Knitting Tutorial: How to Turn a Sock Heel

Knitting Tutorial: How to turn a sock heel for a flap and gusset style heel using the French Turn Heel or the Half-Handkerchief Turn Heel
There are a variety of different ways to shape the heel when knitting socks. However, the most common method uses a flap and gusset style heel. The flap is just a rectangular section at the back of the foot that's worked in rows. After the flap is complete, you turn the sock heel. Turning a heel simply means you are adding a little shaping at the bottom of the heel as a transition from working back and forth in rows (for the flap) to working the the remainder of the sock in rounds. (We'll save the gusset shaping for another day.)

Before You Begin

The idea of turning the heel can be a little intimidating to new sock knitters, but it's not nearly as complicated as you would imagine. If you can decrease two stitches with a knit two together (k2tog) and slip, slip, knit (ssk) you can turn a sock heel.

The French turn heel is probably the most popular way to turn a sock heel. The shaping creates a little trapezoid of fabric at the bottom of the heel. Another popular method is the half-handkerchief heel. You probably guessed it, the shaping for this one creates a small triangle of fabric at the bottom of the heel.

For either method, after the first two rows of the turn heel are worked, you can use landmarks in your knitting to determine where the next decrease will be made. That's helpful if you don't like counting the stitches in every row.


Thanks to Skacel for providing the addi FlexiFlip needes and Schoppel Admiral Cat Print yarn used in this tutorial. These products are available locally at many yarn shops and online at Makers' Mercantile.

Turning a Sock Heel

Recommended Pattern

Ready to try this technique in a pattern? The Secret Admirer Socks Pattern shown in this lesson has video tutorials to help you learn and practice these skills:
  • Cable Cast On with addi FlexiFlips
  • The Meaning of 'No Stitch' on a Stitch Chart
  • Knit 4 Together and Slip 4 Knit (k4tog/s4k)
  • Right and Left Twists (t2r/t2l)
  • Preventing Gusset Gaps
  • How to Turn a Sock Heel
  • Picking Up Stitches on a Garter Edged Heel Flap
Secret Admirer Socks Knitting Pattern: How to turn a sock heel

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Knitting Tutorial: How to turn a sock heel for a flap and gusset style heel using the French Turn Heel or the Half-Handkerchief Turn Heel


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The Chilly Dog: Knitting Tutorial: How to Turn a Sock Heel
Knitting Tutorial: How to Turn a Sock Heel
How to turn a sock heel using a French turn heel or a half handkerchief turn heel.
The Chilly Dog
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