After frogging I have accomplished my mission to get the heel I want on my toe-up socks for my personalized pattern. I decided to switch to my mini circular sock needles and just work on one sock at a time so I could get through my heel and make sure it would fit my foot. Check out my work:
So, now that I’ve mastered this thing, maybe I can be helpful to other people that usually knit cuff-down who want to design their own heels with gusset and heel flap on a toe-up sock. I warn you, though, that a lot of this reflects my personal opinion and preference so it may not apply to you.
- This generic pattern with charts and formulas could be very helpful. It’s where I began: view the pattern here and the chart here.
- Then, adapt your personalized sock to your needs. For example, I always use Judy’s Magic Cast-On so that’s how I cast on.
- Measure your row gauge so you know when to begin increasing for the gussets. For my gusset increases I used M1R and M1L. It’s also a good idea to use stitch markers to delineate where your original heel stitches are (you only work on those for the heel turn). To do the math for this first figure out how many gusset stitches you’ll be adding to the sock (see 4, below). For example, if you will be adding 28 gusset stitches and increase every other round, you will be knitting a total of 28*2 rounds, or 56 rounds. Divide the number of gusset rounds you’ll be knitting by the number of rows per inch your row gauge is. Following with my example’s numbers, if the row gauge is 13 rounds per inch, your gusset area of your sock will be 56 divided by 13 4.3 inches. Subtract that number from your desired total foot length (don’t forget that this foot length includes the turned heel). Start increasing your gussets when you reach this resulting number of inches on your sock’s foot. If you wish, you can also increase every round in the final half of your gusset area so you can do the math to account for that if you wish.
- An increased gusset on a toe-up sock is much more stretchy than a picked up gusset on a cuff-down sock so keep in mind that you may need fewer gusset stitches. I typically need to pick up and knit a total of 40 gusset stitches (20 on each side of the sock) on a cuff-down sock (casting on 80 stitches with a gauge of 8 stitches per inch). For my gusset on my toe-up sock I only increased 36 and I could have got away with 32. Generally, the rule for gussets is that you need to add 1/2 the number of cast on stitches but for toe-up socks this isn’t necessarily true.
- To turn the heel you need to knit short rows. Typically, information in books and online instruct you to use wrap and turn short rows to do this. My personal opinion is that if you want a heel flap and gussets on your sock it’s because you want your socks not only to fit your foot well but also you want to make your socks live a longer life. Wrap and turn short rows on a heel will last a while, but they’re problematic and will wear out in less time than a heel knit on a cuff-down sock using the typical “decrease across the gap” type of heel turn. Also, with finer yarns (like sock yarns), the wrap and turn method is likely to leave little holes in the knitted fabric. My solution was to use German short rows. They’re sturdy and don’t leave little holes. They’re also very easy to do. If you want to learn how to knit them just use Google and pick a YouTube video you like. There are tons of tutorials for this.
- I like to put a garter stitch border on my heel flap (knitting my socks in either direction). It’s 5 stitches wide. It adds interest to the flap and also keeps the slip-stitch ribbing (and also eye of partridge stitch) even, lovely, and stable.
- When you knit the flap you have to knit (and purl) the last stitch of each side of the flap together with a gusset stitch. Each time you turn your work you slip the first stitch.
I hope this is helpful to anyone who wants to try this out. It took me a little extra time to get my ideal heel onto my toe-up socks but I’m really glad I took the trouble to figure it out. My feet probably are too! And really, I’m very satisfied with myself today!