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  • Short Row Heel Sock Pattern
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Short Row Heel Sock Pattern

Courtesy of the one and only Tanya who's teaching to a packed house this Saturday!

Yarn – You can use pretty much any yarn that strikes your fancy, depending on how thick you want your socks. Fingering or sport weight yarns are a traditional weight to use. I like DK and light worsted, especially for winter boot socks.

Needles – This is another area of flexibility. A general rule of thumb is to use needles 2 sizes smaller than recommended on the label. You want to use needles that will provide a sturdy, dense fabric.

Gauge – This will vary. You’ll need to know your stitch and row gauge with your particular yarn and needles.

Here’s a chart with some general yarn weights, common needle sizes for knitting socks with that weight yarn, and general gauge number. These numbers are general guides – yours may be quite different.

Yarn Weight

Needle Size

Gauge

Fingering

0 or 1 ( US)

8 – 10 stitches/inch

Sport

2 (US)

7 – 9 stitches/inch

DK

3 (US)

6 – 8 stitches/inch

Worsted

4 (US)

6 – 7 stitches/inch

Now, you might want to know how much yarn you’ll need. That will depend on the yarn type, the needle size you select, the leg length of the sock, and the size of the foot you’ll be knitting for. General yardages are listed in the table below:

Yarn Weight

Child

Woman

Man

Fingering

300

450

550

Sport

250

375

450

DK

200

350

400

Worsted

175

325

375


So it’s time to measure your foot! You’ll need a few different measurements, so be prepared to write them down.

1. Length of foot from toe to heel: inches

2. Circumference of foot (right before the toes): inches

3. Circumference of shin (about midway up): inches

4. Desired height of sock (floor to mid-shin or so): inches

Now for your gauge numbers:

Stitches per inch: Rows per inch:

There’s a little bit of math involved, but nothing too bad. Because this is a customizable pattern, you’ll need to fill in the numbers that apply to your situation based on the materials you’re using and the measurements you’ve taken.

1. Multiply your number of stitches per inch by the circumference of the foot.

X =

This is the number of stitches you’ll need to cast on. If you’re planning to do a ribbed cuff, you’ll need to make sure this is a multiple of 2 (for 1x1 ribbing) or 4 (for 2x2 ribbing).

2. Loosely cast on stitches. Use a needle one size larger if needed. Distribute the stitches among the needles you’re working with:

One long circular

5 double point

4 double point

½ of the stitches on each side of the “magic loop”

¼ of the stitches on each needle

¼ of the stitches on needle 1

½ of the stitches on needle 2

¼ of the stitches on needle 3

3. Make sure your stitches are nice and flat, and join the round. Begin your ribbed cuff, or plain stockinette (if you prefer). (Ribbing generally helps the sock to stay up on your leg.) Continue knitting for 1½ or so, the amount of cuff is up to you.

4. Begin knitting in stockinette stitch. Continue knitting until your sock is 1 ¾” shorter than your desired sock height (measurement #4 above).

5. You’ve got a choice of how to work your short row heel: garter stitch heel with wrapped short rows, or stockinette stitch heel with unwrapped short rows. Either technique looks and works well; it just depends on your preference.

6. You’ll be working the heel on half the number of total stitches: If you’re working with 5 double pointed needles, transfer ¼ of the stitches from your next needle to its neighbor, so that you have ½ the total stitches on one needle.

7. The number of stitches you’ll work in your heel flap will be different, depending on the type of heel you choose and the type of yarn you’re using.

Garter stitch heel:

- Fingering or sport: 8 center stitches

- DK or light worsted: 6 center stitches

Stockinette stitch heel:

- Any weight yarn: ½ the total number of heel stitches


Now you know the number of stitches that you’ll have in the center of your heel. You’ll be working those consistently, while working one less on each side as you start the short rows.

Garter stitch heel

1. Row 1: Knit to last stitch, wrap and turn.

2. Row 2: Knit to last stitch, wrap and turn.

3. Row 3: Knit to last unwrapped stitch, wrap and turn.

4. Repeat row 3 until you have unwrapped stitches (number from above).

5. Row 4: Knit to first wrapped stitch, wrap and turn. Yep, you’ve now double wrapped that stitch.

6. Row 5: Knit to first wrapped stitch, wrap and turn. (See above).

7. Row 6: Knit to double wrapped stitch, knit the double wrapped stitch allowing the wraps to remain, wrap and turn.

8. Repeat row 6 until one double wrapped stitch remains on each side of the heel.

9. Knit across heel stitches and resume knitting your instep stitches.

Stockinette stitch heel

There are a few numbers to write down; based on how many stitches you’re working with. Your number of rows will vary as well.

Divide the number of heel stitches you’ll be working by 4:

1. Row 1: Knit ____ stitches, turn (1 less than total heel stitches, leave 1 stitch unworked).

2. Row 2: Slip 1, purl _____ stitches, turn (leave 1 stitch unworked).

3. Row 3: Slip 1, knit _____ stitches, turn (leave 2 stitches unworked at the end).

4. Row 4: Slip 1, purl _____ stitches, turn (leave 2 stitches unworked at the end).

5. Repeat rows 3 and 4, leaving one more stitch unworked each row, until you have stitches (number from above, heel stitches divided by 4) on each side. The last row of this pattern is: Slip 1, purl _____ stitches (half the total heel stitches minus 1), turn.

Ready to work the short rows? Good!

1. Row 1: Slip 1, knit _____ stitches (2 less than your purl number from above – half the heel stitches minus 3), KCGS, turn.

2. Row 2: Slip 1, purl _____ stitches (same number as row 1), PCGS, turn.

3. Row 3: Slip 1, knit _____ stitches (1 more than row 2), KCGS, turn.

4. Row 4: Slip 1, purl _____ stitches (1 more than row 3), PCGS, turn.

5. Repeat rows 3 and 4, adding one more stitch each row.

6. The last row for this section (completing the heel) is: Slip 1, knit _____ stitches (4 less than the total number of heel stitches), KCGS, knit 1, turn.

7. Begin working in the round again by knitting your instep stitches.

8. If you’re using 5 double pointed needles, you can redistribute your heel stitches between 2 needles at this point. Here’s the stitch distribution chart from above:

One long circular

5 double point

4 double point

½ of the stitches on each side of the “magic loop”

¼ of the stitches on each needle

¼ of the stitches on needle 1

½ of the stitches on needle 2

¼ of the stitches on needle 3

14. Back to the math… Remember your foot length measurement from way back when? This is when you need it. Take your foot measurement and subtract 2 inches – which is about how long you’ll need for your toe decreases. If your toes are significantly longer or shorter, feel free to substitute your personal measurement.

Foot measurement ( ) – 2 inches = inches


15. Continue knitting plain until you have a sock foot that measures inches (from above) from heel to needles.

16. Now you’re ready for the toe decreases! You’ll need to start your toe decreases at the beginning of your instep stitches, so continue knitting until you’re there. The directions for all needles are essentially the same, but the stitch distribution is different so there are directions for each type below. You will now be starting your rounds at the beginning of your instep stitches, and the needles will be renumbered preparing to begin with needle 1.

1 circular

Round 1 – first side: K1, SSK, knit until 3 stitches before end, K2tog, K1

second side: K1, SSK, knit until 3 stitches before end, K2tog, K1

Round 2 (all): knit to end

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 20 stitches remain.

Repeat round 1 only until 16 stitches remain.

5 double point

Round 1 – needle 1: K1, SSK, knit to end

needle 2: Knit until 3 stitches before end, K2tog, K1

needle 3: K1, SSK, knit to end

needle 4: Knit until 3 stitches before end, K2tog, K1

Round 2 (all): Knit to end

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 20 stitches remain.

Repeat round 1 only until 16 stitches remain.

Combine your stitches so that all your instep stitches are on needle 1, and all your sole stitches are on needle 3 (8 stitches on each needle).

4 double point

Round 1 – needle 1: K1, SSK, knit until 3 stitches before end, K2tog, K1

needle 2: K1, SSK, knit to end

needle 3: Knit until 3 stitches before end, K2tog, K1

Round 2 (all): Knit to end

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 20 stitches remain.

Repeat round 1 only until 16 stitches remain.

Combine your stitches so that all the sole stitches are on needle 2. This will give you 8 stitches each on needles 1 and 2.

17. You’re ready to graft the toe – almost done now!

Slip each of the 4 end stitches over it’s inner neighbor – this will help prevent the pointy “donkey ears” so common to grafting. You’ll be left with six stitches on each needle.

Using a tapestry needle you’ll graft the toe closed with the Kitchener stitch. There are a couple of useful rules for working the Kitchener stitch

– Make sure your grafted stitches are loose. You can tighten up the stitches after you’re done, but it’s much harder to loosen them.

– Keep the working yarn below your knitting needles.

Step 1: Make sure the working yarn is coming off the back right side of your 2 needles of stitches. Cut your working yarn, leaving about a 16” tail. Thread the tail through your tapestry needle.

Step 2: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to purl and pull the yarn through, leaving the stitch on the front needle.

Step 3: Insert the tapestry needle through the first stitch on the back needle as if to knit. Pull the yarn through, leaving the stitch on the back needle.

Step 4: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the front needle as if to knit. As you pull the yarn through the stitch, remove this stitch from the front needle. Insert the tapestry needle into the next stitch on the front needle (the one that is now the first stitch on the front needle) as if to purl. Pull the yarn through the stitch, leaving the stitch on the front needle.

Step 5: Insert the tapestry needle into the first stitch on the back needle as if to purl. As you pull the yarn through the stitch, remove this stitch from the back needle. Insert the tapestry needle into the next stitch as if to knit. Pull the yarn through the stitch, leaving the stitch on the back needle.

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all stitches are grafted.


I have a trick for remembering grafting:

Front needle: Knit off, purl

Back needle: Purl off, knit

Techniques:

1. KCGS: Slip next stitch knitwise. Insert right needle purlwise in the right leg of the stitch on row below slipped stitch on the left needle. Insert left needle point in front of first two stitches on right needle and k2tog.

2. PCGS: Slip next stitch purlwise, insert right needle from top to bottom in purl bump on row below the slipped stitch on the left needle. Insert left needle point in back of first two stitches on right needle and p2tog.

3. Wrap & turn: With working yarn in back, slip next stitch purlwise. Move working yarn to front and move slipped stitch back to left needle. Turn work.

Resources used in preparing this pattern:

www.socknitters.com

www.knitaddicted.com

Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlene Schurch

Other resources:

www.knittinghelp.com

www.knitty.com

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Comments on this post ( 2 )

  • Mar 27, 2008

    thanks for the help…martha told me to come here and i did and i think im ready to tackle my first socks! but i still cant get over how TINY size ones are…

    — melissa

  • Jan 31, 2008

    I am anxious to use your pattern but there seems to be some missing steps-9 thru 13 maybe??

    thank you for your help

    — pepper

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