Our wondering through Mirkwood will get very exciting now as we slip down the heel flap, turn the heel, pick up stitches and work that gusset! When we are working the heel flap we will not need to keep track of where we are on our cable pattern but just as soon as we start picking up stitches for the gusset we pick up right where we left off on the pattern. This is when things get a little more adventurous because we will need to keep track of our cable row and the decreases at the same time. But knowing you have the courage of Bilbo Baggins, I have utmost confidence that you can accomplish this clue with no detours!
My absolute favorite heel is called the Eye-of-partridge Heel. The Mirkwood sock that I am knitting is using that heel. I think it is so pretty with its little diamonds and it is nice and cushy. It is similar to a standard slip stitch heel except the ‘slips’ are offset every other row. Some may not want to venture (or wander) too far off the path of familiarity though, so for those, I am giving you a simple slip stitch heel with a 3-st garter along the sides. The 3-st garter makes it a little easier to pick up stitches for the gusset. But, for the adventurous amongst us, skip over the simple heel directions and give the Eye-of-partridge heel a try.
SIMPLE HEEL FLAP
Row 1 (WS): K3, purl to end.
Row 2 (RS): P3, *K1, sl 1, rep from * to last 4 sts, k4.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 24 (32, 40) heel-flap rows.
Repeat row 1 one more time so that you will be ready to start a right-side row when it is finished.
EYE OF PARTRIDGE HEEL FLAP
Row 1 (WS): K1, p1, k1, purl to last 3 sts, k1, p1, k1.
Row 2 (RS): K1, p1, k1, *K1, sl 1, rep from * to last 3 sts, k1, p1, k1.
Row 3: K1, p1, k1, purl to last 3 sts, k1, p1, k1.
Row 4: K1, p1, k1, *sl 1, k1, rep from * to last 3 sts, k1, p1, k1.
Repeat rows 1-4 until you have 24 (32, 40) heel-flap rows.
Repeat row 3 one more time so that you will be ready to start a right-side row when it is finished.
TRAPEZOID HEEL TURN
The heel turn in Mirkwood is the pointy trapezoid heel. I like this type of heel turn because it fits nice and tight around the back of my heel. As you navigate through the heel turn, slip all stitches purl-wise except when you work a decrease (ssk), slip the decrease sts knit-wise. Work across all sts removing st markers as you come to them because you will now incorporate the 3-st garter edges into your sock.
Row 1 (RS): Sl 1, k 16 (18, 20), ssk, k1, turn.
Row 2 (WS): Sl 1, p 7 (7, 7), p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3: Sl 1, knit to 1 st before gap, ssk to close gap ( 1 st on each side of gap), k1, turn.
Row 4: Sl 1, purl to 1 st before gap, p2tog (1 st on each side of gap), p1, turn.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all sts have been worked and you have 18 (20, 22) sts remaining.
Knit 9(10,11) sts across heel. Beginning of the round now starts here, place a marker so you will remember.
For years picking up stitches along the heel flap used to discombobulate me because I was confused on where to pick them up and I always ran short of how many the pattern told me to pick up. And then, there was the dreaded gusset hole that always seemed to happen. Fortunately, I soon discovered the garter stitch edge along the heel flap and learned Charlene Schurch’s gusset hole tip and my sock fears were alleviated.
Here are a couple pictures that I hope will help you. The first picture shows where to pick up the stitches between the purl bumps on the heel flap.
The second shows you which two stitches to pick up in addition to your others to eliminate the gusset hole. You basically find the ‘ladder’ that runs between the heel flap and the instep and pick up the legs on either side of it.
And for those of you who need the added reinforcement of a video here is a video demonstrating this technique.
With RS facing you and needle 1, knit across remaining heel sts, pick up and knit 14(16,18) sts between purl bumps on garter edge. Pick up and knit 2 sts at top of gusset to prevent gusset hole.
Work across instep resuming cable pattern at row 1.
With third needle, pick up 2 sts at top of gusset and continue to pick up and knit 14(16,18) sts between purl bumps on garter edge. Knit across remaining heel sts.
First round only:
Needle 1: Knit to last 2 sts, ssk.
Needle 2: Knit in established cable pattern (row 2).
Needle 3: K2tog, knit to end.
All other rounds:
Needle 1: Knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1.
Needle 2: Knit in established cable pattern.
Needle 3: K1, ssk, knit to end.
Needle 1: Knit.
Needle 2: Knit in established cable pattern.
Needle 3: Knit
Repeat these two rnds until 56(64,72) sts remain.
To measure my foot, I stand on a piece of paper and with a pencil mark the end of my toe and my heel.
Continue knitting stockinette stitch on sole of foot (Needles 1 & 3) and established cable pattern on instep (Needle 2) until you are 2” short of your actual foot length.
Next week we will finish up our toe and kitchener it closed!