There’s the objective, friends…that photo above. When you finish this next step you will have two lovely, finished, turned heels. I’ve made dozens, maybe more than a hundred pair of socks so far and every single time I turn the heels it feels like a little bit of knitting magic. If you’ve never accomplished this step before, trust me…the steps outlined below will morph into what you see above — no matter how impossible it seems. 😀
First Step: Setting up the Stitches
So, you’ve knitted the gusset Great!
Now we are ready to turn the heel.
Note: you will be completely turning the heel of one sock before moving on to the second one. So just repeat the following directions twice. This process will take a little while, due to the larger number of stitches you have to work. Heel turning is not difficult, but it is something that you need to apply your entire attention to, at least initially. Work your way through one heel. Then put it down and take a little break and then start the second one. If at all possible do not put the knitting down while in the midst of turning a heel. You are likely to either lose your place or lose your stitches.
Here we go:
Count the stitches you have on the heel needle — for an average sock (ankle neither skinny nor thick) you’ll want to think in fourths. For example, if you had 32 stitches on the heel needle then you will place a removable marker at 1/4th and 3/4ths marks or after the 8th & 24th stitch. (You don’t have to PMs — I do it so that I don’t start knitting on autopilot and knit too far.)
Phase One — during which you will create height via short rows with wraps
Row 1 – knit side
K8, SM, K15, slip 1 purl wise (sl1pw), bring yarn to front (bytf), keep (or place) marker on left hand needle (LHN), slip stitch back to LHN, turn work to purl side
Row 2 – purl side
Bring yarn to purl side (in position to purl), P to 2 st before marker, sl1pw, bring yarn to back (bytb), slip stitch back to LHN, turn work to knit side
Row 3 – knit side
Bring yarn to purl side (in position to knit), K to 2 st before previously wrapped stitch, sl1pw, bytf, slip stitch back to LHN, turn work
Row 4 – purl side
Bring yarn to purl side (in position to purl), P to 2 st before previously wrapped stitch, sl1pw, bytb, slip stitch back to LHN, turn work
Repeat rows 3 & 4 until all but 3 center stitches have been wrapped
End having just completed a knit row
Phase Two – during which you will create the heel cup via decreases
Row 1 – purl side
Purl lifting wraps and purling then together with their respective stitches to last stitch before marker, sl1pw, remove marker, slip stitch back to LHN, P2tog, turn
Row 2 – knit side
Sl1pw, K to last stitch before marker (lifting the wraps and k2tog with their respective stitches as you come to them), then lift the wrap of the next stitch completely over and to the left if the stitch, slip the stitch as if to knit, slip the wrap as if to knit, remove marker, slip the next stitch knitwise, place the 2 slipped stitches and the wrap back in the LHN and knit the 2 slipped stitches together with the wrap THROUGH THE BACK LOOP, turn
Row 3 – purl side
Sl1pw, P to 1 stitch before gap, p2tog to close gap, turn
Row 4 – knit side
Sl1pw, *K1, sl1pw* repeat to 1 stitch before gap, SSK, turn
Repeat rows 3 & 4 until all stitches have been worked
End having completed a knit row
Congratulations! You’ve turned the heels. 😀
Now relax, take a break. Oh, and share photos with me. I love seeing those lovely little turned heels.
Next time — ribbing and stretchy bind off. You are almost done!