Extra Credit: Ways to Avoid Gusset Patterning

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I have to admit that the whole subject of working the gusset decreases in pattern turned out to be a lot more complicated than I expected, and harder to describe. Therefore, I'm going to give you some ways to avoid doing it if you want to.

1. Knit the foot in a single color.

That's what I did with the white-and-navy complex sock. There's nothing wrong with a plain foot.

2. Use a different heel style.

There are several styles of heel that don't use gusset shaping at all, but instead continue the patterning straight forward from the heel. The only thing you'd have to watch for with these would be to make sure your pattern continues smoothly down the leg onto the top of the foot.

One that I can think of is the Peasant or Afterthought heel, which is made by knitting a waste yarn into half the stitches where the heel will go, then knitting the next round as usual, and finishing the sock. Take out the waste yarn, pick up the loops on both sides, knit a round or two, and make a toe. No kidding, the heel shaping is just like a wedge toe.

Another is the short-row heel. These and other heels are described in the Socknitters Tips and Tricks section. You can also find them in basic sock books like Nancy Bush's Folk Socks.

3. Use a different pattern on the sole.

Turn the heel as usual and pick up gusset stitches, but put a different pattern on the sole and gusset stitches than you have on the leg and instep. This can be a simple pattern like salt-and-pepper or stripes, and you can continue your fancy pattern on the top of the foot.

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