Sock Heel: Different Approach?

Asbjörn's picture

I am working on Tim's Easiest-in-the-World,
Infinitely-Adaptable, Toe-Up Socks. This is my first pair of socks and so far so good though I do have a problem with the heel (prepare yourself for the run-on sentence from hell). The heel is created by removing the set number of stitches (in my case 20 sts.) to waste yarn to work later, making up for the lost ankle/leg stitches with a reverse loop cast-on, finishing the ankle/leg and then returning to complete the heel by moving the stitches on the waste yarn to two DPNs, and picking up the same amount of stitches from the bottom of the reverse loop cast-on (start of the ankle/leg), onto two more DPNs and then working the ankle. Well, I understood the instructions just fine but instead of picking up my stitches entirely from the cast-on area I should, perhaps have picked one or two up from the sides as I now have an ugly little hole on each corner of the heel. This made me think of a different way of going about the heel and I was wondering if you guys have ever done it this way.

I thought of the way mitten thumbs are sometimes made (I think EZ calls it the "thumb trick". Has anyone ever tried it with a sock heel? What it would entail is knitting the area where the heel hole will go and switching to waste yarn for the required heel stitches (in my case 20 sts.), then picking up the working yarn and knitting as usual. When it's time to do the heel, all I would need to do is remove the waste yarn and catch those 40 stitches onto my DPNs and off I go. It seems to me that this would keep my work more "in gauge" and could avoid the holes at the corner. Is there any reason this wouldn't work?

potterdc's picture

As Mario says, these little

As Mario says, these little holes are a bane that many knitters complain about. I've heard two tricks for solving this - the first is to knit into the back of the two stitches on either side of where the hole would be, thus tightening things up a bit. The second is the one that's been mentioned and has become my mainstay - simply picking up an extra stitch then knitting 2 tog next time around. It works for me.

So, were Tim's Easiest-in-the-World, Infinitely-Adaptable, Toe-Up Socks really easy? It seems from your description to be rather complicated, but maybe that was the run on sentence!!! :-)


Think less, enjoy it more.

Asbjörn's picture

I would say that the socks

I would say that the socks are easy for a toe-up sock pattern being knitted by someone who has never knitted a single sock. I'm sure there are ways that are simpler but with less attractive results or much more afterwork (grafting, going back to create a toe etc.). I especially like this pattern because the formula seems to be quite accurate. The size of the sock on which I am presently working absolutely matches the size of my "Hanes" socks I wear every day.

KilgoreTrout's picture

I was once doing a string of

I was once doing a string of baby socks and had to deal with the inevitable little hole in the heel... My solution involved combining a few different techniques... picking up an extra stitch and immediately knitting it together with another... something about encroaching as well... but alas the file is no where to be found. Experiment around! Worse case scenario - you sew it shut at the end, which looks just fine!

Asbjörn's picture

Thanks guys! It seem that

Thanks guys! It seem that for this pair I will be either ripping out the already completed heel (I'm not on sock #2 just yet) and picking up side stitches and if that doesn't solve the holes I will darn them. I think the next pair I knit I may try the thumb trick, since I never had trouble with holes in mitten thumbs.

ronhuber's picture

Elizabeth Zimmermann suggest

Elizabeth Zimmermann suggest putting 2/3 of the stitches on spare thread and then picking them up and working a sock toe on those stitches. Check out page 102 of "Knitting Without Tears". I have done it and it means that you can take that part out and reknit the heel when the time comes. It is quite handy. And, yes, you do have to fiddle with an extra stitch at each end and knit into the back of it at the corners. I do that with every heel I make no matter what kind and it always gets rid of that little hole. Buena suerte.

scenter's picture

Yes, you can reduce/remove

Yes, you can reduce/remove the hole at the gusset by picking up a stitch there (I have heard it called by some the gusset trick). In some newer patterns it's called for by the designer, in others you can add it yourself to get a smaller hole. Another fix is to darn it closed on the inside of the sock after you are finished knitting the sock. The heel you are making sounds like a variation on the 'afterthought' heel.

In an afterthought heel you get to the position of the heel and knit the required number of heel stitches in waste yarn, turn your work, and knit (or purl) back to the working yarn, turn your work again and start on your ankle/leg if working toe-up, or your ankle/foot if top-down, using your working yarn as if the waste yarn wasn't there. After the 'tube' sock is finished, you remove the waste yarn, and p/u the stitches to DPNs and knit your heel - typically with short rows.

Hope that helps

Asbjörn's picture

Thanks. Are there any

Thanks. Are there any measures I should take to avoid/lessen the obviousness of said holes?

MMario's picture

None whatsoever -- but be

None whatsoever -- but be warned - those little holes at the corners are a problem people experience with many types of heels.