The toes on my striped socks were finished, with the shockingly bright Kelly Green so I needed to move on to the afterthought heel. Top down is my go-to sock knitting, as I can get a really nice gusset. I have a high instep and do not like the short row heels in general as the sock tends to pull and bind at the instep. After a first attempt following many instructions to just knit the heel like a toe, I was unhappy with how the toe looked and the holes created at the corners. Ripped back, and went to the internet. I have cobbled together my own version of how to do the afterthought heel using inspiration from the following 3 sources.
First, to pick up the stitches, this was brilliant, from KnitGirllls. I will definitely do this for the next sock, as I had a bit of a challenge getting the stitches picked up without disaster. If you already know how to set up for the afterthought heel, start the video at 6:00 minutes. You can stop at 11:30. That is where the advice I took from this source stops.
Next, to avoid the gaps in the corners, follow this video, it is really neat and makes a very clean pick-up by taking a stitch from below combined with the yarn coming off the adjacent stitch to create a tight hopeless corner:
Her method of picking up 2 extra stitches not only closes up the holes, but gives 4 additional stitched for the round, which helps with the ease in the gusset.
Now that I had all of my stitches picked up, the gap problem solved very nicely, I still was concerned about having enough give in the heel area. Some suggested just knitting for 1/2″ – 3/4″, and I felt like that would be very clumsy. Then… I found this resource, not a video, but very well put together blog post on how to create a neat little short row gusset. Her instructions occur part way down in the post. She suggests making a small gusset using short rows at each of the corners, I did this and it came out nicely as you can see here.
The heel was then finished using a Sl 2 tog as if to knit, K1, Pass 2 slipped stitches over together. This gives a very neat column of decreases.
One of the suggestions was to purl a stitch every other row at the decrease column, which I did, it does give it a definitive column. The jury is still out on that, it makes it a bit bulkier. So, here is my heel finished, using all 3 of the above techniques.
The socks are very fun and bright, and the combination of these 3 methods made for a neat, very comfortable heel with no gaps. Afterthought heels will no longer give me pause. These were intended for the sock gift pile, until my husband told me that he would like them! Apparently he loves the bright surprise toes and heels.