Monday, March 14, 2011

Part 3 -- Opal Sock Tutorial/Knit Along -- The Heel

Here's the part of knitting the sock that changes it from a knitted tube to a sock -- The Heel. 

The heel is a 3 part construction that makes the sock a sock.  It begins by dividing the tube, that you've knit so far, in half.  Half the stitches are reserved for the "instep" or the top of the foot.  The other half are worked back and forth to create a heel flap, in the first part. 

The heel flap is an ingenius, reinforced square that takes up exactly half of your sock stitches and is knit for the same number of rows as the number of stitches in half a sock.  In our example the sock uses 64 stitches, so 32 stitches will be in your heel flap and 32 stitches will be reserved for your instep. 

Once the heel flap is knit, you will "turn the heel", another ingenious piece of knitting that creates a little pouch at the end of the heel flap to hold the bottom of your heel in the sock.

Then the third part of the heel is the gusset.  This involves picking up stitches along the sides of the heel flap and reincorportating your instep stitches to begin knitting in the round again.  By decreasing 2 stitches,every second row, a triangle is created on either side of the heel completing the heel construction and turning your tube into a sock.
Sock on the left has the finished heel flap, On the right you can see how the heel is formed and then turned and you can see the triangular gusset on the side of the heel flap.

(from the pattern) Heel:
Knit across 16 stitches, turn work and purl across 32 stitches. Place remaining 32 stitches
on spare needle or holder to work later for instep.
Heel flap:
Work back and forth on 32 heel stitches as follows:
Row 1: *Slip 1 purlwise with yarn in back, K1*
repeat from *
Row 2: Slip 1 purlwise with yarn in front, purl to
end.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until 32 rows have been
worked, there will be 16 chain selvedge stitches.

Turn Heel:
Row 1: knit across 18 stitches, ssk, k1, turn work
Row 2: Slip 1 purlwise, p5, p2T, p1, turn
Row 3: Slip 1 purlwise, knit to 1 stitch before gap,
ssk (1 stitch from each side of the gap), k1, turn
Row 4: Slip 1 purlwise, purl to 1 stitch before gap, p2T (1 stitch from each side of gap)
p1, turn.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all heel stitches have been worked, ending with a purl row and
ending p2T if there are not enough stitches to p2T, pl. 18 stitches remain on the heel
flap.

Heel gusset:
Knit across all heel stitches, and with the same dpn (needle 1), pick up and knit 17
stitches along the edge of the heel flap (16 chain stitches plus 1 stitch in the gap between
the heel flap and the instep stitches). With needle 2 work across the held instep stitches
in K2, P2 rib.
With needle 3 pick up 17 stitches (plus 1 stitch in the gap between the heel flap and the
instep stitches, and the 16 chain stitches on the other selvedge of the heel flap) and knit
across 8 heel stitches. Total stitches 84. Your round now begins in the centre of the
heel.

Tomorrow I'll direct you to some helpful videos that show you each of these three steps.  Master these 3 steps and socks will cease to be a mystery for you. 

How are your socks coming?  I've completed the socks that you see in the picture and was gratified that they were exactly the same.  That pair had a very wide pattern repeat and there were only 5 pattern repeats in the ball of yarn.  You can post pictures of you socks on the Joybilee Farm Facebook photo album "others".

I started a second pair that has a shorter pattern repeat and I've finished the first sock from that ball.  I just started knitting the second sock in that set and I didn't worry about matching the pattern on the second sock.  I'll take a picture once I start the heel flap. 

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