Would you like some crafty fun this December?
Oh yes, I wanted to treat you all to a little fun this December and it comes in the form of a sock KAL!
Oh, and it’s free!
This is going to be a pretty informal, relaxed KAL. The focus is us coming together and talking about comfy socks and toasty toes.
I’ll put up a basic pattern together as I work but mainly I want to talk about socks; what works, what doesn’t? What yarns and needles work well?
If you have thoughts on what makes a great pair of handmade socks, come share those sock thoughts with me!
This KAL will premier on my YouTube channel where I will be live so if you’ve got any questions just pop in and ask me! You can also scroll down this post to find the sock pattern recipe. Below you’ll find lots of extra information on sock construction too!
So press play and let’s get started!
**First Youtube Video will premiere at 4 pm (Irish Time) on Saturday the 5th of December**
Now, I hope you have settled in because this blog post is about to get technical as we talk about sock construction:
Sock Knit Direction
This is the most common type of construction, you start with the cuff, knit to the end of the leg and then turn the heel and knit to the toe. This is how most knitters first learn to knit socks when combined with the traditional heel flap it creates a very nice fitting sock. The pattern below is for Cuff down socks!
In recent years this construction type has been gaining in popularity. You start with the toe, knit the length of the foot, turn the heel, and then finish with the cuff. The big advantage of this construction type is that you can more easily make full use of your yarn as you can knit the cuff longer knowing that you’ve already completed the foot.
The next variant is how to knit the heel and the toe. The traditional way most of us learn to knit socks is with a heel flap which is used in cuff-down socks. You knit just the back section of stitches down straight for the depth of the heel, work the heel back and forth, decreasing in short rows to create the heel cup and then you pick up stitches along each side and decrease back down to the original number. This creates a ‘gusset’ to accommodate the instep. Combined with this would be the decrease toe which works decreases on each side and grafts the final stitches from each side together to join the top.
Short Row Toe/Heel
This can be worked using either the cuff down or toe-up method. The standard way of doing this works short rows from the width of the heel out to the smallest heel width every single stitch and then works back out to the original width again. The very same method is actually used for shaping the toes!
Frequently short row heels are worked alone with no gusset. For anyone (like me!) with a high instep, this doesn’t work very well as the lack of a gusset makes it almost impossible to put the sock on. I have, however (in my book Short Row Knits) creates a gusset for short-row socks by working increases on one side of the heel and decreases on the other side to create a gusset similar to the heel flap sock.
Socks are almost always knit in the round. As it’s a small circumference the usual methods to work a small circumference are; double pointed needles, magic loop, 2 circular needles or a variant such as ‘flyers‘.
If you click through on each of the links above I’ve given details of how each of those different methods works. I’m definitely a magic loop person, I keep trying all the other methods but my knitting style means that it’s just not comfortable for me to grip a short needle.
The most important thing for a sock yarn is durability.
There are a few ways for that to be achieved with the yarn. First, you will find that most sock yarns contain 20-25% Nylon. This is for durability. The second way they do this is by having a high twist on the yarn, this means that there is less friction between the fibres in the knitting which leads to pilling and felting.
While it’s not strictly speaking ‘yarn’ related this is the very same reason that you knit socks at a tight gauge. A tight gauge allows less movement between the stitches which give more durability for your sock.
If you are working from the cuff down the most important thing about your cast-on is that it is loose enough.
You want to make sure that your cuff can easily stretch to accommodate your foot as you put it on. I use a Long Tail cast-on but I just take extra care that I don’t pull too tightly. You might also find it useful to cast-on using a larger needle.
There are also some stretch cast-ons that you can use that will work well also such as Jeny’s Stretchy Cast-On.
(I’ll put this together as a pdf once the KAL is over)
I ended up using magic loop for my socks and working the smallest size. However, even though the small sock size is correct for most of my foot size the fact that I have a very high instep meant that the colourwork (which doesn’t stretch as much as st st) is very tight getting over my heel. Keep this in mind if you haven’t done colourwork in socks before!
Small (Medium, Large)
To Fit Foot Circumference up to: 8.5 (9, 10)” / 21.5 (23, 25.5) cm
Modelled in Size Small with 1” / 2.5 cm negative ease.
Foot Circumference: 7.5 (8, 9)” / 19 (20.5, 23) cm
Coop Knits ‘Socks Yeah’ (75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon, 231 yds / 212 m per 1.77 oz / 50 g); colour A: Lolite (109), Colour B: Ammolite (102).
Approx. Yardage: TBA
Needles & Notions
US Size 1 /2.25 mm circular needle 32”/ 80 cm long or dpns
Markers, tapestry needle.
36 sts / 48 rows = 4″/10 cm in St St
[ ] * repeat directions in brackets or from asterisk
BO bind off (cast off)
CO cast on
circ circular needle
dpn double pointed needles
k2tog knit two together
kwise knit wise
m metre(s) (in yarn quantities only)
p2tog purl two together
pwise purl wise
RS right side(s)
ssk slip 2 stitches individually as if to knit, then knit those 2 stitches together
through the back loops.
St st stockinette (stocking) stitch (knit every rnd)
WS wrong side
wyib with yarn in back
wyif with yarn in front
TECHNIQUES & STITCH PATTERNS
When working 2 colours at the same time it is easiest to hold one colour in each hand. Keep your dominate (or pattern colour) in the left and the background in the right. Take care to always keep the same colour in the same hand as otherwise, you will be swapping around the most dominant colour.
These socks were worked using the magic loop technique. If you would rather use dpns or two circ needles, just substitute.
With Colour B, CO 66 (72, 78) sts. Join to work in the rnd and pm for start of rnd. Ensure you cast on loosely so that the cuff can stretch. It may be necessary to cast on over 2 needles held together in order for it to be loose enough. Long tail cast-on was used for sample
Twisted Rib Rnd: *K1 tbl, p1; rep from * to end of rnd.
Work in patt est’d until work meas approx. 1.5” / 4 cm or desired length.
With Colour A, work in St St for 1” / 2.5 cm.
Chart Set-Up Rnd: Using both Colours A & B work Rnd 1 of Wave Chart 11 (12, 13) times.
Cont to work until all 18 Rows of chart are complete.
Break Colour B.
With A work in st st until Leg from cast-on meas desired length. Suggested length of 6.5 (7, 7.5)” / 16.5 (18, 19) cm.
To get an even st count when dividing at the back of the heel we will inc 1 sts for the smallest and largest sizes.
Inc Rnd: *K33 (-, 39), M1 (-, M1); rep from * once. 68 (72, 80) sts.
Heels coming next week…watch out for the next youtube video and blog post on heels coming Saturday 12th of December!