View Full Version : Reinforcing a Sock Heel With Nylon - Questions

11-10-2006, 11:48 AM
I'm currently making a pair of toe-up socks from the free pattern linked to on this website. It's my first attempt at making a pair of socks.

In the pattern it says you can optionally reinforce the heel with Nylon. I thought this might be a good idea and I had heard of that before. Unfortunately, there was no further description or instructions on how to do this. So, since I was looking for a challenge anyway and I do like to experiment; I salvaged some high quality nylon string by "disassembling" (for lack of a better word) some old French military Para cord.

I took that string and knit it in along with the Merino yarn for the entirety of the heel. i.e. knitting both the Merino yarn and nylon string as if it were one strand of yarn.

Did I do that correctly? I only assumed that was how one would "reinforce a heel with nylon".

If I did it wrong, please let me know as It's still not too late to turn back.

BTW: The yarn is somewhere between DK and worsted in thickness. The Nylon is similar to a fingering weight yarn in thickness. I am using #4 DPNs.

P.S. Did I post this in the correct forum? I couldn't tell which forum "General Knitting" or "How-To" was most appropriate.

11-10-2006, 11:52 AM
Sounds like you did it the right way. The jury is out on whether it'll help with durability as it's claimed to do. Some people say it actually cuts into the wool, making the sock wear faster. I don't think there's anything near a concensus on this.

As for the particular nylon you used... most people recommend something called wooly nylon -- I've seen it on the Joann website, I think. I just look for sock yarn with nylon already in the mix and forget about reinforcement. But then I haven't been knitting socks for very long.

11-10-2006, 04:18 PM
Does anyone else have an opinion on this?

Do Nylon reinforced sock heels actually increase the durablility of a wool sock?

As for the particular nylon you used...

I thought using para cord innards was rather creative of me. Don't want to toot my own horn. It's definitely durable stuff. Although, I can see how it might "cut into" the wool.

11-10-2006, 04:26 PM
I have one friend that use wooly nylon on all her socks :teehee: and I have another friend who says it will cut into the yarn and she has to mend her dh's socks more.. so she buys yarn with the nylon already in it... Now the friend that uses the wooly nylon they are for her or her mom so maybe they are not as rough on socks as a man would be :shrug:

I've been debating this cause my dad wants 100% wool socks for Christmas so I bought some Merino wool and after discussing it with both friends I still have no idea what I should do... go ahead with it or buy some black sock yarn with nylon already in it :rofl:

11-10-2006, 04:31 PM
I've been debating this cause my dad wants 100% wool socks for Christmas so I bought some Merino wool and after discussing it with both friends I still have no idea what I should do... go ahead with it or buy some black sock yarn with nylon already in it :rofl:

Just use the yarn you have. It's not like they are just going to fall apart. He did ask for 100% wool.

11-10-2006, 04:32 PM
Maybe I should knit one with the Nylon and the other without and see which one wears out first. :shrug:


Pink Dandelion
11-10-2006, 07:34 PM
My Socks That Rock 100% merino and Angora Valley Fiber 100% merino socks, so far, show no signs of wear in terms of thinning on the foot bed or heel flap. They've worn far better than I expected.

I've never tried nylon reinforcement :shrug:, when I saw a pair with the reinforcing thread and they felt a little rough for my feet (I didn't even wear handknit socks for a long time until I got used to the hand knit texture, the bottoms of my feet and backs of my heels used to get sore after only a short time of wearing. So I'd go back to commercial socks, but once I used a soft yarn and got used to it I loved 'em!).

I can see the thread cutting into the wool, but this could also just be theory, I do know that you're supposed to sort synthetics from natural fibers in your laundry because the synthetics will pill and wear the natural fibers when washed all together... I've also wondered if the wool would just wear away like normal and while it wouldn't unravel because all is held together by the nylon, you'd still have a hole or at least a very very thin spot where it's just nylon thread?

I'd be interested to hear others opinions on this also!

Denise in Michigan
11-11-2006, 02:09 PM
I've knit about 2 dozen pairs with wool/synthetic blend fingering weight both with and without Wooly Nylon in the heels and toes (my toes are sockiverous). Since I noticed no difference at all in wear over time, probably because I'm already using yarn with a synthetic component, I no longer include the Wooly Nylon.

I do tend to be a cautious sort, though, and if I did use 100% wool, I would either include a strand of Wooly Nylon in the heels and toes, or drop down one needle size for the heels and toes and knit them tightly with two strands of yarn. (No one I knit for gets much wear on the actual heel flap, so the nylon/doubling up would be only on the heel turn and the toes.)

I do love the test knit idea of one with and one without the nylon, but the results would be awhile in coming! :teehee: