There are so many ways to do the heel, so it's good to look around a bit and find one that works best for you.
I used Flotte Socke Kolibri in rainbow colours for these socks , and they turned out beautifully. However, I did find that I had to concentrate on getting the heel right, and that meant that I could only work on the straight parts of the socks when I was out and about. I like to take my knitting with me when I go somewhere. Socks are a nice, small item that are easy to carry around, so I thought I look around whether I can find an easier way of doing the heels.
So, for my next pair of socks, I used a spiral sock pattern. I was inspired by the spiral patterns in "101 Socks". You can either do your whole sock as a spiral pattern, or you can choose to just do the heel part as a spiral, which is what I did.
The pattern causes the sock to start twisting around itself, which gives it the extra stretch needed to go over the heel without any need for increases or decreases.
The pattern is surprisingly simple and it fits quite well, as you can see in the photo below.
You need a total number of stitches that can be divided by 8. Then work as follows:
First, mark the beginning of your round, as it becomes increasingly difficult to see where you round starts once the sock starts twisting. Then knit 4, purl 4 and repeat. Do this for four rounds. In the next round, simply move your pattern by one stitch to the left: purl the first stitch in your round, then continue with *knit 4, purl 4* and repeat. Do this for four rounds. In the following round, move your four stitch pattern by one stitch to the left again, i.e. start with two purl stitches, then continue on with knit 4, purl 4. Do this for four rounds, and so on (see the knitting diagram below).
Read the diagram from the bottom right corner. x=knit; o=purl
For my spiral socks, I used Flotte Socke yarns. I did a straight rib pattern (k4, p4) for the leg part, then started the spiral once I got to the ankle and around the heel, and then continued with a straight k4, p4 rib for the top and stocking stitch for the sole.
Alternatively, you could have done the leg and the foot all in stocking stitch and only the heel in the spiral rib stitch.
The reason why I like to use rib stitch for the leg part and for the top of the foot is that the sock will fit more tightly and is less likely to slip, especially if you tend to knit a bit loosely like me.
However, once I had finished I actually liked the self-patterning stripes of the Fantasy yarn even better in stocking stitch! What do you think?
The third pattern I really like is the so-called 'afterthought heel'. You first knit up a straight sock with no heel, starting from the toe. At the point where you would normally work in the heel, you work in one row in waste yarn in a contrasting colour before continuing working the rest of the sock but without the heel.
Once you have finished, you pick up the stitches around the row of waste yarn and work the heel. I found this great YouTube video with Arno and Carlos, the two well-known knit designers from Norway, and I think they explain beautifully how to work this heel. (If you are unsure how to do the rest of the sock, check out their first video here: How to knit the easiest sock in the world.)
We stock a range of sock knitting yarns in different colours, both single-colour yarns and multi-coloured self-patterning yarns. Have a look through our collection: https://www.iwoolknit.com.au/collections/sock-knitting-yarns