I’m sure you are all pretty aware that I love to knit socks. I find them to be relatively quick projects that are portable and easy to work on when I have the little man sitting on my lap. I also love how they give me the chance to try lace, or colour-work, or something new and interesting on a small scale.
There are lots of great sock designers out there today. Off the top of my head I can think of Wendy Johnson, Cookie A., Lucy Neatby and Cat Bordhi, along with a multitude of others. The last, Cat Bordhi, is one of those crazy minds that comes up with simple ideas that make a big difference. Her new book, Cat Bordhi’s Sweet Tomato Heel, is all about one of those new ideas: an easy to execute sock heel using short rows and no wraps. (I see the eyes of the cross stitchers out there just glazing over. Bear with me, okay?)
The book features nine sock patterns as well as directions for the new heel she has dubbed the Sweet Tomato Heel (STH). (This is a digital book, that is updated about once a month. So far four of the sock patterns and the two heel variations have been released.) And, since I love to try new techniques in my socks, I made a variation of the Minnesota Moonlight sock (Rav link to the pattern).
I used On Your Toes Bamboo in colourway Tropical Dusk. And, instead of doing the lace pattern all the way around the leg, I chose to do just one repeat of the pattern centred on the top of the foot just where the foot and leg meet.
The heel was very easy to do. It is worked in wedges, with the depth of the heel being checked against the foot. This allows for a very customized fit. And, I was able to achieve a well fitting sock on my narrow feet that have high arches. (Although, I have rarely made a sock that doesn’t fit. But perhaps this is because I am very careful to check the fit in all my socks as I am knitting them.)
The only thing I don’t like about this heel is the fact that it requires 2/3 of the sock stitches. Most socks heels only need 1/2, which leaves the other 1/2 on the top of the foot for a fancy pattern. A STH sock can only use 1/3 of the stitches for a pattern until after the heel is turned. So, while it will be easy to use the STH for socks designed for it (e.g. socks that only use 1/3 of the stitches for a pattern along the top of the foot) or for plain socks, it will be all but impossible to, say, add a STH to a Cookie A. sock or any other design that uses 1/2 of the foot stitches for a pattern.
If you want to learn more about this interesting new heel technique, check out this video by Cat:
Overall, I would recommend this book. It is priced at US$20 for nine sock patterns, and given that most sock patterns sell at US$6, you are getting a bargain. It is well written, with great diagrams and pictures, and several free YouTube tutorial videos. Cat has also started a group on Ravelry to provide support, and she is very quick to answer questions. And, best of all, even if you’ve tried socks before and found turning the heel difficult, you will have no problem at all with this method. And who doesn’t want to make themselves some lovely handknit socks?