We live, we learn

No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth. I’ve just been skiing.

I never fool myself into thinking I know it all, though it’s easy to approach that level of delusion when cranking out a pair of socks every other month or so. Really, what else is there to learn about socks? I’ve knit high ones and low ones, plain and fancy ones, lacy and cabled ones…


That’s the sound of the knitting goddess smacking the hubris right out of me!

Check out that heel! Now that’s new! After hailing the Nancy, I cracked open one of her testaments and learned that this is called a square heel (in contrast to the round heel I typically work). And it’s not just a different name – it fits differently, too! I think it’s more snug, though it’s hard to tell without wearing the sock for a bit. I will have to rely on my grandma to tell me how she likes it.

I suspect many of you are familiar with the square heel, but honestly, this is the first time it’s registered in my mind. Cool!

And with that, I cast on for the second Canal du Midi sock. No fewer than three times… because “modifying the pattern ever so slightly” doesn’t mean I should forgo jotting down the mods. Oops! I had to do a bit of deconstructing to figure out what I had tweaked. We live, we learn.

At least I’ve marked where I stopped the ribbing and where I started the heel. For now. Until I forget the meaning of those stitch markers and get rid of them out of habit :).


33 thoughts on “We live, we learn

  1. Wannietta

    I’m a v-heel (3 sts in the center of the heel) kinda gal. I’m not much for experimenting with socks either – I really admire you there. I don’t mind complex, involved & daring sweaters & afghans with the ensuing math & ripping (when I failed the math)to get them right, but I have a hard time breaking out of my sock rut.

    I like your insights though – makes me think about new sock stuff anyway.

  2. Karen B.

    That’s a mighty fine heel there, G! Looks like it would fit quite nicely.

    If you get a chance, take Ms. Bush’s class. You’ll really take a walk on the worldly side with the French heel, Welsh toe and the like.

  3. charli

    Fabulous socks! I would like to

    try knitting socks. Is there

    a book you would recommend for a

    totoal beginner sock knitter?

    (Despite the sentence structure

    of the above paragraph, I can,

    and often do, write above a first

    grade level.


  4. Brenda

    If you haven’t tried her Welsh heel, you really should give it a go! It and the square heel fit really well.

    I’m so glad you are knitting these in such a pretty blue. It’s made me want to knit this pattern.

  5. CatBookMom

    Just knitted my first toe-up socks; not loving the short-row heel and the gap-osis. And I’m learning how I *should* re-do the math on a pair of top-down socks, done in worsted, not fingering weight. Wouldya think a 16-slip st heel might be too long? Yeah, but I had to knit it to find that out. Sigh. I’m working on learning the percentages now.

    There *will* be 2 pairs of CBM’s socks enroute to Afghans for Afghans by Friday. If anyone wants to know about this sock ‘initiative’, check here: http://vamantaknits.blogspot.com/2007/02/its-all-about-socks.html

  6. natalja

    The Square/Dutch/German Heel is the heel I learned to knit first. Since then I’ve tried the Round/French Heel (with 6 or even 8 center stitches – I don’t like the pointy v-shape heel to much) and the German Heel from Knitting Vintage Socks (which is nearly identical to the Round Heel and is called Herzchen-Ferse ‘Heart-Heel’ in Germany) … I don’t know why it’s called “German” in the Nancy Bush book, maybe it’s the way Germans used to knit it in the 19th century? Now, Square Heel is the standard heel in Germany).

    Anyway, you might also want to check out the Modified Square Heel, which is a combination of the Round Heel and the Square Heel and is said to have the best fit of all.

    Here’s a an overview of the most common heel types, which I find very helpful:


  7. chialea

    I love all those different heels in the Knitting Vintage Socks book, but I never try any of em. Frankly, most of them look they’d be squarer than a deep/pointy short row heel or a flap heel that starts the turning with three stitches. At least for me, the pointiness keeps the sock put.

    Do you feel the edge underneath your heel? That’s what I was a bit worried about with any of the heels where there’s a bunch of work underneath (as opposed to on the sides).

  8. Rebecca

    This looks like the heel I did for the Pedicure Socks that were on knitty.com a few months ago. It did fit more snuggly and, I think, keeps the toeless socks from scrunching up too much.

  9. silvia

    That might be the same heel that Sundara used for her Lenten rose sock pattern. They are definitely narrow, but they are perfectly comfortable. Hope grandma approves.

  10. jaws

    The thing that frightens me about knitting socks is that I have narrow heels and a thin ankle– I’m so fearful about making sloppy socks. And I’m not one to tweak a pattern too much. You said the square heel fits tighter—maybe this would be good for me? How much would I have to modify your Roza pattern for a square heel (I haven’t bought the mag yet, maybe it IS with a square heel)?

  11. Margaret

    That heel does look like it could be a better fit for a narrow heel. Your grandma is very lucky! As a longtime lurker, I want to thank you for sharing your knitting experiences with us, I always learn something.

  12. xtina

    Am loving that heel and am really (!!) loving that Lorna’s Laces! I’m getting all inspired to try all heel and toe types in a crazy kind of scok knitting frenzy. I liked that sock enough I brought the book home and am hooked. Merci!

  13. Beth S.

    I haven’t done a Dutch heel in ages… lately I’m all about the extra-wide round heel (just your standard round heel, but with more stitches in the middle.) Thanks for reminding me of its existence!

  14. sarahbchicago

    Yay, Sunday River! I hope that you had a great time. Bethel is really pretty.

    If I keep reading your blog, I think that I will have to break my no-socks rule and knit a pair. You are inspirational.

  15. Denise in Kent, WA

    I love the square heel. It and the V-heel are my mainstays, but I to experiment with all the other heel styles eventually. Who knows? There may be one out there I like even better.

    BTDT regarding not taking adequate notes on pattern variations! Definitely makes you brush up on your deconstruction skills (grin).

  16. Lorette

    I love Nancy. Folk Socks is still my favorite sock knitting book. However, I’m stuck on plain old round heels. Maybe it’s time to try something new.

  17. Arachnera

    The Square/Dutch heel was also the first heel flap heel variation I tried. Funny, until I tried it, I was fine with only one heel but now I have a desire to try all the different heels.

  18. Sara

    You know, I truly am dorky… I don’t live in Bethel yet it was really cool to read that you’ve been at Sunday River. It used to be my husband’s favorite mountain to snowboard (I admit, we’ve since become Sugarloafers).

    I love the heel… it looks so neat!

  19. Kristel

    The square heel knit in (reinforced) heel stitch is what Finnish kids learn in school, mostly. I myself was in awe when I stumbled upon the round or French heel since it fit my feet much better. 🙂

  20. KathyB

    Oh man, you’ve been missing out! While round heels are my general standby, I found that working a square heel on the Welsh Country Socks (Folk Socks) yields a much prettier, neater result, and fits like a dream. Welcome to the fold!

  21. aj

    I don’t know the difference between heels yet. I just finished my very first sock, (notice I didn’t say my first pair), and have yet to really understand the construction. With that said, every time I see a knit sock I get inspired. You inspired me today!

  22. Paisley

    I learnt the square heel from Knitting Vintage Socks (I think when I was working my way through the different ribbed socks at the start) and so far it’s my favourite heel. I find it the easiest to memorise and it combines well with the slip stitch heel pattern that I like to continue on round the heel turn (just that little bit extra padding under the heel).

  23. Lillian

    If you want even more heel styles, check out Ethnic Socks & Stockings by Priscilla Gibson Roberts. They’re mostly for toe-up socks, but they’d probably work top-down too.

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