Day 9 of Winter

It’s hardly winter without stockings, amiright? Three balls of yarn make three stockings in the Stripe Stockings kit. Knit in Deluxe Bulky Superwash, these will virtually fly off your needles.

The knitting in these is relatively simple – mostly stockinette with a bit of garter and an i-cord bind-off. There are enough details to keep a seasoned knitter entertained, but are simple enough that they would also make a good first sock project.

One feature that I’d like to explain more in detail is the afterthought heel. Unlike the common short-row heel which is knit as the rest of your sock is knit, an afterthought heel is added later after the rest of the sock is complete. There are various reasons for choosing this type of heel. My reasoning for doing so in this project was both to keep my stripe sequence uninterrupted and also to make the most of my yarn.

Grab your needles and yarn and let’s get to learning!

First, knit a stockinette swatch. I am knitting my swatch in the round just like the stockings, but this technique can just as easily be done worked flat in rows.
Next, get ready with your waste yarn. This waste yarn is temporarily going to hold the place of where your heel will eventually be.
Leaving your working (green) yarn where it is, knit across the heel stitches with the waste yarn. Your pattern will specify how many stitches this is. Typically, it is half of the total sock stitches.

Continue to knit the rest of the sock/swatch. Knit across the waste yarn stitches and on around.

Bind off your swatch.
Next, we’re going to place the stitches from the row above and also the row below onto separate needles. I like to use a smaller needle for this step. Pick up stitches with the tip of your needle, going through the front leg of each stitch. By doing this, the stitches will be oriented correctly when you go to knit the first round.
My 10 stitches from the row above the waste yarn are now on a needle.
Insert a second needle through the front leg of each stitch below the waste yarn.
Now we’re ready to remove the waste yarn.
With a spare needle, carefully pick out the waste yarn.
Waste yarn be gone!
Now it’s time to knit the heel, and return to your larger dpns. This first round is usually a plain/knit round.
This photo shows what happens in that gap where the waste yarn was if you simply knit across and ignore it.
Pick up a stitch from the side of the row where the waste yarn was. It’s best not to pick up the very outermost part of this loop, but to pick up the half of the stitch just inside the opening.
Place this picked up stitch on the needle and knit it together with the next stitch, closing the gap. Depending on the pattern and yarn, I might do this twice at each side of the gap. It’s best to experiment and see what looks best with your particular yarn and stitch pattern.
And here’s what that gap will look like now. No holes!
Knit the rest of the heel as instructed. It’s like a heel magically grew out of your knitting.

I also like this technique for set-in pockets on a top-down sweater. It’s not as hard as you thought it was going to be, right?

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