Part 3: Turning the heel of the stocking

Welcome to Part 3 of the Stuff It Stocking KAL. We are knitting along and have completed the top in Part 1, the body of the stocking in Part 2 and today we're going to knit the heel and instep. 

For the heel part of the stocking we will only be knitting on half of the stitches. First we'll work the heel flap, then we'll turn the heel and lastly we'll pick up stitches and join it back in the round and work the foot of the stocking. It sounds like a lot but I assure you it's not!

knitting a sock heel

Heel Flap

Cut Colors B and C leaving enough yarn to weave in later. Join Color A. Knit across 13 stitches on your first needle.

knitting a sock heel

There's our 13 stitches on Needle 1. Now, TURN your work over.

knitting a sock heel

You should be looking at the inside of the stocking. Purl 26 stitches, 13 that you just did with Color A and 13 on the next needle to your left. Purl them all on to one needle.


We now have 26 stitches on one needle and these are the only ones we'll be working on for this portion of the stocking. The other two needles will just remain in place as stitch holders until we're ready to use those stitches again later.

knitting the heel of a sock

Row 1 is worked as slip 1, knit 1 and you alternate these two stitches as you go across the row. To slip a stitch means you do NOT knit it, just move it to the other needle. I slip my stitches as if I am purling for this portion. You can slip them knit-wise or purl-wise as long as you're consistent for the entire heel flap.

knitting the heel of a sock

Row 1: *Slip 1, knit 1* repeat from *to* across row. TURN.

Row 2: Slip 1, purl across row. (Note you only slip the first stitch on the purl side rows.)

Repeat these two rows 12 times more.

knitting the heel of a sock

Your heel flap will look like this on the right side when you've worked all of your repeats.

knitting the heel of a sock

And here is the inside or wrong side of the heel flap. 

That wasn't so bad was it? Now we're going to turn the heel. This would be the part of the sock that wraps from the back of the foot and hugs the heel. It's a fun adventure that will amaze you if you haven't done it before! 

how to knit the heel of a sock

Turn Heel

Knit across 15 stitches. Just plain knit, no slipping here.

how to knit the heel of a sock

Next you're going to decrease with SSK or slip, slip, knit. To perform this decrease slip one stitch knit-wise, slip a second stitch in the same manner.

turning a heel

Then insert the left needle into the front of the two slipped stitches and knit them together. That's an SSK. Now knit 1 stitch and TURN.

how to knit the heel of a sock

On the inside, slip the first stitch purl-wise then purl 5 stitches.

how to turn the heel of a sock

Purl 2 stitches together, or P2tog, by picking up two stitches and purling them together. Purl 1 more stitch and TURN.


You will now be able to see a gap forming where you have turned your work. Can you see the gap in the middle of my row? There should be 8 stitches on either side of the gap.

turning the heel of a sock

Next work these two rows:

Row 3: Slip 1, knit to 1 stitch before the gap, SSK (across gap), knit 1 and TURN.

Row 4: Slip 1, purl to 1 stitch before the gap, P2tog (across gap), purl 1 and TURN. 

turning the heel of a sock

Here's how the gap looks on the wrong side. Continue working the two rows until 16 stitches remain on your needle. 

sock heel

Wow! Isn't that awesome? Look that how the heel just suddenly appears. 

turning the heel of a sock in knitting

Next, knit 8 stitches and leave them on the needle. 

picking up stitches

Cut Color A and change to Color C. With a new needle (needle 1), knit across the remaining 8 stitches. Rotate your work slightly. We will now be picking up stitches down the edge of the heel flap. Insert your needle in to the large, slipped stitches on the edge of the heel flap, wrap your yarn around the needle and pick up a stitch. 

picking up stitches on a sock

Continue picking up stitches along the heel flap until you have 13 additional stitches on  your needle. 

picking up stitches on a sock heel

You will then have 21 stitches on needle 1.

picking up stitches on a sock heel

Next work the 13 reserved stitches on needles 2 and 3 which will begin to join your stocking back in the round.

picking up stitches on a sock heel

Now we just have 13 more stitches to gather. With a new needle (needle 4) pick up 13 stitches down the second edge of the heel flap.

turning the heel of a sock

Knit the 8 stitches being held on the remaining needle. There should now be 21 stitches on needle 4.

turning the heel of a sock

Now your stocking should look like this. We're back to four needles and working in the round. The beginning of the round is at the center of the heel. From the bottom and moving clockwise we have Needle 1 with 21 stitches, Needle 2 with 13 stitches, Needle 3 with 13 stitches and Needle 4 with 21 stitches. 

turning the heel of a sock


Add Color B and begin working the stripe pattern. Knit to the last 3 stitches on needle 1. Knit 2 together (K2tog) then knit 1. Knit across needles 2 and 3.

decreasing the heel of a sock

For needle 4, knit 1, SSK then knit to the end of the round. 

Next round: Knit across all 4 needles.

Decrease round: Knit to last 3 stitches on needle 1, K2tog, K1; K13 on needles 2 and 3; on needle 4, K1, SSK, knit to end.

Working in the established stripe pattern, repeat these two rounds until 52 stitches remain.

working the foot of a sock

Continue working in the stripe pattern until the foot measures 7" from the back of the heel ending with 3 rounds of Color B.

Phew! It was quite a section but isn't it amazing to watch it come together like that? You now know how to turn a heel. That's the hardest part of a sock and you just did it. You're a pro!

Check in again on Tuesday, December 16 for Part 4.

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We're also excited to we have lots of Ewe Ewe yarn stores participating in the KAL! Check out these stores, call to see what time they're knitting their Stuff It Stockings and maybe you can knit along with them! 

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