Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Boomerang Heels, Revisited

A while back, I blogged about so-called boomerang heels.

These are basically short-row heels with a row (or two) of knitting all 'round the sock right in the middle of the heel after you've finished your first wedge (short-rowing to the smallest part of the heel). The boomerang row serves to clean up all the wraps, yarn-overs, hoiked stitches, or whatever hole-hiding technique you works well. It also really helps with the gaps that sometimes plague the corners of short-row heels.

The one thing I've never liked about short-row heels is the fit. They are too tight across the instep for me. But I didn't like any of the remedies I could think of, either:
  • making a gusset - increasing the number of stitiches gradually as you approach the heel
  • using more than 1/2 the stitches to make the heel
The first one I don't like, because it means I have to preplan and measure, which I really have a hard time with. Far, far better if I can fit the sock on, and know what to do when I hit a well-defined part of my foot.

The second one I don't like either because it means it is much harder to do the socks 2AAT - one has to move stitiches around which is a total pain. Also it interferes with the sock design on the front of the leg.

But, thanks to a fellow Ravellist and prolific sock knitter, I've found a new tip: simply increase the number of stitches on your heel by about 25% (ie. "make one every 4th st") right when you want to do it, then execute your short-row heel, and right after, make those sts disappear again.

Works like a charm.

As for when to start your heel if you are doing toe-up socks, start them at the same point as for "forethought" heels: when your sock just hits the beginning of your heel:

[where to start your short-row heel]

When you hit this point, increase 8-10 sts evenly over one row on the sole side of your sock. Knit the boomerang heel (or other short-row heel) and then decrease them away again.

For a higher-looking heel back, continue straight knitting (ie. not in pattern) for another few cm's up the back of the leg, until you are just below the ankle bone.

Now I'm gonna try this technique with Sweet Tomato Heels (with boomerang rows between the wedges) to see if I can get those to fit me on 2AAT socks...


  1. Thanks for this! I had the same problem of the instep getting too tight with a boomerang heel. I'll give this a try. And thanks for sharing your amazing wealth of sock knitting experience! I'm a competent knitter, but new to socks so your posts have been a huge help! With gratitude!

  2. Hello- thanks for all the interesting information on your blog. I love it. I have a quick question that I tried to post before but I don't think I was successful. I tried this method, and increased 8 stitches for the boomerang heel, then I knit the full heel and I ended up with this weird little extra pouch of stiches....has this ever happened to you? I am not sure what the fix is. Maybe there's a ratio that I have unknowingly disturbed?? I'd like it to never happen again, so I thought I'd ask. I have pictures of said dreaded heel if it will help! Thanks.