So hopefully you were able to finish your homework and now have two sock finished from the cuff to the bottom of the leg. The leg should finish right at about the bottom of your ankle, which is where the heel starts. I want you to remember when we talked about sock anatomy and understanding the shape of the sock itself. When you started this sock, you had to cast on x stitches. This was what you used for the cuff and leg. Go back to that number, and calculate half of it (x/2). This gives you the number of stitches you need for the heel flap. In my particular version, I need to work 24 stitches for my heel flap – but obviously yours may/will differ. The heel flap is just as it sounds, a flap that goes down to the bottom of the heel. This is what you are going to make now.
There are different ways to make a heel flap, but basically you will work back and forth (not in the round) over the stitches in the heel flap. The heel of your sock takes a lot of beating and tends to wear a little quicker than most other areas of the sock. If you are using a sock yarn with a little nylon or acrylic in it, you will be okay and won’t have to worry about reinforcing it. If you’re using a natural yarn, this would be a good time to add a little nylon to the mix to help reduce the wear and tear of the heel. I got a good tip from a friend the other day about a silk/mohair blend that can be used in the place of nylon. According to Lucy Neatby it’s Nature’s nylon. That yarn is Kid Seta by Scheelana, a 70% Kid Mohair and 30% Silk combination. It is also thin enough that the gauge won’t change very much by adding it to your current yarn. This is just one option, as you can also get a thin nylon and knit it along with your current yarn.
For the actual knitting itself, there is a simple process for working the heel flap that adds reinforcement to it as you’re doing it. It’s a process of working stocking stitch where you alternate between knit and slip stitches on the right side and straight purl stitches on the wrong side. So your instructions look like this:
Row 1: * wyib (with yarn in back) sl1 (as if to purl), K1. Repeat from * to end of row, ending with a K1. If you have an odd number of stitches, start with a K1. Row 2: Sl1, purl all remaining stitches stitches.
Repeat these 2 rows for the length of your heel flap. To determine the length of the heel flap, measure from the bottom of your ankle to the bottom of your foot. It is a good idea to have someone help you with this and make this measurement while you are standing upright on the ground. Most women will get a value between 11/2″ to 2″ and men between 2″ to 3″. These values are just averages and not writ in stone. Again, I like to do a little calculation using my row gauge and knit a specific number of rows – just so both socks will be identical.
By no means is this the only pattern you can put in your heel flap. You can knit it in plain stocking stitch, ribbed, or even cabled if you like. If you are making socks that you will be wearing in shoes, it is probably a good idea not to have a very textured flap, as this could cause some abrasion on your heel from the friction. Okay, so here’s what your work will look like for Thursday – right?
LOL – Thursday we’ll turn those heels! It’s really not as bad as you may think. Again, let me know if it’s not enough time.