The How to Knit Your Sock series covers knitting a sock in four step by step articles. In Part 1: you covered the anatomy of a sock, knitting the cuff and the leg section. It is aimed at knitter’s who are knitting their first sock. I have used Opal sock yarn in the lovely Fairies and Elves colour 5523 to knit this pair of socks.
In How to Knit Your First Sock – Part 2: you will learn how to knit a strengthened heel flap which gives comfort and helps lengthen the lifespan of your hand knit socks. Then you will turn your sock heel.
- Part 3: shows how to set up for the gusset and gusset shaping.
- Part 4: looks at knitting the foot, toe shaping and finishing.
You are now ready to continue knitting your sock and we will dive straight in.
- k knit
- p purl
- ssk slip 2 stitches knitwise, one at a time, to right needle, then insert left needle from left to right into front loops and knit 2 stitches together – 1 stitch decreased
- p2tog purl 2 stitches together – 1 stitch decreased
- sl 1 slip 1 stitch purlwise
- st stitch
- st st stocking stitch/stockinette stitch
The heel flap is the section of the sock that is at the back of your heel. It protects your foot from your shoe rubbing. It adds comfort and padding. In some patterns the designer will continue her decorative stitch pattern along the heel flap and this can look gorgeous if you are intending to show off your lovely hand knit socks with clogs or birkenstocks. But remember that if you are going to be wearing the socks with shoes a lace pattern or cabling may not be comfortable.
The heel flap that you will be knitting for your sock is worked over half the number of stitches cast on (30 stitches). You will knit 2 stitches at each edge which creates a garter stitch edging. This gives a smooth edge when you are picking up the stitches later for the gusset.
You will use a slip stitches for strengthening the heel so it will not wear into a hole too quickly and it adds a little padding for comfort.
From this point you will be knitting the heel flap flat, starting with a purl row. Note that you will be working the slip stitches on the purl row. This is simply because I assume that like me, you prefer knitting to purling.
- Row 1: K2, (sl 1, p1, across to last two sts), k2, turn
- Row 2: K, turn
- Repeat these two rows a total of 16 times (32 rows)
- When you have finished working the 32 rows, the heel flap should measure 6.25cm/2 1/2 inches.
- Ending on a knit row.
There are other options for working the slip stitch strengthening for the heel flap. The best known is the eye of partridge where you slip one, purl one then on the next purl row instead you would purl one, then slip one. The slip stitch creates a checkerboard pattern on the right side.
You are now ready to turn your heel.
Turning the Heel
After you finish knitting the heel flap, it is necessary to do some shaping (think of it as turning a corner) so that the heel will be comfortable to wear. The shaping is done by working short rows with a decrease p2tog on the purl rows and ssk on the knit rows.
- Row 1: P17, p2tog, p1, turn.
- Row 2: Sl 1, k5, ssk, k1, turn.
- Row 3: sl 1, p6 (1 stitch remains before the “gap”), p2tog (combines the stitch before the gap and the stitch after the gap), p1, turn (8 stitches left unworked on the needle)
- Row 4: sl 1, k7(1 stitch remains before the “gap”), ssk, k1, turn (8 stitches left unworked on the needle)
- Row 5: sl 1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn (6 stitches left unworked on the needle)
- Row 6: sl 1, k9, ssk, k1, turn (6 stitches left unworked on the needle)
- Row 7: sl 1, p10, p2tog, p1, turn (4 stitches left unworked on the needle)
- Row 8: sl 1, k11, ssk, k1, turn (4 stitches left unworked on the needle)
- Row 9: sl 1, p12, p2tog, p1, turn (2 stitches left unworked on the needle)
- Row 10: sl 1, k13, ssk, k1, turn (2 stitches left unworked on the needle)
- Row 11: sl 1, p14, p2tog, p1, turn (you have reached the edge of the heel shaping)
- Row 12: k16, ssk, k1 (18 sts)
- You have completed the heel shaping.
You are ready to continue to part 3 of how to knit your sock.
Leave a comment if you have any questions about part 2 of this series.