This is a great one, knitters … the afterthought heel. The pattern is lovely: Hedera Helix Socks, a design from James Arnall-Culliford, co-creator of A Year of Techniques.
What does the name “Hedera Helix” mean? Read on.
Our fearless pattern designer shares a bit of his thinking about what we’re diving into this month:
Afterthought heels struck me as brilliantly clever the first time I came across them. There are so many options at a knitter’s disposal in terms of how you do the decreases, the yarn you use and so on. Furthermore, as someone who is hard on his socks, I love that, if you’re careful, the heels can be replaced.
The cables are adaptations of a couple of charts from Twisted Stitch Knitting by Maria Erlbacher. The book is a fascinating record of motifs and patterns from the Styrian Enns Valley in Austria. What I love is that the chart symbols are written in a different way from the one I’m used to, so it’s a bit like translating between languages.
I didn’t name the pattern until after the samples were knitted, but it was pretty straightforward. The combination of colour and interlinking pattern reminded me of the battle I had years ago to rid a shed of ivy. I think that it turned out that he ivy was actually the thing holding the shed up, but we won’t dwell on that. So that’s how I ended up with the Latin name for English ivy.
We’re knocked out by the elegance of these swirling motifs. The double helix is especially juicy for all us fans of, you know, DNA.
We like the way the pattern runs on the top and front. It means that each round of the leg has a bit of action and a bit of easy peasy stockinette.
Jen Arnall-Culliford’s video tutorial up top takes us through the clever steps that result in an elegant, tidy afterthought heel.