Heel Replacement Surgery

Back in December of last year (2015), I knit a pair of socks for myself out of a skein of yarn I had bought on vacation in Traverse City.  They were the umpteenth pair of vanilla socks with a Fish Lips Kiss heel I had knit myself, but they were the first I tried knitting on a size US0 needle–my go-to is a US1.  Because my row gauge was tighter on the smaller needle and I used the same number of stitches for the heel that I usually use with a US1, the heels ended up too shallow.  The heels would keep falling down under my foot because they just wouldn’t cup my heels properly.  I don’t have any pictures of them on my feet for some reason, but here they are on sock blockers.

The socks before replacing the heels

The socks before replacing the heels. I know you can’t actually tell anything about fit from this picture. 🙁


I tried to wear them a couple times, but they were straight-up uncomfortable with the heels as they were, so they went in the naughty pile.  I had the idea that I could cut out the heels and replace them with afterthought heels and did so for one sock last winter.  It was a success, but I didn’t feel like doing the second sock just then, and they ended up in my To Repair pile for months after that.  This morning, I was thinking that it might be nice to have a new pair of socks, remembered about this pair, and pulled them out to finally replace that second heel!

This is not a tutorial, but I thought it would be fun to share what I did and maybe it will help you if you ever come across a similar issue.

How I Replaced the Heel

On the left is the original FLK heel. On the right is the afterthought heel I'm replacing it with.

On the left is the original FLK heel. On the right is the afterthought heel I’m replacing it with.


I started by inserting a size US0 needle into one leg of each stitch a row or two down from the heel, all the way around the sock.  I wasn’t too concerned with making sure they were all from the same row because I knew I could fix it later.







The next part was the most fun.  I took some little scissors to it and snipped out that old heel!





Once the old heel was out, I had to pick out the remnants of the cut stitches.  Here is what it looked like before:

Before picking out the remnants

Before picking out the remnants

And after:

The remnants

The remnants


Goodbye, remnants.

Goodbye, remnants.


As you can see, now there are long bits of yarning hanging about.  These are because I picked up some stitches a row lower than other stitches.  I slipped stitches around on my needles to be able to tink all the stitches down to the same row.




The final problem to solve before I could start knitting the heel was to close up this gap at the corner (and the other gap in the other corner).  I joined new yarn and picked up two stitches in each gap as I knit one row, still using the US0 needles.

The gap in the corner of the heel I needed to close

The Gap


After closing the gaps, I switched to US1 needles so I wouldn’t have the same depth issue as the original heels.  I knit a fairly standard afterthought heel, doing additional decreases on the first round to get rid of the extra stitches picked up at the gaps.

The heel in progress

Almost there!


I knit until 20 stitches remained, 10 on each needle, grafted, and wove in the ends.

Finished heel!

Finished heel!

The heel from the side

And from the side


It had been so long since I did the first heel that I couldn’t find the right part of the yarn to make the heels match, but I care absolutely not at all about that.  They fit!  I love the depth of the new heels and these socks can now finally get the love they deserve.

Modeling the new heels on my feet.

Please excuse the office carpet.