That heel, girl… Part 1

heels socks series

For a while now I’ve been friends with Rijel of BlackMarketWool. Yeah don’t ask me why, she’s mad as a box of frogs, but I love the girl, what can I say.

She laughs at my lack of understanding of color theory, I laugh at her lack of belief in her knitting skills, we both teach each other something and swear a lot while watching Pitch Perfect.

Rijel on the left. Just in case you forgot who has the big hair in this blog.

Rijel on the left. Just in case you forgot who has the big hair in this blog.

One thing she does a lot of is sock knitting. She makes a leg or a foot, makes a heel and then never finishes them. Yeah girl, I know you never do. Alas, the heel thing has been important. I’ve taught Rijel….

The Ruth Way of Heels Click To Tweet

Much like “wax on wax off” my heels are pretty much muscle memory when you get down to it, but there’s some snippets of wisdom in there that I never realized people can’t grasp as intuitively. And so, here you are.


heels socks series


TRH is pretty much a basic heel flap, but it has 3 important detailed things that make it freaking awesome:

  • a texture to make it fun to work and durable to wear
  • a different pick up technique (no holes, no stretch!)
  • a different decrease area

While none of these may be new, the combination is magic. This set of steps was developed by me after darning many heels – I need texture to make the fibers stick together and felt slightly from wear to avoid tear. The pick-up was because for some reason, there are always holes on all the socks, and the decrease area helps pull the sock into shape better than the standard decreases.

Varieties of this technique are shown on several of my sock patterns:

Sock Bundle on Ravelry

Sock Bundle on Ravelry (click click!)

I need to design more socks… I digress, let’s get back on topic.

To begin with, if the pattern you’re working from has a special heel you like, go on and make that pattern with that heel, because this is not about changing everyone’s patterns, but if that pattern has a standard heel flap, if you’ve never knit a heel flap, if you’re making vanilla socks… let me take your hand and show you the world.


For this to work you need to have your leg on the needles, and be ready to work the heel (duh!). You will need to have half of the stitches to be worked as the heel flap PLUS ONE – you will need an odd number of stitches. If your number is even, I would move one stitch over to the instep.

With Right Side facing, perform these 2 rows:
TRH Row 1 (RS): [Slip 1 stitch purlwise with yarn at back, purl 1 stitch] to last stitch, knit last stitch.

TRH Row 2 (WS): Slip 1 stitch purlwise with yarn in front, purl to end.

Work these 2 rows as needed so that when you try your sock on, the heel flap touches the floor nicely – don’t let it sag because you’ll have to rip, don’t stretch it until it reaches the floor just to save time. This is needed for it to fit adequately and for you to avoid knitting it twice.

As a rule of thumb, for dainty feet and low insteps I’d work the 2 rows 14 times. For my big feet and high insteps I work them 17 times. This will vary depending on the sock wearer, so check your depth :)

You can tell the times by counting the slipped Vs you can see at either side of the knitting. These are the slipped stitches, and each V = one pair of TRH rows.

Ready to continue? Ok, I’ll see you soon with Part 2!

For now you can make the second leg, how about that?



  • Part 1 (you’re here!)
  • Part 2 (link to be added when released)
  • Part 3 (link to be added when released)
  • Part 4 (link to be added when released)