Mmmmmkay. Here goes – sorry some of the photos are blurry, it’s just me and my 2.1 mp camera round here! Consider this my contribution to Socktoberfest! Photo heavy post, of course. Click photos to embiggen.

This is the method I use on my short-row heels. These days I do the short-row heel almost exclusively; I just find it so darn fast and easy. No counting (well, minimal counting) and no increase in stitch number. Plus, it fits me well – your mileage may vary. And yes, this does involve knitting and purling three things together. I knit quite loosely; this might help me do those more easily than someone who knits tighter.

Without further ado!

The heel is worked on 50% of the total sock stitches – in this case I’m doing a 64 stitch sock, so 32 stitches for the heel. Using 1 needle, knit across to the last heel stitch (here, k 31). (The photo isn’t of the 32nd stitch – it’s much easier to show you when several stitches have already been wrapped.)


Bring the yarn to the front. Slip the stitch purlwise. Bring the yarn to the back and put the just-slipped stitch back onto the left needle.


When you turn, your yarn will already be in the correct place to start purling.


Purl across to the last heel stitch. Keeping the yarn in front, slip the stitch purlwise. Bring the yarn to the back and replace the slipped stitch on the left needle.


When you turn, the yarn will be in the front. Bring it to the back between the needles to start knitting.


Knit across to one before the previously wrapped stitch, wrap, and turn. Purl across to one before the previously wrapped stitch, wrap, and turn. Continue to work back and forth, wrapping and turning one stitch before the previous wrap on each end. I go until I have 14 stitches remaining unwrapped in the middle.


Now the tricky part – picking up the wraps! Knit across to the first wrapped stitch – this one is only wrapped once.


Insert the right needle tip into the wrap from bottom to top, and then into the stitch.


Knit the two together by wrapping the yarn, then bringing the new stitch through the old stitch and then the wrap.


Wrap the next stitch (this next stitch now has two wraps) and turn. Purl across to the first wrapped stitch – this stitch has one wrap.


See the row of bumps? Those are the wraps, and they need to be picked up on the public side in order to become invisible. Pick up the wrap on the right side of the work, from bottom to top.


Place this wrap on the needle. Purl these two together.



Wrap the next stitch and turn. Knit to the first double-wrapped stitch. You’ll need to pick up both wraps.


Place the right needle tip up through both wraps from bottom to top, then into the stitch.


Knit these three together.


Wrap the next stitch and turn. Purl to the first double wrapped stitch – here’s a photo of the two wraps, from the right side.


Pick up both wraps from the right side, from bottom to top.


Place them on the needle and purl the three together.


Wrap the next stitch and turn. Continue to work back and forth, picking up the double wraps and wrapping the following stitch. When picking up the wraps on the last heel stitch, I like to wrap the following (non-heel) stitch to prevent a hole from forming there.


When you turn and purl across, pick up the wraps on the last purl stitch and then wrap the following stitch. Turn and work all the way around the round, picking up each of these two wraps on your way.

Ta-da! No holes!

Purl side:

Knit side:

My method’s pretty similar to that of misocrafty, so you might want to check that tutorial out too!

168 Responses to “as promised: a short-row heel tutorial”

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  2. kelli ann

    thank you for a clear and concise (and illustrated!) tutorial for this heel technique! the pattern i am knitting now has a pretty unintelligible explanation of a 32-st short row heel:: your step-by step explanations make me feel stronger!

  3. sara

    It seems like you do extra rows. My book says to end when both of the last heel stitches are wrapped. This takes me to the end of a purl row. I then turn and knit back to the midway point of heel – end of round. I knit the other part of the heel and the two wraps at the last stitch and continue around the rest of the sock, making the foot. When I get to the heel stitches again there is a double wrapped stitch to knit.

    I could not work out at all how to add wraps for the instep stitches. If I have just wrapped and turned for the last time, I don’t get to go near that next stitch. Only if I knitted another 2 tows before joining. But doesn’t this give 2 extra rows of height before rejoining. I have to say how the book tells me worked ok. No holes. But I am curious about what you did as I don’t perhaps understand properly. I find that instructions for short row heels tend to taper off very abruptly so I was pleased there was an explanation to fall back on – I was trying to do yours in preference but then I gave up. Usually no one tells you when the heel stops and the foot starts. You do but I still don’t understand!

  4. Wrapping socks | Zurch

    [...] as promised: a short-row heel tutorial | cosmicpluto knits!Oct 8, 2006 … Thank you – it’s basically what I already do, but I think I’m getting a little careless about how I pick up the wraps. I have a toe-up sock on the … [...]

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    [...] but I was still having trouble.  A quick google search lead me to the short row tutorial at cosmicpluto knits, from which I was finally successful.  I was so excited that I finally got something that [...]

  6. Black-Dragonlily on Rav

    Thank you so much for taking the time to take these photos and to write this tutorial.

    My first pair of toe up plain jane socks was a success and it’s all thanks to you!

  7. Janet

    Is it just me or are the images no longer available with this tutorial? I tried Explorer and Chrome, but only get the text, no pictures. :(

  8. Megan

    I dont see the photos either. I think it would help a lot especially to the part about the wrapped stitches and picking them up. Is there anywhere else these photos are published that we can see them?

  9. su peck

    Thank you,Thank you. I just spent $75 on books to try and figure out the short-row heel and your explanation finally made sense.


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