The Heel Stitch

A heel stitch on the needle

Sarah E. White

True to its name the heel stitch is normally used to form the heels of socks but that's not all it's good for! By its very nature, the heel stitch is meant to be durable while also adding cushioning for your feet. It produces a fabric that, while flexible, still keeps its shape. Many knitting stitches are reversible, but the shaping used in the heel stitch isn't meant for a reversible project. 

A Strong Fabric

This is a pattern that's meant to take a bit of a beating which means it's great for rambunctious kid's wear. For those knitters adventurous enough to try their hand at knitting socks this stitch is vital to learn. It's also just super comfy to wear. Knitted socks are sure to keep your feet nice and toasty during a long winter hike. They also make an excellent gift for that special someone in your life. After all, who doesn't love a pair of snuggly socks on a cold night?  

How Easy is the Slip Stitch Heel?

While knitting socks can be a challenge, this stitch is rather easy to learn. The hardest part of knitting socks isn't the pattern it's getting the sizing right. But keep in mind knitting something that's the wrong size is a knitters right of passage. Everyone's done it, but practice makes perfect. Don't let the simple shaping of the heel stitch intimidate you. Once you've mastered your first sock, you'll be hooked on this pattern. 

Beginning knitters who want to advance their skills but aren't quite ready to make the footwear jump can always practice the heel stitch by making a stylish winter hat. 

Best Knitting Practices 

This sturdy pattern lends itself nicely to knitting in the round, but straight needles will work as well if that's your preference. A cozy worsted weight yarn works great for this pattern and will produce a hat that looks great on anyone. Brightly colored yarn will make the neat rows pop! Or show off your fine needlework with a softer more neutral toned yarn. If rigidity isn't your style try using larger needles that will elongate the stitches a little adding a little more flexibility to this boxy pattern.  

Heel Stitch Pattern

This stitch works on ​an even number of stitches.

Row 1: (wrong side) Slip​ the first stitch—Purl remaining stitches.

Row 2: *Slip stitch as if to purl. Knit 1. Repeat from * across.

Repeat these two rows for pattern.

Odd stitch variation:

Row 1: (wrong side) Purl.

Row 2: *Knit 1, slip one as if to purl (yarn in back). Repeat from * across.

Repeat these two rows for pattern.