Hi Socks

My new design was created with the idea of simplifying the method of shaping the heel. This new sock is always worked in the round, with no flat knitting, no short rows, no picking up stitches, no stitch grafting, no seaming and no bind-off. It is quick and easy knitting, with a satisfying result of perfectly fitting socks for any type of foot, especially those with the high instep.

This Hi Socks design (Hi=Heel-instep) presents a new conception of turning the heel by working the instep. This adaptable pattern can be worked over any stitch count – the calculations are given for a wide range of cast-on stitch numbers. The new design works equally well for top down and toe-up socks, since it is symmetrical. Another benefit is that this heel doesn’t break stripes. Reinforced sock yarn is recommended for everyday socks with at least 20% polyamide content.

These socks are unusual because we don’t need to work the heel turn. Instead we work the instep with a special stitch pattern to make the angle. Consider the shape of the leg and foot as a tube with a bend, and it is clear that the length of the inside part of the turn is much shorter than the outside part. To make this shape, we need to have fewer rows on the inside than on the outside, or work the inside area with a stitch pattern that is compressed vertically. I tried a few vertically compressed patterns with different compressing percentages: double knitting (50%), A-stitch knitting (50-55%), knit-weaving (62.5%), Stranded knitting (67.5%), Interwoven stitch (70%), Linen stitch (75%), Heel stitch and Eye of partridge (80-85%), Garter stitch (75-90%). Here are some of them, together with the same number of rows in Stocking stitch (bottom).

The more compressed the instep, the more bend has the sock. Compare three socks with different stitch patterns on the instep, left to right: Double Knitting stitch pattern, Stranded knitting and Interwoven stitch. DK (left) has a perfect bend shape while the last one is closer to a straight tube.

How wide should the inside section be? To find out the best proportions between the normal and compressed sections of the bend tube as well as the width of the middle area, I knitted an almost complete ring (a neck cushion cover). I used DK, the most efficient stitch pattern.

Toroidal tube – neck cushion

Where and how many stitches need to be added to create enough room for the widest part of the sock – for the heel-instep area? To find out these important numbers of rows and stitches I made a 3D model of the foot and measured it precisely with 0.5 cm steps, recording a topographical map.

For the Heel-instep part all sts are divided in four parts and worked with different stitch patterns:

  1. For the inside Instep area I chose knit-weaving for its simplicity, although the best candidate is tubular knitting (Double Knitting).
  2. For the outside Heel area – stocking stitch
  3. For the flexible Side areas – garter stitch is an ideal choice because it has a medium vertical gauge that can be compressed and stretched as needed.

The circumference around the instep and heel HC is much greater than around the ankle and foot, therefore we must add more stitches in the side areas, and decrease them after the heel is passed.

That’s it! You can start the socks any way you like, for example with ribbing and plain knitting for the leg, then the Heel-instep sections are worked, followed again by plain knitting and the toe. Also you can work them as a toe-up socks by reading the instructions in opposite direction, since the construction of the Heel-instep is entirely symmetrical. 

The sock will fit the any size and shape foot – the calculation for a small, medium and large heel diagonal are provided.

Basic Hi Socks on Ravelry