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August 17, 2013 / lyndieloop

Afterthought Heels

My son wanted me to knit him a pair of socks for his birthday last June. He was pretty specific about how long he wanted them, what color they should be and that he wanted them pretty thin. Though I was excited to do this for him I knew “thin” meant fine sock yarn and small needles. I decided on the Deborah Norville Serenity Sock Yarn and used almost 4 skeins of it. I threw a little red sock yarn in there too because I didn’t think it would be as special if I worked that many rows of plain gray.

I cast on 72 stitches and using the recommended needle size on the Deborah Norville label, got started. 2 inches for 1×1 ribbing, then stockinette forever and ever, then picked a toe I liked. I followed the toe from this pattern. I also decided to put a little pattern on the toe. I grabbed that from here.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to try the afterthought heel. Basically you knit a long tube without caring about a heel until you have gone all the way to finishing off the toe. I did both socks before starting heels, measured for where the heel would go on both socks by trying them on, picked a middle thread and snipped. I put the live stitches on 4 needles for the heel, and just knit another toe. I found the directions to do this right here. Yes, it was scary snipping a stitch in the middle of the sock. But I did it. Boy I thought of so many uses for that little procedure so I tucked it away on this blog as a reminder. I made a knitted top with straps too long. One day I will get around to shorten those. Anyway, back to the subject matter.

Here is the before heels pic modeled by my daughter:

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… And here are the after pics.

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That scrunchiness is just me scrunching the sock down, not a result of an ill fitting sock. They fit really well.

If I had to do them again I would cast on 74, although since that number isn’t divisible by 4 it would have to be reduced back down to 72 at the start of the toe and heel decreases. My son says they fit well but I tried them on and think maybe a tad more width would have been nice. I’m glad I used small needles because they hold their shape with a tighter gauge. I’m happy with the Norville yarn. It seems to be pretty decent quality compared to other store bought yarns.

I don’t plan on making more socks for awhile. They take too long and they are monotonous. But when I do make them again, the afterthought heel is the way to go for me. I’ve done the traditional constructions: toe up, cuff down, picking up stitches for gusset and heel, but the afterthought heel was definitely the easiest method and achieved a beautiful result.

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