Soldiers’ Socks: Heel-Flaps and Heels

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Published Feb. 9, 1916 in the The Sydney Mail.

Just at the present time the lives of the majority of women are bounded by knitting.  Every worker asks the other how many stitches the casts on for the top of the sock, what sized needles she uses, and the class of wool she prefers. When all this has been satisfactorily explained, the question of heels and toes comes uppermost. One woman swears by the Dutch heel, another by the common or square heel, and a third by the Swiss heel. It is wonderful how many ways there are of turning a heel, and how excited the novice feels when she has negotiated the corners, as it were, with success. Every woman can cast-on and knit round and round for the leg, but the heel is quite another matter. Each worker should acquaint herself with several methods. It is a pity to be tied down to any one style, and after all there is a certain amount of variety even in a small change like this. There are many kinds of excellent heels, some being suited to one kind of foot, others to another. Amongst the number may be mentioned the Dutch or horseshoe heel (to the writer’s idea one of the very best), the French, or round gusset heel, the manufacturers heel, the Balbriggan heel, the square heel, the Swiss, the Welsh, and the Niantic. The last named is to be seen on the majority of machine-knit hosiery; but as it has no gusset it is not as elastic as the other kinds.

The general rule for heels is that when the ankle is reached the stitches are evenly divided, half being used to work on for the heel, the other half left for the instep. But as there are always exceptions each variety of heal will be dealt with in turn. For the Dutch heel the stitches are divided as above. Knit to the seam stitch, purl it, and then knit along for a quarter of the number of stitches on the needles; turn, slip1, and then purl back to the seam stitch; knit this, and then purl for another quarter of the stitches. This will give the exact half for the heel flap, with the seam stitch in the center. The worker must now knit as many rows as there are stitches, as the flap is square. To turn the heel knit to the seam stitch, purl this, and knit 5 more. Take 2 together, and turn. Slip 1, purl to the seam stitch, knit this, purl 5, purl 2 together. Continue these two rows thus until the whole of the stitches are knitted off, and 14 stitches remain for the top of the heel.  

The French heel is eminently suited to the high instep. For this proceed in exactly the same way for the flap as just described for the Dutch heel; but the “turning” is different. Slip the first stitch, knit plain to the seam stitch, purl this, and then knit 1 stitch more, knit 2 together, and knit 1; turn, slip the first stitch, purl 4, purl 2 together, purl 1; turn, slip 1, knit 5 (the seam stitch is now abandoned), knit 2 together, knit 1; turn, slip1, purl 5, purl 2 together, purl 1; turn and continue, knitting 1 stitch more each time so that the heel widens out as the work proceeds, and all the stitches are knitted in. The last row will be a purled one. Knit across, and pick up for the gusset in the usual way. The square heel also requires half the number of stitches, with the seam stitch in the centre. This stitch is then abandoned, and work must be proceeded with (one purl and one plain row) until about three inches of flap are completed. The stitches must be then cast off, and the cast off stitches sewn neatly together. This of course, makes a seam in the middle of the heel; but it should not be uncomfortable if properly sewn. At the same time, this heel is not general for soldiers’ wear, but it is simple to accomplish. The wool is then joined on from the right hand corner of the instep needle. For the manufacturer’s heel proceed in exactly the same fashion, but knit as many rows as there are stitches. Then proceed to shape the flap. Knit to within three stitches of the centre, knit 2 together, knit 1, knit 2 together, and plain to the end. Purl back. Repeat these two rows four times, when cast off and se up. The gusset stitches would be picked up as previously described.

There is a little variety with regard to the Welsh heel. Again half the number of stitches must be arranged on one needle, with the seam stitch in the center, the heel flap consisting once more of as many rows as there are stitches. Then slip 1, knit to within 10 stitches of the seam stitch, then *wool over the needle to make 1, knit 2 together, knit 5, knit 2 together, knit 1, purl the seam stitch, knit 1, knit 2 together; turn, wool over the needle to make 1, then purl to 10 stitches past the seam stitch; turn and repeat for * until all the side stitches are knitted in. Do not make a stitch in the last purl row. There should be 17 stitches when the work is completed. Later on some hints will be given on the finishing of the toes as well as full directions for refooting a sock.

Q – When doing a search for Welsh Heel, this article came up as a hit. I found it quite interesting. In researching old sock knitting patterns, the heels always refer to a “seam stitch”. It appears that pre-knitting-in-the-round, socks would be seamed up at this point. I’ll be discussing the seam stitch in upcoming blogs.

QHave a happy crafty day!

Sock It To Me Heel Patterns Glossary

Look at the new blog page! I’ve been so enthralled by the different types of knitted sock heels that it’s time to make a glossary so I can quickly look up.

If you know of any other heels or links I should include, PLEASE leave a comment so I can add it to the page.

I know that I don’t have links to all of the toe-up sites, the grandkids have been here since Wed so I’ve had to squeeze this project into the little time I’ve had.

QHave a crafty day!

Sock It To Me Heels

Heel options. Ravelry: Taina's Kannanottoja

Heel options. Ravelry: Taina’s Kannanottoja:Cuff down: French 1 Dutch 2 Taffy 3 Band 4 heel Shaped common heel 9 Toe-up: French 5 Dutch 6 round 7 Reverse Dutch 8 other Afterthought: sädekavenus 13 Heel edeellä 10 unnamed 11 Afterthought tape 12, Short Rows One wedge heel 14 hourglass 15 Sweet tomato 16

I’ve been on a sock knitting kick since February. Unfortunately, my head injury has slowed me down considerably. If I’m not seeing double, I’m dizzy, both make it hard to knit.  Anyway….. I’ve been introduced to different ways to knit heels. Who knew? It was a sock knitter’s secret.

All of these wonderful names for heels, but what do they look like. The Addicted to Knitting Socks FB group drops these names as if they are old friends. To a newbie socker, such as I, this sock heel key is a wonderful tool. It was posted on FB Knit-N-Purl- Soctober. The chart is downloadable to use as a reference. This is the link to Taina’s Ravelry page where she has the chart, scroll down to the bottom for descriptions and links. Taina also has a wonderful blog, Käsillään. It’s in Finnish but I found links to English sites for the socks.  I know some of the heel patterns shown in the chart are not free. An Internet search did turn up quite a few free instructions.

Onerva Socks picture by © verano

Onerva Socks picture by © verano

I’ve found so many Finnish sock patterns lately. I’m figuring it has to do with the mtDNA (maternal DNA) which leads directly back to Finland. The earliest Finnish female line I have is from the 1500’s. In fact, I just translated the Onerva sock pattern, by Suvi Heikkilä from Finnish into English. I contacted her to see if she wanted the English translation, but have not had a response.

Fish Lips Kiss Heel © Patty-Joy White aka SoxTherapist

Fish Lips Kiss Heel © Patty-Joy White aka SoxTherapist

The wildly popular Fish Lips Kiss Heel, by Patty-Joy White aka Sox Therapist, which is $1.00 on Ravelry, is not shown in the chart. I purchased the pattern, but have not tried it yet.

So, what is your favorite heel? I really need to try more heels. I did knit the French heel in my February socks.

QHave a fun, crafty day!

A Jump Start On April

HiyaHiya Diamondoid Lace Socks

HiyaHiya Diamondoid Lace Socks

The March socks are finished so I’m jump-starting April’s socks. April’s gem is the diamond and the flower is the daisy. Things just kinda fell into my lap for the April socks. I’m quite intrigued by brown diamonds and I found the Hiya Hiya Ravelry Group. To kill-to-birds-with-one-stone,  I’m knitting the free, as long as I finish them by April 8, Hiya Hiya Diamondoid Lace Socks using a self-striping On Your Toes yarn. These were originally started as a mystery pattern, so after I finish one clue, I email the moderator and she sends the next clue. I just finished the gusset on Clue 3, and am ready to do the heel. Starting the sock early really isn’t in the spirit of the Sock-It-To-Me 2015 group, so I’ll use this sock and let them know I started it early.

In order to increase my sock knitting skills, every month will be a new challenge. For February’s socks leg pattern down the heel flap, instead of the heel flap I’m used to, and turning the heel was a different technique.  I changed the pattern on the  March socks to include a lace pattern and I’ve never knit anklets. April’s socks are my first go at toe-up knitting! True confessions time…… I grabbed a US 2 needle instead of a US 1.5 the first time I started these socks. Got through the second clue and noticed that the socks would easily fit Andre the Giant! I know, I know, why didn’t I knit a swatch to check my gauge? That would have caught the mistake in needle size immediately. Sigh….. I really am enjoying the toe-up experience. BTW I belong to the Addicted to Knitting Socks on Facebook. What a great group of people! As one member said, she loves the sock “porn”. Such stunning socks! And the yarn…… Yummy! Knitting socks is my latest kick!


Daffodils Are Here


My March, Sock-It-To-Me 2015, Ravelry group, Daffodil socks are done! The birthstone for March is aquamarine and it’s flower the daffodil. I had originally planned on knitting a pair of socks evoking the wonders of water, using a beautiful skein of yarn with various shades of aquamarine with just a hint of yellow, which I ordered from an Etsy vendor. However, the Etsy time for my review came in before the skein was even sent. I had to email the person after 5 days to see when it would be sent. Sigh…… I’ve never had this problem before. So on to Plan B – I knit the Worsted Anklet pattern by JoAnne Turcotte for Kraemer Yarns, adding a lace pattern to the top. The original, Elisabeth Lavold wool was putty color, so, after the socks were done, I overdyed the socks into this pretty daffodil color. I’ve never overdyed after a project was finished before so my fingers were crossed. The pattern looks as if those are closed daffodil bud.

Undyed Daffodil Sock showing pattern

Undyed Daffodil Sock showing pattern

The socks were knit using a magic loop. For me, circular knitting is either done on two needles or using the magic loop. With this pattern, there were a total of 40 stitches, 20 on each part. The lace pattern for the instep was based on a 16 st pattern, an 8 stitch repeat. I knit two stitches before beginning the pattern and two stitches at the end of the pattern to give the 20 stitches required. I know I’ve blogged about using graph-lined index cards to make my knitting easier. This is the card I used while knitting the lace pattern on Daffodil. For my foot length (Ladie’s size 8), I repeated the lace pattern 3 times.

Lace Pattern for Daffodil

Lace Pattern for Daffodil

I add the two + on either end of the pattern as a visual reminder to me that I had to knit the first two and last two stitches of the row. Knit the pattern on the odd rows and knit across the even rows.  I’m not sure when I changed from having to read a row of printed lace pattern to being able to read a chart. Hasn’t been that long.


Demystifying German Knitting Charts

Orient - Puntasam

Orient – Puntasam

With half of my ancestry being Norwegian, I own quite a few printed-in-English books with Norwegian patterns and even one book in Norwegian. The books really do not have “recipe” based instructions which we knitters in the US seem to rely on. I’ve notice the German sock patterns I’ve been translating have the same type of instructions; example for a sock cuff, K1, P1 until length you want.  Or for the heel: Knit the heel the way you like on 30 stitches. I don’t remember every seeing my mom use a knitting pattern. She just measured us and knit-to-fit. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books are a good example of using math in order to make knits fit the way mom did.

Another noticeable feature in the German sock patterns, is that each pattern developer seems to use her own special symbols to represent stitches on the knitting charts. Each chart did come with a key which is easily translated into US knitting terms. If you read yesterday’s blog you can probably figure this out for yourself. All the sock patterns came from Sockenmusterthread der Zweite

This is the English translation for the above key for the Orient socks chart by Puntasam.

rechte Masche = Knit stitch (K)

Umschlag = Yarn over (YO)

zwei Maschen rechts zusammen stricken = Knit two stitches together (K2tog)


Froschkoenig key

Froschkoenig key

Rechts verschränkt = Knit through back loop

linke Masche = Purl

einfache Abnahme = Slip slip knit (ssk)

rechte Masche = Knit

Zopf 3 Maschen hinter die Arbeit legen = Cable 3 stitches held behind the work

Zopf 3 Maschen vor die Arbeit legen = Cable 3 stitches held in front of the work

Umschlag = yarn over

zwei Maschen rechts zusammen stricken = knit 2 together

Sunshine by Puntasam


Sunshine by Puntasam

linke Masche = Purl

Umschlag = Yarn over (YO)

zwei Maschen rechts zusammen stricken = knit 2 together (Note the different symbols in Sunshine and Froschkoenig for this stitch)

Treibgutwellen by Puntasam

Remember I mentioned that there are lots of compound words in German? The title of these socks intrigued me so I pasted it into Google translate and came up with “Treigutwellen”. Hum….. I could see three distinct words in the title so I added spaces and did these words: Trieb gut wellen which literally translate to “waves drive good”.  The socks have a wave pattern so this name fits.

Triebgutwellen by Puntasam

Triebgutwellen by Puntasam

1 Masche rechts 1 Umschlag wobei bei den geraden Runden die Umschläge rechts ver- schränkt gestrickt werden, damit keine Löcher entstehen. = YO, Knit 1 through back loop. Good video here it’s in German but the video is easy to follow.

rechte Masche = Knit

zwei Maschen rechts zusammen stricken = knit 2 together

1 überzogene Abnahme (1 Masche rechts abheben 1 Masche rechts stricken und die abgehobene Masche darüber ziehen) = skp (slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over)

linke Masche = Purl

These are just four of the sock chart keys. For any of the charts in German, just print them out and add the English translation by the key. If your more comfortable with our traditional symbols, re-write the chart. I’ve also found another German – English Dictionary of Knitting which I really like since it is on one page and translates  400 German knitting words and phrases. Do not be intimidated by the language!

I’ve been lusting after a pattern written in Finnish, land of my pre-1600, maternal ancestors. That will be a task to translate, because the language is not familiar to those of us whose language is of Indo-European origin: English, German, French, Spanish, etc. Finnish is a member of the Uralic language family, along with Estonian. At least when I saw the German word  “gut” I knew it was translated as “good”.  In Finnish good is “hyvä”, not at all familiar. Wish me luck!

QThanks for stopping by. Now go have a crafty day.

It’s All About The Socks in German


Frischer Kaffee by Sylvia

Frischer Kaffee by Sylvia Regenberg

You must, must, must visit Sylvia Regenberg on her Fido blog (after you read this one). See those beautiful socks pictured above, knit using Online stretch? Sylvia knitted the sock and then posted this picture on Addicted to Knitting Socks FB page. I was in love! The pattern, the colors! Yikes! I followed her link to a free pattern on Ravely called Frischer Kaffee (Fresh Coffee). After downloading the pattern, I clicked on another link and was lead to a German sock pattern forum. There are so MANY beautiful, fabulous free sock patterns that it makes my head spin!! Really! No, I cannot read German, however I did not let that stop me from figuring out the patterns.  Copy and paste the pdf text into Google Translate to get the general idea. Knitting Fool has the best knitting terms translated into English site. It also works the opposite way, if you are a German speaker, you can click on German to see the English terms. Always remember that the German language loves compound words! Frequently two are more words are combined together to make one long word. These are the languages available:

Knitting Terms Translated

Knitting Terms Translated from Knitting Fool

Sorry, if you’re hoping I’ll translate a whole pattern for you, not gonna happen. Retired or not, I will always be a teacher. 😎 I’m working on a pair of socks right now and will use the measurements for those socks in this post. This post is with the assumption that you, dear reader, are familiar with the basic design for knitting socks, this one is cuff down. Just recognizing a few terms can help you figure out the pattern without “reading” all of the words. For the socks I tended to like, it was the different legs that I was interested in. You can knit your own cuff, heel, foot and toe. Also remember, that translations from any language cannot be “exact” since sentence construction is individual to each language. Here are some general terms:

Stricken = knit

gestrickt = knitted

krause masche = purl stitch

glatt rechts = stockinette

Maschenanschlag 59 Maschen = Cast on 59 stitches

  • Maschenanschlag = cast on
  • Maschen = stitches
  • Masche = stitch

pro Nadel = per Needle

  • Nadel 1 = Needle 1  – see how many stitches on needle 1, etc for Nadel 2, Nadel 3, and Nadel 4. (Or, use two circular needles as I do, and cast 29 stitches on each needle)

Bündchen die Maschen or Bündchenmuster = Rib stitches

runden = rounds/row

Schaft = leg

10 Runden Bündchenmuster habe ich den Schaft angefangen. ” = Knit 10 rounds of rib then start the leg, see how you only need to recognize a few words?

Schaftlänge (Shaft length) = Leg length

Mustersatz 1 für erste (1st) und dritte (3rd) Nadel = Chart for 1st and 3rd needle
Mustersatz 2 für zweite (2nd) und vierte (4th) Nadel = Chart for the 2nd and 4th needle

  • Mustersatz = chart

Note: Since I use two circulars, I just combine 1st needle and 2nd needle on one circular and 3rd and 4th needle on the second.

29 Maschen für die Ferse = 29 Stitches for the heel

  • Ferse = heel
  • Bumerangferse = Heel row

So, work the heel on 29 stitches. Use your favorite heel pattern or, if there is a chart, use that.  Most sock knitters have a heel they like. Knit your favorite gusset, then knit the foot to the toe. If the pattern pattern continues on the top to the toe, continue the pattern.

Tomorrow I’ll cover the charts. They do not seem to have a “universal knitting chart language” as the US does.

QThanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful crafty day.

FO: Tidal Wave Socks

Tidal Wave_

Tidal Wave Socks by Deby Lake


Tidal Wave and Shoes

Tidal Wave and shoes

Love, love, love the way these socks fit! Softer that soft! No judging! But….. I actually blogged about starting these socks on July 15, 2012, This Sock Pattern Is Much Better! Yarn? Debbie Macomber Petals, (merino, angora, and nylon). Pattern? Tidal Wave Socks by Deby Lake. WIP finished = check!

QThanks for stopping by for a visit. Now go have a crafty day.

Nostepinne Madness

Just the beginning

Just the beginning



My "nest" with a center pull

My “nest” with a center pull

What was I thinking? Winding 100 grams of my hand-dyed, amethyst-colored, sock yarn on a nøstepinde is not a quick undertaking.  I guess I was trying to “feel-as-one” with my Norwegian ancestors. Been thinking a lot about my grandma, Grandma’s favorite gem was the amethyst and flower the violet. As mentioned in yesterday’s post, this month’s sock is based on the amethyst and violet. Grandma was a first generation American, her parents came from Norway. With her foremost in my thoughts while working on this project, it’s not surprising that I eschewed my swift and winder.

The nostepinne, also spelled nystepinne or nøstepinde, is a traditional Scandinavian tool for spinners, weavers, and knitters to wind a center-pull ball of yarn. Nostepinne translates to “nest stick”. It looks like a big dowel, a really fancy one.  Grandma’s sisters told me that it was the traditional engagement gift in Norway. A young man would carve one for his bride-to-be.  Some of them were very elaborately carved, lucky women who received them. How wonderful it would have been to have inherited one from my Norwegian family.  The nice thing about the nostepinne is that it’s easy to travel with, sturdy, not easily broken, does not need a clamp or batteries, or even a swift, and it doesn’t change the yarn twist. Picture this: I’m sitting on the couch with legs up and my feet are acting as a swift. Wind, wind, wind, rest, wind, wind, wind, rest, etc. It took hours since I was trying to be ergonomic, but, finally, success was mine.  I now have a wonderful, center pull “nest”. I’m ready to start on this month’s socks.


Antique Nostepinne


Carved antique nostepinne

QThanks for stopping by. Now go have a crafty day.


Against-Drunkenness-With-a-Dash-of-Love Socks

Heddas Socks by Elisabet Erikstad

Heddas Socks by Elisabet Erikstad

Happily optimistic, I joined the Sock It To Me 2015 sock group on Ravelry. Ok, so I didn’t get a sock finished for January. Can I blame it on the fact I joined on Feb 1? Well…… I did look at the group at the beginning of January, I just didn’t jump in. The club is based on a theme monthly gemstones or flowers. I totally love it! Those of you older folks, remember running to the Hallmark store as kids to pick up the free, purse-sized, yearly, calendar-book? The best part was that for each month the gemstone and flower was given. I always thought that the gemstone and flower for my birth month, November, was yucky. Once I found blue topaz I like it! February is lucky, it’s the best!

Here is a list of Monthly Themes for 2015:
January: Garnet/Carnation
February: Amethyst/Violet
March: Aquamarine/Daffodil
April: Diamond/Daisy or Sweet Pea
May: Emerald/Sunflower or Lily of the Valley
June: Pearl/Rose
July: Ruby/Larkspur
August: Peridot/Gladiolus or Lily
September: Sapphire/Forget-Me-Not or Aster
October: Opal/Marigold
November: Topaz/Chrysanthemum
December: Turquoise/Holly or Narcissus

All of this rambling leads me to these thoughts? What to knit? Did you know that the word “amethyst” is derived from an ancient Greek word loosely meaning “against intoxication”? They believe that wearing an amethyst would prevent intoxication. Along this line of thought I could knit sock with straight lines symbolizing sobriety, or cables with straight lines indicating the overcoming of intoxication, or……. Then there is the Sweet Violet with it’s heart shaped leaves. I love hearts and socks with hearts on them in purple, my fav color, what’s not to love? Perhaps a sock combining hearts, for the violet, and lines, for the amethyst, is the best choice. Which ever pattern I pick, the socks will be knit in a purple color.

The socks featured here are ones I’m considering, all free on Ravelry:

Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku

Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku

Socks On A Plane by Laura Linneman

Socks On A Plane by Laura Linneman

Viking Socks by Karen S. Lauger

Viking Socks by Karen S. Lauger

Mandy's Heart Socks by Alexandra Richards

Mandy’s Heart Socks by Alexandra Richards

Hearts Abound Socks by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence

Hearts Abound Socks
by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence

Any thoughts? Input?

QThanks for stopping by. Have a crafty day!