Little Lessons: The Very Versatile Short-Row Heel
Today we are talking sock knitting. That most portable kind of knitting—perfect for popping in your handbag (or do you say purse over the pond?) and working on when you get a few minutes here and there.
For most knitters, the biggest barrier to sock knitting is the heel. Today’s set of video tutorials guides you step-by-step through the process of working a short-row heel. I was tempted to subtitle this article “the only heel you’ll ever need” because it’s so very versatile. And simple to work—you’ll be moving round that heel-shaped corner with ease, before you know it!
Why is the short-row heel the only heel you’ll ever need? Well, it works perfectly whether you cast on your sock at the cuff, or at the toe. No matter which direction you approach from, this heel will snap into place. In these videos I’m working the Cuff-Down Socks pattern by Wendy Bernard from MDK Field Guide No. 11: Wanderlust.
Sit back, and let me walk you through it.
To knit a heel (once you have knit the cuff or foot as long as you like) you work across only half of your stitches. (The other half of the round will form your instep, and you can ignore those stitches for a while.)
Our first video tutorial shows you how to start working back and forth with a wrap and turn at each end. Those clever wrap and turns make sure that you don’t get holes in your heel before you’ve even worn your socks! And if you watch the video, I promise you can do them without breaking a sweat. The rows then get shorter as you go, and they start to create the wedge shape of your heel.
Your pattern will tell you when to stop working shorter and shorter rows, but essentially you just want a narrow-ish width on the final row in this section—it’s the part that will sit at the very back of your heel.
Working the Wraps
From this point on you will start to work rows that are longer each time. The video below will show you exactly what I mean, as well as how to work the double wrapped stitch. All these terms sound odd at first, but you will soon be into the swing of things!
And finally, once you’ve worked across all of your heel stitches, it’s time to resume knitting complete rounds. This video shows you first how to join heel and instep stitches (spoiler alert—it’s another wrap and turn!), and then how to return to knitting in the round.
I do hope that once you’ve watched all three parts of our Short-Row Heel video tutorial, you too will feel equipped to knit any sock your fancy!
Wishing you all very happy sock knitting!