Friday, June 24, 2011

Turning the Heel, my way

When I first started knitting socks, I became anxious about the heel.  Most patterns are similar, but not exactly the same.  This required reading and re-reading the pattern, trying to make sense of something I thought quite complicated.  I'm self taught, after all.  That's to say, I had no one by my side, leading me in the right direction.  Thanks to YouTube videos and the various blogs I frequented, socks became one of my favorite things to knit.  My first few pairs were less than wearable, to say the least.

I created a formula for turning the heel, and it has worked out well for nearly every pattern....of course, after the heel, I return to the pattern I'm using to complete the sock.

This formula assumes you have 32 stitches on one of your double point needles.  The other 2 double points should have 16 stitches each.  This can be altered by moving stitches from one needle to another, for the purpose of the heel, and adjusted back again to complete the pattern.

Begin by creating a heel flap:  WS: slip 1, purl across remaining 31 stitches, turn, slip 1, k 1, slip 1, k 1...continue across RS, turn.
Repeat back and forth, purling WS, and slip/knit RS until the desired length. 

The length of the heel flap should be 1 1/2 inches if your heel is small or narrow, 1 3/4 inches, if your heel is average and your instep isn't too high, 2 inches if you have a large or wide heel and/or your instep is higher than average.  The longer the heel flap is, the more room you'll have between the bottom of your foot and the top of your may take a few socks to find your perfect "heel flap length", but remember, most sock patterns tell you to make the heel flap a certain number of rows, or a certain length, and this will make all the difference in your sock, my advice is to know what works for you.

The next adjustment can be made for the width of the heel (chubby heels?) or (narrow heels?).  After the heel flap is complete, you should be on the RS of your work, slip 1, knit across to the mid-point of the heel flap (16 stitches, right?) knit 2 more stitches * (for narrow), then proceed as follows:
   RS  ssk, k1, turn
   WS slip 1, purl to mid-point, then purl 2 more stitches,** p2 together, p 1, turn
   RS  slip 1, knit to 1 stitch before the gap (you'll see a space between stitches), ssk, k 1, turn
   WS slip 1, purl to 1 stitch before the gap, purl 2 together, p 1, turn

Continue in this manner, until all the stitches have been worked on the heel flap, and you're ready to pick up stitches along the side of the flap.

*  If you are knitting socks with a larger heel, this can be changed to 3 stitches.  Just remember, you must change the WS to correspond, by purling 3 stitches, prior to **

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