Heel Flap & Kitchener Stitch: Sock Knitting Tips with Kraemer Yarns

Our recent collection of patterns by designer Vanessa Ewing includes two sock patterns: Footloose and Fancy Free and Kiss My Feet. Two common reasons we hear from knitters about why they don’t care to knit socks include hesitation about heel turns and grafting the toe. Learning these methods will make you a more confident knitter! Today we’re helping you take things one step and one stitch at a time. 

A note: While both patterns incorporate this technique, the Footloose and Fancy Free pattern in Saucon Sock is photographed here. In addition, the sock is knit using one long circular needle, magic loop style. The method is the same for two circulars or four double pointed needles. 

Heel Flap

The sock begins with a ribbed cuff and patterning on the leg. 

There are two set-up rows where you begin knitting back and forth on a smaller number of stitches, instead of working the full number of stitches in the round. The next two rows of the heel flap are worked back and forth to create a small flap extending from the leg. The first stitch of each of these rows is slipped purlwise, a method that will make picking up stitches later on easier! This part of the heel wraps around the back of your ankle and heel. 

Heel Turn

Now, at the bottom of the heel flap you’ve just knit, you will work a series of short rows. These short rows are incomplete rows of knitting, where you will turn your work before reaching the end of the row. These short rows create the curved shape that will ultimately cup your heel. 


When you work the gusset, you’ll be starting at the center of the heel and picking up stitches on one side of the heel flap.

Now you’re back at the instep, the top of your foot, and you’ll continue to work in pattern across these stitches. Then, pick up stitches along the other side of the heel flap, working your way back to the center of the heel to complete your round.

Now you’re ready to work in the round again. You’ll be working decreases on the sides on alternating rounds to get the total stitch count back to the correct count. It’s important to note that the decreases will only be worked on the sides, not on the instep stitches. Once you have completed all the decreases as instructed, you’ll continue in pattern as established - the lace pattern on the instep and stockinette stitch on the sole of the foot.


Continue to follow the pattern as instructed through the length of the foot and the toe decreases. To close up the toe, you’ll be grafting the stitches together with the Kitchener Stitch. As before, it’s not hard but does require some attention! Watch this video to see:

If you need a bit more assistance to get a leg up when knitting socks, check out our short How-To videos covering cast-ons, bind-offs, increases, decreases and more!

A sock with a heel flap and gusset as shown here shapes the sock so it fits your foot snugly. Share your cozy toes with us and tag us when you post your completed Footloose and Fancy Free or Kiss My Feet socks! Kraemer Yarns is active on Ravelry, Facebook, and Instagram.  

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Beth Aidala

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