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Everything You Need To Know About The Fleegle Heel

Liat Gat - Founder

August 24, 2012

In December of 2006, a blogger known as Fleegle changed the knitting world when she published a no-holes toe-up heel formula on her blog. Since I discovered the Fleegle Heel, I've been making videos showing how to do it, writing patterns that use it, and helping the whole world learn to knit it.

A closeup of the Fleegle HeelIn December of 2006, a blogger known as Fleegle changed the knitting world when she published a toe-up sock formula on her blog.

The special thing about it was the heel. It was totally new. It was for toe-up socks. It was easy. And it had NO HOLES.

Since I discovered the Fleegle Heel, I’ve been making videos showing how to do it, writing patterns that use it, and trying to help the whole world learn to love it.

Because I’ve got so much information on this topic, I’ve created this page as a resource for you – a collection of all the tips, tricks, patterns, videos, and Q&A I’ve answered – all about the Fleegle Heel.

How The Fleegle Heel Works

I’ll give you the specific formula further down, but here are the basics:

The Fleegle Heel starts when your toe-up sock reaches the front of your ankle. At this point, with the stitches divided evenly in half between your instep and what will be the heel, you start to increase and make a gusset.

If you are using Magic Loop, you’ll divide the stitches onto the two needles, and designate one as the “heel needle.”

To do the gusset, increase one stitch on each side of the heel needle, every other round, until the heel needle has 2 fewer stitches than the total number of stitches you had on your sock before you started increasing.

Then it’s time to turn the heel. This is a kind of short-row heel, and you can review my post on short rows if you are new to them.

A Very Easy Short-Row Heel

This isn’t a heel where you have to think or count very much. You simply place a marker at the midpoint of the stitches, knit to two stitches past the marker, and start wrapping and turning, back and forth, until you have worked all but one heel stitch.

From there you go back to knitting in the round, and when you come back around to the heel, you work the very last decrease. You’ll be back to the same number of sock stitches you started with, so then it’s just a matter of working even for as long as you like your cuffs to be.

The Genius Trick That Makes This A No-Holes Heel

Most sock patterns leave a little hole in the corner of the heel because the heel is fully decreased back to the original number of stitches before you resume knitting in the round.

This is fine, but it makes the heel flap taller than the rest of the sock, usually by one or two rows, and it makes a little gap when you try to bring everything neatly back together.

If you’ve tried the Fleegle heel, you have probably noticed that you don’t quite finish the heel before it’s time to knit the instep.

Instead, you stop one row early and do the last decrease when you come back around. This makes the heel one row shorter, and everything lines up perfectly.

What makes the Fleegle Heel hole-less?
One round fewer! A heel that’s one row shorter has no holes.
Click To Tweet This Insight

Line Break

Video Class: Toe Up Socks And The Fleegle Heel

Because this technique is so popular, I made a full video demo of the entire process of toe-up socks, from cast-on to bind-off, including the Fleegle heel.

One Raveler was so excited about the course that she said…

Toe up socks fleegle heel Ravelry testimonial for KNITFreedom

Click Here To Try The Amazing Toe-Up Socks Knitting Video Class

The Big Question: When Do I Start The Fleegle Heel?

Fleegle describes the time to start increasing as “when the knitting reaches the front of your ankle.”

When to start your Fleegle Heel
This is the spot your knitting should reach when you start your Fleele heel increases.

It’s a little hard to find this (admittedly vague) spot on your foot, so here are some tips:

1) Flex your foot as much as you can – this helps the “front of the ankle” become more apparent.

2) Pull the sock onto your foot as snug as you’d like it to be when you’re wearing it. If the knitting reaches the crook in your ankle, you’re ready to start the Fleegle heel increases.

When to Start Your Fleegle Heel, Based On Shoe Size

Gold Gift BoxIf you like giving your Fleegle Heel socks as a gift or a surprise, you’ll know that needing the recipient’s foot to measure to the front of the ankle is a big stumbling block.

No longer! Now you can estimate when to start the heel based on the recipient’s shoe or foot size. I have calculated that you should start the heel at about 60% of the foot length. This may not be accurate for everyone’s foot, so when in doubt, ask them to measure.

To estimate based on the recipient’s shoe size or foot measurements, use the chart below:

When to Start Your Fleegle Heel, Based On Shoe Size

Women’s

Click to download Women’s chart

US Size

UK Size

Euro Size

Inches

CM

Start Fleegle Heel at… (inches)

Start Fleegle Heel at… (cm)

4

2

35

8 1/4''

21

5''

12.6

4.5

2.5

35

8 1/2''

21.6

5 1/8''

13

5

3

36

8 5/8''

21.9

5 1/8''

13.1

5.5

3.5

36

8 3/4''

22.2

5 1/4''

13.3

6

4

37

9''

22.9

5 3/8''

13.7

6.5

4.5

37

9 1/8''

23.2

5 1/2''

13.9

7

5

38

9 1/4''

23.5

5 5/8''

14.1

7.5

5.5

38

9 1/2''

24.1

5 3/4''

14.5

8

6

39

9 5/8''

24.4

5 3/4''

14.6

8.5

6.5

39

9 3/4''

24.8

5 7/8''

14.9

9

7

40

10''

25.4

6''

15.2

9.5

7.5

40

10 1/8''

25.7

6''

15.4

10

8

41

10 1/4''

26

6 1/8''

15.6

10.5

8.5

41

10 1/2''

26.7

6 1/4''

16

11

9

42

10 5/8''

27

6 3/8''

16.2

11.5

9.5

42

10 3/4''

27.3

6 1/2''

16.4

12

10

43

11''

27.9

6 5/8''

16.7

Men’s

Click to download Men’s chart

US Size

UK Size

Euro Size

Inches

CM

Start Fleegle Heel at… (inches)

Start Fleegle Heel at… (cm)

6

5

40

9 1/4''

23.5

5 1/2''

14.1

6.5

5.5

40

9 1/2''

24.1

5 5/8''

14.5

7

6

41

9 5/8''

24.4

5 3/4''

14.6

7.5

6.5

41

9 3/4''

24.8

5 7/8''

14.9

8

7

42

10''

25.4

6''

15.2

8.5

7.5

42

10 1/8''

25.7

6''

15.4

9

8

43

10 1/4''

26

6 1/8''

15.6

9.5

8.5

43

10 3/8''

26.7

6 1/4''

16

10

9

44

10 1/2''

27

6 3/8''

16.2

10.5

9.5

44

10 3/4''

27.3

6 1/2''

16.4

11

10

45

11''

27.9

6 1/2''

16.7

11.5

10.5

45

11 1/8''

28.3

6 5/8''

17

12

11

46

11 1/4''

28.6

6 3/4''

17.2

13

12

47

11 5/8''

29.4

7''

17.6

14

13

48

11 7/8''

30.2

7 1/8''

18.1

15

14

49

12 1/8''

31

7 3/8''

18.6

16

15

50

12 1/2''

31.8

7 1/2''

19.1

Children’s

Click to download Children’s chart

 

US Size

UK Size

Euro Size

Inches

CM

Start Fleegle Heel at… (inches)

Start Fleegle Heel at… (cm)

Age

Newborn

Infant

0

0

16

3''

7.6

1 7/8''

4.6

0-12

Months

1

0

16

3 3/8''

8.5

2''

13

2

1

17

3 5/8''

9.3

2 1/4''

5.6

3

2

18

4''

10.2

2 3/8''

6.1

3.5

2

18

4 1/8''

10.6

2 1/2''

6.3

Toddlers

4

3

19

4 3/8''

11

2 5/8''

6.6

1-4

Years

4.5

3

20

4 1/2''

11.4

2 3/4''

6.9

5

4

20

4 5/8''

11.9

2 7/8''

7.1

5.5

4

21

4 7/8''

12.3

3 1/8''

7.4

6

5

21

5''

12.7

3''

7.6

6.5

5

22

5 1/8''

13.1

3 1/8''

7.9

7

6

22

5 3/8''

13.5

3 1/4''

8.1

7.5

6

23

5 1/2''

14

3 3/8''

8.4

8

7

24

5 5/8''

14.4

3 3/8''

16

8.5

7

25

5 7/8''

14.8

3 1/2''

8.9

9

8

26

6''

15.2

3 5/8''

9.1

9.5

8

27

6 1/8''

15.7

3 3/4''

9.4

10

9

27

6 3/8''

16.1

3 7/8''

9.7

10.5

9

27

6 1/2''

16.5

3 7/8''

9.9

Little Kids

11

9.5

27.5

6 5/8''

16.9

4''

10.2

4-8

Years

11.5

10

28

6 7/8''

17.4

4 1/8''

10.4

12

10.5

28.5

7''

17.8

4 1/4''

10.7

12.5

11

29

7 1/8''

18.2

4 3/8''

10.9

13

11.5

30

7 3/8''

18.6

4 3/8''

11.2

13.5

12

30.5

7 1/2''

19.1

4 1/2''

11.4

1

12.5

31.5

7 5/8''

19.5

4 5/8''

11.7

1.5

13

32.5

7 7/8''

19.9

4 3/4''

11.9

2

13.5

33

8''

20.3

4 7/8''

12.2

2.5

1

33.5

8 1/8''

20.7

4 7/8''

12.4

3

1.5

34

8 3/8''

21.2

5''

12.7

Big Kids

3.5

2

35

8 1/2''

21.6

5 1/8''

13.0

8-12

Years

4

2.5

 

8 5/8''

22.0

5 1/4''

13.2

4.5

3

36

8 7/8''

22.4

5 3/8''

13.5

5

3.5

37

9''

22.9

5 3/8''

13.7

5.5

4

 

9 1/8''

23.3

5 1/2''

14.0

6

4.5

 

9 3/8''

23.7

5 5/8''

14.2

Foot Measurements Source: Shoe Size Calculator, Shoe Size Source: Shoe Size Charts

Videos: The Fleegle Heel, Plus Increasing For Dummies

Here are two key videos to watch if you’re going to try the Fleegle heel:

[KnitFreedom] Socks | Heels - No-Holes Fleegle Heel for Toe-Up Socks
[KnitFreedom] Socks | Heels - No-Holes Fleegle Heel for Toe-Up Socks


KNITFreedom - Troubleshooting Toe-Up Heel: Forgetting To Increase
KNITFreedom - Troubleshooting Toe-Up Heel: Forgetting To Increase


[KnitFreedom] Toe Up Socks: When To Start Increases For Fleegle Heel
[KnitFreedom] Toe Up Socks: When To Start Increases For Fleegle Heel

Find these videos helpful? These are just two of the more than ten you’ll learn from in the Toe-Up Socks video e-book – click here to learn more.

Add It To Any Sock: The Basic Fleegle Heel Formula

You can use this formula on any toe-up sock in any weight of yarn.

1) Knit Foot, Increase For Heel
Work even until the sock reaches the front of your ankle. Increase 2 stitches every other round, only on the heel needle. Stop when the heel stitches number two less than the total number of stitches you had for both the heel and instep combined.

2) Turn Heel
Place a marker at the midpoint of your heel stitches. Knit to 2 sts beyond the marker.
K2tog, K1, turn (you won’t yet be at the end of the row). Sl 1, P to 2 sts beyond the marker. P2tog, p1, turn. You may remove the marker.

Continue turning the heel by working up to the visible gap, decreasing, working 1 more, and then turning your work. You are done turning the heel when the K1 after the decrease is the last of the heel stitches.

3) Work The Final Decrease
Knit once across the instep and do a final decrease on the right-hand side of the heel. You should be back to your original number of stitches.

Free Patterns: Toe-Up Socks With The Fleegle Heel

Click the thumbnails below to learn more about and download each sock pattern.

Pink striped fingering-weight socks Blue ShiBui worsted-weight toe-up socks Pink bulky toe-up socks Blue super-bulky-weight socks

Ask A Question – Browse Discussions on the Fleegle Heel

Everyone helps everyone in our forum on Ravelry. Here are the most active discussions about the Fleegle heel:

Need knitting help? Start your own thread in the forum.

When Fleegle Falls Short: Heel Stitches And High Insteps

The Fleegle heel is actually not perfect for every type of sock. If you want contrasting heels, textured heels, or to adjust for a high instep, this section will tell you what to do.

Eye-of-Partridge-HeelFun heel stitches: Because the Fleegle heel is a full short-row heel, you can’t add the optional and stitch patterns that you find in top-down socks, which normally have a heel flap.

High insteps: People with high insteps (and there are many of them) often find regular short-row heels, including the Fleegle heel, too tight over their insteps, and hard to adjust.

To solve both the heel-stitch and high-instep problem, I designed a free toe-up sock pattern with a faux “heel-flap.” It works like a heel flap in that you can add stitch patterns and make it taller for a high instep, but it’s faux in that there’s no “flap” and no picking up stitches – it’s all seamless. Get the toe-up heel flap sock pattern here.

Contrasting colors: Because in the Fleegle heel the gusset and the heel are one piece, it’s impossible to make a sock with a separate-color heel. To do that, you’ll want to use a pure short-row heel on your socks instead.

Pretty swirly divider embellishment

Resources: This resource was made possible by the original Fleegle heel blog post.

Your Opinion: Have You Tried The Fleegle Heel?

What do you think of the Fleegle heel? Has it helped you become a toe-up convert?
Is it just one of many heels you’ll go back to again and again? Or if you haven’t tried socks, does it give you the inspiration to try? Let me know by posting a comment below!

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