Southwest Stockings KAL: Part 2 Sock heel flap and turning the heel

Here we go! It's Day 2 of the Southwest Stockings Knit Along and today we've worked the ankle of the sock and we're ready to start the heel flap and then turn the heel with short rows. It's fun to knit in a different direction like this. I've got a lot of pictures here for you but if you have any questions be sure to leave a comment! Remember you can always watch me knit these steps on The Knit Show with Vickie Howell.

Setting up and knitting the heel flap


The heel flap is only worked with Color A so we can cut any other strands we have remaining. Now with A we knit across Needle 1.


Then... we TURN the work. 


There's the inside of the stocking. Slip the first stitch as if to purl and then purl the rest of the stitches on Needle 1 and across to Needle 4.


Now we have 24 stitches all on one needle with Needles 2 and 3 holding the other half of the stitches and waiting patiently for us to return to them.

To work the heel flap stitches we slip 1 stitch as if to purl, then knit 1 stitch. Alternate these two moves across the row.


And, turn. Slip the first stitch and then purl ALL the other stitches back across. As you continue these two rows you'll see this squishy fabric start to happen. This makes a reinforced heel on a regular sock and it's a good technique to know so we do it the same way for the Christmas stocking. Plus, it looks cute on a project of that scale!


The pattern tells us to "Repeat these two rows for 24 rows total. There will be 12 chain stitches on each of the new edges. These are what we're looking for -- 12 chains, here I have 8.


Continue on until you have completed the heel flap. It should look something like this. 


Turning the heel

Now we start the fun of short rows! It sounds scary but I think this is the most fun part of making a sock. This is 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!

Knit across 14 stitches. Just plain knit, no slipping here.


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. 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.


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


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


Now you'll start working back and forth as the pattern says. You will be able to see a gap forming where you have turned your work. Can you see the gap in the middle of my row? 


Continue working the two rows until 16 stitches remain on your needle. Wow! Isn't that awesome? Look that how the heel just suddenly appears. 


We're all set and ready to join the bottom of the heel flap back to the rest of the sock. Cut Color A and begin following Fair Isle Chart 2 on page 3.


With Color D as the chart shows, knit across 14 stitches from the base of the heel.


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. 


Continue picking up stitches along the heel flap until you have 12 additional stitches on  your needle. This needle looks a little intense with all those stitches but we will even it out as we work our way around.

From Needle 1 head to Needles 2 and 3 to work those stitches that have been waiting for us. Then we get back to the other side of the heel flap. Pick up 12 stitches down the edge in the same manner as the first side.


Now we're left with this offset orientation. Knit across 7 stitches from Needle 1 directly on to Needle 4.


Ahh, happy organized sock needles! You'll have 19 stitches on Needles 1 and 4 and 12 stitches on Needles 2 and 3 for a total of 62 stitches. Woohoo! Success at socks.


Knitting the instep toward the foot

Ok, so we have a ton of stitches now but we don't need that many forever. This is where we start decreasing to get the sock back to 48 stitches. On the Fair Isle Chart I placed a little dot next to each row where you'll be making a decrease. You'll do 2 decreases on these rows and that happens 7 times. 62 - 14 = 48!


To decrease on Needle 1: Knit to the last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.


Work across Needles 2 and 3 as normal. To decrease on Needle 4: K1, SSK (just like we did on the heel), knit to the end of the round.


And there we have it! A sock heel is born. Continue decreasing and working Fair Isle Chart 2. If you're making the Cozy Socks when you get to the end of the chart you can try the sock on for size. Be careful with those needles but slip it over your foot to check the length. The sock should be about 1 and a half inches less than the length of your foot. If you think it needs to be a bit longer add a few more rows by making up your own Fair Isle stitch combination, adding stripes, or working your favorite section of the charts again.

I'll be back on Thursday the 16th to talk about decreasing for the toe and finally grafting our stitches together to close the sock using the Kitchener stitch. 

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