Last night I finished the first of the Rusty Stripes socks, and I tried an afterthought heel for the first time. With an afterthought heel, you knit in a piece of waste yarn where the heel will eventually go, and keep knitting the rest of the sock. That way, you don’t break up the stripe sequence with the yarn used for the heel. After the rest of the sock is done, you pick up stitches around the waste yarn and discard it, then knit a heel into the hole created. Here’s the sock with stitches picked up, ready for its heel:
Here is the finished sock. If my feet were fractionally shorter, the heel would be perfectly lined up with that stripe. Ah well, can’t have everything!
The pattern I used was actually for a top-down sock, but I changed it to be toe-up because I didn’t know how far the yarn would go. I did have enough yarn to make the sock a little taller, but I wanted to get the colour of the heel right – so I stopped where I did, and I think it looks just fine.
I did have a bit of a gap where the heel connected with the rest of the sock. On one side I used the yarn-tail to sew it shut, and on the other side I pulled the stitches tight to close it up. I’m not sure if this is just what happens with afterthought heels, or if I did something wrong – but it looks fine now, so it doesn’t matter! I’m sure it will even out more after it’s washed, too.