Little socklet

I DID a heel flap! I made the flap and heel turn of one color, then just picked up stitches with whichever color was in the right position. It was a little nerve wrecking, but it went OK. I’m cruising down the gussets now… –Diana

Girl, you’ve got it! Knitting your spiral socks with a flap heel is rather intuitive, and certainly not more complicated than inserting a short row heel. In fact, you’ll notice some copy ‘n paste action in this post, because the two heels are fundamentally inserted in the same exact way. Let’s take a look, step by step.

As before, you will first identify your heel stitches. Next, knit your spiral such that the heel yarn (the yarn with which you’ll knit the heel) is on the left side of the heel stitches AND the other yarns, however many you’re using, are not in the middle of the heel. You’ll be working back and forth over the heel stitches using the heel yarn, and you don’t want to trap any of your other working yarns in the process.

Here you see the heel yarn (B for Blackberry) hanging on the left side of the heel stitches. Of the two yarns at that junction, it is the topmost. At the point the photo was taken, I was about to turn my work and purl back, thus starting the heel flap.

Note 1: All the heel stitches are currently blackberry. Depending on the instructions you follow, you can count this as the first row of the heel. Of course, no other yarns are in the way, so I can proceed full steam ahead!

Note 2: As some of you pointed out, this kind of arrangement may necessitate “working out of order” – knitting an extra dpn-length with the heel yarn, for instance, when you typically would have moved on to the next color. Just remember that this “order” is purely arbitrary: as long as you’re always using the lowest available strand, you’ll be able to recreate the setup with which you’re most comfortable in no time at all!

Note 3: Along the same lines, the photograph above captures only one of several entirely equivalent yarn distributions. Would it matter if I knit the Navy to where the Lilac is currently residing? Not in the least bit! As long as (1) no yarns interrupt the heel stitches and (2) you’re always using the lowest available strand, you have it right!

A little TV-watching later…

I have knit the heel flap, and heel turn. The Blackberry strand is poised perfectly for picking up stitches along the left gusset, so that’s what I’ll do!

At the bottom of the gusset I encounter a Navy strand, and it is the lower of the two – oh, noes! Hehe! I have no choice but to drop Blackberry and pick up Navy as I work my way across the next dpn. And then I do the same with Lilac when I reach the next junction.

And so, I’ve now reached the right gusset! Natural is the lower of the two strands, so I will use it to pick up the right gusset stitches and knit across half of the heel turn.

At the end of this maneuver, here’s what I’ve got:

Friends, are you seeing what I’m seeing?!? Look at it! There’s a strand of yarn hanging off each dpn junction! We know what to do with this, right? This is home base, where this whole thing began!

Now we knit round and round, incorporating decreases at the gussets as usual, until we reach the toe. Until then, little socklet, keep on spiraling!


27 thoughts on “Little socklet

  1. Kathleen

    Uh, I don’t suppose there’s way to do this if you’re using two circular needles? Just wondering…

  2. devon

    I just have to say, I adore how excited you are in this post. I love to see so many exclamation points!

    Once I have enough leftover sock yarn to make a scrap sock I am definitely going to try this! (I’m still a relative newbie to socks). Thank you so much for your instructions!

  3. loribird

    Grumperina, you’re so wonderful for posting all the photos – I really love this spiral-stripes thing, but it’s hard to wrap the mind around without illustrations…

  4. tantej

    This set of tutorials have inspired to A)acquire 4 solid colors I would like to see together in a sock and B)knit with DPNs, which I have avoided like the plague! You have supplied me a previously unthought of nightmare scenario: trying to do this Magic Loop! Horrors!

  5. janna

    Oh, you’re mean! I really want to do this, but have promised myself that I will finish a bunch of UFOs before I start anything new…

  6. Caren

    Under normal sock-knitting circumstances, I have no trouble with proper tension at the DPN intersections. Yet for some reason, changing yarns and needles at the same time, is causing me some trouble. I just can’t seem to give the new yarn just the right amount of tug to be neither too loose nor too tight at the corner. Any tips?

  7. Lorna

    Thanks for the series on a new technique. I don’t read Montse Stanley thoroughly enough to discover this on my own. Now, though, I might give it a try!

  8. Mercuria


    To do this with two circular needles, just imagine that each leg is two dpns. The separation (in the center of the leg) can be marked by the free strand, where you drop one, pick up the other, and continue knitting. The concept is the same.

    If you’re having trouble with this technique, you can place a marker in the middle of each leg, effectively marking off 4 “dpn”s on your sock.

    Good luck!

  9. dreamweaver

    This looks so cool, but I’m not understanding how to get the other colors out of the way for the heel. If you need the heel color to span two needles, aren’t you going to have one of the colors from those needles hanging in the middle of the heel? I really wish I could figure it out! Can someone help/provide hints? Thanks!

  10. vicki

    Very nice. I love your pictures, they are so clear and nice, I am shopping for a new camera, would you tell me what kind you use?

    Love the socks

    This has inspired me to find time to try it.



  11. Melissa

    I’ve been following these posts with rabid interest. I wonder how it would look with different variegated yarns??? Mwuhaha.

  12. Sonja

    I am really inspired by this spiral knitting. I want to make a sweater for my daughter using this method. I can´t wait.

  13. Marie

    you are the zen master of sock knitting….can I just get off the sweater mode and get me some zen socks like yours! it would be so liberating…all that stimulation in a small package….yup, you’re the smart one.

  14. Amanda

    I have the same question as dreamweaver – How do you get the other color out of the way so it’s not hanging out in the middle of the heel? Show us, please!

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Love your blog!

  15. Mercuria

    dreamweaver, amanda:

    the other yarns will get out of the way “automatically” when you knit. your default position is to have a free strand hanging off each corner, but when you knit a strand one needle over, you’ll end up with two strands at that corner until you pick up the second strand and knit *that* one.

    if you’re still having trouble, just knit your spirals until your desired heel color is at the back of the sock (the center of your heel), knit all the other strands to their respective corners, and then knit your heel color one needle over. at this point, you’ll be in the same state as the first picture in this post.

    as kathy said, earlier, just keep knitting. these things will likely just work themselves out if you just let the yarn do its thing!

    happy knitting!

  16. Romi

    This is fabulous. Sock hater though I am, I must try the spiral. It appeals to my “gee whiz” side. Big time. 🙂

  17. mishka

    This is amazing and very appealing. Do you have any tips for knowing what’s next when you put your work down and pick it back up? Are you marking it somehow every time? Or can you just not put it down (literally and figuratively)?

  18. Mercuria


    If you put your work down with one strand in each “corner” (where the needles meet), then you can start however you like when you pick it back up. If you don’t, just start by knitting the lower strand (the one whose loops aren’t on the previous needle) from the corner where they’re doubled up.

    Really, though, you can knit however you want as long as you always pick up the lower (or lowest) strand, so you don’t cross your yarns (and consequently, your stripes). Just make sure not to knit your heel on the side of the foot (something you should ensure with all stockinette socks anyway) ;p

    You probably should just dig out some scrap yarn and try it–you’ll probably understand much better =]

  19. Jennifer Ricci Hagman


    I absolutly love your blog. I find myself constanly returning to check for new posts and your progress. Sometimes I actually think that I would get more knitting done if my computer broke down (knock-on-wood). Keep up the good work.



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