Short Row Heel formula

[color=indigo]Is there a formula or rule of thumb on how many sts to knit on the first row before one starts the turning? I have to change patterns to more sts than the designer used so the heel turning is always off. [/color]

normally you use about 50% of the stitches. so, if you have 60 stitches for sock, 30 for heel–same as flap/turned/gusseted heal)

but–this can be tight.

i often (but not always!) add a small gusset –
i increase (on instep) for about 5 rows before i start heel, then decrease (same number as increased) after the heel.

this photo is a bit blurry, but you can clearly see the triangle gusset at the heel.
oftroy uploaded this image to

others add this gusset to heel side (again, increase 2 times every other row, for 10 rows (10 increases) and make the heel bigger this way (so start with 60 stitches, increase to 70 stitches, make heel with 40 (1/2 +all of increasses) and then after completing heel, decrease back down to staring number (back to 60 stitches total)

you can do any of these:
50% of total,
Increase on instep, heel 50% of original #,
Increase on sole/leg back, and make heel 50% of original number + all increases

each fits a bit differently, but all ‘work’

[color=indigo]I know about the 50% for the heel flap. So, I have my 50 % on one needle, I’ve made the flap and now I want to do short row heels. What percentage of sts do I knit before I turn and wrap?[/color]

with short row heels, you don’t make a flap!

you start (row 1) of the heel, with Knit X (where X is 1 less total) wrap and turn,
Purl X-2, wrap and turn,
Knit X-3, wrap and turn
Purl X-4, wrap and turn

Knit 29 (of 30 stitches), wrap & turn
Purl 28, wrap and turn,
Knit 27, wrap and turn
Purl 26, w&t… and so on, till you have about 1/3-1 or 2 stitches left

so if you start with 60,(sock) and work heel on 30, you decrease till you have 10 (1/3 of 30) and then do 1 or 2 more decrease (8 or 9 stitches) at which point you begin to ‘pick up the wraps’ (increasing 1 stitch per row) till you once again have 30 stitches.

(for different numbers of total stitches, you’ll have different number of stitches at 'end of heel shaping)
(72 total, 36, heel, 1/3 of 36=12, 1 or 2 less, 10 stitches–and then start to pick up wrapped stitches–
for 56 stitches to start, 28 for heel, 1/3 of 28=9.33, minus 1 more, makes it 8 stitches before you start to pick up wraps)

if you have worked a flap, and need to turn a heel (also done with short rows, there are other 'formulas’s for turning heels (and several styles–round, v, half round, square, welsh) and each has a different formula!)

round is the most common, square is the easiest! you can google round heel and find several sites that have charts with all the numbers ‘plugged’ in.

What pattern are you using?

Yeah, I was going to say that. I don’t have much experience though so I kept mum.


Okay… Is that not a heel flap and short rows? I’m confused… :??

Yeah, that’s a flap. The terminology can be confusing – I think you’re talking about the heel turn, no? I think the easiest way to convert patterns to work with a new gauge is to use a calculator like this one. HTH

[color=indigo]Yes! :teehee: I had my terminology screwed up. Am making my second pair of socks using Joan’s Socks, and am finding out what I’m really doing. And creating another addiction![/color]

ah yes socks are addicting.

there are flap/turned/gusset socks
v turned heeled
roung heels
half round heels
square heels
welsh heels.

there are heels with out flaps
afterthought heels
(and before thought heels!)
there are peasant heels
turkish heels
short row heels
wedge heels (similar to short rows, but…)

the are strong heels (named for Ms strong, not stronger than most!)
there are gansey heels and reverse gusseted heels.

EZ had some interesting shapes for heels too

and toes… they can be flat or french, or round or star or square,

socks can be done toe up, or cuff down, or crosswise!
you can learn a dozen ways to cast on for socks,

you can use solid yarn and fancy stitches, or fancy yarn and simple stitches, you can do fair isle and intarsia, lace and beading…

socks are world unto themselves!
fortunately even expensive sock yarn still rarely cost more than $30 for a pair … and may sock yarns cost less then $2 for a pair!

[color=indigo]Now that I’ve finished my second sock–that makes a whole pair :teehee: – I’m going to make a few more than start experimenting with all the other techniques. I’m so glad it finally clicked with socks… I understand why so many people are addicted and consider them nice “take along” projects![/color]

:cheering: Nice job!