Knitting a No Gap Afterthought Heel

How to avoid unsightly gaps when knitting an afterthought sock heel.
In my last post I showed you how to mark and pick up the stitches for an afterthought sock heel. Today, let's look at how to actually knit the heel so it's neat and tidy with no ugly gaps.

Inserting an afterthought heel


When we left off, you had just removed the piece of waste yarn that marked your heel placement and things looked like this.
The first thing you need to do is divide your stitches.

For my example, I am working my heel around 40 sts. I leave 20 sts on one dpn and divide the remaining 20 sts evenly across two dpns. If you prefer, you can divide your sts evenly across 4 needles or even use the magic loop method.

Usually your pattern will tell you where to join your yarn. For my example, I am going to join between the two 10-stitch needles.

Knit to the first gap. You'll notice the gap is kind of wide. Picking up two stitches in the gap closes that space.

To pick up the first stitch, look at the 'V' stitch two rounds below and one stitch to the left of the stitch you just worked into.
Pick up the right leg of the 'V'
Next, look at the strand exiting the stitch you just worked into and pick it up.
Knit those two lifted strands together.
Instead of 10 stitches on my right needle, there are 11.
Now you need to pick up a stitch on the other side of the gap.

Look at the 'V' stitch two rounds below and one stitch to the right of the next stitch.
Lift the left leg of the 'V'.
Now lift the strand that enters the next stitch.
Lift both strands onto the left needle and knit them together.
Pull the stitch snugly and then continue knitting to the next gap.

Again, we need to pick up two stitches in the gap.

Look at the 'V' shape stitch two rounds below and one to the left of the stitch you just knit into.
Pick up the right leg of the 'V'
Then look for the strand exiting the stitch you just knit into. (This one can be a little tricky.) Lift the strand.
Knit the two strands together.
Just one more stitch to pick up.

Look at the 'V' shaped stitch two rounds below and one stitch to the right of the next stitch.
Lift up the left leg of the 'V'.
Lift up the strand leading into the next stitch.
Lift both strands onto the left needle and knit them together.
Pull the stitch snugly then knit to the beginning of the heel.
After picking up two stitches on each side of the heel I have 22 sts on one needle and 11 stitches on each of the other needles.

Now that everything is set up, it's time to put a little thought into our afterthought heel.

When you are shaping an afterthought heel you typically use paired decreases. This simply means you decrease two stitches on each side of the heel.

There are a variety of styles of paired decreases that you can choose from. Today let's use a banded, paired decrease.

Knit to 3 stitches before the gap. Knit 2 stitches together and then knit the last stitch.
On the next needle, knit one stitch, slip two stitches individually knitwise then knit them together.
Knit to the last three stitches before the gap.

Knit two stitches together then knit the next stitch.
On the last needle, knit one stitch, slip two stitches individually knitwise then knit them together.
Knit to the beginning of the round.

Knit one round without decreases.

For a longer heel, make paired decreases every other round for the desired length.

I prefer to work the paired decreases every other round until half of my stitches remain and then work the paired decreases every round until 8-12 stitches remain.

Finally, use the Kitchener Stitch to join the bottom of the heel.

Here's both the left and right sides of my afterthought heel.

Sock knitting tutorial: How to knit the perfect afterthought heel

How to avoid unsightly gaps when knitting an afterthought sock heel.

Happy sock knitting!

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The Chilly Dog: Knitting a No Gap Afterthought Heel
Knitting a No Gap Afterthought Heel
How to avoid unsightly gaps when knitting an afterthought heel for socks.
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