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38 Comments
  • So can this be done on toe up socks?

    • No, I don’t think so.

      • Yes!! Wendy (wendyknits ?) has free pattern(s?) for this on ravelry. I think One is called Toe Up with a difference.

        • I think there must be a free pattern on knitty that uses a toe up heel flap construction because I’ve knitted a few pairs and I’ve never bought a pattern. Ravelry will have a link if you search the construction method.

        • Yes! Wendy shows you how to up style

      • The University of Youtube says that “toe up socks heel flap and gusset” are possible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4RSpmW0-YU

    • You can do a heel flap for tow-up socks, but the construction is different. Kate lines it out in one of her books, but you do the gusset backwards by increasing before the heel instead of decreasing down the foot. From there, you have to turn the heel (can’t remember how) and then finish decreasing stiches as you work your way up the back of the heel. It’s been a while since I’ve done it, but it can be done.

    • See “Socks from the Toe Up” by Wendy D. Johnson . I like the whole book. See slip stitch heel basic socks with gusset and heel flap generic patt on page 41 with photo page 40. Copyright 2009. The 20+ patts in the book use this method. 3 patterns are for sportweight that “feature the gusset heel which is not as bulky as the slip stitch heel” (pp. 114-123).
      After a long hiatus from sock knitting I really spent time looking for this method which works best for my high instep.

      • I use Wendy’s method for all my socks, unless there’s a really good reason not to. (Pairfect sock yarn, for example.) I really like the toe-up method, and the flap and gusset seems to fit my heels the best out of every type I’ve tried.

    • Stay tuned!!

  • That’s the nicest looking flap heel I’ve ever seen. I abandoned flap heels for short row heels because they can look so clunky and, well, home-made. I’ll have to give yours a try! Thanks.

  • Thank you for this, Kate! Your articles are always so beautifully clear. I am now knitting your wise Hilda sock for the second or third time. I’ve knit many many socks, but it is the best pattern I’ve used. And in spite of being an experienced socknitter, it’s taught me some new things. Thank you so much. I noticed here your gusset decrease is slightly different from what’s written in your basic pattern, in that you decrease and knit a stitch before the InStep, here. In the basic pattern it’s just decrease and do the InStep. Is that because the next stitch is a Purl stitch?

    • Yes, that’s precisely it! I like the decrease sitting up against the purl stitch. In general, I avoid doing a decrease exactly at the start or end of a needle when working in the round like this, as it can exacerbate ladders.

  • My default is always heel flap and gusset socks. I prefer the fit and find them fun and slightly magical to execute. If you turn a heel in public, non-knitters are just gobsmacked. I will add your trick for eliminating that pesky hole to my arsenal of tricks for that (since there are quite a few out there, I tend to do the one that suits my mood when I get up to that part but yours sounds less fiddly than most).

  • Team heel flap here. I’ve got high arches and this is much easier to me than doing tricks to get a short row heel to fit. I’m glad we all have options for different fits and types of socks.

    • And I love it for my flat feet!

  • I’m a heel flap girl! I can do it in my sleep. But I love reading about skills, I always seem to learn something new. I have to try your square flap. Question, why do you knit through the back loop on the first row of picked up stitches? Am I understanding that correctly?

    • Judy, you knit your picked up stitches tbl because doing that twists and, therefore, tightens those stitches making them look neater and eliminates the elongated stitches and there are no holes.

    • Correct! Barbara’s comment above is exactly right.

  • Love your tutorials, Kate!
    One thing I’ve always wondered is why, after the heel, the start of row marker is put in the center of the heel? Why not put it where it will become the start of the top of the foot? That way it is the start of the top of the toe when you get there. (It might be the bottom of the foot/toe, I don’t have a sock in hand at the moment). Thanks!

    • I think it’s mostly tradition, honestly. It’s an arrangement that makes the most sense if you’re working on DPNs – it’s a little fiddly if you’re on other needles. It also makes sure that you’ve got the same number of rounds on both sides of the gusset, and that you don’t have to cut and rejoin the yarn.

  • Thank you! Heel flap and gusset with the Half Handkerchief heel turn (which is magic) was the first heel I learned to do from multiple sources and never knew what to call it. Thanks for the clear explanation of what I have been doing. Now, I can communicate what that is!

  • Love this article, it’s definitely a keeper! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

  • I cannot find a picture showing how to maneuver doing two sock gussets at a time on a magic loop.

    • You basically do one heel turn completely until you’re back in the round on that sock and then do the second one.

  • Thank you Kate! This article is a keeper. I’ve only knit one sock and I did heel flap and gusset because I found a video showing that method and it looked easiest to follow;) I was so amazed by how it looked like a “real sock” and so proud of myself

  • Just wondering why you don’t do the traditional reinforcing stitch for the heal flap (sliping everyother knit stitch purl wise)?
    I find the denser stitching helps prevent wear in the heal.

    • I think she said that method will come in a later article.

      • Seems like it could have been added here. I’m quite surprised at what a very slow roll this sock thing is taking. Based on the first two I knit, before internet from written words alone.

        Also this may not be true but because I have narrow heels, I think it’s easier to subtract 10% from heel flap but this could just be my faulty memory.

        Also with short row I’m alwaus worried about where to begin Gusset.

    • I agree!!! (Tho haven’t read it yet)

  • So funny to me thst u waited so long to talk about this. My first and most of my socks (of my maybe 5 prs) were done this way, guess that’s why I think it’s easier. No pesky holes and so nice and cushy.

  • I wish that Kate would do the same amazing explanation for those of us who are sworn to toe up construction.

    • Oh, it’s coming!

  • I am top-down, heel-flap-and-gusset all the way! I’ve made a couple top-down pairs of socks and short row heels, but I really just adore making a heel flap (I tend to do Eye of Partridge) and turning a heel. It makes me feel like a real knitter!

    • I too knit the heel flap, top down sock. I never could get the toe-up version to fit correctly (always too big every time.) And I just love the way a good gusset looks…so tidy. I have done the after-thought heel in the Smooth Operator Sock by Susan B Anderson, and I love the way it looks, especially with contrast yarn. It fits me just fine, but I hesitate to use it in socks I knit as gifts, so I default to the heel flap and gusset; no complaints from the recipiso far.

  • This has been my go to heel and it is great as it is adjustable. Love it with the slip one stitch pattern. Will you please write about different toe finishes for cuff down socks?

  • When it’s time to work the heel turn, the instructions say: Heel turn row 1 (RS): Slip 1 pwise wyib, k to 2nd marker, slip marker, ssk, turn.
    Which marker is the second marker? Do I knit past one marker to the next one? I’m confused.

  • I have a question about comfort. I have Neuropathy due to DDD and Eds. My feet are numb and over sensitive. What sock pattern would have less bumps and seams that might cause a bit less discomfort especially along the edge of my feet?
    I have only toyed with knitting a sample sock and that pattern had thick seams I didn’t care for.
    Any ideas you have would be so welcome! I want to knit my own socks that I will have for a long time.
    Thank you.
    Juk