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