French Market Socks–Band Heel

Well, I made my way through the unusual band heel instructions. This is a pretty bad photo, but you can see that the colors alternate stitch by stitch along the heel flap and heel turn. For this type of heel, a “band” of heel flap stitches continues around the bottom of the heel. It is ideal for the striped pattern Nancy Bush choose for this sock.

After the stitches are picked up for the gusset, the peculiar shape of the heel is evident: There is a bit of a dimple at the back of the heel and the base of the heel appears as a bulge at the bottom of the foot. Unblocked, it looks like it wouldn’t be very comfortable.

Here’s a summary of my changes and what I’ve learned so far:

  • I like to read my knitting one a chart is established so I don’t have to keep referring back to the chart or use a row counter. For the diamond pattern on the lower leg and foot, things went much more smoothly once I realized that color B (gold for me) always starts as a single stitch, then grows to 5 stitches. The other two colors (A and B) do the opposite: they begin as 5 stitches and decrease to 1.
  • Because these socks are coming out a little on the small side, I added one repeat of Chart 4 before beginning the heel.
  • When purling the WS rows of the heel flap, be sure to bring the working needle behind both strands of yarn. Otherwise, one of the colors will show as a horizontal band on the RS of the work. 
  • The edge stitches on my heel flap were quite loose and sloppy (a result of my poor two-color tension), I decided to pick up both loops of the gusset stitches and work them through the back loops, as shown on page 178 of Sock Knitting Master Class. This helped tighten up the pick-up edges.
  • Because the gusset pick-up round results in the desired number of foot sts (i.e., there are no gusset decreases), the sock looks unusually narrow where the stitches are joined again for working in rounds. I assume the stitches will have to stretch a lot when pulled on a foot.