When in November it suddenly and inexplicably seemed like a good idea to attempt to make 2 scarves, 2 hats and a pair of socks in 5 weeks flat before Christmas, I knitted my dad some socks. Now, Dad likes long socks, so to get the most sock possible from my random self-striping German sock yarn (not Regia but similar), I clearly had to go toe-up for the first time ever. However, Dad also has the family high instep, which makes short-row heels just a bad idea if you ever want to actually get the sock on your foot. So, me being me, I figured out a way to make a standard top-down heel-flap-and-gusset sock completely backwards.
And me being me being a complete and total muppet, I didn’t write it down before I gave the socks away.
Nowhere. Nada. Nix.
So when I tried to use the same method again for my Colinette Jitterbug socks, pain ensued. With the frogging of the socks and the banging of the head on the coffee shop table. That kind of pain.
But now, after many many attempts, I have not only reconstructed my original improvised method for turning the heel, I have also written it down. Hurrah! And tested my own instructions by following them when I made the 2nd sock of the pair. W00t. Pass the cheesecake. Etc.
The instructions now exist on the back of a scratty piece of paper. Which due to inherent muppet-ness is likely to end up recycled once I finish the socks, with the instructions still on it. So in the interests of forestalling future concussion, here it is, without (much) further ado:
Purplesteph’s Toe-Up Gusset & Heel-Flap Heel.
These instructions assume that you are making a pair of toe-up socks using 2 circular needles – but the instructions are easily adaptable to dpns or Magic Loop.
k = knit; p = purl; sl = slip next stitch purlwise; w&t = wrap and turn (slip next stitch purlwise, bring yarn between needles, slip stitch back so that the yarn has been wrapped around it, then turn work); kfb = knit into front and back of stitch; pfb = purl into front and back of stitch; p2tog = purl next 2 stitches together; ssk = slip next 2 stitches separately knitwise, insert left needle tip into front of both stitches, and knit them together.
When you have knitted the foot of your sock to the desired length (approx. 2 inches less than the total length of your foot to the back of the heel), create a gusset on Needle 2 by increasing on alternate rounds as follows: kfb, k until 2 stitches remain on needle, kfb, k. (K all Needle 2 stitches in the non-increase rounds. For Needle1, continue in sock pattern the whole of the gusset.)
To work out how many increase rounds you need to do, decide how many rows you will want in your heel flap – 30 is a good number, but you may know that you need more. Also, calculate how many stitches you want for the cap of the heel as follows:
Take the number of sole stitches (before increasing) on Needle 2, and halve it.
- If the total is an odd number and a half, add 1.5 to it. IE 31 sole stitches, halves to 15.5, + 1.5 = 17.
- If the total is an even number and a half, add 2.5 to it. IE 33 sole stitches, halves to 16.5, +1.5 = 19.
- If the total is an even number, add 2 to it. IE 32 sole stitches, halves to 16, + 2 = 18.
- If the total is an odd number, add 3 to it. IE 30 sole stitches, halves to 15, +3 = 18.
The resulting number is how many stitches you will need to start the heel cap.
The total number of stitches you will need on Needle 2 after completing the gusset increases will be [heelflap stitches] + [heel cap stitches].
K half the number of heelflap stitches (Side 1). Slide these stitches onto Needle 1 or a piece of waste yarn while you work the heel cap. From the other end of Needle 2, slide the remaining heelflap stitches (Side 2) onto Needle 1 or a piece of waste yarn. Work heel cap over the remaining central stitches only.
Row 1: k, kfb, k until 2 stitches remain, w&t
Row 2: sl1, pfb, p until 2 stitches remain, w&t
Row 3: sl1, kfb, k until 3 stitches remain, w&t
Row 4: sl1, pfb, p until 3 stitches remain, w&t
Row5: sl1, kfb, k until 4 stitches remain, w&t
Row 6: sl1, pfb, p until 4 stitches remain, w&t
Continue as set, leaving 1 more stitch unworked at the end of the row each time, until the total number of stitches in the heel cap equals the orignal number of stitches in the sole of the foot.
Next Row: sl1, k across until 1 stitch remains on left needle, picking up wraps as you go – when you reach a wrapped stitch, slip it knitwise, then pick up the wrap with the point of the left needle. Slip the wrap knitwise, then insert the left needle point into the front of both the stitch and its wrap, and knit them together. Slide the stitches for Side 2 back onto Needle 2 from the other needle or waste yarn. Ssk the last heel cap stitch and first side stitch. Turn work.
Next Row: sl1, p across until 1 stitch remains on left needle, picking up remaining wraps as you go – when you reach a wrapped stitch, slip it purlwise, then pick up the wrap with the point of the left needle. Slip the wrapped stitch back to the left needle, then p2tog with the stitch and its wrap. Slide the stitches for Side 1 back onto Needle 2 from the other needle or waste yarn. P2tog the last heel cap stitch and first side stitch. Turn work.
Row 1: [sl1, k1] to last heel cap stitch, ssk with next side stitch, turn.
Row 2: p to last heel cap stitch, p2tog with next side stitch, turn.
Repeat these 2 rows until all side stitches have been incorporated into the heel flap. You should have the same number of stitches on Needle 2 as you had on the sole of the sock, before working the gusset increases. Final Row: sl1, k across all remaining stitches on Needle 2.
Heel is now finished – Ta da!