Turning the Heel of the Sock

Simple and Basic Instructions to Knit Socks

Now that you’ve followed the beginning knitting instructions for the first part of your sock, it’s time to turn the heel. That scary sounding job isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds, so take it slowly and don’t panic, you’re learning to knit socks!

Part One: Making the Heel

You finished with twenty stitches on each needle if you followed the beginning knitting instructions on sock making. We’re going to move them around — not by knitting, just by sliding them over. You want to have thirty stitches on the first needle and fifteen on each of the other two. The easiest way to do that is to slide ten stitches from needle two to needle one and five from needle three to needle two. As with all beginning knitting instructions, the heel starts out deceptively easy. Ignore needles two and three and knit 21 rows on needle one in stocking stitch (knit one row, purl one row). Finish on a knit row to create the heel flap.

Part Two: Turning the Heel

What you’re about to do will feel very unnatural and strange, and you’ll probably think you’re making mistakes because you’ll be turning the knitting around in the middle of rows. Don’t worry about it. Trust me and follow the instructions. It’ll work out in the end, promise. –P19 across the heel flap. P2 tog. Turn (when you see “turn” in a sock pattern, it literally means that: turn the sock around so it’s facing the other direction. I know you’re not at the end of the row yet. It’s okay). –Sl1, K8, Sl1, K1, psso. Turn. That messed things up pretty nicely, didn’t it? Now let’s put it back together. -Sl1 purlwise, P8, P2tog, Turn. -Sl1, K8, Sl1, K1, psso. Turn. Keep on repeating those two rows until you have ten stitches left on the needle.

Part Three: Picking Up the Heel

If you managed that, you’ve finished the hardest part of any beginning knitting instructions I’ve ever seen. Great job! Now it’s time to pick up some stitches and start the heel rounds. Your heel is currently a long flap. You’re going to pick up 19 stitches on either side of that flap. Pick them up on the first side, knit across the heel flap, and pick up on the other side. You’ll wind up with 48 stitches on that needle, and you still have fifteen on poor neglected two and three for a total of 78 stitches.

Phew! Don’t worry, we’re getting there. All that’s left is shaping the toe, and you’ll have your first sock! So head over to the last post and learn how to do it.