Heel Flap & Turn

by Sharyn Anhalt November 05, 2014

Before we start the heel I want to offer a little more information on sizing. The pattern offers two sizes (S, M) but not much info on how to decide which size to make. There is only a 4 stitch difference between the two sizes, which if you are knitting to gauge, amounts to about a half inch. Choosing size at this point has more to do with the circumference of your calf than it does your foot size. You want the leg of your sock to fit snug but not tight, and the socks will stretch an inch or two to fit. For example, the 56 stitch cast on knit at 7 stitches to the inch would result in a sock with an 8 inch circumference; if the wide point of your calf is larger than 10 inches, I would suggest starting with the 60 stitch cast on.

The beauty of socks is that everything can be customized - but, since this is meant to be an intro to socks we're not going to focus on how to customize, but instead I'll point out where you could customize in the future. I highly recommend following the pattern as written if this is your first time, so that you master the basics of sock construction. That said, the two areas where you can easily customize is the length of your leg and the length of your foot (more about that later).

As you can see, I knit my leg shorter than the pattern suggested, since I prefer shorter socks. You could also knit it longer, but I'm not sure if one ball of yarn will be enough to knit both socks much longer.

This photo also shows the heel flap - here's the basics of what you need to know about the heel flap:

  • You will now work back and forth on one needle instead of working in the round on all four. This can be tricky if you're using short 4" needles (as I am). Feel free to work across two needles if that's easier for you.
  • The stitches on your needles 1 & 2 will be used for the heel flap - this is where distributing the stitches on the needle is important! You should have 14 stitches (15 for larger size) on each needles, so you'll use 28 (30) stitches for the flap.
  • The edges of the flap are knit in garter stitch while the center stitches are a Knit 1 Slip 1 pattern. Whenever you encounter instructions to Slip 1, always slip purl-wise with your working yarn held in the back if the next stitch is a knit, or held in front if the next stitch is a purl. Slipping purl-wise transfers a stitch from one needle to the other without twisting.

Here's a link to Ann's entry on the Knitting Fever blog with even more information:


The photo above shows the heel flap from the right side, and here's a photo of the heel flap when viewed from the wrong side:

Notice how just one side of your sock has been worked, while the stitches on your needles 3 & 4 have been just sitting there patiently. There are "floats" of yarn on the inside from the stitches that have been slipped. This helps cushion the heel and provides some fit.

The last step in forming the heel is the heel turn. Continue to work back and forth on the heel flap stitches. YOU WILL NOT KNIT EVERY STITCH IN EVERY ROW. Turn and start working the other direction whenever the instructions say to turn. Refer to Ann's instructions (linked above) for more information on how to form the heel turn.

The heel turn instructions also say "continue in this manner, working one more stitch each row" - that can be confusing, so here's another explanation. The next row will be S1 K10, SSK, K1, turn - you're working on the right side, and K10 is one more stitch worked than the previous row where you P9. The next row will now be S1, P11, P2tog, P1, turn. See how you work one more stitch each row? Eventually you'll work all the stitches on the needle, and your heel turn will look like this:

The next step is the gusset, which we'll cover in the next post. If you're speeding along with your sock knitting, you might want to get a second set of dpns, split your yarn into two balls, and start your second sock!

Sharyn Anhalt
Sharyn Anhalt


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