You’ve heard me say this at least a few dozen times by now, but in kitting there is not usually just one way of doing things. As a matter of fact, that’s usually true in a lot of aspects in life. Well, when knitting socks, you are faced with lots of choices in most areas of the sock. Since this is our first sock together though, and we want to keep things simple (kinda), I’m going to show you a method of picking up stitches and knitting a gusset that will always work. With the heel turned, we now have to pick up stitches and create an angle for knitting the next tube of our sock – remember the sock anatomy lesson? This angle is worked by creating a gusset – a series of decreases that creates an angle and allows us to shape, or direct the tube where we want it to go. Before we can work the gusset decreases however, we have to pick up stitches around the entire sock so that we have a tube again. So you need to be on the right side of the heel in order to do this. If your next row is a reverse row (purl side), purl across the row in pattern. Now that you have the right side of the work facing you, we’ll start by picking up stitches along the side of the heel flap. You want to pick up approximately one stitch for every 2 rows of knitting. If you did the slip stitch heel from earlier in this KAL, this will be very easy to do as they appear as slightly elongated stitches along the side of the heel. Pick up 1 stitch on your needle for every slip stitch you see. If you used another pattern for your heel flap, just try to do the 1×2 ratio. You don’t have to adhere to this rigidly, it is just a guideline. We will decrease away all the extra stitches when we make the gusset.
Once you have picked up the stitches across the right side of the side of the heel flap, knit across the top of the foot in whatever pattern you have. Now pick up the same number of stitches from the other side of the heel flap, and knit across the bottom of the turned heel. You should be back to having a sort of circle in your knitting. Since I am using 2 circulars, it kinda looks like a weird rectangle.
Now we need to place markers as to where we want to do our decreases for the gussets. That is usually done at the top of the heel flap on either side. If you’re starting at the bottom of the heel (this should be where you are), you will knit the stitches that you picked up along the side of the heel. For this, our first sock, we will have the sides and underfoot in stocking stitch and the top of the foot in whatever pattern you were already knitting it in. When you get to the last two picked up stitches of the side of the heel, you will do a left slanting decrease, or SSK. Then you will knit the stitches on the foot of the sock (top).
When you get to the other side of the sock, you will do a right slant decrease (k2tog), then knit the rest of the stitches picked up from the side of the heel flap. Knit the stitches on the heel turn and you are finished a round.
Knit the next round in pattern without any decreases. Repeat these 2 rows until you are back to approximately the number of stitches that you started out with originally. I say approximately, because you may want more or less depending on the size of your ankle. Try the sock on as you go along, and when the fit is where you want it, stop your decreases. Some people prefer a looser fit here, while others want a snug fit. It’s your choice. When you are finished your decreases, your gussets are completed. Put your stitches on a holder and repeat for your second sock. When you are finished, your socks will look something like the ones below …
Are you getting excited? I am! I’m going to take a wild leap and imagine you’re going to be able to do this over the weekend while you take in some World Cup action. On Tuesday we will do the foot and toe decrease. See you then!