Sock Saturday- knitting the heel
Ok, so now you have your sock(s) and you’ve knitted to the required number of inches before the end of the foot. Now it’s time to increase for the gusset.
This works in the same way as increasing for the toe, but only on one side (and make sure that you don’t accidentally increase on the front…)
Again, the pattern calls for Kf&b, but I personally prefer M1R and M1L, as they produce a nice straight line. So feel free to replace the line Gusset round 1 needle 2 with K1, M1R, knit to last stitch, M1L, K1. I would suggest putting in an open/lockable stitch marker so you can easily keep track of how many stitches you’ve increased.
Now that my camera is fixed, I can show you how to M1R and M1L (after I’ve finished this, I’m going to edit the other post to include instructions). Firstly, M1R:
See the blue bar between stitches here?
You need to pick it up *from back to front* with the left needle
and then knit into that as if it were a normal stitch. It can be quite tight to do that, sometimes I find it easier to use the right needle to pull the slack to the front and then knit it, but do whatever helps you the most 🙂
Now for the M1L: knit to the last stitch
Now the bar between stitches is yellow, and this time we’re going to pick it up *from front to back*, again with the left needle
Now you need to knit into the back of the stitch (again, I use the needle to pull some of the give over to the back to make it easier).
You only need to increase every other row, and so the row after increasing you won’t be. After an increase row, your increases will look like this
and this is the row you won’t increase on. It also feels tighter than a standard knit stitch.
After all the increases, it’s time to move onto the short rows and wraps and turns.
On the knit side, you work wraps by bringing the yarn to the front, slipping the next stitch from left to right, taking the yarn to the back and returning the stitch to the left needle. Here you can see the yellow stitch on the left needle has been wrapped (in blue.) You now turn the work around and start purling, including purling the first stitch.
On a purl row, you take the yarn to the knitted side of the work, slip the stitch, bring the yarn back again, and slip the stitch back
Then you are ready to turn the work and start knitting again.
I always find this section to be really difficult to keep track on what row I’m on, and how many stitches I’ve done on that row. Therefore, I’ve noticed a really cool trick:
This is a photo of the second knitted wrapping row. It’s at the point when you’re about to pick up a stitch, knit 1 and wrap the next one. You’re 5 stitches from a ‘gap’, and when it’s all done, there will be 3 stitches between ‘gaps’. This happens every time, so, rather than keep track of how many stitches I’ve knitted, and how many I need to knit, I just keep track of how far away I am from a ‘gap’, and work from there. Also, when you’ve done all the wrapping, there should be 4 wraps on either side, so, on the last purl row, before you wrap, there should be 3 gaps. I find counting those much easier than trying to keep track on what row you’re on! (Also, count your stitches. Even using these tricks, it’s still very easy to forget to pick up stitches/whatever and then be off by 1 or 2 stitches.)
Next, you have to pick up and knit the wraps with the stitches. This is a stitch which was wrapped on the knit side. Insert the needle from bottom to top of the wrap, and then the stitch
The bright red stitch further down the needle is the wrap, the darker one is the stitch. Now you can knit these together, just as you would for k2tog.
For the purl wrapped stitches
you need to put the wrap (green) onto the left needle with the stitch it’s wrapping (yellow).
You can then, as before, basically just k2tog.
The heel flap is worked flat, with decreases on either side to include the stitches you created in the gusset. The two sides look like this
On the right-side (knit) rows, you are told to do a slip stitch pattern. This is to make the fabric denser, as it will have more wear-and-tear forced upon it by shoes. It can be quite easy to accidentally knit 2 stitches, and then throw the pattern off by a stitch, and this doesn’t really matter, but for those who care, a quick way of checking to see if you’re knitting the right stitches is by looking at the work
Some of the columns stand out more than others. In particular, the column of the stitch first on the left needle stands out. This is a stitch you need to slip. The ‘hidden’ columns are knitted. You can start to see this pattern appear right from the first row of slip stitch knitting, but it is harder to photograph, so this is after a few rows.
When you’ve finished assimilating all the side stitches into the heel flap, you’ll still have one more stitch on the right, like this (ignore the stitches on the stitch marker, I was fudging stuff)
This stitch is the last stitch to get included into the heel flap, and will be done almost as an afterthought. Don’t fudge this one, you’ll get a whole because the two bits (the main sock and the heel flap) are almost two separate parts, and they won’t play nicely together without it.
So, that’s the heel flap done! Now, the leg. If you’re doing a pattern, do it all over the leg now, not just the front. Otherwise, do more stocking stitch. Unless you want particularly short or long socks, a good rule of thumb is about the same as the foot. I knit 4 inches, and this is what it looks like
Next week, I will be talking about the ribbing and cast off. See you then!