Why is it that crocheters and knitters seem to balk at making socks by telling me, the heels are so hard? Really, I can tell you as both a knitter and a crocheter, heels are NOT THAT HARD.
The first thing you might want to think about when we discuss heels is that there are many different types of heels! MANY! and some I am sure that you wont see listed here. But as long as you start with the basics, you will start to understand the construction of the heel, and then trying new things wont be so bad.
So first lets talk about heel types.
First there is the standard, Heel Flap and Gusset. This heel is the easiest to make in crochet. It consists of first a flap. That flap is usually 1/2 the number of stitches of the entire sock in the round. *If you have 40 stitches, then the flap is 20 stitches. On an adult, that flap is usually about 2.75 inches long. depending on your gauge, the number of rows will differ. on a child you usually want about 1.5-2 inches and on a baby about .5 to 1 inch.
Once the flap is completed, then the next step is to “turn the heel”. Turning the heel incompasses actually decreasing the number of stitches on the heel flap to create a cupping effect to curve and surround the back
of the wearer’s heel. The Gusset portion is then taking that “flap” and “turn” and working again back in the round, decreasing so that the instep of the heel starts to form. this is the part of the foot that is directly in from of your ankle, where the curve from your shin to your foot is. This is usually the part of the sock that needs the most alterations in order to allow your wearer to put the sock on. We will talk more about that in a later lesson.
The next most basic heel is the Short row heel. In this heel type you will actually be creating a “wedge” shape again on 1/2 of the sock. however, you can adjust the number of stitches on this wedge based on how wide or
narrow the foot is.
I have found that the first row of the heel should be comprised of 60% of the stitches around the sock. This allows for the heel to be wide enough as well as giving ample room to allow the foot to enter the sock for those with a medium to wide foot. However, if you have a very narrow foot, this may cause the heel to be too large. In this case, I would recommend jumping down to 40% and doing some math to get the heels right.
Once you have created the first part of the wedge, you will then need to start increasing again, while joining the second “wedge you are creating to the first, what this creates is a complete heel covering from the top of your ankle to the bottom of your foot. Many crocheters at this point will need to adjust the number of stitches that you use for the foot. Unlike the heel flap version, you usually start and end in the round with the same number of stitches before and after the heel. in this case, you will have to make adjustments for the instep of your foot, otherwise the sock may not fit your intended wearer.
These two heels I just described are actually the two I use the most. But there are many other styles!
- The V-heel, or Half Handkerchief heel
- The Round heel, or French heel
- The Square heel, or Dutch heel,
- Modified Square heel
- Band Heel, or German Strap Heel
There is a great website , Sock Knitters that is based on knitting but you can take that information from the site and use it in your math to create these types of heels. And take a look at these pictures of the heel types on Knitting Geek.
If you decide to make your own socks and want to use either of the first two heels that I listed, I am glad to help you out with those! Just drop me a note here on this post to ask a question, or you can use my contact form here to contact me privately. I love talking socks with you all so dont hesitated to ask any questions!
Happy sock crocheting! And dont forget to share photos of what you have made so far! I love to see them!