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!

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!

WIP – So Simple Silk Garden


– I am enjoying making a pair of socks a month.


From the Sock It To Me 2013 group, at,  I chose the “So Simple Silk Garden” sock pattern, since I like to do cables. The other sock is a men’s sock, “Simple Skyp Sock.” The yarn I am using, from my stash, is from Premier Yarns, Serenity Sock Weight, color Chili.  I love the bucket bag Q made me. I works really great for holding my knitting.

Sorry about posting so late, I have been working everyday this week. I keep trying to remember in the morning to post. Looking forward to posting my finished project on Friday. 🙂