If you happen to be a sock knitter, you have to face one question sooner or later: which heel should I choose for my socks? There’s more than one way to knit sock heels each having its advantages and disadvantages. So when to choose which one?
Sock Heel Constructions Methods
Standard Flap Heel
The standard flap heel is the most commonly method used to knit sock heels for knitters who prefer knitting without short rows. (There are variants using a few short rows to turn the heel, though.)
Flap heels are shaped using gusset inserts and most suitable for feet with large insteps. Prominent examples include socks for men, they almost always use flap heels.
Toe-Up Flap Heel
The same principles apply for toe-up flap heels – they use gussets too and are suitable for larger feet and/or feet with large insteps.
The Dutch Heel
Also known as the Square Heel, the Dutch Heel comes without short rows. The main feature are visible, straight lines at the bottom oh the heel and – obviously! – it’s square shape. As there are almost no gusset stitches, Dutch heels are suitable for feet on the smaller side of the spectrum.
German Short Row Heels
The most common method of working short row sock heels are German short row heels, also known as the Boomerang or Kylie Heel, or as Bumerangferse (the German word for it). Main features: it can be worked as an afterthought heel, has a snuggle fit and is easy to knit if you know how to work short rows. It can be worked on any number of stitches.
German short row heels do not feature additional stitches at the instep which makes them the perfect heel for narrow feet or for kids and toddlers.
There are a myriad of other methods, for example the hat heel, or socks worked on the bias, or sideways too. Have a look at my post about sock heels – 5 Ways to Knit Sock Heels – for more details on those.
Whenever I ask you for taking surveys here or on my mailing lists I’m bewildered either how close your answers match my expectations, or the exact opposite: how different your answers are from what I anticipated. Nevertheless it’s a tremendous source of inspiration every single time.
A few days ago, I asked my readers what’s their number one ingredient for the ultimate reference book on sock knitting.
Asking For It Means Being Surprised – And Learning Lots
What I expected: heels and how to knit them, different methods for toe constructions, how to adjust patterns for better fit, sizing issues, conversion tables for sock and shoe sizes, and knitting techniques related to sock knitting – the advanced end of the spectrum (like short rows) when it comes to techniques, not basic ones; and of course pattern templates and example patterns.
What I got: well, see for yourself.
What You Want to See in the Ultimate Sock Knitting Book
Lots of techniques.(Expected)
This includes construction methods for different sock parts, working magic loop (two at a time), knitting socks toe-up, tutorials on knitting short rows – all kinds of techniques on the rather advanced side of the spectrum.
As these advanced techniques used in sock knitting are causing troubles for many knitters, this was no surprise to read and is already part of the book. Check!
You want to see lots of pictures and picture tutorials. (Now that’s interesting!)
The majority wants clear instructions (well, expected that) and – picture tutorials! Very interesting. I expected that in times where most knitters browse YouTube for knitting instructions – in fact, a whole new generation of knitters learned to knit not from their mothers and grandmothers like I did, but teaching themselves online – books with picture tutorials were some kind of outdated.
Seems like I have been wrong. Adding an item to my To-Do list.
Conversion and sizing charts: check. (Expected)
Patterns and pattern templates: check. (Expected)
Honestly, I thought more people would state they want patterns as their number one wish, but that’s not the case.
Adjustments: check. (Expected)
Heels: check. (Expected)
Basic knitting techniques: seriously? It’s the ultimate sock knitting book, not the ultimate book on learning how to knit – that’s what I thought. But many people mentioned them, so I guess I have to reconsider this!
Update 2016-02-07: I received so many comments on my short survey about what this book HAS to include, I’m still busy catching up. Thanks for all your feedback, it is very, very helpful indeed! I extended the schedule for publication for a few more days to account for this. I’ll post an update as soon as I’m ready – expect it for later this week!
It’s the Final Countdown! Just two weeks from today, on February 19th, Sock Knitting in Plain English will officially launch. After months of hard work and anticipation, I am so proud to finally share this book with you.
Why I had to Write Sock Knitting in Plain English
The idea of this book wouldn’t leave my mind. I kept thinking about people wasting so much time, energy, and money trying things that would never succeed – waste that could have been prevented had these sock knitters taken the time to validate their strategies at the beginning.
In fact, the #1 question I’ve received, both via email and in private messages on other platforms is:
How do I know if what I’m working on will actually work?
After eight years of helping knitters start with and improve their sock knitting, I have literally worked with knitters on thousands of ideas. I can say with confidence that this is the book new sock knitters need most.
Sock Knitting in Plain English: How to knit socks that fit, master sock knitting techniques and fight second sock syndromewill teach you how to validate your ideas. In other words, this book is designed to help you determine if your idea for your next (or very first!) pair of socks will succeed, or if it will struggle and ultimately fail.
Sock Knitting in Plain English takes you and your ideas through extensive exercises to determine:
How to get started with sock knitting?
How do I work heels and toes?
How can I make sure my socks will actually fit and turn out the right size?
How can socks be turned into stockings by calf shaping?
How can sock knitting finally be something for you?
In other words, how does sock knitting work – explained in plain English?
But you won’t have to wait until February 19th to order your very own copy. Sock Knitting in Plain English is now available for early bird order — with some very special bonuses for folks who order a copy (or three, or ten, or more!) in advance.
To thank you for your early support of the book, I’ve put together some early-bird order book bundles that I think you’ll love. Due to fulfillment options, these bundle bonuses are available only for copies of the book ordered in my shop here at jriede.com.
A kindle version of the book is not available for pre-sale but will be available on launch day, February 19th.
If you order your copy as an early bird (called “pre-order” below) now, the Ebook (PDF) version will be available for download instantly. You don’t have to wait for your copy.
To redeem your bonuses, click on the “redeem bonuses” button below, fill out your information and attach your receipt, and we’ll get you taken care of!
Buy 1 Copy: I Appreciate You! ($14 worth of bonuses)
Ready to jump in and get started with sock knitting!
Amazing, clever, and (I daresay) quite good-looking.
So grateful for your support!
Excited to see what you knit!
Pre-order the book and get the following bonuses:
Ebook PDF digital copy of the book (for non-Kindle e-readers)
Bonus packages apply only to purchases of Ebook (PDF) copies of Sock Knitting in Plain Englishordered in my shop here on jriede.com. International orders are eligible to receive bonuses.
Book bonuses are available now until 11:59 p.m. Central European on Thursday, February 18th, 2016.
The book bonuses that are available now are it; there will not be anything better on launch day.
Book bonuses apply only to pre-orders of Sock Knitting in Plain English, which must be placed before 11:59 p.m. Central European on Thursday, February 18, 2016.
Bonus packages are available on a first-come-first served basis, where quantities are limited.
Buyers are responsible for following the directions, filling out the form, and submitting their receipt. If a form entry and receipt are not received, I cannot guarantee delivery of the bonus package items.
Offers are good while supplies last.
Copies of Sock Knitting in Plain English will ship immediately in Ebook (PDF) format.
Digital bonuses will be delivered on or before Friday, February 19, 2016
All physical bonuses will ship on or before Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
Online webinars with Julia will be scheduled by Friday, February 19, 2016, to occur sometime after Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
Questions? Email email@example.com.
I Appreciate You!
The most important part of this whole journey is you, the Jriede community. You have been my loyal readers, supporting me through eight years of launching new knitting projects and running tests on my patterns. You inspire me every day—to work harder and be better. Thanks for allowing me to be your knitting buddy.
Welcome to the next part of the tutorial an sock knitting and design: Sock Design for Everybody! Today’s topic is all about adjusting stitch counts for a better overall fit.
Lace and Cable Patterns
If you knit socks in lace or cabled patterns, standard stitch counts (as for Vanilla socks) might be not suitable:
Lace patterns will yield a different (smaller) gauge as standard stockinette because they are stretchier.
The opposite is the case for cable and twisted stitch patterns: they tend to be tighter in gauge (being knitted at a larger gauge).
For ribbed patterns, the numbers also might have to be adjusted.
For cables, twisted stitches and ribbed patterns go up one or two sizes in needle size; for lace patterns, go down one size. An alternative is to adjust your stitch counts: more stitches for cabled, less for lace patterns.
Socks for Kids
Kids, especially babies and toddlers, have thicker legs when compared to adults. If using cabled or twisted stitch patterns, make sure to go up one size or two in circumference to ensure these wee feet and legs fit into their socks. Lacy or otherwise stretchy patterns usually require no adjustments in circumference.
Are You Into Sock Knitting Pattern Adjustments Already?
Which way of adjusting stitch count in sock knitting your number one? I’m curious to hear your story – please leave a comment below!
Welcome to the next part of the tutorial an sock knitting and design: Sock Design for Everybody! Today’s topic is all about calf shaping: when do you need calf shaping – and why?
You all know I’m attending Med School, so I’m pleased to introduce calf shaping in sock knitting from an anatomy perspective today! Let’s have a look on human calves: why do they look that way after all?
Your calves are shaped by a muscle group called Musculus triceps surae, consisting of three parts: Musculus gastrocnemius (Caput laterale and mediale) and Musculus soleus.
Men’s calves are usually more prominent than women’s. Men’s stockings definitely need calf shaping, but it’s a nice feature anyway – women come in many different shapes, too!
So let’s talk about shaping: how can calf shaping be achieved in sock knitting?
Calf Shaping in Sock Knitting
Calf shaping is achieved by increasing (or decreasing, when working top down) your stitch count from the point on where your calf starts. For me, this is about 6 inches (15 cm) measured from the start of the leg section after working the heel (yes, I’m working toe-up mostly).
For women’s socks, I’m increasing from my standard 60 stitches to 80 (ish), for men’s socks I’m increasing to 96 stitches. You want your increases to be more at the beginning (say, two stitches every other round), then switching to two stitches every 4th round after approximately 6-8 increase rounds.
An example chart (taken from one of my Alpine sock knitting patterns) is shown below.
Do You Knit Stockings?
And if yes, how do you implement calf shaping? I’m curious to hear your story – please leave a comment below!