‘A Year of Handknit Socks’ – The Heel #octobervanillasocks

Hello lovely readers – I hope you’re all keeping well. October is racing by and I wondered how your #yearofhandknitsocks are coming along. Are you making good progress with your #octobervanillasocks?

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can read all about my sock-along here:
My Year of Handknit Socks

I’ve been really pleased that some of you have joined in too. Thanks for taking the time to share your sock progress over on Instagram and Ravelry.

How to join in:
Each month, you can knit your own socks, following the theme for that month and enter via Ravelry or Instagram. I will pick a winner from the entries for that month/theme only, and prizes will range from sock yarn, to books and accessories.

EITHER: Join my Ravelry group (link is at end of post) and add your finished socks to the discussion page for that month.

OR: Post on Instagram and use the hashtags #yearofhandknitsocks #lynnerowe together with the hashtag for that specific month (for October, the hashtag is #octobervanilla socks). Also tag me @the_woolnest.

I will then be able to search for the hashtags and at the end of each month I will pick a winner at random. Prizes will vary from month to month and I will pay postage costs. If you enter on both Instagram and Ravelry, it will count as two entries (which means more chance of winning, yippee).

I’m using my own sock pattern called “Lynne’s Perfect Socks” which you can download from Ravelry for free. 

Lynne’s Perfect Socks on Ravelry

My progress is good. I have completed one sock and I’m working on the heel of the second sock, so I’m confident that I’ll have them finished over the next week.

I really love the texture of a slip stitch heel – can you see how much it differs from stocking stitch? The long stitches are created by slipping the stitch instead of knitting it, which leaves a little strand of yarn sitting across the back of your knitting (on the wrong side). This lifts the stitch up slightly too, to create a ridged texture. The loop sitting on the wrong side also creates a thicker fabric, which is perfect for a heel as it won’t wear through too quickly.

Here is the heel from the wrong side, showing the loops of yarn:

I’ve written up my tutorial below for my simple heel flap and turn, which may help if you haven’t knitted socks before.

My Simple Heel Flap and Turn:
For socks knitted on 56 [60] [64] [68] [72] sts.
When you have finished knitting your leg (see my post here), you can remove the stitch marker that you were using to mark the beginning of the round, as you no longer need it.

Now continue to work in rows for the heel (which is worked on half of your stitches). I use 2 double-pointed needles (dpns) for my heel.

Row 1: K14 [15] [16] [17] [18], turn. 
Row 2: P28 [30] [32] [34] [36], turn. 

Slip remaining sts onto 1 spare dpn (or leave them on your short circulars – this is what I do). These stitches are the front (instep) stitches. Ignore these stitches whilst you work the heel.

Now work back and forth in rows on these 28 [30] [32] [34] [36] sts only for the heel, using 2 dpns. 

It is also important to slip the stitches as stated – either knitwise (inserting needle as if to knit) or purlwise (inserting needle as if to purl).
Row 3: Slip the first st knitwise, k1, *slip the next st purlwise (keeping yarn at back), k1; repeat from * to end, turn.

Row 4: Slip the first st purlwise (with yarn at front), then purl every st to end, turn.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4, a further 11 [12] [13] [14] [15] times.

You will notice that where you slip the stitches on the right side rows, that there is a small strand of yarn sitting across the back of the slipped stitch. 
This creates a double layer of yarn, and a thick fabric for the heel. It has a ridged on the right side, created by the slipped stitches.

After completing the straight rows of the heel, you will have a rectangular shaped heel. You will now ‘turn’ or ‘shape’ the heel, which is easier that it may sound. This will shape the base of the heel so that it fits nicely around your heel.

Shape heel

Row 1: Slip 1 st knitwise, k15 [16] [17] [18] [19], skpo, k1, turn.

 Row 2: Slip 1 st purlwise, p5, p2tog, p1, turn. 
Note: there is a gap between the stitches already knitted and the stitches waiting to be worked (near to my fingers) – use this as a marker for the following rows. 

 Row 3: Slip 1 st knitwise, k to 1 st before the gap, skpo, k1, turn.

Row 4: Slip 1 st purlwise, p to 1 st before the gap, p2tog, p1, turn. 

Repeat the last 2 rows until all stitches have been used up. 16 [18] [18] [20] [20] sts remain. 

Note: on the last 2 rows for some sizes, you will miss off the k1 or p1 at the end of each row.

Your heel will be ‘turned’ and you have worked short rows to do this. Short rows create a curve in your knitting.

And that’s your heel completed. I have slipped the instep stitches from my short circulars to a spare dpn, so that I have my short circulars at the ready to pick up my instep stitches. My next tutorial will cover how to pick up the stitches and the instep/gusset shaping.
As always, I will refer you also to Winwick Mum’s blog (link at end of post), because Christine is the ‘font of all knowledge’ on handknit socks and has a full series of tutorials and downloads, whereas I’m just showing you how I make my own vanilla socks.

I’m enjoying my yarn so much, and also looking forward to casting on my next pair, but I must be patient and finish my first pair!!!

Here are all the links mentioned above:

Join my Ravelry Group to enter your self striping socks

Christine Perry (Winwick Mum): Basic Socks (Ravelry)

Winwick Mum website

Black Elephant online shop
Lynne Rowe: Lynne’s Perfect Socks (Ravelry)

Happy heel knitting,

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One Comment

  1. Super clear tutorial Lynne. I am flying along with my vanilla socks. Almost onto the toe of #1 and finished the heel of #2. Looking forward to having a new pair of socks. Winter is coming!

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