The gusset is the section that connects the stitches from the leg to the heel, forming the sides of the foot. To form the gusset, stitches are picked up along the side edges of the heel flap, and you also work across the stitches that comprise the top or instep of the foot (the stitches that were held while knitting the heel flap), creating the beginning of the foot.
We left off with a total of 18 stitches after the short row shaping, ending with right side facing. Firstly, move the stitches you held while knitting the heel flap from needles 2 and 3 to one needle (the instep). Gusset: With the same needle you finished with on last round, pick up and knit 16 stitches along the side of heel flap (needle 1). With a new dpn, work across the 32 stitches in rib pattern as follows: k3, (p2, k2) to last 3 stitches, k3 (needle 2). With a new dpn, pick up and knit 16 stitches along the other side of heel; continue to knit 9 stitches off of needle 1 (center of heel). Mark this point as beginning of the round. You should have 25 stitches on needles 1 and 3, and 32 stitches on needle 2.
Note on picking up stitches: I describe picking up stitches as “knitting on”, because you are actually knitting the new stitches. The side edges of the heel flap are slip stitches, so it is easier to pick up stitches neatly. Insert needle into space before last slip stitch – one stitch in from the edge. Wrap the yarn knitwise around needle, and draw the yarn through as if to knit. Continue to pick up the required number of stitches along the edge.
Begin decreasing for gusset as follows:
- Round 1: Knit across needles 1 and 3. Rib across needle 2.
- Round 2: Needle 1: knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. Needle 2: rib across (no decreasing). Needle 3: k1, ssk, knit to end.
- Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until there are 16 stitches on needles 1 and 3. You now have the same number of stitches you started with, 64. Work even in rounds, maintaining needle 2 in rib pattern until length of sock from back of heel is 2 inches less than desired length of sock. Note: I like to use my shoe size as a guide. I wear a size 9 1/2, so my foot length is 7 1/2 inches.
Knitting Tip: When knitting on double pointed needles, make sure you pull the yarn tight when you start to knit off a new needle; this prevents a gap from forming between needles.
See you next Wednesday for the final lesson – toe shaping.