Monday, November 21, 2011

A Study in Short Rows - Yo-yo or Boomerang Heel with Double Sts

So here is another option for a short-row heel (or toe). This one is a bit obscure, but works very well. This construction features the double stitch / tight yarn-over hole-hiding technique, with a variant of the opposing trapezoid construction for shaping.

For reinforcement on this heel, the easiest option is to knit in some hard-wearing thread or yard - polyester sewing thread works quite well - by simply holding it together with your working yarn and knitting as one. The fit on this heel isn't the greatest for me - I find it too tight over my instep without making some pattern adjustments. I'll cover these in another post, but meanwhile let's just concentrate on the basic technique.

As with previous posts, the pictures show a practise heel that's smaller than you're likely to make, out of thicker wool so it's clearer for photos. And it's only over the heel sts, not the whole sock! I find it useful to do a practice heel before working up the real one so I can familiarize myself with the techniques...

1. Get your heel sts on a single needle. Divide into thirds (roughly), making sure that the two edge portions have the same number of sts. If you have a wide heel, put more sts in the middle. Place 2 markers, one on each side of the middle third (I like split-ring markers).

[divide heel sts into thirds and place markers]

2. start on a RS row. Knit across the row. Turn.

3. Now slip the first st of the row PW, wyif. Pull at the working yarn, hauling it backwards over the needle, tightening it so that the legs of the st below come up, and then over, the needle. Keeping the working yarn taught so the stitch stays hoisted up,  purl the next st. Purl across the row to the other side. Turn.

[hoisting up a stitch on the purl side.]

4. Hoist up the first st, by slipping it PW, wyif, and pulling at the working yarn, hauling it backwards over the needle, tightening it so that the legs of the st below come up, and then over, the needle. Keep the working yarn taut, and knit across the row to the first double stitch on the other side. Don't knit this double stitch. Turn.

[Now on the knit side: pull the working yarn to hoist up the slipped st.]

5. Hoist up the first st, purl across to the first double st on the other side of the heel. Turn.
6. Hoist the first stitch, knit across to the first double stitch on the other side of the heel. Turn.

...repeat rows 5 and 6 until you have hoisted up all the sts on either side of you heel. The middle part, between the markers, stays "unhoisted". You should see a nice row of "double stitches" indicating where you've been:


[all the edge sts have been "hoisted".]

7. When you've finished hoisting all the stitches on either side of the middle section, it's time for the boomerang row!  You'll probably just have finished step 5, and have just hoisted your last stitch, and have the knit side facing you. Knit across the middle third and all the way across to the end, slipping both markers as you go. Continue and knit the doubled stitches, knitting the two legs of each hoisted stitch as one. Turn once you've knit the last st on your heel needle(s).
8. Hoist the first st and then purl all the way across to the other end, slipping the markers, and purling the two legs of each hoisted stitch as one. Turn. Hoist the first st and knit to the second marker.

note: as described here, this boomerang is a two-step process. It's more like a yoyo, going up and then down the row (Ha! Yoyo heel! Get it?). It can also be knit as follows: instead of turning at the end of step 7, you keep going: knit across the instep stitches and go all the way around the sock (in pattern, of course!), coming back to the heel sts and knitting them until you get to the second marker. Kinda like a .... boomerang! In both the "yoyo" and "boomerang" variants, you've knit over all the hoisted sts - either up and down, or around. I prefer the boomerang over the yo-yo because knitting all the way 'round the sock really helps prevent those "holes" you get at the corners of a short-row heel.

You are half-way done, and have knit one trapezoid. Now it's time to start the upside-down one.

9. You should have the RS facing again, and be at the second marker. Slip the marker, knit the first st past the marker. Turn. 
10. Hoist the first st. Purl to 1 st past the first marker - on the other side of the heel - slipping both markers as you go.  Purl that st. Turn.
11. Hoist the first st. Knit to next hoisted st (it'll be past the 2nd marker on the other side of the heel), slipping both markers. Knit the hoisted st.  Turn.
12. Hoist the first st. Purl to next hoisted st (it'll be past the 1st marker on the other side of the heel), slipping both markers. Purl the hoisted st.  Turn.

Repeat rows 11 and 12 until you are about to hoist the very first st of the heel (you should be on a RS row). This will be your last row. Hoist the first st, and knit across to the very end. You are finished turning the heel and ready to continue knitting in the round.

Update!
Just blogged about a neat trick on improving the fit of this type of heel!

4 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for these clear instructions. I'm going to try this technique on my next sock.

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  2. Thanks! If I knit this heel with a top-down sock, can I just continue on with the foot afterwards?

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    Replies
    1. Of course! The heel is symmetric, so can be used either toe-up or top-down.

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  3. I simply love this method of short row heels and toes. Hoisting is super easy.
    One comment: shouldn’t row 11 read:
    “ . . . slipping both markers. Knit the hoisted st. K1. Turn.”
    and likewise row 12:
    “ . . . slipping both markers. Purl the hoisted st. P1. Turn.” ?

    Then I had one of those “lightbulb” moments. I want to use up 2 part balls of yarn, so I want to start at the toe. So, how about I use an invisible provisional cast-on using the 2nd circular instead of the waste yarn? (I always knit 2 socks on 2 circulars, so no 2nd sock syndrome, and they match – come what may!) That way when I get to your method between rows 8 & 9, I just “boomerang” across the remaining provisional stitches on needle 2, and hey presto, NO KITCHENER stitch!

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