The Sweet Tomato Heel

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I could wax poetic about how I started these socks last December when it was cold and when I needed purse knitting. I could write about how much I wanted to knit this pattern and have a new pair of socks. I could write about how fun it was to knit them despite having to slog through the cuffs. I could write all of those things but the main reason I knit these socks was to knit another set of Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heels.

Pattern: modified Willamette Socks by Sara Morris

Yarn: Cascade Heritage Paints - 9872

Needle: US 2.25 mm

December 14, 2011 - May 16, 2012

@Ravelry

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Cat Bordhi, I like the way you think. 

The process for knitting this short row heel isn’t hidden away in a pattern and you don’t have to be able to divine the mysteries of the universe to figure it out. The Quick Start Guide at the beginning of the book gives you everything needed to knit a a pair of socks this way and even a bit of troubleshooting help before diving into the patterns. Later in the ebook, she works out how to knit a padded, reinforced heel using this method. There are numerous diagrams, clear step-by-step instructions, and lots of helpful tips.  For example, instead of wrapping and turning when working the short rows, she uses a lifted increase to close the gap between stitches. Two versions of short row heels that can be knit from the cuff or the toe and numerous patterns aside, just that epiphany was worth the cost of this ebook to me. This video shows the technique off nicely. 

Reinforced heel flaps with a short row turn are still my favorite heel, but the Sweet Tomato is such a close second. It’s relatively easy to knit, uses less yarn, and - best of all - fits so well. The question of fit was the main reason I stayed away from short row heels to begin with but the tomato is so easy to modify on a foot by foot basis.

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The first few pairs of Sweet Tomatoes that I knit taught me a few things. The first pair I made for myself and got the method in my brain. The second pair I knit for the Bearded One’s giant feet and they fit him just as well. The third pair - this pair - I knit in a fingering weight and decided to add a mini gusset to get a little more room in the gusset. The gusset made the fit all the better and saved the instep pattern from disruption since the heel is knit over more than 50% of the stitches. I also needed a fourth wedge instead of the three I needed in worsted weight socks. Such an easy change to make. 

I think I’ll be using this heel for a long time and for many, many pairs of socks.