Poring over my copy of Nancy Bush's Folk Socks of an evening -- as one does -- I thought that I would do some "school socks", fairly simple socks that use these different heels and toes.
First, a pair in Loops & Threads Luxury Sock in the "Crocuses" color, with a Dutch heel and star toe.
The first pair is in the new Luxury Sock yarn from Michael's. It is very soft, rather limp with the bit of cashmere, but pleasant to knit with. There was a partial splice in the first ball, insignificant enough that I could winkle the ends back into the twist. The second ball, though, had an actual knot in it, towards the bottom of the leg, and then this --
I was going along swimmingly, very pleased with myself that I'd matched the color changes perfectly, when near the end of the heel flap I realized that I'd been knitting with white for nearly an arm's-length of yarn. Not only was the blue-and-white section incomplete color-wise, it was shortened by nearly half. The photo is slightly misleading, as I didn't notice that Laura had pulled the second sock higher, but you can see quite clearly that the blue-and-white band is only half the depth it should be. (The colors are a bit brown in this photo: what looks like brick is more of a dusty rose in real life.)
So I ripped back the heel and whacked off an entire color repeat to get back to the right spot, and carried on. When I got to the end of the second toe, I looked at the finished sock, and lo and behold the repeats were off again. Now this may have been my fault, as in comparing the two socks I notice that the second is noticeably narrower, and even slightly shorter! (This is an instance of where knitting two socks at the same time would be a good idea, as apparently my gauge on the second sock was considerably tighter.)
So I ripped out half of the foot, back to the start of the next-to-last blue-and-white band, and worked it again v-e-r-y l-o-o-s-e-l-y, counting the rows in each band to make sure that the second sock was exactly the same row count and color match as the first one.
This is how much was left over from the middle of the second ball:
The top bit is due to pulling off a length in order to start at the same spot in the color sequence; the bottom (5 grams!) is due to the defect. Perhaps this is why there is a good 15g more in each ball than you need for a generously-sized pair of socks?
As I said, it's a pleasant yarn, although while inexpensive, at $5.99 it isn't what I'd call cheap, and so I would expect a little more than knots and color flaws in it.
The Dutch heel is quite simple, and Bush's instructions worked like a charm. I did the heel flap in a sl 1, K1 fabric, and kept this through the heel turn, which was quite easily done and I'm told will make the heel that much sturdier. (In the photo just above, the sl-st section continues along through the purple section downwards from the flap, and into the first part of the blue-and-white section.) The cashmere content seems to make the yarn feel a little fragile, so I'm hoping that the extra thickness here will counteract that. The heel itself is a bit more square than the heel I usually use -- which is in fact called a round heel -- but this isn't really obvious once it is on my foot.
The star toe is also quite simple, and fits my squared-off toes nicely. (I don't know why there is a little jog in the decreases line in the purple section there...?) This toe is especially easy if you use 5 dpns, as the decreases are spaced a quarter of the way along each round, and will thus come at the end of each needle without having to resort to markers or counting in the first round.
Laura modelled both of these socks for me this afternoon. She pulled on the Kroy pair first, and said, "Mom, there's something wrong with the heel." The Luxury ones, she is still wearing an hour later, despite the heat wave. (This is saying something, even more than you'd think, as she has declined politely to wear knitted socks at all for at least a year.)
The second pair are in Paton's Kroy FX in "Camo Colors", with a German heel and wedge toe.
I don't like this wool much at all, as it is very scratchy even after washing, although I don't notice it quite so much when wearing as I did while knitting with it. (I shall be generous and call it "bargain wool", as it is about half the price of the Luxury Sock.) It is, however, thick and quite warm. I might have better used 2.5mm needles, as the fabric is a bit stiff.
The German heel is also fairly simple, and went together easily with Bush's instructions -- so far my Becher's Brook is the Welsh one, it seems. I did a plain flap with no reinforcement -- I think this wool will wear like iron anyway (she said grimly).
Both the Dutch and the German heels are essentially a square and a small rectangle, the sides of which rectangle (the turn) are joined to one side of the square (the flap). This is noticeably different from the round heel, which is a square (the flap) with a triangle (the turn). This construction makes both of these heels more squared-off than the round heel, and a good choice, I would think, especially for those wearers whose heel sits low to the ground.
The German heel doesn't allow for much of a gusset, though, at least not at this gauge -- there were only 2 extra stitches after picking up! -- and so I did not work the decreases as P2tog as in Bush's versions, since it looked more like a mistake than a line of purl decreases. To get a teeny bit of length, though, I did work 2 plain rounds before the decrease round, and another 2 plain between the second (last) dec round.
The heel itself, though, is exactly as written by Bush. It is very square in shape, and the angle of heel to foot is much sharper than with the round heel. This is quite noticeable in the feel of the sock, especially compared with the much more subtle round heel. (You can see in the picture of the socks laid flat, how much more square it is.) I was looking for a difference when I put it on, of course, but even Laura noticed it right away. It isn't bad, mind, only not quite as fitted as some; this could be adapted a little by making the turn a few stitches narrower, perhaps, or working it in a softer wool that molds more readily to the foot inside, or at a finer gauge altogether.
This toe is a wedge toe. I did one of Bush's variations, which proved to be too pointed for my substantial feet, and so I pulled it out and used my standard wedge, lifted from Grumperina's "Jaywalkers".
And there are still four more heels in Bush's book!