How to Knit an Afterthought Heel for Socks
The Après socks found in the sock pattern book: Operation Sock Drawer features an afterthought heel. The pattern designer, Felicia Lo, walks you through constructing an afterthought heel in this tiny tutorial!
Here’s a really quick and easy way to pick up the stitches that you need to knit an afterthought heel. Let me show you a little bit about the sock that I’ve made here. So basically this is a sock that I have designed and knit. It starts from the toe up and it is worked in a worsted weight yarn. And it just so happens that for the tip or the toe of this sock, this is all a sock yarn, that’s fingering weight yarn that’s been held double to make a worsted weight. And then it continues on in a worsted weight yarn. And this is just a regular stockinette tube. And then here I’ve knitted sort of the eye of the Partridge stitch pattern to give it some texture and also to make it pull in a little bit. And then this is the area around the insole of your foot. This will help make the sock fit a little bit closer to your foot. So that’s the point of that. And then what I did here is I marked off where the heel of the sock was going to go. And so I just continued to knit along this tube, this is stockinette and then this section continues on with a brioche stitch pattern. So that makes it kind of like warm and cozy and thicker. And this part of the leg is designed to feel a little bit like legwarmers. Whereas this part of the foot is, is meant to be like a regular cozy, nice fitting worsted weight sock.
Now what I have done is, as I’ve been knitting this toe up, when I got to this spot where I was going to put the heel, rather than knitting with the regular gray yarn, all the way across here, I just took some scrap yarn, it’s a scrap sock weight yarn, and I knit across for one row. So that’s why I’m only getting across half of the stitches. This is 48 stitches around. So I knit 24 stitches using that sock yarn. And then I went and put all the stitches back on the left-hand needle. And then I knit them all again with the gray yarn again. And that’s how I continue on and continue knitting in this with the sock. But what I have here is just one tiny little half row that is just done with fingering weight yarn. And that’s what I’m going to pick up and remove and put those stitches onto a pair of needles.
So in here, what I’m going to do is I’m just sort of inserting my hand inside so I can access the stitches a little bit better. Let’s get rid of this. And I used for this part of the pattern, I used a 3.25 millimeter knitting needle. In this case, I’m going to use these, these needles. These, this is a much smaller diameter. This one looks like it is 2.25 2.25 millimeters. And basically what I’m going to do here is you can see these stitches here. This is what is being picked up. I’m just going to go in to this row and pick up all around the sock. And I am picking up the right leg of each one of these knit stitches, where I can see one of these white, the lighter colored V is coming out of that stitch. So that’s the stitch that I am going to pick up from. So I just go across and pick up the right leg, all these stitches, basically picking up all the stitches that are going to be around this white strand of yarn.
I have all of my stitches along one side of what’s going to be a hole. I’ve got them all here on one needle. So I’m going to pull this all the way through we’re using a long circular needle. And then I’m going to turn my work around this way so that I can see the other edge. So along the other side of this white yarn, I’m going to pick up stitches on the other side. So again, when you turn this work around, you can see that these little white stitches, the bottom of the V is coming out of another stitch and I’m picking up the right leg of that stitch.
That’s the last one. So then I pull this one through as well. And so I have both both sides of the stitches here on the circular needle. You can see like so. So you can see both sides of the circular needle are here on either side of the white yarn. And I’m just going to pick out the white yarn now. So I have here, my tiny little scissors. I going to clip out all of the excess and unpick this one line. You could use a pair of knitting needles for this, or you could use a little yarn needle. I’m just using the tip of my scissors here. And as you unpick, you can see that the hole is being formed here. And that’s it!
So now your stitches are here, ready on a circular needle, ready for you to knit around, to knit the heel. So I have the other sock here that I’ve just begun. And then basically using my other needle. This is my 3.25 millimeter needle. I just start knitting around the sock and I’m adding in my contrast color for the heels. And basically what I’ll do is I’ll knit a couple of rounds just with plain knitting, make a stockinette tube here. And then I’m going to start to decrease down each side and then graft the end to make the heel. And that’s what I’m going to do to make that afterthought heel.