Afterthought Heel: Two-at-a-Time Socks … and beyond!
This week on Ask Me Monday we finished off our Two-At-A-Time socks by learning a technique that can be used with any method of knitting socks (ie., one at a time on a circular needle or dpns): the Afterthought Heel. First made notable by the legendary Elizabeth Zimmermann, the Afterthought Heel is a handy method for knitting the entire foot of a sock and not fussing with the heel until, well, after your finished with everything else. I especially like this heel when knitting two socks at a time, because it leaves less to navigate whilst dealing with the strands from two balls of yarn and the long cord of the circular needle, allowing you to just keep on keepin’ on with knitting the cuff and foot in the round. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!
Afterthought Heel: Watch and Learn
Superwash wool of any weight (Shown: Koigu Chelsea Merino)
Knitter’s Pride Marblz, Zing, Royale, or Karbonz circular needle (at least 32″ long), in the corresponding size
Optional: Removable stitch marker
Afterthought Heel: Prep
Note: regardless of the size of sock, or weight of yarn, you’ll always use half of the total socks to make the heel of a sock.
- After desired length cuff is worked, knit 2 rounds.
- Next Round: With waste yarn, knit half of stitches. These are your heel stitches.
- Slip the stitches just knit on waste yarn back onto left-hand needle.
- Re-knit the heel stitches with main yarn.
Continue knitting foot and toe until finished. Graft toe stitches using Kitchener Stitch. (See the tutorial from my Basic Sock Recipe video here.)
Afterthought Heel: Knit
Using the point of a needle, carefully pick out waste yarn, freeing up the heel stitches.
Holding your circular needle with the needles parallel, place Top heel stitches on one needle, and Bottom heel stitches on the other needle. You’ll notice that you have an uneven amount of stitches on top and bottom. Pick up an additional stitch in the gap and place it on the needle with less stitches, PLUS one more stitch at that gap and an additional stitch on the opposite end’s gap. 3 stitches increased.
The beginning of the round marks the one decrease point and the cable loop made at the gap at the opposite end marks the other, however, you may also want to place a stitch marker at that end as a visual reminder. Knit one round.
Begin heel decreases as follows:
Rnd 1: Ssk (slip, slip, knit two together through the back loop), k to end of needle (so, first half of stitches), rotate piece and adjust circ cord, k2tog, k to end of second needle (so, to end.
Rnd 2: Knit.
Repeat Rnds 1-2 until half of the sts have been decreased, OR until you’re happy with the heel shape. Cut yarn, leaving a long tail for seaming.
Using tail and tapestry needle, use Kitchener stitch to graft heel closed.
Repeat for the second sock.
That’s all there is to it!
Don’t forget to tag @vickiehowell if you post photos of your own Two-at-a-Time Socks, or the Afterthought Heel!
As always, you can find all episodes of this series under the Ask Me Monday playlist on the Videos section of my Facebook page. Enjoy!
How to Knit Socks: More Tutorials
- Looking for a basic sock recipe? Learn how to knit a sock here.
- Want a sock pattern that makes for the perfect, holiday gift? Try That 70’s Sock pattern!
- Interested in a more intensive, step-by step tutorial for one-at-a-time socks? Take my Knit Maker 202: Socks Class on Creative Live!
- More of a Loom Knitter? Check out my loom knit ankle tutorial here.
- Looking for a Toe-Up Sock pattern? Try this one by Lydia Gluck from The Trends Episode of The Knit Show!