The heel flap is one of the parts of a knitted sock that has A LOT of variations. Knitting 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 knitting heel flap 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 knitting stitch from Lorilee Beltman years ago, and I’ve used it for heel flaps (and sometimes for toes!) almost exclusively whenever I knit socks.
Learn how to do the Eye of Partridge Stitch for your knitted socks’ heel flap:
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 knitting stitch offsets the slipped stitch every other row, which results in a diamond pattern.
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.
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 knitting 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 knitted sock resources that I highly recommend:
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!