In earlier posts I’ve mentioned the easiest sock heel I’ve come across, the Strong heel (named after the lady who devised it, not because of its innate strength). I’ve always loved this heel because of its simplicity in only needing to do increases and decreases. I even taught others about it last year at Fiber Camp Boston. But I’ve not been faithful. I’ve been seeing other heels.
From the very beginning of my knitting career I’ve made an effort to learn something new on each project, and this has remained true with the very simple sock I’m currently knitting. This time I decided the mindless sock needed the Short Row heel and I gotta say that I am in love with it.
The short row heel, with instructions well-described in this blog post, involves wrapping and turning stitches back and forth on half the needles, then knitting those wraps and the stitches they’re wrapped around in reverse order of how you first wrapped, so you eventually get back to some kind of normal and move on. I won’t describe the details here, because I can’t as well as the above-mentioned blogger already did. Just click the link. But I will say that the resulting heel looks closer to the store-bought sock heel than any other one I’ve encountered, so if you’re into that, give it a try.
There are several reasons that I am so smitten by this sock heel, not the least of which is the ease of it all. I fully expected picking up the wraps to be a real pain in the ass, and it really wasn’t. I suspect (though I have no hard evidence) and have read rumour that the short row heel also uses less yarn, something important for a sock that I ripped out and switched needle size because I was afraid of running out of yarn before the toe. This could very well be an important step in making me try toe up socks next; then I won’t have to worry about running out before the end. And the short-row heel lends itself well to toe-up socks.
I think my favorite feature is just how cool it looks. There’s really cool stripeitude (yes, it’s a word ’cause I say it’s a word) on this heel when I use groovy variegated yarn. Yeah, I know nobody will see the heel, but I will and I like it! It kinda’ reminds me of the mouth of a sock monkey for some reason.
If you’re a sock knitter and haven’t tried the short row heel, I do encourage you to give it a try, at least for the sake of building your repertoire of knitting skills. You never know, you might actually like it.