Friday, February 11, 2011

Socks Education Part 4.1: Taking Your Socks Life in a New Direction

The day you have been so nervous about is here.  You are about to turn a heel.  Don’t panic!  It won’t be that bad.  Pay attention to my instructions and we’ll get through this.

If you have finished your leg, your sock should look something like this.

In this basic crew sock, the heel flap and turn are worked in stockinette on two needles.  This means that you will knit one row, purl one row (in the round, you were knitting every row).  I use two DPNs to do this, but you could switch to regular needles if you wanted.

Because of there are three distinct steps, I’ve decided to do three posts, rather than just one.  Let’s really break it down.  We start with the heel flap.

The Heel Flap.  The heel flap is the first of the three heel sections.  It’s also the easiest.  The math to determine the number of  stitches is easy.  Divide the total number of stitches by 2.  For me, this number is 28 (56 total stitches divided by 2).

As a reminder, the heel flap is the part of your heel that extends from the right ankle, across the back of the foot/leg, to the left ankle, and from the ankle to the floor.

There are two tricks to the heel flap:
1.    Half of the heel flap stitches come from the right of the start of the round, and the other half come from the left of the start of the round.  Your first row will be knit from the center of these stitches.  Follow the instructions in the Heel Flap Chart below.
2.   You MUST slip the first stitch of every row (except Row 1).  I promise, you will hate yourself in the morning if you don’t slip that first stitch.   

Other than that, the heel flap is a breeze.  Just keep repeating to yourself, “Slip that first stitch.  Slip that first stitch.  Slip that first stitch. . .”

Heel Flap
_____ [number of cast on sts] ÷ 2 = _____ (number of heel flap sts)
The heel flap is worked on two needles
Row 1
([number of heel flap sts] ÷ 2)  = _____ (k sts for row 1)
Row 1 sts are knit from Needle #1; move remaining sts from Needle #1 to Needle #2
Row 2
Sl 1 st, Purl


([knit stitches from Row 1] - 1 = _____ (p sts for first part of row 2)

([number of heel flap sts] ÷ 2) = _____ (p sts for second part of row 2)
Always slip the first st of the row.  This is important!  
Row 2 sts are knit from Needle #3; move remaining sts from Needle #3 to Needle #2
You should now have two needles, each with half the number of sts you cast on
The sts on Needle #2 will be reserved until the gusset is worked.
Row 3 and All Odd-Numbered Rows
Sl 1 st, k to end
Row 4 and All Even-Numbered Rows
Sl 1 st, p to end
Repeat Rows 3 and 4
until heel flap measures
_____ [number of heel flap sts] ÷ _____ [sts per inch] =  _____ (length of heel flap)
End heel flap with a purl row

Starting at the beginning of the round, knit your Row 1 stitches from Needle #1. This is the only heel flap row that you do not start by slipping a stitch. You will have a couple of stitches left on Needle #1 which you can transfer to Needle #2.  These stitches will be reserved until we start work on the gusset.
I've knitted my 14 Row 1 heel flap stitches from Needle #1. 

For Row 2, turn your work, slip your first stitch, then purl to the end of the needle.  Purl your remaining Row #2 stitches from Needle #3.  Again, you will have a few leftover stitches which you can move to Needle #2 to reserve until we work on the gusset.

You can see in this picture, that I have slipped my first stitch and am purling starting with the second stitch.

I've slipped on stitch, purled to the end of the first needle, then purled my
After working Rows 1 & 2 of the heel flap, your sock will look like this.  The remaindered of the heel flap will be worked on the stitches on the bottom needle.  The stitches on the top needle will be reserved until we get to the gusset.
The heel flap should be square when it's finished. End the heel flap with a purl row.  

Of course, you slipped the first stitch on each row, right?  We’ll pick it up from here tomorrow when we will turn the heel. So far, it’s not so bad, right?

Pin It


Erica said...

Hi there!

I have *really* been enjoying this series on socks and I think it's wonderful! I'm just about ready to start my heel flap on my first sock, thanks in large part to your tutorial.

However, I do have a question because I'm confused about the heel flap..... I think I'm math-challenged or something....

Back at the cast-on part of this tutorial, your sock started with 56 stitches. 1/4 of those stitches (14 if my math is correct) are on Needle 1, 1/2 of those stitches (28) are on needle 2 and the remaining 1/4 (14 again) are on needle 3. Am I correct so far?

Now, for the heel flap, we'll need a total of 28 stitches. 1/2 from Needle #1 (14 sts) and 1/2 from Needle 3 (another 14sts). Which to my way of thinking is *all* of the stitches on needles 1 and 3.

Here's where I'm confused - it says in the steps above that 14 stitches have been knit from needle 1 and the remaining 4 stitches are moved to needle 2. BUT, if things have followed along correctly from my calculations above, there are only 14 stitches on needle 1 to begin with, so how the heck could there be 4 left to move to needle 2?

What have I missed? Clearly there's something wrong with my math! Help!

Thanks so much!

Sara vs. Sarah said...

Erica, sorry for the confusion! You are correct that you are knitting ALL stitches from needles 1 and 3.

I sometimes "even out" my stitches across the needles by moving some from needle 2 to needles 1 and 3 when I'm knitting the leg (I think it makes it easier). I think I was thinking about that when I wrote the instructions. I'm going to correct the post so as not to confuse others!.

Thanks for pointing this out and let me know if you need any other clarifications. Would love to see your socks when finished!

Erica said...

Thank you so much for clearing that up. I was wondering if I was losing my mind or something... :-)

I just need to knit another 1/2 inch of the leg and then I'll be ready to turn the heel. I'm feeling more confident about it now that I know I'm not nearly as math-impaired as I originally thought.

I'm looking forward to making it through my first heel and gusset. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thanks for being so attentive and for restoring my (limited) sanity!

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...