How to Knit a Sock Heel and Gusset

Learn how to turn the heel and make gusset decreases on a knitted pair of socks.

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One of the most daunting aspects of knitting a first pair of socks is turning the heel. This task seems to have gained a certain degree of notoriety, but it's a simple process that you can master in no time.

Turning the Heel

Row 1 (WS): P11, P2tog, P1, turn.

Row 2 (RS): Sl 1, K3, SSK, K1, turn.

Row 3: Sl 1, P4, P2tog, P1, turn.

Row 4: Sl 1, K5, SSK, K1, turn.

Row 5: Sl 1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn.

Row 6: Sl 1, K7, SSK, K1, turn.

Proceed in this fashion, increasing by one the number of sts worked before the decrease in each row, until all of the stitches have been worked, finishing with a right side row. You should have 12 stitches on your working needle.

Divide your heel stitches in half, leaving the last 6 sts you just worked on the current needle and sliding the first 6 onto an empty needle.

With the right side of the work facing you, take the needle holding the leftmost heel stitches, where the yarn is attached, and use the needle and yarn to pick up stitches all along the slipped stitched edge of the heel flap, moving upward toward the cuff, 1 stitch per slipped stitch.

You should have about 12 picked-up sts, but if your heel flap was made shorter or longer than suggested, the number of picked-up sts will vary accordingly.

Take an empty needle and continue knitting across the first needle with 10 stitches that have been "resting" all this time.

With a new needle, continue across the remaining 10 resting stitches. You should now be at the other (empty) side of the heel flap, with an empty needle in your hand.

Proceed down the heel flap by picking up stitches just as you did for the other side, except now you are working from the cuff downward and starting with an empty needle. Pick up the same number of sts that you did on the other side, then continue across the 6 live stitches that are waiting on the last needle (the ones remaining from the section where you turned the heel).

You should now have a tube again: the two instep needles will have 10 sts each, as they have from the beginning, and two needles will have more stitches because you’ve picked up all those stitches from the sides of the heel flaps.

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