I brought yarn and patterns for sock knitting on our trip to Arizona this winter. I have been interested in learning new methods for knitting the heel, and socks are also very portable for working in the car.
In an earlier post about knitting socks, I listed some types of heel patterns. I recently found a chart in another blog showing photos of 16 different heel patterns with the name of each, for both cuff down and toe up patterns. There are even more than I had realized. A person could spend all their knitting energy trying every different method. https://curlsandq.wordpress.com/sock-heel-patterns-glossary/
This post is about socks I knitted with the “Fish Lips Kiss Heel” using a popular pattern by Sox Therapist. You can get the pattern for $1 on Ravelry. This is a very long pattern with many details to help you make sure the sock fits, as well as including instructions on the heel method. It works for either cuff down or toe up. I started looking at the pattern in the car on the way to Arizona. No, I was not driving.
In addition to trying out this new heel method, I wanted to try knitting two at a time using magic loop, where you use one circular needle with a very long connector. I made them with a short cuff to wear with tennis shoes, and more importantly so I could spend less time knitting. There are some YouTube videos with demonstrations of casting on two socks at a time on magic loop. I found this one very helpful and clear https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbxZsSpnV5M. However once you cast on the stitches and try to actually knit the first row it is exasperating, as the stitches and needles tend to twist all around every which way. I had to start over a couple of times before I got it right. Once several rows were completed, which reduced the twisting, it was fairly easy.
The fish lips kiss heel uses a method of short row that is easy to understand and execute. This pattern has no increases or decreases used for the heel, no counting, no picking up of stitches, no adding a stitch “somewhere” in the corner, no gaps or holes.
The completed heel creases inward, thus the “fish lips” name (you know like when you pinch your lips together biting on the inside of your cheek). I don’t particularly like the way it looks just laying there, but when you put it on your foot it fits well and looks good.
When knitting from the cuff down, the last step is finishing the toe. Ever since I found some good instructions for kitchener stitch to join two sets of live stitches, I have been knitting my socks this way.
The Fish Lips Heel pattern by Sox Therapist has some detailed instructions for how to make a sock fit perfectly by making a cardboard drawing of the person’s foot and taking some measurements. It turned out that the cardboard foot does not apply or help if you are knitting cuff down. To take advantage of the method described, you have to start at the toe.
When starting at the cuff you decide how many stitches to cast on so you will have the right circumference, which is not an exact science if you are using a new yarn that you have not used before. Alternatively, using the Sox Therapist instructions starting at the toe, you increase until the stitches fit perfectly on your cardboard cutout, which then gives you the right amount of ease. After that point there are no more increases, and the pattern tells you when to start working on the heel so that the foot part is the right length and the heel fits your foot in exactly the right place. I will try that next time.
The socks fit pretty well, but are a bit loose in the heel. I have narrow heels, so maybe one of those other heel patterns out there is more suited for my foot. I got side tracked making kitchen scubbies, so I only finished one pair of socks on the trip. My list of things to make is way longer than what I have time for.