Sock September

Short Row Heel with Mini-Gusset

Today’s video is looking at one way to add some ease to a short row heel. If you add a mini-gusset, this can help to add some ease at the diagonal point, and provide a better fit.

Here’s the video:

If you need to determine how many stitches to add in your mini-gusset, here’s some math that you can do. (Ignore this part if math gets you frustrated!!)

Measure your diagonal circumference, from the apex of your heel around the instep at the point where your foot flexes. Divide this circumference in half. Make note of this and call it A.

Take your stitch gauge for your socks, and get it to stitches per inch (or cm). (Divide by 4 (or 10) if you’re going by a pattern with gauge stated over 4″ (10 cm) as typical.) Take 1/4 the total number of your sock stitches, and divide it by your stitches per inch. Call this B. Take A minus B. This is what your heel needs to measure. Call this C. We will now subtract out what a “normal” short row heel in your stitch gauge will measure.

To figure out the short row heel measure for this spot, we need to do a bit more math (and geometry!) A short row heel is a 45 degree angle. So we’ll need to figure out a hypotenuse.

Take B and square it, then multiply that by 2. Then take the square root of that. This is D (what your short row heel will measure.)

Now take C minus D. This is the number of inches you need to add to your sock heels on each side. Call this E. It should be (hopefully!) a pretty small number. I would say if it’s 1/4 inch or less, then don’t worry about adding a mini-gusset, unless you can’t stand for your socks to stretch at all in the heel area.

Take E times your stitches per inch, and this is how many stitches you need to add on each side for your mini-gusset. Voila! (lol)


If you’d like to try the tutorial pattern out, here it is:



Tutorial Pattern, Short Row Heel with Mini-gusset:

Work Sock Heel Homework (found here) first, or work from a prior heel in the series.

Setup Rnd: K20, pm, knit to end of rnd, pm.

Mini Gusset Increases:

Rnd 1: Knit to marker, sm, LRI, knit to last st, LRI. 2 sts increased.

Rnd 2: Knit around.

Repeat these two rounds twice more, there are now 46 sts on the needles.

Heel Setup: Knit to first marker, k3. Begin heel over next 20 sts.


Working flat over 20 sts:

Row 1 (RS): K19, w&t.

Row 2 (WS): Sl 1, p17, w&t.

Row 3: Sl 1, knit to 1 st before wrap, w&t.

Row 4: Sl 1, purl to 1 st before wrap, w&t.

Repeat Rows 3-4 four more times. Six sts wrapped on each side, and 8 sts unwrapped in center.

Next Row (RS): Sl 1, knit to wrapped st, w&t. (St now wrapped twice.)

Next Row (WS): Sl 1, purl to wrapped st, w&t. (St now wrapped twice.)

Row 1: Sl 1, knit to first wrapped st, cw, w&t.

Row 2: Sl 1, purl to first wrapped st, cw, w&t.

Repeat Rows 1-2 four more times.

Mini Gusset Decreases:

Next Rnd: Sl 1, knit to wrapped st, cw, k26 sts across instep, cw, knit to bottom of heel.

Rnd 1: Knit to 3 sts from side marker, k1, k2tog, sm, knit 20 sts over instep, sm, ssk, knit to bottom of heel.

Rnd 2: Knit around.

Rnd 3: Knit to 2 sts from marker, k2tog, sm, k20, sm, ssk, knit to bottom of heel.

Repeat Rnds 2 and 3 once more. 40 sts. Remove markers.

Work a couple rounds plain.

Leave sts on needle for next heel.

w&t: wrap and turn – with yarn forward, slip next st purlwise to RH needle, move yarn back, slip st back to LH needle, turn work. Move yarn to back between the needles if you are now on a RS row.

cw: conceal wrap – On knit side, insert RH needle under wrap(s) from front and into st that was wrapped, knit the wrap(s) and the st together. On purl side, insert RH needle under wrap(s) from the backside and lift it onto the LH needle. Purl the wrap(s) and the st together.

I hope this was informative!! Let me know what you think of this method of adding ease to short row heel socks. Would this make you want to work more short row heels, if you’ve avoided them in the past due to fit issues?

Just one more week of Sock September 2022! Have you been enjoying it so far? Let me know!!

Stay tuned on Monday for the next post in the series. Until then, Happy Sock Knitting!!


2 thoughts on “Short Row Heel with Mini-Gusset”

  1. I would like a link to the sock heel homework because instructions here do not indicate the beginning # of heel stitches, which would be helpful to know for the tutorial. Secondly, I would like to know if you could provide instuctions for the gusset if using a shadow wrapped heel. I really thing a video tutorial would be great showing the process of creating the mini gusset. It is not clear to be when you start the increases. Thank youl.

    1. Hi Elaine! Sorry the homework wasn’t linked already — it’s here:
      You can certainly work this with a shadow wrap short row heel — replace all “w&t” with making a shadow wrap, and replace all “cw” with knitting the shadow wrap stitch as one stitch.
      If using the mini gusset in an actual sock, when to start will depend on your row gauge. You work the gusset over 6 rounds, so would need to work them (6 divided by rows per inch) inches sooner than you would be starting your heel normally.
      I’ll add a more detailed tutorial to my filming list!

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