Easy Peasy No Wrap Short Row Heel

August 13, 2018

I came up with this really really easy short row heel some time ago, as all the instructions I found for short row heels on hand knitted socks were overly complicated with all their wraps, turns, double stitches, twin stitches etc etc etc


The finished heel

This heel is so beautifully simple, that it’s easy to remember and it has absolutely no complicated stitches or techniques. Like any other short row heel, it works for both cuff down and toe up socks.

When knitting with fingering yarn / 4 ply sock yarn, the heel will measure approximately 2 inches from the start to the turn row. If you’re knitting toe up, there is a way of working out how long the heel will be before you get that far. For a 72 stitch sock, you’ll probably have a 36 stitch heel. You’ll be decreasing on the first half of the heel until you have one third of the stitches remaining, which is 12, with 12 slipped stitches each side. Those 12 slipped stitches were worked over 24 rows, so measure 24 rows on your sock and that’s the length of your heel. So for a 64 stitch sock / 32 stitch heel, you would have 10 remaining stitches after the decreasing, with 11 slipped stitches either side. That’s 22 decrease rows, so measure the length of 22 rows on your sock. A 48 stitch sock / 24 stitch heel would be 16 rows long, and at the other end of the scale, a 80 stitch sock / 40 stitch heel would be 26 rows long.

The full written instructions, row by row:

First half of heel, worked back and forth on half the total number of stitches:
Row 1: K2tog tbl, knit to last 2 stitches, k2tog
(you can use SSK or any other decrease if you prefer)
Row 2: Slip 1 purlwise, purl to last stitch, slip 1 purlwise
Repeat last two rows until approximately one third of your heel stitches remain.

Second half of heel:
Row 1: Knit to end, pick up chain loop on the row below and knit into it, turn.
Row 2: Purl to end, pick up chain loop on the row below and purl into it, turn.
(Important! Do NOT slip the first stitch on these two rows, and make sure to snug up the first few stitches, especially on the purl rows!)
Repeat last two rows until all the chains have been picked up. You will be back to your original number of stitches and you can carry on knitting in the round.

That’s all there is to it. The complete instructions. Photos follow if you can’t visualise what’s happening here, but don’t overthink it… trust me, follow the instructions and it will work, I promise!


First half of the heel done, showing the chain on the right formed by the slipped stitches


First half of the heel done, showing the chain on the left formed by the slipped stitches


Second half of the heel, picking up the slipped stitch to be purled at the end of the purl row


Second half of the heel, picking up the slipped stitch to be knitted at the end of the knit row


The finished heel again!

10 Responses to “Easy Peasy No Wrap Short Row Heel”

  1. Lucy Says:

    This seems super easy speaking as a new sock knitter. I can’t find how to pick up a slip stitch purlwise anywhere and I don’t quite get it from the picture….help? Does the right hand needle go behind behind the slip stitch and pick up? Thanks!


  2. Debbie Says:

    Hi Lucy, according to the picture for doing the heel above is showing you where you put your right hand needle to wrap your working yarn in the purl position. hope this helps Debbie


  3. Dianne Says:

    So do I understand that doing toe up I would stop the foot 2” short of the foot length?


    • Jacqui Says:

      The length of the heel section is 2″ on a 72 stitch count.
      So if knitting a UK 4size 4, at eg 9″ long you would stop knitting in the round at 7″ and rhen start your heel.


  4. Barbara Says:

    This is amazing, I’m telling all my friends but how do I avoid a hole after I’ve picked up my stitches. Should I pick up a stitch lower in the “v”?


    • Linda Says:

      Hi Barbara, I usually pick up one side of each stitch in the row below (each side of the ‘v’) and knit them together. You’ll end up with an extra stitch each side of the heel, so decrease them on the next round to get back to the correct stitch count.


  5. Lillian Says:

    Hello! I’m pretty new at this and learned to knit socks using a heel flap, turning the heel and shaping the gusset…so…once I get to the length I need, how do I begin your heel process? Divide the 72 stitches into one active needle with 36 and two dormant needles with 18 each? And the first half of the heel decreases on the active needle from 36 to 12 and the second half increases from 12 back to the 36 so I am back to 72 stitches again?
    Thanks for your help!


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