Afterthought Heels

Afterthought Heels



Undines sock pattern with the heel from Fork in the Road Socks

Socks … if you know me, you know that I love to make socks. My most recent pair of socks uses and afterthought heel.

I love the way the heel looks in these socks – the stripes bend around the heel instead of going across the heel.  For self-striping yarn, this is definitely my preferred heel!

The idea of an afterthought heel is to stitch the tube of the sock then insert the heel afterwards. Some people will put in some scrap yarn where they want to put the heel.  They rip out the scrap yarn and pick up the loose stitches to start building their heel off of. Other people will cut the sock where they want the heel, pick up the stitches and start the heel.

For me, one of the advantages of using an afterthought heel is that I don’t have to pay much attention to exactly how long my socks are – this does work better when you’re doing them two at a time! So I prefer the “cut your knitting” variety. It was a bit scary the first time, but now I have two pairs of socks with afterthought heels and it gets easier!

If you’d like to try an afterthought heel yourself, here’s some links to get you started:

  • has a well illustrated tutorial on how to use scrap yarn for your afterthought heel.
  • Yarn Harlot has a tutorial on how to cut your socks to put your heels in.
  • has a page on how to adjust the afterthought heel for higher insteps, but I found that I didn’t need any adjustment with the heel from the Fork in the Road Socks.

Pattern Notes:

The socks shown are my Undines on Holiday with the heel from Fork in the Road Socks.

Darn those socks

img_3765 I spend all that time making handmade socks, it seems to be a shame to toss them out when they get holes in them.  I don’t wear store purchased socks anymore – so my handmade socks get a bit of a workout (and they go working out with me!)

Socks wear mostly on the toes and heels, so that’s where the holes come in.  You can see in these socks that I’ve patched them a few times!

I use a number of different techniques for darning depending on what the hole is like – and if it’s actually a hole yet.

The light patches in the photo are areas where I caught it before more than one or two stitches blew out – there I used duplicate stitch, or swiss darning, to reinforce the worn stitches.

The dark blue square use a technique that I got from the Twist Collective called “Reknit and Graft” where you knit a square over the hole and attach it to the sides as you go. This is great for flat areas with larger holes, but it’s a bit fiddly.

For larger holes, I prefer to use the woven darning method. In this method (not pictured) you weave a dense square over the hole with the warp and weft tied into the sock. It’s the easiest way that I know to darn larger holes. The tutorial from Twist collective talks about using sewing thread to stabilize the hole first, but I rarely do that.

However you do it, darning is a great way to extend the life of your handmade items!

Socks on Short needles

2016-11-06-08-02-24I recently have been interested in knitting socks on 9″ needles – one at a time in the round – due to comments on various podcasts.  So I purchased a pair of 9″ Hiya Hiya Sharps and am testing them out. For comparison, I normally knit socks two-at-a-time using magic loop on a 32″ or larger circular needle.

The needles feel so tiny! They’re just a couple of inches long and it’s a bit tricky to feel comfortable using them. I do like the idea that we just keep going round and round and not having to stop at the edges of the top and bottom of the socks.

It took about an inch of sock for me to start to feel comfortable with these tiny needles. You can see from the photo how small the needles are!  I have to use fewer fingers than I normally do.  I’m a little concerned about doing long term knitting with them and if they’ll tire out my hands, but so far it’s working out just fine and the socks are smoking along!

Bunnies for Spring!

Socks, I love making and wearing handmade socks. A pair of socks takes quite a while for me to make, but it’s a lot of fun and easy to do on planes and during downtime when I might not have a lot of space.

My most recent socks were my first pair of socks from a sock blank. If you don’t know what a sock blank is – companies make a rectangle of sock yarn, then it gets dyed and decorated. When you unravel the blank, you end up with some really long stretches of individual colors. If you’ve added extra design elements – like this one did – then you get some nice

I got a decorated sock blank from Gale’s Art on Etsy called “Dancing Bunnies.” After unravelling it, I divided the yarn into 2 balls and started making my socks!

I’m thrilled with how they came out .. there’s nice wide sections of the different colors and little flecks from where the bunnies were. The socks are squishy and very soft on my feet. I’ve got some of the yarn leftover but not enough for a pair of socks.

Check out my socks on Ravelry.

Stitches West 2015

It’s been a crazy and busy few weeks, so I’m a little behind on this post.  

I managed to get down to Stitches West this year for only one day!   I was able to attend a class on Knit-Weaving with the fabulous Lily Chin.  The class was pretty cool, and just the right level of theory and practice!  We learned a few different ways of utilizing weaving 

In addition to class time, I was able to squeeze in 2 hours of market time!  I think it was the fastest that I have ever run through the market 🙂  I got to visit some old friends very briefly and find some new awesome vendors.  

Included in the super fast shopping spree are bags from Slipped Stitch Studios,  Miss Babs Hand-dyed YarnsRedFish DyeWorksDizzy BlondeDimensions RakuFiredClay,  Western Sky KnitsShaky K Fibers, and Wagtail Yarns

The class was amazing, the market was fantastic!  It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t find more time to cruise the market 🙂 For those who can afford the time and money, Stitches is a great place for goodies and learning!  For folks who are a bit tighter on money, it’s a great place to browse!