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Sock Heel Replacement Experiment

I promised a report on replacing Paul’s heels. I used a combination of a Peasant Heel, an Afterthought Heel, and Lucy Neatby’s garter stitch heel.

I stabilized the stitches around the original heel by sewing length of sock yarn through the stitches. Then I cut out and picked out the original stitches. This merely requires good eyesight and great lighting. I attached the new heel yarn, a gray sock yarn from heaven knows where from the stash, and simply knit one row around the hole that was the heel. I did this mainly to make certain I had caught all of the original stitches. Then I counted. I had 32 on the instep needle and 44 on the sole needle.

At first the difference confused me. Then I remembered the gusset. Peasant Heel’s do not have gussets. Neither do any of the ones I based this on. I was not willing to turn this into a major operation, so I just K1, K2 together for half of the extra stitches, then counted backwards to figure out where to do this on the other side of the sole. Now I had 32 and 32, but the sole looked a bit “gathered.” Tuff!! I forged ahead.

I don’t like short row heels in stockinette stitch. They eventually mash down and do not coddle my dainty heel as I would like. They seem insubstantial and easy to wear out. That is merely a prejudice based on no evidence at all. I decided to use the garter stitch version. Neatby recommends using 60% of the sock stitches, but I had little choice here, or so I thought. I put on a pair of my own socks with this Garter St heel and began the process from the cuff area.

When I finished the heel, I needed to join it to the sole of the sock. I knew that Kitchner stitch was the best way, but I had no idea if the fit was right and I didn’t want to take the time. I just did a Three Needle Bindoff and went in search of a male foot. I finally got Steve off a bike and he tried it on, pronounced it a good fit, and said the Three Needle Seam was not obvious as he walked on it. Well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Three needle bindoff

The second sock was better planned. I began the sock on the sole and knit toward the cuff. That placed the join on top of the sock. I knit the final Wrong Side row which looks like a Purl row on the Right Side, and then grafted the heel to the cuff on the Right Side. Looks great.

Joined with Kitchner st

My only criticism is that the heel length might be a bit shallow, but that would be settled by using 60% of the stitches when the sock is originally knit. You don’t have to do the heel as an Afterthought, where you would knit in some waste yarn and complete the heel after the rest of the sock if finished. However, you must use a different piece of yarn to knit the heel, even if it is the same yarn as the rest of the sock. This makes if easy and safe to remove the original yarn and replace it. Just knit to the heel, tie on a new piece or even the other tail of your skein, work the heel, cut the yarn, continue with the original piece.

This must make little sense all bunched together here, but if you had the sock in your hand, I think it would suffice.

If you don’t knit socks, do recognize that there are many ways to fix any knitting problem. Don’t hurry to pull out your stitches or toss away a project if it doesn’t go well. Seek out some other knitters and brainstorm a solution. Once a group of us salvaged a hat by turning it into a purse. We were quite proud.

More later–


One Response

  1. Well done! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

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