Short Row Heels Without Involuntary Eyelets
I avoid involuntary eyelets by wrapping at the turns, going in both directions. On the way out (as rows get shorter), I wrap the endmost as-yet-unwrapped stitch, instead of knitting it, then turn and go back across, etc... On the way back in (as rows get longer again), I pick up the wraps on the innermost wrapped stitch, put a 2nd wrap the next stitch out, then turn and go back. Picking up the wraps so they don't show from the outside is a bit of a trick -- there's an ok discussion of it in The Principles of Knitting (my favorite reference, in spite of the author's irrational prejudice against continental knitting), but I'll describe some methods later in this post
First a note of something that became obvious eventually, but was confusing to me when I first started: the wrapped-end-stitch stort rows I use for short row heels are kind of different from the the "k howevermany, k2tog, k1, turn" short rows that one uses to turn the heel at the bottom of a heel-flap (like on a porthole sock). In the heel-flap case, the k2tog closes the gap made by the turn at the end of the previous short row, which would otherwise make a pseudo-eyelet (which would be uncomfortable on the base of your heel, since these decreases also make the flap curve to fit the back/sides to the bottom of the heel). To prevent these pseudo-eyelets when doing short row heels, one has to use wraps instead of decreases. Here's why: All socks need to get bigger to fit the heel, and in the heel flap sock, the heel flap and picked up stitches are where you get additional diameter. In doing so, you end up with more stitches than you started with, and the decreases on the short rows and on the instep are how you get you back to the original diameter. In a short row heel, you always have the same number of stitches: you add (short) rows, not stitches, to make a lump to accomodate the heel, and there aren't any increases, decreases, or picked up stitches. So this this doesn't let you close the eyelets using decreases, since you don't have any extra stitches to kill off. Instead you have to use wraps.
So here's how I do wraps, to prevent those involuntary eyelets:
Take the yarn past the stitch-to-be-wrapped on the wrong side, put the yarn to the right side, wrap the front of the stitch-to-be-wrapped, and bring the yarn back to the wrong side. They say that going in this direction makes potential loops on the inside less loopy. I learned to do it this way, do it automatically, and so I don't have a basis for comparison with other wrapping strategies. Does anyone else?
Picking up wraps:
There's a slower way that does each step separately, and a fast way. I do the fast way, but I'll describe the slow way first.
**Knit side: Slip the wrapped stitch (onto the right needle). Pick up the wrap(s) with the tip of the left needle, and put it/them on the right needle beside the slipped stitch. Transfer stitch & wrap(s) back onto the left needle, and knit them all in a single stitch. **Purl side: The wrapped stitch stays on the left needle. Pick up the wrap(s) by inserting the right needle up from the bottom of the wraps, on the far (right) side of the left needle, and put it/them on the left needle beside the stitch to be worked, and purl stitch & wrap(s) together.
Here's the fast way (how I do it!!):
**Knit side: I insert the right needle down into the wraps from the top, then thru the wrapped stitch from back to front, pushing the wraps up so I can do this between them and the knitting below. Next I lift all 3 yarns onto the right needle then I slip them back onto the left needle (purlwise), and knit them as a single stitch. (Once you figure out what I mean by this, it's a 2-second operation, I promise). **Purl side: same as above (easer than the knit version, a one-second operation).
If your eyes aren't crossing yet, I'll add that, to avoid the heel being too tightly angled, I don't double wrap the 2 innermost wrapped stitches (the ones on the shortest row, where you switch from shortening rows to lengthing them). I just pick up the wraps, then put a second wrap on the next stitch out. Now that I've figured out the short-rowed toe, I *do* double wrap the innermost stitches in that case, because it seems to make the toe more flat.
Sock Categories Check out Noel's great website. It is chock full of sock patterns categorized by yarn type, skill level of knitter, size of recipient and style.