Why I Love Afterthought Heels
Conventional wisdom, in the sock knitting world says that one should add reinforcement at the back of the heel, the first picture shows the back of the heel in all of its pristine beauty. I don't wear out my sock at the back of the heel.
Now let us look at the bottom of the heel, ye gads a hole... horrors! And in my Socks that Rock Ruby Slippers too! What is one to do? And will someone explain why this sock has a hole and the other one is fine?
Well if one has had forethought and made an after thought heel, one can repair it easily. First for the hardest part ( at least in the past this was the hardest part, but now thanks to the "Organization of the Sock Yarn Bins" it is no longer). Find the leftover yarn that the sock was knitted with in the first place... And here it is. In the second bin that I looked in, (because there are only 2) Not quite as much of a mess as it looks, there are 3 small balls there, and right after I took the picture I wound them back into neat balls.
Now for the scary part take the scissors and cut off the end of the heel where it was kitchenered in the first place. Now don't be
afraid, there is a hole anyway, what can you hurt?
Be sure to cut down far enough that the hole is not involved or you pull out a bunch of short pieces before you can really get on with it.
Now that you have found a yarn end just pull on it, keep pulling...Keep Pulling...There, just pull that old yarn right out of there.
How do you know when to stop? Well back when the heel was first made it was put into a hole which developed when the waste yarn was removed, and a new end was knitted in, so if you pull long enough it all comes out and you are left with a big hole with stitches standing up all round the hole waiting to be picked up.
Throw the yarn that you took out away, even if you have to find a contrasting yarn to use for the repair, because this yarn has been worn and dollars to doughnuts it won't last long enough to bother.
See all of the little loops just standing up quite prettily waiting to be picked up. Now just take a needle and pick them up.
Now start knitting in the heel, I have very high insteps so I first knit 2 rounds even, before I start to decrease stitches. Then decrease 4 stitches every other round, until I get down to an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half worth of stitches.
After decreasing down to the number of stitches I calculated I needed at the end I put all of the stitches on two needles, one for the bottom of the heel stitches and one for the back of the heel stitches.
Cut the thread and put it into a blunt yarn needle and thread the yarn through the stitches on the needle in the pattern used to kitchener or graft the stitches together, I leave the stitches that I am putting in very loose since I have found over long years that it is easier to tighten a really loose stitch than it is to tighten a only slightly loose stitch, because I can see what to grab.
Once the yarn is woven through all of the remaining stitches and the needles are gotten out of the way, I place 2 or 3 fingers into the heel and stretch the final weaving so that I can see those loose stitches really well and go back to the beginning, and start with the first stitch and tighten then all up to look like all the other stitches.
Once the stitches are all neat and tidy, take the yarn end to the inside of the sock and weave it in.
Return the pair of socks to the sock drawer with a smug expression on you face!
Or put them on and wear them.