Advice on short-row heels? What's your favourite method?

Well, I've spent almost all of my summer on this one sock, which for various reasons—the FIFA World Cup being a distracting culprit—has been done and redone many times.

My big sticking point (apart from the terrible vagueness of the pattern) has been the short-row heel. I've not been happy with the result or execution of the method given in the pattern (wrap and turn), and have been experimenting with different methods of working a short-row heel.

I don't like the ‘holes’ to be too big or noticeable, but I also want a method that's simple. Any ideas or favourite methods out there that someone could share?

For the moment I've settled on a compromise that I kind of cobbled together from TECHknitter's blog that is a sort of cross between wrapping and a yarn over method. I like it for its simplicity and ease of execution (In stocking/stockinette stitch, K to turn point, slip (always purl-wise), yarn back, slip, purl to turn, repeat and then to close, from the right side, k to gap, k2tog, turn, slip, purl to gap, p2togtbl, turn, slip, repeat until gaps are closed).

By ease of execution and simplicity, what I really mean that this is a method that I can easily use while watching tv or talking and I can easily tell where I am by looking and it's more difficult (at least for me) to get lost. And the result I found a reasonable compromise between being very ‘holey’ and looking a bit like a tangled mess with the added bonus (again at least for me) of not having to faff about with pins or the like.


CLABBERS's picture

Hi Rev,

I have also been struggling with a sock ALL summer long. I know it's silly because once you learn W&T it's easy. A good friend once told me that when you begin to knit the heel, turn off the television, hide in a quiet room void of distractions, and concentrate. I think that is very valuable advice and it works well for me.

Liat on does a good job explaining W&T for toe-up socks, but I am guessing that it is pretty much the same for cuff-down socks. She is a very clever lady.

The one pattern she offers, once you do a quick registration, is for toe-up and top-down socks and in it she uses NO W&T. While W&T takes more concentration, I think it looks better.

Check out:

Hope this helps.


Thanks, Mark, these look good for more sock practice! I'll definitely be trying them out...once I've finished all my other projects, that is!

HuskerChub's picture

I've done lots of short rowed heels and toes because they are quicker and easier generally than a turned heel, but I don't like the way they fit my foot. BUT the one that I've found that I like the best, is the cleanest with no holes, no w&t etc, is a new one invented by the ever inventive Cat Bordi. Google Sweet Tomato Heel there is a 15 min video on that is very good, it is done by Cat. She is a very good teacher and really goes into detail and makes sure that you "get it" with lots of repetition...sometimes more repetition than I want so I fast forward a bit. I'm impatient and just want to get on with it already! here is a direct link
Hope this helps

CLABBERS's picture

Hi Shawn,
I just watched Cat's video. I really like the tomato heel. I am going to try it on my next pair of socks. Thanks!


That looks great, thanks Shawn!

Oh no, now this looks really interesting and I want to try it out before I finish all my currently-unfinished projects. I have plenty of sock yarn...but no, I'll finish the other stuff I'm half way through first. Well, probably.

KenInMaine's picture

If you'd like one other option to play with, I've been a fan of Shadow Wraps (aka Twin Stitches). Use the address below to be taken to Alice Yu's tutorial. I've been using this method for a while now and really like it. There are also video tutorials of this method on Youtube. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!


CLABBERS's picture

That is a very interesting technique. It is very similar to what Cat Bordhi teaches when she shows how to do her tomato heel. She also uses the mother-daughter references to distinguish which stitch is which. Thanks for sharing it.


Great stuff!

Having read through this one I think this is what I was unconsciously aiming for with my own experimentation. The way it's explained on this page makes it easier for me to see how it relates to my own cobbled-together method, but I doubt I'd have gotten there on my own!

I might have to do just one more pair of socks before I go back and finish off my partial sweaters….

New York Built's picture

I also like this technique for knitting in sleeves as per BGW's Knitting From The Top Down sweaters. Since adopting this technique, I have never had a wonky sleeve to stitch in, a tailored look highlighting the strengths of seamless knitting, and the ability to control the length, width and fit of the shoulder and sleeve.

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