How to turn heel knitting

How to turn heel knitting

Are you new to knitting or looking to expand your skills? Turning a heel while knitting socks can be a daunting task, but with this step-by-step guide, you’ll soon be turning heels like a pro.

Turning the heel is a crucial step in knitting socks and involves shaping the fabric to fit the curve of the foot. It creates a comfortable and snug fit that is essential for a well-fitting sock. While it may seem complicated, with practice and attention to detail, anyone can master this skill.

To start, you will need a basic understanding of knitting, including how to knit and purl stitches. You’ll also need a set of double-pointed needles, or a circular needle if you prefer the magic loop method. Additionally, you’ll need a stitch marker to keep track of your progress as you work.

Step 1: Begin by knitting the desired length of your sock’s foot. Once you reach the desired length, you are ready to start turning the heel. This is typically around two-thirds of the total length of the sock.

Gather the Necessary Materials

Before you start turning a heel in knitting, you will need to gather all the necessary materials. This will ensure that you have everything you need to successfully complete the project. Here is a list of the materials you will need:

  • Knitting needles: You will need a set of double-pointed knitting needles or a circular needle, depending on your preferred knitting method.
  • Yarn: Choose a yarn that is suitable for your project. Make sure to check the yarn label for the recommended needle size and gauge.
  • Tapestry needle: This will be used for weaving in the loose ends of yarn once you have finished turning the heel.
  • Stitch markers: These are helpful for marking specific stitches or sections of your knitting.
  • Scissors: You will need a pair of scissors to cut the yarn when necessary.
  • Measuring tape: This will be useful for checking your gauge and measuring the length of your knitting.
  • Row counter: If you have a row counter, it can help you keep track of the number of rows you have knitted.
  • Pattern or instructions: You will need a pattern or instructions that provide step-by-step guidance on turning a heel in knitting.

Once you have gathered all the necessary materials, you will be ready to start turning a heel like a pro. Make sure you have a comfortable and well-lit working area, and follow the instructions carefully to achieve the desired results. Happy knitting!

Choose the Right Yarn and Needles

When it comes to turning heel knitting, choosing the right yarn and needles is essential for achieving professional results. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice:

  1. Yarn Weight: Select a yarn that is suitable for the pattern and project you are working on. The weight of the yarn will affect the size and fit of the heel, so make sure to follow the pattern recommendations.
  2. Fiber Content: Consider the fiber content of the yarn, as this will impact the comfort and durability of the finished heel. Natural fibers like wool or cotton can provide warmth and breathability, while synthetic fibers like nylon can add strength and durability.
  3. Needle Size: Use the needle size recommended in the pattern to ensure proper gauge and fit. If you knit tightly, you may need to use larger needles to achieve the desired gauge, while if you knit loosely, smaller needles may be necessary.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and personal preferences may vary. It’s always a good idea to make a gauge swatch before starting the heel to ensure your yarn and needle choices will yield the desired results.

Cast On Stitches

Before you can start knitting, you need to cast on stitches onto your knitting needles. This step is crucial as it determines the number of stitches you will have for your project.

To cast on stitches, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the yarn: Hold the yarn in your right hand, leaving a tail that is about four times the width of your finished project.
  2. Create a slipknot: Create a slipknot by making a loop with the yarn, then pulling one end through the loop. Place the slipknot on one of your knitting needles and tighten it.
  3. Insert the needle: Insert the other knitting needle into the slipknot and hold it in your right hand, with the slipknot on your left-hand needle.
  4. Wrap the yarn: With your right hand, bring the yarn under the right-hand needle, then over the top of the right-hand needle.
  5. Slide the loop: Slide the loop from the left-hand needle to the right-hand needle, keeping the yarn wrapped around the right-hand needle.
  6. Repeat: Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have cast on the desired number of stitches. Make sure to keep the tension of your stitches consistent.

Once you have cast on all your stitches, you are ready to start knitting the next row. Remember to continue following the step-by-step guide for turning heel knitting to complete your project successfully.

Knit the Foot

Knit the Foot

Once you have completed turning the heel, it’s time to move on to knitting the foot of your sock.

1. Start by working the next row in your established stitch pattern, knitting across the first half of the stitches on the needle.

2. At this point, you may choose to switch to a plain knit stitch for the foot of the sock, or you can continue with the stitch pattern you have been using.

3. Continue knitting in the established stitch pattern or plain knit stitch until the foot of the sock reaches the desired length. This will vary depending on the size of the sock you are knitting and the fit you prefer.

4. To measure the length of the foot, place the sock on a flat surface and measure from the back of the heel to the desired length, typically the tip of the longest toe.

5. Remember to periodically try the sock on to ensure a proper fit.

6. Once the foot is the desired length, you can move on to shaping the toe.

7. To shape the toe, follow the pattern instructions for decreasing stitches. This usually involves decreasing stitches at regular intervals to create a tapered shape.

8. After completing the toe shaping, securely bind off the remaining stitches.

9. Repeat these steps to knit the second sock for a pair.

10. Finally, weave in any loose ends and give your socks a gentle blocking to help smooth out the stitches and shape of the socks.

Now you have successfully knit the foot of your sock! Keep practicing and experimenting to achieve the perfect fit and design for your socks.

Create Short Rows

Short rows are a technique used in knitting to create shaping in a fabric. It involves knitting a partial row and then turning the work before completing the row. Short rows are often used to shape garments, create curves, or add depth to your knitting.

To create short rows, follow these steps:

  1. Knit to the point where you want to start your short row.
  2. Turn your work as if you were at the end of a row.
  3. Purl or knit back in the opposite direction for a certain number of stitches, leaving the remaining stitches unworked.
  4. Turn your work again.
  5. Purl or knit back in the opposite direction, working back to the point where you started the previous row.
  6. Continue knitting the rest of your row.

When creating short rows, it’s important to keep track of which stitches you have worked and which stitches you have not. This can be done by using markers or counting the number of stitches you’ve worked.

Short rows can be worked on both the knit and purl side of your knitting. They can also be worked in combination with other techniques, such as decreases or increases, to achieve the desired shaping.

Experiment with short rows in your knitting projects to add interesting texture and shape. With practice, you’ll be able to turn heel knitting like a pro!

Turn the Heel

Turning the heel is an essential step in knitting socks. It creates the shaping that allows the sock to wrap comfortably around the back of the foot. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to turn the heel in knitting:

  1. Work to the designated turning point: Begin by knitting the specified number of stitches for the heel flap, usually half the total number of stitches. This will create a rectangular section on the sock.
  2. Begin the heel turn: Start the heel turn by working a series of short rows. Short rows involve only working a portion of the stitches in a row and then turning the work before completing the row. This creates the shaping needed for the heel.
  3. Wrap and turn: For each short row, you will need to wrap and turn a specific stitch. To do this, slip the next stitch purl-wise from the left needle to the right needle. Bring the yarn to the front of the work between the needles, then slip the stitch back onto the left needle. Turn the work and continue knitting or purling the next row. This creates a little loop of yarn that wraps around the stitch and prevents a hole from forming.
  4. Continue the short rows: Repeat the wrap and turn technique for the remaining short rows. Each row will have one less stitch to work until you have reached the center stitch.
  5. Pick up the wrap: Once you have completed the short rows, it’s time to pick up the wraps. Insert the right needle into the loop of yarn created by the wrapped stitch from the previous row. Then knit or purl the wrap together with the wrapped stitch.
  6. Work to the end of the heel turn: After picking up the wraps, continue working across the heel turn until you have reached the end of the row.
  7. Resume working in the round: Once the heel turn is complete, you can resume working in the round again. This is typically done by picking up stitches along the heel flap and then joining them with the stitches from the instep.

Turning the heel may seem tricky at first, but with practice, it becomes an essential skill for knitting socks. Following these step-by-step instructions will help you turn the heel like a pro!

Pick Up Stitches

After turning the heel, it’s time to pick up stitches along the sides of the heel flap. This will create the stitches needed to continue knitting in the round for the foot of the sock.

Step 1: Start at the center of the heel and pick up one stitch for each slipped stitch along the heel flap. Insert the needle from front to back through the stitch, making sure to catch both legs of the stitch. This will create a new stitch on the needle.

Step 2: Continue picking up stitches along the side of the heel flap, working towards the instep stitches. It’s important to maintain an even tension and spacing between the picked up stitches to ensure a neat appearance.

Step 3: Once all the stitches along one side of the heel flap have been picked up, work across the instep stitches without picking up any additional stitches.

Step 4: Move to the other side of the heel flap and repeat Steps 1-3 to pick up stitches along the second side of the heel flap.

Step 5: Once all the stitches have been picked up, check that the total number of stitches matches the number required for the foot of the sock. Adjust the number of picked up stitches as needed.

Step 6: Join the round by knitting the first stitch from the needle used for picking up stitches together with the last stitch from the instep needle.

Step 7: Continue knitting in the round, following the pattern for the foot of the sock.

By picking up stitches properly, you’ll create a smooth transition between the heel and the foot of the sock, ensuring a comfortable fit and professional finish.

Continue Knitting the Leg

Continue Knitting the Leg

Once you have turned the heel, you are ready to continue knitting the leg of your project. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Join a new yarn if necessary: If you used a separate yarn to turn the heel, you will need to join a new yarn to knit the leg. To join a new yarn, leave a tail of about 6 inches, hold the new yarn parallel to the old yarn, and knit the next stitch with both yarns held together. Continue knitting with the new yarn, leaving the tail hanging at the beginning of the row.
  2. Knit in the established pattern: Knit the first stitch of the new row, and then continue knitting in the established pattern for the leg. This may involve knitting in the round or knitting back and forth in rows, depending on the project.
  3. Shape the leg if necessary: Depending on the design of your project, you may need to shape the leg by increasing or decreasing stitches. Follow the pattern instructions for any shaping required.
  4. Continue knitting until desired length: Continue knitting the leg until it reaches the desired length. This will vary depending on the project, so refer to your pattern for guidance.
  5. Bind off: Once the leg has reached the desired length, bind off the stitches to finish the leg. This will prevent the edge from unraveling and give a neat finish to your project.

Remember to refer to your pattern for any specific instructions or stitch patterns to follow while knitting the leg. Enjoy the process and see your project come together!


What is turning the heel in knitting?

Turning the heel in knitting is a technique used to create the shape of a sock or sock-like garment by decreasing stitches in a specific way to form a curve.

Why is turning the heel important in knitting?

Turning the heel is important in knitting because it creates the snug fit and curved shape needed for a comfortable and well-fitting sock.

Can you give a step-by-step guide on how to turn the heel in knitting?

Sure! Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to turn the heel in knitting:

Are there any tips or tricks for turning the heel in knitting?

Yes, here are some tips and tricks for turning the heel in knitting:


Kelley’s Sock Class – Heel Turn Knitting Tutorial

How to knit socks toe-up – a step-by-step pattern for beginners

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