Do you also have the sock knitting bug? I do, and I always look for different and unusual techniques. Recently I also fell in love with self striping socks. The thing is, the toe and heel options for self striping socks are not all that great. Especially the heels.
- a number of versions of heel flap heel. While I love my heel flaps, they really don’t work particularly well with self striping socks, especially those very symmetrical stripes you really want to keep the same throughout the sock. The heel flap produces wide stripes and the gusset makes them very thin. Some like this, I don’t, not at all. So my go-to heel is out for self striping, tried, tested and not loved.
- a number of versions of short row heel, including very popular Sweet Tomato by Cat Bordhi or Fish Lips Heel by The Sock Therapist on Ravelry. I love both socks but… yes, I know, I’m probably very particular about my sflow of colours but the wedge look these heels produce are not exactly the stripe perfection I’m looking for. I don’t really want to use contrast heels so short rows are out too!
- this leaves the afterthought heel. It does look attractive, however any version I have studied flattens and stretches the colours on the sides of the heel. Something had to be done about this… And I’ll tell you what in just a minute.
As for the toes, the visual effect is much better, however for consistency with the heel I wanted perfectly smooth, circular effect showing off the pop of colour crowning a perfect stripy sock. Especially if worn with toeless clogs or Birkenstocks, a perfect sock in hand dyed self striping yarn needs to be beautifully finished, not detract from lovely symmetry of the design.
- multiple versions of standard double decrease. They do look ok, however they produce a narrow, somewhat distorted oval of colour at the toe. I wanted a smooth, perfect circle!
- star toe. The star is certainly attractive, hovever I thought the one sided swivel and related colour jog produced by one direction of decreases could be improved on. So I did!
After loads and loads and some more of ripping, trying again, some soft swearing – soft because I knit mostly at night and I didn’t want to wake up kids and guests we had under my roof – so after some swearing I came up with my own version of toes and heels for self striping yarns which deserve to be treated with graphically perfect design.
Ta-dah! I give to you a pattern for Perfect Circle Heels and Toes pattern, now available on Ravelry.
The pattern is written for Self Striping sock yarns, both hand dyed and mass produced.
It isdesigned to produce a perfectly circular bullseye effect on heel and toe, without a jog or stripe on the side and without the tilting star effect. It will show off the circular patch on the toe and heel only with self striping yarn.
Solid colour yarn can be used for smooth fit, however it will not show the bullseye circular patch.
Toe and heel are knitted identically but detailed instructions are provided for both.
The heel is an afterthought heel, knitted after the main body of the sock is completed.
The toe is closest to a star toe, without the tilting swivel the star toe produces.
The heel and toes are not reinforced. They are easily re-knitted if they wear out.
The toe pattern is written for top-down socks but it can easily be adapted by knitting the heel instructions in reverse order for all sizes.
You can also see glimpses of my latest sock pattern. It is called “Oxford Circus Socks” and will be available shortly in Debra Garner’s Addicted to Sock Knitting E-zine, Fall (*Autumn) 2015, so please stay tuned for it!
I hope you do enjoy knitting these toes and heels, and if you do, please let me know!
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