Hill Dwellers

July 4, 2013

IMG_7222Socks for the Hill Dweller are done and what a pleasure they have been.

They started with a Crazy Zauberball.  Doesn’t that sound exciting? It is from Germany (which breaks my rule of Australian only yarn when in Australia but I am having concerns about the ecological soundness of this rule which I will talk earnestly and worthily about in a post one day).

IMG_6337This is what it says on the ball band:  Jeder Socken ein Unikat! Jedes Paar ein Kunstwerk! Kein Socken gleicht dem Anderen.

Every sock is unique! Every sock is an artwork! No two are the same socks.

What promise, what exhilaration!

My project with these socks was to get to the very essence of what makes a sock. I did not want a pattern, I wanted a recipe, something that explained how a sock works.

I read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Sock Recipe from Kniting Rules! (2006), a few basic sock patterns on Ravelry, Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel Tutorial and armed with the all important measurement of foot length, I began.

I decided on top down and just plain – I tried a few stitch patterns but they got a bit lost in the Zauberball colour changes.

Ideally your initial cast is the circumference of your lower calf just above your ankle if making a mid calf sock. The number should divide evenly into quarters for knitting with 5 DPNs for ease of counting and that calm feeling of equilibrium. The number of stitches should also divide evenly into thirds for the Sweet Tomato Heel.

  1. Cast on 72 (blokes) or 64 (women) on 2.5mm with standard sock yarn.
  2. Rib for an inch or so.
  3. Work in pattern or plain until the sock measure from the your wrist to the tip of your tallest finger.
  4. Work Sweet Tomato Heel or any other you prefer.
  5. Continue in pattern until the work (from the back of the heel) measures 2” less than the total foot length.
  6. Shape the toes until approximately 2” of stitches are left.
  7. Graft stitches together with Kitchener method.

So simple, so sweet.

IMG_7217The toe shaping is the super standard way:

  1. Divide stitches in half, top half of foot and bottom half of foot.
  2. Alternate a decrease round with a plain round.
  3. Decrease round starts at right side of top of foot: K1, SSK, knit to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1. Repeat this for the bottom half.


The Sweet Tomato Heel was developed by Sock God, Cat Bordhi, shared through her free Youtube tutorial. It is a short rows method worked mainly on two thirds of the stitches in the following way:

  1. Divide stitches into thirds (if working on double points, or a third and two thirds if working with 2 sets of circulars).
  2. Place a marker on the top third (not the heel) of the stitches so you don’t accidently knit them.
  3. With the marker facing you, the yarn should be at the beginning of the back two thirds of stitches.
  4. Beginning with a purl row, slip 1 stitch, purl next two stitches tightly (this closes up the gap when turning), work till end (of two thirds stitches).
  5. Slip 1, knit next two stitches tightly and knit to the last two stitches, turn.
  6. Repeat the procedure, slip 1, purl next 2 stitches tightly and work to the last pair of slipped and worked stitches.
  7. Keeping going like this, until there is about 1 inch or 1 1/2 inches left of unworked heel stitches in the middle. The last row will be a knit

It is a lovely, smooth, easy to remember technique for heels.  You can see the wedges made by short rows quite distinctly here.

IMG_7223My only concern is that it might wear more quickly over time than an twisted stitches or slipped stitches heel. But perhaps that problem might be easily overcome with knitting the heel with some woolly nylon held double with the sock yarn over the heel. Does anyone know how this heel wears over time?

IMG_7182I grafted the toes using a mushroom darner.  This made grafting so much easier than normal as I could lay the toe flat.

IMG_7199It is a beautiful thing my mushroom darner. It came to me with some vintage buttons, pins and a tape measure from the sewing basket of Mrytle who sewed elegant clothes in the fifties and sixties. Sweet rest Mrytle.






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  1. ooh, that’s reminded me I want to try the Sweet Tomato heel next socks!

    and great tip for using the darning mushroom when grafting – brilliant!!

    (p.s. I’ve added my blog to Bloglovin – let’s see if that fixes the issues you’ve had with commenting?)

  2. Oh beautiful socks, truly works of art. I love the subtle stripes. If I knitted socks I’d use the Sweet Tomato Heel just because it is such a fun name.

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