Confusion - Re: Hiking Socks pattern in The Knitting Man(ual)

Okay, so I'm down to the heel and am confused on what the pattern is saying to do. If you have the book, I'm at "HEEL" on page 64. Basically, I've completed the final round of the rib pattern (I have 48 stitches cast on). I'm told to place the first 12 stitches and the last 12 stitches of the round onto 1 dpn and to place the remaining 24 stitches onto a stitch holder. So, the yarn is in the middle of the one dpn (since I finished a complete round and placed the first 12 and last 12 stitches on the one dpn) with 12 stitches to the left and 12 to the right.

The directions then say "With WS facing, p across 24 heel sts." This is where I'm confused... since the other 24 stitches are on a stitch holder, I can only purl 12 stitches before I get to the end of the dpn.

What am I missing? What am I doing wrong? Should I have stopped the rib pattern either 12 stitches after the beginning of the round or 12 stitches before the end of the round and then followed the directions about placing the first 12 and the last 12 sts onto 1 dpn?

Thanks in advance for the help!!


scubasinger's picture

Maybe someone else has a better insight, but it seems to me that the directions are wrong. Again I'm no expert, but it seems they're trying to keep the beginning of the round in the center of the heel. But that leaves your yarn in the middle. What *I* would do is knit 12 stitches past the beginning, THEN place the previous 24 stitches (the 12 you just knit, plus the 12 before that (which in effect are the last 12 stitches and the first 12 stitches of the round)) onto your needle. These will become your heel while the ones left on the stitch holder become your instep (later in the process). Then when you turn the work to the WS, your yarn will be at the right of the dpn, ready for you to purl across those 24 stitches.

Anyone else have a better idea? I guess you could leave it like it is, and purl across just the 12 stitches, then turn to the RS and pick up with row 2. No matter how you slice it, it seems like you'll be creating an extra half row somewhere.

Don't have the book, so can't look at it and give you anything more specific.


MMario's picture

I agree with Vic.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

Kerry's picture

I would place 24 stitches on a dpn so that the yarn is a one end so you can purl as directed, and the other 24 on the stitch holder. With some patterns you just have to disregard what is written because it is not well written. I may be incorrect but it works for me.

stch's picture

This is the point at which you're to begin working the heel in the colour used at the top of the ribbing/the colour "C". In other patterns akin to this, the directions generally state to break (cut) the yarn of the main colour and begin knitting with the alternate for the heel flap. From your photograph, I'm assuming you're working the socks in one colour. In this case, you could rip back the first 12 stitches in order to set it up to purl, or cut the yarn and begin the row as instructed.
hope this helps.

purlyman's picture

I am working in three colors, actually. The top of the ribbing is brown (you can't see it) and the heel will be a tan color. I'm at the point where I'm supposed to break the brown yarn and join the tan yarn. But it still seems like I only have 12 stitches to work with before I get to the end of the needle. Thanks for your help!


scubasinger's picture

Ah, this begins to make a bit more sense....

I've seen this before...break and join does not always mean 'join' at the same place that you 'break'. I'm pretty sure what they're asking you to do is cut off the old yarn in the middle and leave a tail that you'll later weave in. Then, with the new yarn, go back to the beginning of the heel flap (WS facing, right side of the needle) and join your new yarn into the knitting there. You'll knit 12 stitches with the new yarn, then between stitches 12 and 13 you'll pass up the old yarn and continue on.

Note that you will STILL be creating an extra 12-stitch 'row' inasmuch as you've gone back to the beginning and knitted those first 12 stitches (which were the LAST 12 stitches of the round in the old color) again, this time with the new color. Unless that 12-stitch short 'row' is somehow important for the design, I would still be inclined to stop the last round of the old color 12 stitches early and start the new color at that point. It would keep both of your 'tails' in the same spot, would allow you to actually join the yarn if you so desired (either with a knot, or a felted join if the yarn is wool) and would eliminate that short row.

(Lord, how and when did I become such a sock-weenie?)


purlyman's picture

Hi Vic,

This is great!! Makes sense to me. I appreciate your time and wisdom. Glad you're a sock-weenie!! I'm good with lots of things (hats, sweaters, scarves) but this will be my first sock project. Big help.


MasonM's picture

I don't have the book but just looking at what you have there I'd say the instructions are wrong. Move the stitches so that you have 24 on your needle with the working yarn at the beginning so that you can begin purling on the WS and it should work out fine.


Linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste


Linux: because a PC is a terrible thing to waste

VERY timely topic as I start socks this weekend......

Tallguy's picture

No, you weren't following the directions correctly. Or have mis-read. Or possibly they weren't written correctly. That is why I oppose directions that say to knit to end of needle one! The stitches have numbers and directions...use those!

You should work that whole last row. You DO NOT stop in the middle of the row. You need to knit the whole of those 24 stitches, so that you end at the edge. You are then in position to do the purl row. You have placed your heel stitches at the wrong place -- you either start counting the stitches AFTER the current stitch you are on, or count BACK from where you are.

Since I've knit socks for a long time, I know where my heel is going to be, and I know where to stop knitting the main sock part, and where to start the heel flap. In this pattern, it's not that critical, but in a pattern sock (such as with cables that must be on the side), you must start your heel in the correct position. When I come to that stitch, then I turn and knit the flap. Because I use 5 needles for a sock, two are for the front, two for the heel flap. If necessary, and it often is, I will shift the stitches around from needle to needle to make this happen. It's the count of the stitches that matters more than what stitch is on what needle! This makes it all very easy.

So, you can either knit 12 more stitches, or shift your needles around by 12 stitches so the working yarn is at the edge of the heel flap.

purlyman's picture

Thanks for the comments. I think the directions were written incorrectly. I've looked very closely at them over and over again and I believe the problem lies there. I'd be happy to scan the pages for this pattern for you to take a look!! Thanks for the suggestions and advice! I think I've got it straight now.


teejtc's picture

I don't have the pattern in front of me, and haven't read all of the posts very closely, but I do recall that, after splitting all of the stitches up to knit the flap for the heel, I was in the middle of the flap and had to knit (in the pattern) for another 6 stitches (or so) to get to the actual starting point for a row.

Does that make sense?

I hope it helps.

Grace and Peace,