Lab Cat

30 Sep 2009

Sock Heels

Filed under: Knitting — Tags: , , , — Cat @ 8:04 am

One of my best purchases at the Sock Summit was Chrissy Gardener’s Toe Up (amazon).  She manages to condense everything I worked out for myself in my first year of sock knitting into a book.  No, I don’t wish I had had this book when I started last August, but it definitely would have helped.  It is helping now.

One of her suggestions is to knit practice heels.  So a couple of weekends ago, I started this exercise. First, I knit the short row heel:

Short row heel

Short row heel

and discovered that it was reversible (not where the white strip is):

short row heel upside down

short row heel upside down

I don’t like the short row heel that much because my heels are so skinny, so I next tried the heel that Chrissy calls the hybrid heel:

Hybrid Heel

Hybrid Heel

I’m not sure what I did wrong to get the teal strip in the middle of the heel.  Well I kind of know and probably could avoid it next time.  It is all do with where you drop one color and start the next.

I put in less gusset stitches than calculated from Chrissy’s worksheet, which meant the heel was really really short.  This was a important lesson for me.  To save having to redo the heel – I dislike frogging and redoing at the best of times and definitely on a practice piece – I just carried on with the slip stitch partridge stitch after the heel was finished.

Another change I made was that Chrissy does a slip stitch rib so that the slip stitches are on the same stitch every purl row.  I changed this so that the slip stitches alternates every other purl row.  I call this partridge stitch because I read that name in a sock pattern somewhere, but I never checked the stitch name, so it might actually be something totally different (such as turkey stitch?).

One thing I found with the hybrid heel is that it is important that your gauge is right – size matters.  The slip stitch heel was much more forgiving than the hybrid heel.  Also the hybrid heel takes up a lot of your sock.  As you can see below, it need about a third of my foot and if I had done more gusset stitches, i.e. the right number, it would have been nearer half:

Hybrid Heels need lots of space!

Hybrid Heels need lots of space!

Next I’ll try the after thought heels from Chrissy’s book and I want to try this round hat heel from Knitty.



  1. Is it meant to be like that at the front or are you just lazy in relation to finishing the sock?

    Looking good.

    Comment by shotgunfacelift — 30 Sep 2009 @ 8:10 am

  2. I am practicing heels, so I just knit the heel. Not the toes, not the rest of the leg, just the heel.

    Comment by Cat — 30 Sep 2009 @ 8:51 am

  3. Dummy heels! I’m planning to go through the same exercise, once I get the current knitting done. Or I may get distracted and procrastinate some more! Definitely distracted by spinning on my new spindles…

    The stitch on your heel is called “eye of partridge.” I like that one, too.

    Comment by pdxknitterati — 30 Sep 2009 @ 11:09 am

  4. I’m a big fan of the short-row heel and use it almost exclusively. I think mostly because I hate picking up stitches.

    Comment by mrswhatsit — 1 Oct 2009 @ 1:02 pm

    • With toe-up sock heels, there is no need to pick up stitches even with the hybrid heel. Come on down and start at the toe!

      Comment by Cat — 1 Oct 2009 @ 1:48 pm

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