This afternoon I finished the second Embossed Leaves sock. My photography doesn't do the stitch definition justice. Suffice it to say it's a lovely, lace pattern that is easy to knit.
I didn't do the 3 sts of garter stitch at each side of the heel flaps. What I did do was twist every other stitch on the bottom of the heel and at the ball of the foot and toe.
The twisted stitches change the texture of the stocking stitch a wee bit. Note the smooth stocking stitch on the gusset contrasting with the twisted stitches underneath the heel flap.
Twisting the stitches strengthens the yarn. Always twist in the same direction as the twist of the yarn to give it more strength without using reinforcing yarn. If you twist the wrong way, though, the sock will wear out twice as fast as you are weakening the yarn. It's a tip I picked up at my sock-knitting workshop with Cat Bordhi last month.