Chinstrap Heel Socks by Carolyn Lisle

Chinstrap Heel Socks

December 2019
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
36 stitches and 48 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette stitch
US 0 - 2.0 mm
US 1 - 2.25 mm
164 - 437 yards (150 - 400 m)
Child (Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large, Adult Extra-Wide)
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This pattern is available for $6.00 USD
buy it now or visit pattern website

The Chinstrap Heel Socks are inspired by Pygoscelis antarcticus, the Chinstrap Penguin. They are a very social Antarctic penguin with a distinctive black line under their beak. Though they are small and cute, they are surprisingly tough — in fact, they are considered the most aggressive of all penguins. These socks use a heel with three wedges of different heights, the middle of which produces a “chinstrap” around the back of the heel.

Pattern Description

This pattern is a straightforward sock with a textured stitch pattern. It includes both toe-up and cuff-down instructions and has a contrast toe, heel, and cuff. The main feature is the rounded wedge heel I developed — it is worked using no-holes short rows that are formed using increases and decreases. Check out the Appendix for diagrams of the heel construction as well as assistance making this heel fit any stitch count — perfect for getting an ideal fit for any feet and/or substituting for other heel shapes!

This pattern requires the knitter to be able to knit a small circumference in the round (it is method-neutral to suit your preferred technique for socks) and clearly explains all techniques required. There are links to useful video tutorials for many of those technique as well, so this pattern is accessible to relatively inexperienced sock knitters.

Yarn Requirements and Sizing

The socks are available in five unisex foot circumferences corresponding to standard sizes of Child (Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large, Adult Extra-Wide): 15.5 (18, 20.5, 23, 25.5) cm / 6 (7, 8, 9, 10) inches — 48 (56, 64, 72, 80) st. They are fully-adjustable in length and height, so you can make these for every member of the family!

These socks are very flexible in size, so yarn requirements will vary widely. A child-size sock fitting approximately a US 1 shoe size uses approximately 150 m / 165 yards total of fingering-weight sock yarn. Adult socks of average length and height will require 80-120 m / 90-130 yards of Contrast Colour yarn and 200-300 m / 220-325 yards of Main Colour yarn.

These socks are perfect for self-striping or gradient sock yarn because they have a smooth, continuous transition from foot to leg around the heel and the stitch count does not change significantly in those sections. However, the simple texture detail will suit any colourway you choose!

These socks are rated 1/5 — Beginner — on my sock pattern difficulty scale. This is because they only require basic stitches for the texture and there are extensive resources for constructing the heel.