the only time you'll only work the first stitches.
Set-Up: no dropping and only one stitch each needle.

The real deal: We're back to the front needle and we want to drop a stitch. That means we go through it as if to K. Drop. Now, according to Rule #1, we need to get the second stitch set-up. No dropping. K needle, set up as if to P.
Move to back needle: P needle, P the first st and drop. Set up the next stitch as if to knit.

That's all there is to it. K needle, K the first st to drop, P the second to set-up. P needle, P the first st to drop, K the second to set up.

Simple, huh?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Little People Socks Update

The Little People Sock is progressing nicely, thank you very much.
The heel fits well and there are no problems with the cables patterns matching.
Apparently there are problems with holding still long enough to take a closeup!
I guess I'm just going to have to break down and buy a tripod.
Just kidding, I love gadgets.

While we're on the subject of technological challenges, if you tried to participate in the sock toe poll, please enter again. I felt so proud of myself for finding this thing, setting it up and inserting the HTML code into my enty...just one problem. Not results were tabulated. Hmm... was no one interested enough to participate? Just for fun, I answered. Still showed 0 results. Oh boy, I've messed it up again. Tech support rescued me - silly me, I'd deleted the 'Submit' page! Kind of hard to get results that way. Anyhow, I just tried it and it works now and I'm really, really curious. Please answer!
By the way, I've set it up so that it does not collect your address, so it's totally private.

Now, go vote!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Little People Socks


I thought I had this down. I was zipping along on this sock, feeling so confident. The leg, from cast on to heel, took 1 evening. I spent the next evening experimenting with heel techniques and finally arrived at one I liked. On to the foot!

And came to a grinding halt. The Little People are formed by interlocking cables. Worked great on the leg. Didn't match on the foot. Why not?

Same pattern, different look. This can't be. I must have changed something. Tinked back and tried again, checking the pattern thoroughly as I did so.

Not the same cable.

Got out the graph paper and charted it out. Found the mis-match and figured out an easy solution. Simple!

Erased the pattern notes, wrote out the new directions, tinked back and tried again.

Still different, but different in a new way.

So I went to the computer and used a software program to chart it out. Quite a few times. Finally decided on another simple solution.

Erased and corrected my directions again.
Tinked back again.
Still wrong.

So I decided that I had a visualization problem. Obviously I was missing something. I remembered downloading a trial version of an aran charting program that let you see pictures of the stitches. Time to try it out.

Got some nice cable pictures, erased my directions once again and wrote out what the pictures told me.

Tried yet again. Looked familiar. I was knitting one of the mistake versions a second time. (Note to self: never, ever, ever erase mistaken patterns. You never know when they might come in handy!)

Frustration! I will not let this, this sock foot get the better of me!

Went back to old fashioned chicken scratching, charted out the entire leg pattern, figured out where the stitches went each time I rearranged for the heel and after the heel, drew lines matching them up, charted out the foot yet again.

I'm pretty sure I have it now.

Only thing is, while all this time passed, I had time to think about the heel. I'm satisfied with the method, but the fit could be better. I compensated for the drawing in of the cables by casting on more stitches than usual. The heel, however, has no cables (yes, I considered continuing them down the heel, but decided I had enough confusion for now). It could be a snugger fit. I guess I'm going to have to frog back to before the heel this time.

Which means the chart I've arrived at (finally) won't apply.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Harvest Socks and a Poll!

The Harvest Socks are finished!

Take a look:


See the little sheaves of wheat?

These photos are the most accurate for the color of these socks. I'm pleasantly surprised with the color and delighted with the pattern. It works really well with self-striping yarn.

But now I'm interested in toes. I've made the traditional toes and variations of the star toe. I find myself returning again and again to plain, smooth toes. When my sons were little, we had great crises (usually when running late to some appointment or other) relating to wrinkled socks. They just could not abide any kind of uneveness in the way their socks fit into their shoes. This resulted in many, many attempts to insert their feet into their shoes and get their socks perfectly smooth. I seem to have internalized their conflicts and now I'm a smooth sock fanatic.

I'm curious. Which toe do you prefer? The traditional (bottom left) or the smooth (top right)?

Click here to take survey

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How to Make a Purse Form

When last we talked, I showed you a picture of the finished red recycled sari yarn purse. Scroll down and look, I'll wait. It's at the end of the post.

Back? Kind of shapeless, isn't it? Also, being a very loosely spun single, it wants to bias a little, though actually not as much as I'd feared. But, as a purse, clearly not finished.

I searched ABQ for some buckram. Apparently this doesn't exist any more and the blank stares I got when asking for it made me feel like a Civil War relic. I did find some Pellon that was very stiff and about 1/8" thick. I think it's Peltex 70, because the paper they wrapped it in said Peltex 70 and a couple of other numbers. The other numbers were described as fusible, which I did not want. So, Peltex 70. I bought 1/2 yard for around $3.

I set out to make a purse form to give this poor baby some shape. The purse itself it basically a box. I worked it in the round (didn't want to have to seam this stuff), though it might have been stiffer and straighter if I'd knit it flat and seamed it. I hate to seam and I couldn't imagine trying to seam this stuff. If you've knit with it, you know what I mean. When I'd knit a circle as long as I wanted the purse sides to be, I knit the bottom, joining to the sides on either end to form a box. I did a 3 needle (and one crochet hook) bind off to join the bottom and the second side. Thus, a box. Then, I joined a second skein to the base of the sides and knit about a 3" wide band until I was almost out of yarn, then picked up and bound off the bottom of the other side. This was the handle, attached to the bottom, not the top, of the sides. I then machine sewed in a zipper and went looking for interfacing.

To make the form, you need 3 measurements:

the width, the length from one side of the zipper around to the other side, and the width of the flat bottom part.

Add one inch to the width measurement and mark it on the Pellon. Use the length measurement as is to make the other side of the rectangle. Mark and cut the interfacing. You'll use the third measurement in a minute.

Fold the Pellon in half "like a hotdog" as I used to tell my first graders. Sew 1/2" side seams and trim to 1/4".

Now, fold the top of the side seam to the inside, to the center of the bottom. Here is where you'll use that third measurement. Find the place across the corner that equals that measurement and mark a line there. In the picture on the right, the line would go along the side of the measuring tape farthest from the corner. Stitch along the line and trim

The finished form is firm enought to stand on its own. I think this Pellon is all right - maybe even better than buckram.

Now, put the form inside the purse so that the seams are facing the inside of the purse and sew it to the zipper tape. This is a little tricky - the Pellon is thick enough that the zipper won't zip if it's too close to it. I found it easier to sew with the Pellon side facing my needle. My machine wasn't particularly happy with this procedure, but it's ancient and I think the newer machines are not as fussy.

Trim the Pellon close to the stitching and trim away all those loose threads from the sari yarn that are in the path of the zipper.

Next, I carefully fitted the handles to their proper locations and machine sewed across them a couple of inches down from the top of the purse. I had planned on two rows of vertical stitching, but my machine just refused to go there.

Last, I added a zipper pull I accidentally found when I was hunting for buckram. It's pewter and from Walmart, of all places!

Et Voila !

Note: My purse is designed to be box shaped at the bottom and flat at the top. For a completely box- shaped form, I would just add a narrow seam along the edges of the sides from the bottom corner to the top. Just a pinch to firm up the squareness of the side edges.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Project Update

The Man Of The House had a birthday this weekend. Foolishly, all right, very foolishly, I decided last Friday to make him some gloves. Out of sock yarn. On size 1 needles. Oh, my.

You see, he's been asking for a sweater. Now, he doesn't wear sweaters. Nor does he particularly like presents. They usually end up hidden somewhere in the back of his closet.

I didn't really want to spend all those hours knitting a sweater for it to end up in the back of the closet.

Thus, gloves.

Kind of like a test case. Except I misjudged or was overly
optomistic about how long they'd take to knit.
I ended up staying up very late.

We'll see if they take up residence in the closet.

While the mad dash to complete the gloves was on, my harvest/Halloween socks had to come off the needles temporarily.

I guess photographing these on an orange background wasn't such a great idea. My camera seemed to be confused about what to focus on.

I love the wrapped stitches on these socks - they look like little sheaves of wheat - hence, harvest socks. I'm liking my 'mistake' dyed yarn better than I thought I would. It looks much better worked up than it did in the skein.

Since I couldn't knit on the gloves when The Man Of The House was around and awake, and my harvest socks didn't have needles, I had to start a new project. Since October is both Socktoberfest and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it seemed natural that I was attracted to this yarn and project:

The cables look like arms and legs to me (when the sock is right side up), so I've named these Little People socks. Remember, I was a first grade teacher.

And last, my forlorn sari purse. The knitting has been finished for some time, then I had to search out some interfacing. I have everything now; I'm just putting off actually getting out the sewing machine. It's on the floor of the linen closet, in the back, behind the vacuum and under the extra pillows. You see why I haven't unearthed it yet.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Taos Wool Festival, Part Two

Let's try again...

Look closely at this roving - see the red flecks? This is California Red roving. Never heard of it? It's a new breed, developed by a California professor for meat. The people I bought this from, Shear Perfection Ranch, started their herd in Colorado and moved to northern NM. The sheep they began with had teeny, tiny legs, so they concentrated their breeding on developing stronger bones. Now they're concentrating on increasing wool production. I'm anxious to see how this spins up - it's quite soft, not as soft as the llama, but maybe a little softer than the merino/silk I have. I'm very interested in the variations possible with natural, undyed fiber.

I did succumb to one yarn. I know, I said I wanted fiber for spinning. I'm also interested in learning as much a possible about the different fibers and the breeds they come from. I'd like to start buying fleeces and developing my personal projects from fleece to finished object. I need to know more about breeds to make reasonable decisions about purchasing fleece and blending it into spinnable fiber. Thus, this yarn. It's cormo. Elsa Sheep and Wool didn't have any roving, but they had this very reasonably priced undyed yarn.

Elsa Sheep and Wool also had dozens and dozens of knitted up socks, gloves, hats, and what looked like felted garments. They must be commercially made since the prices were crazy low. They were also selling quite well, since most festival-goers were unprepared for the chilly, wet weather.

In line with my fiber/breed studies, I acquired a reference book. Oh, my, another whole field of books to acquire. I see more bookshelves in my future!

There is currently a severe shortage of natural dye materials. Apparently, there was one major supplier and he died. The company is currently in disarray, so no one can get any dye supplies. I was hoping that there might be some merchants at the festival who grew their own dye plants. No such luck. Liesel from Earth-Arts had some seeds, but my whole yard is covered with different colored gravels over plastic weed barrier, so it's not exactly conducive to farming.

I did find this stuff, however. It's a natural dye extract. It kind of seems like cheating, doesn't it? I'm going to investigate further. I can imagine a whole new (to me) range of natural dye effects possible with an extract.

And finally, a gift. On the T-shirt table, The Man Of The House spotted a box labeled free. Surely not, I thought. We found a salesperson an asked. Yes, free. Both of them? Yes, the publisher (Interweave) had sent them to give away. I'd been to the bookstore the day before looking for Spin-Off and couldn't believe my good luck. Free? For me?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Taos Wool Festival!

Wet, windy and cold, but otherwise a great day for football a wool festival.

Sunday was an odd day for NM in that it rained all morning. And most of the afternoon. It was a Houston kind of day - even to the damp cold that blows right through you. Not the kind of weather I was hoping for for the Taos Wool Festival. Luckily, The Man Of The House knew how much I'd been anticipating this event so he was willing to drive the two hours there and two hours back in the pouring rain. I kind of think he'd been looking forward to it as well. There have been a few mentions of looms recently, and I'm not even the slightest bit into weaving.

There were only a handful of people at the park when we arrived. Interestingly, it made for tough exploring. The people that were there seemed to huddle at the entrances to the booths. There was a lot of visiting going on and I hated to disturb the conversations. I did, however, eventually investigate every tent.

The Man Of The House did a lot of standing under his huge golf umbrella, moving 6 feet or so down the infield as I changed shops. I overheard other husbands comparing umbrellas with him. That umbrella came with us from Texas, and you know what they say...

I was mostly interested in fiber this trip. The Taos Wool Festival is limited to wool and other animal fibers from NM, Colorado and Texas. I saw several exhibitors from Wyoming, though, and heard some discussion about expanding the geographically allowed area. No cotton or other non-animal fibers, even if natural. Thus, it seemed a great place to learn about the different breeds of sheep and their characteristics.

This being NM, there were plenty of places with churro. One sheep owner and I talked about churro's possibilities for the knitting community. We plan to keep in contact.

There were quite a few alpaca herders and I just had to pet the alpaca. I bought some llama roving, though, instead of alpaca. I was surprised at how very, very soft this stuff was and I loved the warm brown/grey color. I had been under the impression that llama was scratchy, so I just had to try spinning this soft llama. When I asked about the staple length (to evaluate how difficult it might be to spin), they told me that it was really easy to spin. They suggested to keep it loosely twisted so the softness will be accentuated. I also found out that the merino/silk combo that I've been spinning is supposed to be really difficult! Hmmm... I wonder if I'm spinning it correctly? It hasn't seemed to be that hard - I hope it's not a case of being ignorant of what I'm supposed to be getting!

Blogger has decided it's tired of loading photos, so to be continued...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Fishing Tackle


I have a new toy.
It's a line meter. As in fishing line meter. The package says that you use it to measure the depth to which you cast your bait so that you can cast to the same depth each time.
I'm not really too sure why that's important.
I have something else in mind.
As in, I have a pile of yarn on my desk. Some of it is still in those collapsed marshmallows that you get when you've knit most of a center pull ball. Some of it just used to be in one of those collapsed marshmallows and it now a tangled snarl.
Why is it there? Well, I confess, partially to hide the start of a shawl I started and don't like the shaping of. It's waiting to be frogged and restarted but I'm currently avoiding it (Fiesta's LaBoheme and a PIA to frog. Someday I'll be patient. I will! Quit snickering.)
Other than that, all those yarn puddles are waiting to be measured. You know how when you read a pattern it tells you how many yards of yarn you need? This stuff is the remains of FO's. I know how much I started with, now I just need to measure how much I have left, add a fudge factor, and I'll know what number to write in my patterns.
I don't like to measure yarn. The yarnstick method isn't all that accurate unless you take forever to do it and are super careful not to stretch the yarn. You also have to pay attention. You have to count. Now, frequent readers will know I seem to be challenged in the counting department. I have no confidence in my ability to keep track accurately.
I have done some measuring using my niddy-noddy. You wind the yarn around and around in V's, once again, carefully, without stretching. And count the number of wraps. It's supposed to be 1 yard per wrap. Except The Man Of The House and I made my niddy-noddy. It's not 36". It's more like 38". Or there abouts. Not a lot of difference, I guess. I could just consider it part of the fudge factor. But it bothers me. And it's an arm workout, so that would be kind of healthy and I don't really do healthy.
So, my new line meter. It clamps onto my desk and the yarn runs through it and it records how long it is. Quick and painless. Actually, fun. I'm easily amused.
The yarn being meaured in the picture is the yarn left from the self-dyed self-striping yarn socks recently finished. The meter shows 109 feet left. About 36 yards. Each round takes around 30" and 12 rounds made an inch, so...even though it looked pretty skimpy, I actually could have knit another 3 inches. I had plenty!

One problem, though. You're supposed to run your yarn through the meter and onto your ball winder. Which I don't have. Just a measured pile of yarn on the floor.

Oh, BTW, line meters cost $13. Yarn meters run $50-60.

Other fishing tackle I love:

It's a worm case! Yuck!

Look again. The inside cover has pockets that hold my stitch markers and the pockets have my circular needles. The pockets are really heavy plastic and you can buy extras as necessary. I think the whole set up was less than $20.

One day 'til Taos Wool Festival!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I love the smell of...

hot, wet, wool in the morning! I've been dyeing that special churro. It's a time-consuming process - one day to mordant, another day to prepare the dyestuff, third day for first dyebath. That's where I am now. The yarn/dyebath is cooling, then I'll wash the yarn and hang it to dry. I've tentatively decided to over-dye it to get a soft green, so I need to set up an indigo tub. Another day! Updates to come.

I've been dealing with serious computer problems. The infernal machine has been slower and s-l-o-w-er lately. I did the whole virus, spybot, defrag scan thing. Still slow. Got an e-mail from my computer protection suite that described my problem exactly. Said expert e-mail maintained that cleaning my registry would solve all my problems.

Well, perhaps in comparison to all my new problems. Now, slow seems a blessing. I've spent the last two days trying to straighten this mess out, over an hour on the phone with tech support, then worked my way through 5 pages of fix-its. Now I have internet access restored, but still no e-mail. And 39 other files were also deleted - I guess I'll be finding out what else doesn't work as I try to use other programs. Just ducky.

In the meantime, while I've been waiting for my slow computer to cope with all of the repair commands, I've been working on the red purse. Did I mention that the Taos Wool Festival is 2 days away? I want to finish this thing for that, even though it doesn't exactly coordinate with the socks I'll be wearing. Nothing wrong with being colorful, is there? I'm on the strap and looking for buckram to stiffen the body.

I'm also looking at this:

This is accidental Halloween yarn I dyed last summer. The gold was, well, orange. The brown/black was much more intense than I had in mind. I was looking for neutrals with a little spice. I got all spice. Must watch those concentrations! Thus, Halloween yarn. So, while I've been waiting for my computer to slowly return to functionalitly, and my churro to dye, I've been looking at this and thinking about Halloween patterns.

I'm really excited about a new heel variation I may be un-venting. I was looking for a reference for another heel, couldn't find it, and stumbled across a decrease method I can't wait to try. If it looks as smooth as I'm hoping, well, it's easy, so how great would that be?

Back to the computer fixing mess...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

FO Alert!

The first pair of Socktoberfest socks are finished! I can't wait to wear them , but I will. The

Maybe it's the first grade teacher in me, but the toes just tickle me. Somehow, I look at these and I think puppets - can't you just imagine them as talking snakes? Of the cute, fantasy, variety, of course. The real, live ones scare me to death.

Just made it on the yarn - and I'm a size 7. I'll have to measure the leftover, but it's closer than usual. I wasted a little by making them match. I usually don't bother, but this time the stripes were so pronounced and I accidentally got that coral stripe in the cuff, so I just had to match them.

4 days 'til Taos!

Monday, October 02, 2006

How to Fix Your Socks

Note: This post was written on Monday, but due to computer problems will not appear until Wednesday.

Now, I ask you, however would I know how to fix socks? Because I make a lot of mistakes. I mean it, I must have done every back-aswards thing you can do when knitting a sock. I'm not particularly fond of frogging and I'm a Virgo (you know, those most irritating perfectionists of the zodiac). This has led to a certain amount of tension. Do I frustrate myself by starting over or by leaving a mistake?

Well, who says it's and either/or situation? There's a way to fix most anything, and I've found it. The hard way.

But this weekend, when I was chugging away on the second sock (I don't have second sock syndrome; in fact, I usually whip through the second sock double time) and this happened:

Okay, I'm used to holes from all sorts of causes in my sock heels. But, what's this? A pucker? How can there be a pucker? There just can't be a pucker. I saw this kind of lump thing in my heel, but chose to knit on. There was no hole, so surely nothing was messed up and this thing would straighten itself out as I knit.


An inch later, there was still a pucker. I tinked. Really, I tinked an inch of 76 sts and tried again. As I knit on, I checked my heel. Pucker. How could this be? What new kind of torment had I invented that I apparently could not refrain from repeating? What on earth could make a heel pucker - twice. I couldn't leave this thing - I'm not princess, but I hate wrinkles in my socks, never mind lumps. This heel had to come out - I'd take it all the way out and start over. No more puckers!

No way I was going to frog the whole sock for a lumpy heel. I got out a circular in a smaller diameter and carefully, slowly, threaded it through the last round before the heel started. I was very careful to pick up the second leg of the V of each stitch. It doesn't matter if it's the first or second leg, just that it's always the same one. I prefer even numbers for no reason whatsoever, so I chose the second leg.

Note: pick up means just slide your needle under the stitch - not pick up and knit!

Now I had two needles in one sock. I checked every stitch again. I checked to be sure I hadn't missed any - especially at the beginning/end of the round. Then, I took a deep breath and...

pulled out the needle and unravelled the stitches.

Finally, I ended up with this:

Now, in order to start my heel over, I needed to be sure that my knitting was set up properly - the needles parallel, points to the right, yarn attached to the first stitch on the back needle. If not, it's easy enought to set it right. It's a circular needle, so stitches easily slide from one end to the other. Look at your knitting and your working yarn and start slipping stitches around until they end up in their assigned places. It sounds much trickier than it is!

The coral working yarn is coming over from the back needle. Ready to go!

By the way, I finally figured out where the pucker came from to begin with. It's a short row heel and when I long rowed, I went too far on one row. Essentially, this method of long-rowing has you knitting across the heel and working the last heel stitch together with the first stitch of left-unworked stitches (the other side of the angle). I knit too far, crossing into the left behind stitches and then made my decrease. Pucker.

When I redid the heel the first time, I got another pucker. Another way. The decreases involve slipping a stitch, picking up a stitch in the row below the next stitch and then working these two stitches together. When I tinked, I didn't get the loop from the stitch in the row below back into the row below. Too many stitches smushed together gave me another lump.

Gave me fits trying to figure it out! But I fixed it.