How To Turn a Sock Heel

Turning a sock heel may seem challenging, but with a little practice you'll get the hang of knitting a sock heel in no time. The most important part is following the step-by-step instructions for the sock heel pattern you choose. Don't get discouraged if the instructions seem confusing at first. Once you've successfully turned a sock heel or two, the process will become second nature and you'll really start to enjoy it!

The first step in learning how to turn a sock heel is choosing the sock heel style that's right for you. There are several popular sock heels to choose from: the V sock heel, or half handkerchief sock heel; the round sock heel, or French sock heel; the square sock heel, or Dutch sock heel, and the band heel, or German strap sock heel, among others. The half handkerchief sock heel offers an attractive v shape at the heel, while the round sock heel offers a softer, curved finish at the sock heel. The Dutch sock heel can offer a nice contrast if you are knitting your sock heel with different colors. The German strap sock heel offers a nice rectangular band at the sock heel.

Let's work through an example of the first types of sock heel: the V sock heel. We'll assume we're starting with a standard 40 stitch sock so the heel flap will be done on 20 stitches. We'll start on a purl row, since some people find that easier.

The V sock heel:

  • Row 1: Slip 1, purl 9, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn
  • Row 2: Slip 1 knit 1, slip, slip, knit, knit 1, turn
  • Row 3: Slip 1, purl 2, purl 2 together, purl 1, turn
  • In the next row, you'll knit 3 following the established pattern for your sock heel.

The math involved in turning a sock heel may seem daunting at first, but once you've tried it a few times you'll start to get the feel for it. You'll also notice that you're not stitching full rows, but rather short rows and that some stitches remain on your needle once you've finished a row. Don't worry! Just keep following the sock heel pattern until all of the stitches have been knit and you've turned your sock heel. It will work out in the end and you'll have a lovely sock heel to show for it.


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