Quite some time ago I blogged about using my left hand to add weight/tension while knitting. At the time, I did that either by holding onto the sock just above the weights, or, while the heel fork was in place by putting my thumb in the crotch of the heel fork and applying pressure downward and inwards at about 45 degrees.
I usually leave the heel fork and weights in place while I knit the foot as well, then reposition them to knit the toe.
I gave up on that method ages ago but haven’t blogged on it. The problem with this method is that after or 8 pairs of socks in a row it gets painful to have my thumb wedged in there. And volume knitting is all about eliminating things, like pain, that get in the way.
This simple variation was the solution. I put my left hand right on the weight that hangs on the heel fork. Between my thumb and forefinger. I still push downwards and inwards with the same amount of pressure, but with no cramps.
In this picture I’ve also got my remaining fingers on the main weights. I do that if I have the ribbing lever attached to the inside of the cylinder. That lever makes enough of a difference that the heel fork doesn’t apply enough pressure to the stitches on top of it – and that includes the first few stitches from the short rows on the left side. That is enough difference to miss a stitch, or – more often – split the ply on a stitch which will then be a weak point in the sock.
Putting a little pressure on the main weights while still tending to the heel weight seems to eliminate that issue.
One could probably add more weights to the main heel weight and the main weights. But I prefer to use some pressure from my left hand as an alternative.
Over time I’ve developed a sense of tactile response from the knitting – I know how it ‘feels’ in my left hand when things are going correctly. I can tell the feel of even subtle changes in tension. And I can tell the feel of a missed stitch and a split ply stitch – well, most of the time.
So, in a way, my right hand is responsible for output (cranking), and my left hand is responsible for input.
And the circle is complete ;o)