Here are my original heel shaping instructions, before they were edited for Knitty. Note that I didn't specify what sort of increases or short row method to use. In my original socks, I actually used paired increased, but thought that might be a bit too picky for something that will usually be hidden inside my shoe. For the short rows, I've been using the yarnover method lately. So, if m1 increases and w&t short rows aren't working for you, feel free to try another technique. The socks don't depend on those particular methods.
Heel Gussets:So, where did the numbers come from? I based my numbers on a top-down round heel and then reversed the shaping. The number of gusset increases is based on the size of the two gussets plus the heel below the turning. In a top-down heel, you knit a heel flap on half the stitches (usually for about as many rows as stitches), then turn the heel with short rows, working decreases along the way. There is often a line in the instructions like "knit to one stitch before the gap, ssk, k1, turn" and similar purl shaping. After the turning rows, stitches are picked up along the heel flap (usually about one stitch for every two rows) and the gusset stitches are decreased away on subsequent rounds until we are back to the original number of stitches. So, for my 54 stitch sock, I would work the heel over 27 stitches, the flap would be 28 rows long (I need an even number here and it's better to have a slightly deeper heel than one that is too shallow.), the turning rows would decrease from 27 down to 19 stitches, and I would pick up 14 stitches on either side of the heel flap.
On the following rounds, continue to work instep in pattern while increasing on stitch from beginning and end of sole stitches every other round until there are 47 sole stitches.
The sole stitches now consist of 14 sts for right gusset, 19 heel sts, 14 sts for left gusset. Work across right gusset. You will now be turning the heel on the 19 heel sts. The heel is shaped with a combination of short rows and increases. It is your choice how to handle the turning stitches.
Row 1: k to 2 sts before end of heel sts, inc1, k1, turn
Row 2: p to 2 sts before end of heel sts, inc1, p1, turn
Row 3: k to 4 sts before gap, inc1, k1, turn
Row 4: p to 4 sts before gap, inc1, p1, turn
Rep rows 3 and 4 until there are 27 heel sts
Work 1 round even to smooth out the short rows, ending in center of heel sts.
You will now work in rows across heel sts, joining the gusset sts.
Row 1: k to last heel st, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset
Row 2: sl st, p to last heel st, p2tog last heel st and 1 st from right gusset
Row 3: *sl st, k1* across heel, ssk last heel st and 1 st from left gusset
Rep rows 2 and 3 until left gusset sts are gone. (There will be 1 unworked st left on the right gusset that will be picked up on the next round)
Work across instep sts. K2tog final gusset st and first heel st. Continue instep pattern across heel sts.
For the reversed round heel we have to do a little advance thinking to figure out how many gusset increases we need, work the turning rows with increases as shown above until you have increased the heel stitches to their full width, then decrease away the gussets until you are back you the original number of stitches and work the cuff.
I'm a big geek, so I actually came up with an equation to figure out the approximate number of heel stitches. For a round heel with a flap n stitches wide, the number of stitches below the heel turning is h(n) where h(k) = k for k<n/3 and 4+h(k-6) otherwise. (I also wrote a small Python script to compute that, rather than coming up with a closed form solution. I'm a lazy geek.) Of course, the easiest thing to do is use the numbers from a preexisting top-down round-heeled sock.
I hope this helped. I'm glad so many of you like my pattern and are interested in adapting it.
Categories: knitting, socks, knitty, Widdershins