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Q Do you have any advice on the best way to knit a short-row heel? Helen Freeman, Solihull
A short-row heel is created in the same way, regardless of whether you are knitting top-down or toe-up. It is knitted in two stages using short-row shaping. Typically, it is worked using the wrap-and-turn method of creating short rows, but you can opt for your favourite short-row method. During the first stage you gradually reduce the width of the heel panel, resulting in a set of unworked stitches in the centre and a set of wrapped stitches on either side (1). The second stage involves widening the heel panel, working longer short rows each time to complete the heel (2). The sock is then joined for working in the round again, and you are ready for the work on the leg or foot to be completed (3). In this picture, a stocking stitch short-row heel has been used.
The two main drawbacks of the shortrow heel are linked to fit and durability. The lack of a gusset means this is not always the best option for people whose feet have a high instep. You can adjust the fit, but you certainly do not have as much flexibility as you would with a heel flap. The short-row heel is also harder to reinforce, leaving it slightly lagging in the durability stakes. Drawbacks aside, this is an excellent heel type to use if you are working with a self-striping yarn, as there will be minimal disruption to the colour pattern.
You’ll find more helpful sock heel advice in our tutorial at www.gathered.how/ knitting-and-crochet/knitting/how-to-knitshort-row-sock-heels.