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SOCKS Class:
Lesson Two


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Well here we all are. We have our sock leg all knit down to where the heel should start.

Before I get started on this, let me talk about the concept of the short row heel.

Those of you who have never made a heel will have the easiest time following this pattern. Those of you who have made heels with "flaps"....try to forget what you used to do.

You are going to make a heel that looks JUST LIKE the heel you see in machine made socks...you know...the white cotton ones you buy at Walmarts. It is called a short row heel, because it is made entirely by short rowing (that is...knitting and purling back over only part of the row). This makes a "pocket" of fabric. The pocket can be rounded or pointed depending on how far you work your short rows. This heel is VERY adjustable. It has some limits, which we will all hear about from veteran sock knitters, but it is pretty straightforward and very easy to plug unto ANY sock pattern you are doing as it always fits well once you know your own foot's special needs. This first heel will look like hell. Get over that right now and relax into the learning process. You can always rip it out later and do it again if you are so inclined. Everyone gets to whine once. Choose your timing very carefully.

It is commonly worked over half the stitches you need around for the foot. So....if you have a 60 st sock...your heel is worked on 30 sts...a 46 st sock...your heel is worked on 23 sts...and so on.

I came across this heel style in an old Brunswick knitting leaflet the same year my knitting friend Teddy taught it to me. I have added my own tweaking. Please feel free to continue in that vein to get it to suit you.

"" "" denotes what the pattern is saying

""HEEL:
At 8 inches (or whatever) you are now at the back of the heel: Get 2 markers ready that are DIFFERENT from each other and your beginning of the round marker.
Place markers as follows: LM after Stitch 8(9,10,11,12,13) and RM after stitch 24(27,30,33,36,39).""

You need to place the markers BEFORE you begin working any stitches. designate one as Left Marker, and one as Right Marker. Write this down so if you get confused you can refer back. The LM denotes the edge of the left side of the heel....the RM denotes the edge of the right side of the heel. Working on a circular needle means you have to rely on your marker colors/shapes to keep you knitting where you need to be.

You can abandon the beginning of the round marker if you would like. It makes the knitting easier if it isn't on the needle. If you can mark the STITCH with a safety pin and let it stay back and out of the way, you might appreciate knowing that spot in the heel once you get to the foot (useful if you are doing color work)

""You will be making the heel working back and forth using short rows on HALF the stitches on your needle. The other half will stay quietly waiting until mid way through the heel shaping.""

This means......before you make the FIRST STITCH of the heel, you are at X(B = beginning of the round) .........you will work to LM........then turn your work around after executing a SRW, and work towards RM on the inside of the sock (purl side) RIGHT PAST POINT X...when you get to RM, you will execute a SRW, turn your work around and work towards LM on the outside (knit side)...and the cycle continues. IN THIS MANNER, you will work across one LESS stitch with each short row you work, so the lengths of the rows change
(diagram removed for HTML)

IN THIS MANNER (also...CONTINUE IN THIS MANNER...and CONTINUE AS ABOVE....also CONTINUE AS IN PRECEDING DIRECTIONS ) is one very interesting knitting direction. It means "as" or "like" but not always "exactly as" or "exactly alike". It confuses knitters who are new to directions. In this pattern, it means...you will follow the spirit of the directions, but the actual stitches and numbers will change continually. This is the spiritual part of knitting. This is where Elizabeth Zimmerman teaches people to Let Go. This is where you get a glass of wine and just do and discover What Happens. Taking notes along the way really helps you grasp what you did.

OK. Let's start the knitting

""Row 1: k across to 1 (one) st before LM, srw the next st and turn to work back.
Row 2: p across to 1 (one) st before RM, srw the next st and turn to work back.
Row 3: k across to 2 sts before LM, srw the next st and turn to work back.
Row 4: p across to 2 sts before RM, srw the next st and turn to work back.""

OK....if you have never short row wrapped a stitch before, it seems very confusing. It isn't. All you are doing is wrapping your WORKING YARN (which comes from the top stitch on the right point of your circular needle) around the BASE of the top stitch on the left point of your circular needle. That's it. You could easily just do this with your fingers. The written instructions with all the slipping of stitches and reversing of the yarn's placement just spells the whole process out for you.

""Continue as above working across one less st each row until there are 6 (6,6,8,8,8) sts left unwrapped at the center of the heel sts. Make sure the last row you work is a purl row.""

If you are mathematically inclined, you can work out all the rows and numbers of the heel at this point. This is the process.....

16 sts on the heel (these are the smallest sock size) means you will work your short rows back and forth until there are 6 sts left at the center of the heel that do NOT have a wrap on them. This means that 16-6 sts DO. That's 10 sts.........and with half emanating from the LM and half emanating from the RM.......that means you went back and forth, or short rowed, 10 times.
To make the knitting very easy to keep track of......you can take your pattern, and write ROWS 1-10 on it, and check off each one as you do it.

You have made 1/2 of your heel! It should look funny. It is a triangular protrusion of fabric.

OK. We are ready to do something different. Change gears and pay attention.

""TURNING POINT OF HEEL:
Get a 4th marker ready
Round 1: Turn and knit across your 6 (6,6,8,8,8) sts, place a marker ON the next st and continue knitting across heel stitches to LM.""

At the Turning Point, you will BRIEFLY stop working short rows. You will work IN THE ROUND again as follows:

You will knit across the wrapped stitches that you have been careful NOT to before. (The wrapped bumps you knit across will make a diagonal slash in the appearance of the stitch and leave slight holes. If you hate these, learn to pick up the loop of the wrap ALONG WITH the stitch it is wrapping and knit them both together as one. Some people make a whole career out of getting these slashes to go away. I'm not one of them, so if this is your first sock....ignore the bumps and just knit merrily across all next stitches till you get to the LM.)

Then...

""Slip LM. Pick up yarn in the row below between next 2 sts, twist it, and place it on the right needle.""

These directions will call for some intuition on your part. The object of this is to fill in any gap that wants to appear in the "side corners" of your heel. This is the least positive part about this heel. It can gap. Pick up some loose looking wayward yarn to help lesson the problem. Some people make a career out of filling in that gap. Let me know if I can add your name to theirs.

Then.........

""Knit across to st before RM.""

This is working over stitches that have not been worked on since before you started the heel!

Then.......

""Pick up yarn in the row below between next 2 sts, twist it, and place it on the right needle. Slip RM.""

OK......you did that before just after the LM, so do it again.

Then.......

""Knit across heel sts to before 4th marked st.""

Remember......you are knitting across wrapped stitches here.....if you want to get those diagonal slashes to disappear...you have to pick up the wrap and knit it together with the stitch it is wrapping!

""Round 2: Knit all the way around all needles again and back to before 4th marked st.""

One complete round is worked from the 4th marker , around in knit, until you reach the 4th marker again.

OK.....time to change gears again! We are going to do what we did on the first half of the heel....but IN REVERSE. We will work OUTWARDS from the center of the heel (over those 6 or 8 center of the heel sts) TOWARDS the LM and RM, by working over one MORE stitch per row until we get to those markers. As you work, you will find yourself having to pick up a wrapped stitch on EVERY row (if you are doing that), so pay attention. Now, by this point, many folks are dizzy (after all, this COULD BE their first short row heel!), so I put in the starting numbers. Circle the ones for your size, and take a minute to write down the rest of the short rows you will be working. For our smallest size...we will recall that there were 10 rows to be worked over until we reached the center of the heel, so that means the same 10 rows again back to the RM and LM.

""REVERSE HEEL SHAPING:
SRW 4th marked st, turn:
Row 1: P across 6 (6,6,8,8,8) sts, SRW, turn.
Row 2: k across 7 (7,7,9,9,9) sts, including the stitch that you SRW'ed before, SRW, turn.
Row 3: p across 8 (8,8,10,10,10) sts, including the stitch that you SRW'ed before, SRW, turn.
Row 4: k across 9 (9,9,11,11,11) sts, including the stitch that you SRW'ed before, SRW, turn.
Continue in this manner until you reach first the LM , all heel sts have been worked, and you finish with a SRW at the end of a purl row. Turn""

Your heel is done, done, done!

OK......you are at the FOOT part and the knitting gets really easy.., but before you go off mindless putting inches on this sock before I catch my breath, you need to help tighten up those gappy "corners" of the heel that I complained about before (see...I got in MY whine). I think there is a typo in the original pattern........so I added in a "together (tog)" below. At 2 spots(LM and RM)......you need to knit 2 sts together to get rid of 2 sts total.

""FOOT: Work in the round
Round 1: k around, decreasing 2 sts by knitting 2 sts tog at 2 places ....one at the LM and one at the RM. Make RM your beginning of the round, and remove all other markers.
Round 2 and all the rest: k around for the length of the foot minus 2".""

How do you measure this sock's knitted foot length? From the back of the heel.......right where the heel is done turning its 90 * angle to the stitches still on the needle.



This material ©2000 Claudia Krisniski