When I think of my mom, the first thing that comes to mind is knit socks – over the course of my adulthood, through Christmases and birthdays, I now have enough hand knit socks to last me a month without doing laundry.
As soon as I started knitting as a genuine passion, I knew it would only be a matter of time before my mom passed on how to knit socks. While the project can seem a little daunting at first, once you get the hang of it, sock knitting is a lot of fun! It’s portable and small so great to take on vacation and with all the beautiful, self striping yarn (the socks on the right were made using White Birch Fibre Arts ‘Fade to Black’ ) it’s really easy to make a gorgeous pair of socks with minimal effort.
I’ve now made four pairs of socks, and trust me, I’m still learning how to get them right (my first pair had two very different shapes). Here’s a step-by-step top down pattern to get you through your first pair and serve as a base for creating your own sock designs!
The Linder Sock with a modified Gladys Heel
- 2.5mm double pointed needles
- 400m sock yarn
- darning needle
- CO – cast on; K – knit; P – purl; 2 X 2 rib – K2,P2; BOR – Beginning of Round; RS – right side of work; WS – wrong side of work; wyif – with yarn in front; wyib – with yarn in back; sl – slip knit-wise; K2Tog – Knit 2 stitches together; ssk – slip the next two stitches knit-wise, wrap the right needle with the yarn and pass the two slipped stitches over it (it’s a backwards K2tog)
Tube of the sock:
CO 64 stitches (long tail method) & Divide evenly between 4 DPNs (16st/needle)
Knit 20 rounds ribbing (2 x 2: [K2,P2] is s good and stretchy ribbing but you can do whatever you like)
Knit 50 rounds stockinette/ribbing or whatever motif you want – the rainbow socks above are a soft rib of [K3,P1] but for the neon socks I tried a repeating lace motif on the front needles of:
- Round 1: [(K1,P1,K1 into the same stitch), K3together]
- Round 2: Knit
- Round 3: [ K3together, (K1,P1,K1 into the same stitch)]
- Round 4: Knit
Note: the 70 rounds make up the tube of your sock, you can play with the number of ribbing rounds or reduce the number of rounds for a shorter sock but if you don’t do any ribbing, the sock will roll when worn.
Once your sock is as long as you want it to be, it’s time to start on the heel. The heel is usually where people get a bit nervous about making a sock, but it’s really just a matter of knitting short rows and constructing in a step-by-step manner, starting with the flap:
Knit the 16 stitches of the next needle onto the previous so that you have half the stitches on one needle and the join/BOR is in the middle of that needle, turn work
- (WS) K3, P to last 3 stitches, K3, Turn work
- (RS) K3, [Sl1, K1] to last 3 stitches, K3, Turn Work
Repeat rows 1 & 2 to get to 29 rows total, ending on a WS row. Now that you’ve got the flap, it’s time to reduce the heel to give it shape – this heel is a square shape.
Note: In this decrease section, you work the middle 10 stitches on the needle while gradually reducing the 11 stitches on either side to get to 12 stitches on the needle.
- (RS) K21, ssk, turn work
- (WS) Sl 1 wyif, P10, P2tog, turn work
- (RS) Sl 1 wyib, k10, ssk, turn work
Repeat rows 2 & 3 until you have 12 stitches left on the needle, ending on a WS row. Now you’re ready to turn the heel – this is where the garter edge you’ve knit on the heel flap will come in handy.
Turning the heel:
Knit 12 stitches across the first needle, pick up and knit (PU & K) 16 stitches, using the bar of the garter ridge as your guide, knit 32 across next 2 needles, PU & K 16, K6 – you are now at BOR.
You should now have your needles set up in the way shown to the right –>
And now you’re ready to get going with the foot.
Decrease rounds: [K to 2 st before the end of the first needle, K2tog, K32, ssk, K to BOR. Knit 2 rounds.] Repeat 5 more times until you have 16 st on each DPN
Knit until you have a sock that is long enough. How do you tell that? The end of the heel to the point where you want to start toe shaping is the length that it takes the sock to wrap around your hand. Alternately, you can try the sock on as you knit and once you get to where your toes, you can start the toe shaping decreases.
Note: Keep track of how many rounds you knit on the first sock so you don’t have to guess again! (I’m a pretty loose knitter, so when I make socks for myself they’re usually between 30-35 rounds, however a tight knitter will easily need 50 rounds before they’re ready to decrease for the toe.)
Decrease round(DR): [K to 3 st before the end of the first needle, K2tog, K1, K1, ssk, K to end of needle] twice to get to BOR
For a long toe, decrease as follows:
- 1 x (DR + 3 rounds knitting) (omit this step if you want a shorter toe)
- 2 x (DR + 2 rounds knitting)
- 3 x (DR + 1 round knitting)
Then continue with DR each round until you get to 8 stitches left (2 per needle). Break the yarn and thread the tail through the loops of the last 8 stitches. Secure on the inside of the sock and weave the end in. Weave in the cast on end. Repeat for second sock!