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Last Stop!
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Last Stop!

Remember when I finished these socks last January?

Aqua Socks

I enjoyed the Diagonal Fixation pattern, but could not quite "wrap" my head around the whole short-row concept. I had only knit heel flaps before this sock, and have not attempted another short-row heel, although I have admired many-a-knitter's beautiful handiwork. Why no short-row love? Simply put, it is those unsightly holes!

Short Row Heel detail

Luckily, I had someone to turn to.  Lisa Kartus is the author of Interweave Press's new book, Knit Fix: Problem Solving for Knitters. The book is an amazing reference on how to fix everything from dropped stitches, twisted stitches, incorrect cables, wrong colors in colorwork, and everything you can think of in between. And yes, short rows are included. However, Lisa was kind enough to attack my little problem "head on" with a personal response! She is launching a new website, Knit Maven, where readers can submit problems and common mistakes; and Lisa will post how to fix the mistakes, as well as showing some pictures of the work.

Lisa's Knit Fix swatch Lisa's website features some great fixes (how to fix a missed YO in a lace pattern!), and she was kind enough to help several other knitters with their mistakes during her two-week blog tour.  LollyKnitting Around is the last official stop on the blog tour.

You can read (and even listen to some podcasts!) about Lisa's career, her handy tips for fixing mistakes, and learn more about her future plans on the Knit Fix Blog Tour website.

Lisa Kartus, author of Knit Fix

So Lisa, how about it?  Can you help me with these short-row woes?

Those diagonal holes might be from your short-rowing and might not. 

The trick to short rows on a sock heel is to make sure you've closed the gap at the end of each row with either a K2tog or P2tog.The most common pattern for turning a heel asks you to do something like knit or purl to a couple of stitches past center, then either K2tog, K1 and turn work; or P2tog, P1 and turn work. The next row ends with either K2tog, K1 or P2tog, P1. Those decreases — K2tog or P2tog — create a little gap at the end of your rows. In all succeeding rows, slip the first stitch, knit or purl to one stitch before the gap, close the gap with a decrease (one of the K2tog stitches comes from the near side of the gap, the other from the far side of the gap), work the last stitch. Placing the decreases right on the gap closes those holes. 

Now, I suspect that your problem isn't so much the short row as picking up the stitches on your gusset. When turning the heel, make sure to slip the first stitch of each row. Then when it comes time to pick up and knit for the gusset, there are these nice neat stitches to pick up — no purl bumps. See pages 61-63 of Knit Fix, which talks about (and shows through these wonderful photographs) not only pick up and knit but closing holes in your sock gusset.

Pg. 62, picking up stitches

Interweave always has those cute illustrations!

So, I think I am going to give the short-row heel another chance… perhaps for Socktoberfest?  Lisa's tips are much appreciated, and I can't wait to use them on my next short-row encounter. 

I highly recommend this book!  It is not contain patterns, or the latest "trends" but it is a great reference guide for beginning and more advanced knitters.  Personally, I think it is one of the best additions to my bookshelf – I know I will refer to it often as I progress in my knitting skills.

Knit Fix: Problem Solving for Knitters

Thank you, Lisa, and I wish you the best of luck.  You have put together a great book!



Kris and I are off to Tennessee for Nana's services. Thank you once again for the kind condolences that continue to fill my inbox.  I have my bag packed with a lovely new stash addition. This is the Malabrigo for my International Scarf Exchange Pal… Do you think she will like it?

Malabrigo Wool  


Have a good weekend, friends!


PS- Socktoberfest signups have been open for one night, and the names are already rolling in! Be a part of the festivities by signing up!

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27 Responses

  1. Jennifer

    Your pal will love that malabrigo! So soft and lovely color.

    The more I hear about the Knit fix book, the more I want to get it. I haven’t attempted short row heels, but I’ll be sure to bookmark this post to help me!

  2. Jami Howard

    i was singing “poor little pierrette” … haha thanks :) i look exactly the same, minus the fact that im not 3 feet tall anymore!
    love ya, be safe this weekend girl…all the best to the family!

  3. Lara

    But, you don’t pick up stitches for the gusset on a short row heel. Only on a heel flap, yes? I’m sorry to day I think she misunderstood your question.

    I use the method in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy when I do short-row heels. No holes!

    My sympathy on your Nana’s passing.

  4. heather

    good tip. I think I’ll have to put this puppy on my amazon wish list. woo!

  5. Claudia

    Ok, I think I’m sold, I may get the book this weekend!! :-) That Malabrigo is gorgeous – your pal will definitely like it! Are you doing “my so-called scarf”?

  6. Allegra

    How could your pal NOT like MMmmmmmmmm?!??! I am currently tapping my toes waiting for that book to ship from Amazon.
    My blessings are with you this weekend as you celebrate your nana.

  7. Jody

    I love Malabrigo – it is so soft! I’m sure your pal will love it. I made a mitered square purse out of it and love it!

    I will be thinking about you as you go to your Nana’s services. My grandfather passed away last summer and I spoke at his viewing and talked about all the things I loved about him. At first – I lost it and couldn’t read – but I soon recovered and got through it. It was a wonderful way to say goodbye. I wish you many fond memories and know you will remember her forever!

  8. Bethe

    My sympathies to you and your entire family on the loss of your Nana.

    The Malabrigo is gorgeous and your pal will love it!

    I also agree with Lara about the avoiding holes fix that Lisa gave you…it does sound as though she misunderstood your question and thought your concern was for the holes on a flap and gusset heel and not a short row heel.

  9. Meg

    my sympathies as well for your loss – I’m sure the service will be a lovely goodbye

    I think the Knit Fix book will be one of my first purchases when I find a new job! :) good luck on the next short-row!

  10. Aija

    I’m glad a few other commenters verified my headspin on the short row question– I too like the method from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ Simple Socks: Plain & Fancy book. She has had socks in the most recent VK and recent IK (online only patterm I think), so you could take a look at it there if you didn’t have a copy of SS close at hand.

    I love how IK went to bloggers for this “book tour” :)

  11. Isela

    I just got this book in the mail yesterday and I have read most of it–it is a gem of a book!

    Lolly, I am sorry for the loss of your Nana–hugs and comfort for you and the entire family.

  12. gleek

    yep, i agree. she misunderstood you question. but i think that you may be getting those holes in the short row heel because either (a) you didn’t pick up your wraps when you were knitting back after all the decreasing, or (b) you weren’t re-wrapping your stitches on the increases and therefore not knitting/purling all three stitches together, ie. your regular stitch AND the two wraps.

    i used the heel pattern on amelia raitte’s elfine socks for my first pair of short row heels and it worked out nice. the pattern is for toe-up but you can use the heel in either situation.


  13. Leigh

    Great tips! Thanks so much for posting.

  14. ann-marie

    i too was afraid of short rows. i tried the basic short row way, and got holes.
    then i found alison’s ankle socks and voila–no holes.
    i think she usese a PG-R version as well.
    you can find the pattern here:

  15. Liz

    I’ sure she will love the Malabrigo. I know I would!

    Short row heels can be tricky. I, too, really like the look fo them, but it seems hit or miss if I’ll get those pesky holes.

  16. Jan

    That book sounds like a sure winner, Lolly. Thanks for reviewing it.

  17. Knitopia

    Is Socktoberfest an exchange or a “sock-along” kind of thing?

    I was a little skeptical about that book but have heard good things about it, so I guess I’ll have to check it out!

  18. Debi

    Joining in with the misunderstanding of your question Lolly. What she described is the short rows on a FLAP HEEL not a true short row heel!

    I too am a PGR yo short row heel enthusiast but there will be a tiny little hole…if you look at that short row heel on store bought sock you will see a teenie hole there too!

  19. Zardra

    I have to agree on her misunderstanding your question as well. I haven’t found a way to completely get rid of the holes on a short row heel, it’s part of the structure. One thing I have found that can minimize the holey effect is after doing the decreasing, but before working back out again, do 2 full rounds, all the way around the whole sock. Make sure to do any patterning required on the top of the sock. Then, begin the second half of the heel.

  20. Bee

    Mmm. Even though I’ve never knit with Malabrigo…it always brings the oohs and aahs out of me. Looks lovely! Can’t wait to see your progress.

    I’m really sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  21. Annie

    Do you have to be a blogger to sign up for Socktoberfest?

  22. Moni

    That was very informative! Definately going to get that book!

    Have a very safe trip, Lolly!

  23. Tamar

    Lolly, I have been so busy this week, I just now read about your Nana. I want to send you my deepest condolences – just from the beautiful photos you posted alone, I can see how much soul she had. The eyes tell such a powerful story, don’t they? May her memory be a blessing to you and your family. You are in my thoughts.

  24. Michelle

    Too funny I picked up 2 skeins of the Malabrigio for myself to make the scarf you posted about!. My colors are turq. and pink though. It is such a soft yarn! Your pal will love it!

    Condolences and sympathy to you and your family.

  25. liz

    lolly, i have been knitting up some malabrigo, and i just love love LOVE it!
    i love it so much that i had to de-lurk and say that.
    it is some of the nicest, softest, most beautiful yarn i’ve used lately, and i’m sure your pal will love it too.

  26. Allison

    Wow, what gorgeous yarn – and a helpful tip for no more holey socks! I just signed up for the next round of Socktoberfest, and I can’t wait :)
    I was so sorry to hear about your grandma; I hope you and your family share a wonderful celebration of her life.

  27. KnitPastis

    Love that yarn and your pal is so lucky! I’ll have to check that book out. Sounds like a winner. You guys have a safe trip.

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