You think you might like to try this argyle thing, mostly because the prospect of pirate socks finally makes you think you can swing amidships from the peak halyard, eh? You think you know how to do it, you've located a few sets of directions, but still, you wonder, how exactly does an argyle sock look while you're knitting it? How will you know if you're doing it correctly?
Boy, is this the post for you.
Once you've calculated your gauge and figured out your chart (leaving an long tail for sewing up with later), and knit your ribbing flat (because you know that experiment where I tried a in-the-round ribbing before the flat part? Eaten by sharks. The traditional way still rules! ), you knit the chart until you reach the point where you think you want your heel flap to begin. (psssst. You can see my little yarn gaps in this picture. I thought you'd be reassured to see that because it all gets sewn up in the end and no one's the wiser).
Because the seam goes up the center of the back, you take 1/4 of the stitches from either side and put them on holding thread, and continue on with the chart with the center half of the stitches until you like. At this point, it looks like this, especially if you haven't bothered to weave in any of the ends yet:
Should I mention that you can at any point weave in those ends? The diagonals are a great place to tuck them if there's one handy. I recommend doing this as soon as possible if you're particularly squeemish about the end weaving. Otherwise, the whole thing can be a bit overwhelming all at once at the end, and I wouldn't want that.
Fold the sock and sew up the seam with a ruthless mattress stitch. Do not cheat on your mattress stitch here. I know that you have cheated every other time you have used the mattress stitch because you have always gotten away with it. You will not get away with it here. Be tough and do it the right way. Pretend you're grafting. Pretend you're on a beach in Bermuda and you can only stay for as long as you are sewing the mattress stitch. If you stay long enough, the pool boy will bring you another Mai Tai.
Okay. See right there, where the diagonals look wonky? Where their logical intersection gets eaten by the seam? Don't do that. When you make your chart, add a selvedge stitch on either side and your sock won't look wonky like mine does.
When you have finished seaming, put the united heel flap stitches on a needle and
knit a normal heel flap.
Turn the heel and pick up the gusset stitches on one side.
Turn. You are looking at the wrong side of the work.
Purl the first two stitches together, and then purl normally down the gusset, across the heel stitches, and then pick up the gusset stitches on the other side. (I like to thread a needle through the stitches to be picked up so that the picking up can be worked as if they were live stitches.)
Knit the first two stitches together to get a left slanting decrease, and continue back and forth, decreasing at the beginning of every row, until the gusset is as long as the instep you have already finished knitting. Note that because you are knitting back and forth, that this is a opportunity to finally be able to use that reinforcing thread that comes in your sock yarn on the entire area of wear under that merciless heel of yours. I pick it up in with the center twenty stitches or so, and leave it behind as I continue up the sides of the gussets. You'll see what I mean when you try it.
View from the front . . .
View from the side:
When they match, put all the stitches on your needles and proceed in the round as if it were any other sock.
At any point in the knitting from now on, you can go back and sew up those little peek-a-boo openings. Again, be ruthless.
Doesn't seem so bad, does it? Now, where's that
halyard pool boy?