Basic Sock - Turning Heel

Turning HeelTurning HeelThe turning heel consists of short rows to shape the curve around the heel. The stitches in the middle are knitted, with paired decreases fanning out from the center, as the outer stitches are brought into the pattern. The travelling, paired decreases form a triangle which fits around your heel and the outer stitches form the curve. This section knits up very quickly.

The term short row, is a row in which you do not knit completely across. For the heel, it is bordered with slip stitches on either end, whose function is to visually blend stitches to form a smooth transition with the regular stitches on the ends of the row.

This article is one segment of the "Basic Sock" series. The demonstration sock, a woman's medium size, is based on 64 leg sts. To link to other articles in this series, either: a) click on the index hyperlink in the masthead, then socks and select the desired article or, b) click on the Basic Socks link at the bottom of this article, then click on the desired topic.

Basic Sock - Turning Heel
If you are designing your own sock, with a non-standard gauge, the rule of thumb for turning heels, is that the first row is knitted 60% across. For the 30 stitch example, this means 17 stitches; for the 32 stitch heel, this would be 18 stitches.

These instructions are based on the heel flap of 30 stitches width and use a 2.0 mm circular needle. If you are working with 32 stitches for a wider heel, only the first row of the turning heel is different, you knit 18 stitches, instead of 17.


Turning Heel - Abbreviated Instructions Turning Heel, Row by Row
Row 1: (RS) K17, ssk, K1, PM, turn Row 1: (RS) K17, ssk, k1, PM, turn work
Row 2:(WS) Sl 1, p5, P2tog, p1, PM turn Row 2: (WS) Sl l purlwise (yarn in front), p5, p2tog, p1, PM, turn work
Row 3: (RS) Sl 1, k6, ssk, k1, PM, turn
(The decrease is worked on the st before and after the marker; reposition marker.)
Row 3: Sl 1 k6, ssk, k1, PM, turn
(Remove the marker to ssk, then replace marker after the k1.)
Row 4:(WS) Sl 1, p7, P2tog, p1, PM, turn
(The decrease is worked on the st before and after the marker; reposition marker.)
Row 4: Sl 1, p7, p2tog, PM, turn
Rows 5-12: Repeat the pattern of rows 3 & 4, moving the decreases outwards (straddling the marker) until all heel sts have been worked and 18 sts remain on needle. Row 5: Sl 1, k8, ssk, k1, PM, turn
Row 13: (RS) K18 Row 6: Sl 1, p9, p2tog, p1, PM, turn
  Row 7: Sl 1, k10, ssk, k1, PM, turn
  Row 8: Sl 1, p11, p2tog, p1, PM, turn
  Row 9: Sl 1, k12, ssk, k1, PM, turn
  Row 10: Sl 1, p13, p2tog, p1, PM, turn
  Row 11: Sl 1, k14, ssk, k1, PM, turn
  Row 12: Sl 1, p15, p2tog, p1, turn
  Row 13: K18
k1 - knit 1
p1 - purl 1
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together
p2tog - purl 2 stitches together
PM - place marker
Sl 1 slip 1 purlwise for even and odd rows, on even rows, slip with the yarn in front (wyf), on odd rows, slip with the yarn in back (wyb)

ssk - slip, slip knit. Slip 2 stitches knitwise. Bring the left needle back through the fronts of these 2 stitches to hold them, and use the right needle to K2tog through the backs of the loops.
st - stitch

    Quality Control Tips
  1. I like to place markers to mark the p2tog and ssk locations. With small stitches and dark colors it is not always easy to see the slipped stitch point. Also, the marker does the counting for you.
  2. Two sets of instructions are given, an abbreviated set to use once you are familiar with this method and a long-form to help you through the first time knitting the pattern.

NEXT STEP - Picking Up Gusset Stitches
A crochet needle is more versatile than the knitting needle for picking up stitches, particularly when a number of stitches are to be picked up, or the geometry is awkward. Even in this straightforward example I missed picking up one of the 15 selvedge stitches, and it was just a matter of slipping a few stitches off the crochet needle, since I hadn't yet transferred them to the knitting needle. I double check the stitches before transferring them to the knitting needle.

Click here to transfer to the Basic Socks article.

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