Friday, August 14, 2015

My Shortrowed Heel and Toe for Socks
(Click on photos to enlarge)

I’m trying to get caught up with a few things on my blog, which has been woefully neglected the last little while.  Knitters ask about my socks so thought I’d focus on some of my favorite techniques.  The first thing that comes to mind is how I shortrow for the heels and toes.  I know that some don’t like shortrowed heels and toes but I hope those who do will find this helpful. 
Some complain that shortrowed heels/toes are too rounded and not form fitting.  The shortrow standard is to decrease down to 1/3 of the total number of stitches.  For example if I have a total of 36 stitches in the heel/toe, the standard 1/3 calculation would tell you to leave 12 sts in the center with 12 sts on each side during the decreasing.  This is merely a guideline and doesn’t have to be etched in stone.  If I’m knitting for a narrower heel or toe, I generally decrease down 2 more stitches than the 1/3 calculation.  For example, I’ll shortrow down to 10 sts, leaving 13 sts on each side.  By the same token, if I’m knitting for a squattier heel/toe, I’ll shortrow down to only 14 sts with 11 sts on each side.  Shortrowing can be as form fitting as you want with these simple adjustments, just remember to have the same number of stitches in the sections on both side of the center stitches. 
I like this method of shortrowing because it gives a firmer ‘seam’ line than the standard shortrow method and it does a nice automatic wrap of that first needle to prevent pesky holes along the seam line.  I certainly didn’t ‘invent’ this method but I’ve been using it for just forever.
My pictures show a sock knit in the round but this shortrow method works equally well with a flat sock.  If knitting circularly and your heel/toe is to be formed on the main bed, make sure that the last row knitted is on the main bed so that the yarn is coming off the main bed.
1.  To decrease, lower the ribber one notch, change to main carriage arm and put on hold, hang weights on front of work, at carriage side pull 1 ndl into hold position for automatic wrap and knit across. Hang weights as needed on the main bed work.
2.  Continue til there are desired number of sts in working position. (The general standard is that 1/3 sts remain in work, however this is not necessary. Stay as close as you can to 1/3, but it is important that you have the same number of sts in hold on each side before beginning the increase work).
3.  When you have the desired number of needles in work and the needle closest to the carriage pulled to hold position AND the same number of sts in hold on each side, do NOT knit across…immediately increase back out by putting 2 ndls opposite the carriage back into working position and then knit across.
4.  On subsequent rows, pull one needle at beg of each row on the carriage side into hold position AND two needles opposite the carriage into working position each row til all needles except a set of two needles on each side are again in working position.
5.  When increased back out to one group of sts left on each side, put both sets back into work at the same time.  Unwrap the first needle on the carriage side and knit across.
6.  There are several finishing techniques to prevent holes from forming on the sides of shortrowing but I’ll discuss my favorites in another post.
This photo shows a toe from the top side as it would appear on the foot.  Again the pointiness can be altered by adjusting the number of stitches left in the center during the decreasing process of shortrowing.


  1. Thank you so much, your information is so clear and understandable. I really appreciate the time you took to share your techniques. I feel like we our an online machine knitting guild, I hope one day I too will have some helpful tips to share with our small, but growing community.

    1. You're very welcome again. This community might be small but we're powerful!! It's a good place to be. ☺

  2. Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our. pilates toe socks