One of the things I love about knit socks is that there are so many knitting techniques used in the process. And there are lots of variations for each technique, too! Take heel flaps for example.
The heel flap is one of the parts of a knitted sock that has A LOT of variations. Short-row heel, heel flap, slip-stitch, stockinette, or garter stitch. Sky’s the limit. Personally, the heel flap isn’t my favorite way to knit a sock. I actually prefer the short-row heel for looks, but you can’t argue with the durability of the heel flap.
I’m going to talk about a couple of heel flap knitting techniques here, which designer and video star Donna Druchunas (her fantastic video is Knitting Lithuanian Socks) calls “Heel Stitches.”
When I want to work a sock with a heel flap, I make the flap more attractive by knitting the Eye of Partridge stitch. I learned this stitch from Lorilee Beltman years ago, and I’ve used it for heel flaps (and sometimes for toes!) almost exclusively whenever I knit socks.
Here are the directions:
Eye of Partridge Stitch (version for heels)
Row 1: (Right side) * Sl1, K1*, repeat across, ending with K1.
Row 2 and all even rows: Sl1, purl across row.
Row 3: Sl2, * K1, Sl1,* repeat across row ending with K2.
Row 4: Repeat Row 2.
This pretty stitch offsets the slipped stitch every other row, resulting a diamond pattern.
Here are the directions for the tried-and-true Slip-Stitch Heel:
Row 1: (wrong side) Slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in front, purl the rest of the stitches.
Row 2: *Slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in back, knit the next stitch. Repeat from * across.
Repeat these two rows until your heel flap is the desired length, ending on the knit side.
Both of photos here are still shots taken from Knitting Lithuanian Socks. Donna Druchunas is such an excellent teacher, and the Lithuanian knitting history she’s researched for this workshop is fascinating.
Get your copy of Knitting Lithuanian Socks today. You’ll learn several more methods of knitting and turning heels, as well as get three beautiful sock patterns that Donna designed in the Lithuanian style. If you can’t wait, you can download the workshop and get started right away!
And here are a couple more sock knitting resources that I highly recommend:
For the beginning sock knitter, Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd. This book covers all the bases, and includes some great patterns for knit socks.
For the advanced beginner and beyond, Custom Socks by Kate Atherley. Custom Socks includes more than 15 original sock patterns and expert instruction to knit socks that fit properly. No more droopy socks!