Tag Archives: heel

Keeping it Chill

I’m keeping the pressure off, and I’m making headway… slowly. In the last week (when previous versions of me would have already finished an entire pair of socks), I’ve turned a single heel.

That’s right. I have taken a whole week to make a heel on a sock. Something I’ve done a million times and usually will take me no more than an episode (or maybe two) of whatever crime documentary I’m watching. I can’t even say I was using that time to make the sock leg longer, because, I didn’t add any length at all to the leg since the last time I told you about it. I could probably count the number of times I’ve made socks this short on one hand.

But, you know what, I’m kind of digging this length. It’s cute! I like the zig-zag pattern, too. I think it could be nice as an embellishment on the top of a long sock, or even a repeating pattern down the length of a sock. Who knows, maybe this’ll end up as a self-published pattern with options on the length. It’s been a minute since I’ve written up a pattern just for myself.

And, after all that grumping about how slow this sock is going, I just want to pause for a second and say: I love a slip-stitch heel. It’s so cute. It’s sturdy and attractive. I’ve seen people checkerboard the slips, which is nice enough, but I really like the faux-ribbing that happens when you stack them up. It’s definitely my favorite sock heel.

Are you working on anything currently?

Heel vs. Heel

Two heels enter, one heel leaves.

Dun, dun, duuuuun!

(OK, both heels leave, because I could never throw away knit socks- just take a peek into my sock drawer… about 1/3 of my hand-knits are ancient and full of holes, but I refuse to throw them away!  I worked hard on them, dang it!)

It’s been a while since I’ve switched up my sock game.  I’m a fan of a top-down, turned-heel sock.  I make my socks the same way almost every time, switching out the textures but keeping the construction the same.

Not that there’s anything wrong with my socks, or anyone else’s, for that matter.  There’s about as many ways to make socks as there are knitters.  I just happen to like making socks a certain way.

However, I decided to go crazy with my green socks, and go toe up!  And I decided to make a mitered heel!  Shocking! I know.

I love how they’re turning out- the toe was fun to do, and the mitered heel was so much simpler than my usual heel.

But look! See how much narrower the green sock is than the striped one?

I used the same kind of yarn, with literally the same needles.  Of course, the sock on the left has already been blocked, the the sock on the right is going to be a little narrower because of the cables.  But holy cow! I forgot how much narrower socks are without the nice gusset to accommodate the heel.

I haven’t been able to try the green sock on yet (I don’t want to lose all my stitches from off the end of my needles)… I hope it fits.

(If it doesn’t- someone with smaller feet than mine will be getting a pretty nice Christmas present.)

Do you ever try getting out of your knitting comfort zone?  What do you usually do?  What do you do to mix it up?

Design Process Series: Turning the Heel

OK, guys.  It’s time.  Time to turn the heel.

I remember my first pair of socks.  I got to the heel, took one look at the instructions, got scared and put it in the bottom of my WIP pile for about a year.

Let’s not do that.  Heels aren’t that scary.  It’s just some little short rows, and then next week, we’ll pick up some stitches.  No biggie.  (If you want a more detailed explanation, feel free to go back to my “Socks by the Numbers” series.)

This heel will be a basic short-row heel with a reinforced slip-stitch heel.  The slipped stitches will make the heel lovely and thick and squishy (which I think will fit well with the whole “warm and cozy” thing).  They’ll be perfect for wearing with your favorite pair of broken-in hiking boots. (Or while sitting on the couch with a cup of cocoa.)

Ready to start?  Great!

So far, we’ve been knitting in the round on 4 needles.  Now, we’ll be using just one needle, working back and forth as we work up the heel flap.

Join your CC and knit the next 24 (26, 28, 30) stitches onto a single needle.  You’ll have an extra needle.  Put this somewhere you won’t loose it.  We’ll need it later.  These 24 (26, 28, 30) stitches are your heel flap stitches, and we’ll only be working with these stitches today.  Turn your sock around and get ready to work back across your heel stitches.

  • Slip 1, then purl across.
  • (Slip 1, knit 1) across.

Repeat these two rows until the heel flap is 24 (26, 28, 30) rows long.  Finish with a purl row.


I couldn’t find a stitch marker, but you should have one right in the middle of the blue section.

Next, we’ll shape the heel cap.  (This is the part of the heel that gets nice and round.)

  • K12 (13, 14, 15) then place marker.  Then, K2, K2tog, K 1, wrap and turn.
  • P to marker, slip marker, P2, P2tog, P1, wrap and turn.


  • K to 1 before the wrap and turn gap, k2tog, k1, wrap and turn.
  • P to 1 before the wrap and turn gap, p2tog, p1, wrap and turn.

Repeat these last two rows until you have worked all heel flap stitches.  (On the last two rows, the math might not quite work out and you might not be able to do the last k1/p1, or the last wrap and turn.  Don’t worry about it!)  End with a purl row.


Break Contrast Color, and get ready to work the foot next week!

Sock Week: Pick-up artist

So, sorry dear readers, but today’s episode of sock week is going to be short and sweet.  I have to go make some emergency cakes*, so my knitting and blogging time is going to be cut short today.  (I know… woe is me, I have to go bake cakes.)

Anyway, today we’re going to do the set-up row for the foot part of the sock.  It’s a little fiddly, but not too difficult.  Much like the rest of making socks.

So, after turning the heel, your sock should look like this:


I’ve numbered the needles again, for your reference.

Knit to the end of needle 1


Then, still using needle 1, pick up and knit stitches equal to one quarter of your Sock Number from the side of your heel flap.  My Sock Number is 60, so I will pick up 15 stitches.  If you were careful with slipping the first stitch of each of your heel flap rows, you should actually have the proper number of spaces in which to pick up stitches.  (It’s hard to explain, but once you try it, it will make sense.)

Picking up stitches is just like knitting, only you don’t need live stitches to start with.


Insert your needle where you want the stitch to go.


Wrap the yarn around your needle, just like you do when you knit.


And pull the stitch through.

If you haven’t done tried picking up stitches, this is a pretty good video.

When you get to the last picked-up stitch, pick up both the usual slipped stitch as well as the stitch below, then knit it as normal.  This will prevent your sock from having a little hole on the side.  If you skip this step, it’s not a big deal, but it makes a nicer finished product.


Knit needles 2 and 3 normally:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then, using your fifth needle, and continuing in the same direction around your sock, pick up and knit the same number of stitches up the other side of the heel flap.  If you want to do the fancy-pants no-holes pick-up, like on needle 1, do it at the beginning of this needle.


Then, using the same needle, knit the stitches from needle 4 as normal.

So, what you should end up with is:

Needles 1 and 4: A bunch of stitches, but both should have the same number of stitches.

Needles 2 and 3: Both of these should have stitches equal to a quarter of your Sock Number.


If you fold your sock in half, it should look kind of like this (quite sock-like, I think):


Next time, the gusset!

*Emergency Cakes-Cakes that one has to make at the last minute when your friend begs you to bring desserts for a fund raiser that is happening this evening.  Stressful, but tasty.

Sock Week: The Turn of the Heel

So, I don’t know about you, but my heel isn’t square-shaped, so we probably shouldn’t make our socks square-shaped, too.  To do this we’re going to “Turn the Heel.”  I got completely confused the first time I did this, so I’m going to do my best to help you through.  We can do it together!  Solidarity!

Anyway, “turning the heel” involves making short rows across the heel flap and throwing in some decreases as we go, to make the heel… well… heel-shaped.  The goal is to end up with a little round, cup-shaped heel.  “Short rows” are rows that are knit only partway across.  This lets you start building up 3-D structures, instead of just flat pieces.  Some people use short rows for things like puffy sleeves or fitted bust lines on sweaters, or faces on teddy bears etc.

OK, so get out your sock and follow along.  You’ll be starting from the marker at the back of the sock.

First, do this:  Knit 2, K2tog (left leaning decrease), knit 1, wrap and turn. (This video is a good tutorial for wrap and turn.  Ignore the part where she talks about hiding your wraps, though.  That’s more for sleeves or other things.  That doesn’t matter so much with heels.)

Your first row should look like this:


Turn the work and Purl to the marker.  Purl 2, P2tog, Purl 1, wrap and turn.

It should look like this:


Turn the work back to the knit side.  See where there is a gap from where you wrap and turned?  Knit until one stitch before the gap.  Knit the two stitches on either side of the gap together.  Knit 1, wrap and turn.


See how the k2tog closes up the gap so nicely?  (I haven’t done the last k1 or the wrap and turn yet):


Then, do the same thing on the purl side.  Purl until one stitch before the gap and purl the two stitches on either side together.  Purl 1, wrap and turn.


Keep on repeating these two rows:

-Knit to 1 before the gap, k2tog, k1, w&t

-Purl to 1 before the gap, p2tog, k1, w&t

You’ll work more and more stitches each row that you work.

When you get to a point where you can’t do another full repeat of the pattern, stop when you’re back at the marker, on the knit side.  Your heel should look like this:


We’re getting there!  Your sock is looking sockier and sockier!  (sockier [sok-EE-er]: adj. more like a sock)

On Friday we’ll pick up stitches to get set up for the gusset.

Sock Week: Getting Flappy

How’s your sock looking? Pretty tubular?  Now, you could just make a big tube and close it up at one end and say “Hey, It’s a sock!”  But I think foot-shaped socks are much better than tube-shaped socks.  They are more comfortable and more interesting to knit.

Here’s what you should have so far (I’ve numbered the needles for ease of discussion later):


Needles 1 and 4 are the back of the leg/heel/sole of the foot.  Needles 2 and 3 are the shin and the top of the foot.  The end of the row is between needles 1 and 4.

Set aside your fifth needle for now (don’t loose it, we’ll need it later).  Using needle 4, place a marker, and knit across needle 1.  You’ll have half your stitches on one needle, which you’ll work back and forth to create your heel flap.  It will look like this:


Using just this needle, work the heel flap back and forth, following the following rules:

  1. Work the heel flap back and forth, not in the round.  Do not knit any of the stitches on needles 2 or 3.
  2. Since we’re doing stockinet stitch back and forth, make sure to knit one row and purl one row.
  3. Every time you start a new row, slip the first stitch.  This makes a nice edge that will make it easier for us to pick up stitches later on.
  4. Your heel flap is done when you’ve worked rows equal to half your Sock Number. (My sock number is 60, so I’ll work 30 rows for my heel flap).

When you’re done, work back to the beginning of the round (in the middle of the row/where you put the stitch marker).  It should look like this:


Wednesday, we’ll turn the heel!