I know people hate the g word in knitting but knowing your stitch and row gauge is crucial for a sock that fits. If you are guessing your gauge or assuming it is the same simply because you are using the same needles and yarn cited in the pattern, you aren’t getting a well fitting sock at the end of your efforts. Further, if the yarn you are using is familiar to you because you’ve knit with it before, still check your gauge. Depending on the dying process, yarns that are dark in color tend to use more stitches per inch than lighter colored yarns. The lighter colored the yarn, the more rounded and loftier the yarn. The darker the color, the more brittle, squashed and dense. Same yarn, different colors, different gauges. Knowing your stitch and row gauge guarantees socks that fit.

Once you know how many stitches per inch you are knitting, then you can figure out how many stitches you need in the total sock. To make this sock easy, let’s knit it using stockinette stitch only, meaning we’re knitting all rows.

**Cuff Down Socks**

The number of stitches per inch times the adjusted circumference equals the total stitches in your sock. For example, a gauge of 8 sts per inch times my 7” circumference equals 56 sts. The calculation looks like this. Go ahead and fill in your numbers.

________number of stitches I’m knitting per inch times _______my adjusted circumference number = _______the total number of stitches I need to cast on.

Because the sock begins at the cuff, work a 1 x 1 rib as follows: K1, p1. Repeat to end of round. Make the ribbing at least 1” (2.5) cm long. Then begin knitting all stitches on all rounds until the leg of the sock reaches the top of the heel flap.

**Heel Flap: To Fit or Not**

The typical heel flap is 2” (5) cm *less* than the total leg length of the sock. If you have average feet the calculation looks like this:

___________total leg length of sock minus 2″ (5) cm for heel flap = ____________length at which I switch from knitting the leg to knitting the heel flap.

The length of the heel flap is an important measurement that can make a sock fit or not fit. You have some decisions to make if your foot is not the average foot. If your Achilles Tendon area is longer than 2″ by 1″ or more, the heel flap needs to be longer too. If you have a high arch, you want the heel flap longer to accommodate it. In both cases, the length of your heel flap would no longer be 2″.

**How To Find Your Heel Flap Length**

The heel flap is where the sock is divided in half. One half of all the leg stitches become the top or instep of the sock, the other half the sole or heel flap. Divide the total number of stitches originally cast on by 2. For example: 56 sts / 2 = 28. I would have 28 instep stitches and 28 sole stitches. Go ahead an fill in your numbers.

_____total cast on stitches divided by 2 = _____ number of stitches for the heel flap and number for instep.

If you have a high arch, the number of stitches for the heel flap is going to be greater than the number of instep stitches. For high arches it is suggested 2 or 4 stitches be added to the last row of the leg of the sock. The only way to find out what number works here is by trying. Add an even number of stitches, work the heel flap and try on the sock to see how it all fits and make adjustments up or down in the stitch count accordingly.

The math for dividing the sock into instep and heel flap stays the same even though you have added stitches because your are dividing the original cast on number by two. Precisely half the number of original cast on stitches are *instep* stitches. The rest of the stitches, the heel flap, will be either 2 or 4 stitches greater than the instep. The number of heel flap stitches also signals the number of rows you need to work. Extra stitches make the heel flap longer. This gives the sock more stretch to navigate the heel-ankle-instep-ankle-heel area.

**Here’s Where Row Gauge Matters**

At this point, check your row gauge. Measure the sock over a 4″ (10) cm length and count the rows. Divide the total number of rows by 4. This is the number of rows you are getting per inch. Take the number of rows per inch and divide it into the number of heel flap stitches. The answer is the length of the heel flap.

__________number of heel flap stitches divided by ________number of rows per inch = ________length of heel flap. Does the length equal what you need in order to make the sock fit? Try on the sock. If you find the fit too large, reduce the number of added stitches. If the fit is too tight, increase the number by twos to keep it even.

Go back to the equation that tells you when to stop working on the leg and begin the heel flap. Substitute your heel flap length in place of the 2″ (5) cm.

**Set-Up The Heel Flap**

Place the instep stitches on holders, or if you prefer, leave them on your dpns and just ignore them. I leave them on the needles and place 3 stitches from each side onto locking stitch markers. This helps prevent holes from forming between the stitches I’m working for the heel flap and the stitches on hold. It eases the amount of stress placed on the running thread between the working stitches and the stitches on hold. The more stress placed on the running thread the more gruesome the hole.

To set up the heel flap for working, divide the number of heel flap stitches in half. For example, my heel flap is 28 stitches / 2 = 14. I’d knit 14 stitches, stop, turn work then purl across 28 sts.

______heel flap stitches divided by 2 = _______ number of stitches to knit across. Turn work around and purl across all heel flap stitches.

Heel flaps are worked back and forth in rows as follows.

Row 1 (RS): *Slip first st purlwise with yarn in back, k1. Repeat across row. Turn work.

Row 2: Slip first st purlwise with yarn in front, purl to end of row. Turn work.

Repeat these two rows until you have worked the number of rows designated by the number of your heel flap stitches. For example, my number of heel flap stitches is 28. I would work 28 heel flap rows.

Next we’ll begin the heel turn.

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