The How to Knit Your First Sock series covers knitting a sock in 4 step by step articles.
- How to Knit Your First Sock – Part 1: will cover the anatomy of a sock, knitting the cuff and the leg section.
- Part 2: will explain knitting the heel flap and turning the heel
- Part 3: shows how to set up for the gusset and gusset shaping.
- Part 4: looks at knitting the foot, toe shaping and finishing.
Anatomy of a Sock
At its most basic a sock is a tube of knitted fabric which is open at the top and closed at the toe. But for the sock to be really comfortable it is better if it has some shaping to accommodate the heel and the remove excess bulk at the toe.
A sock can be knit from the cuff to the toe or from the toe to the cuff.
This step by step series features knitting the sock from cuff to toe. A useful reason for knitting your sock from cuff to toe is when you get a hole in the toe it is easy to unravel a few rows of the toe and knit a new one.
The main parts of a sock:
- Cuff – elastic section helps hold the sock up.
- Leg – the length can vary to choice.
- Heel Flap – slip stitch strengthens this.
- Turned Heel – shaping for the heel.
- Gusset Shaping – shaping for the insole.
- Foot – the length can vary to suit your own foot.
- Toe – shaping for toe.
- 100g of 4 ply self patterning sock yarn. I have used 100% wool for knitting socks but if you don’t have time to hand wash your socks and have a tendency to pop them into a mesh bag and wash them on the cool wool wash in the washing machine, you will find that sock yarn which has 75% wool and 25% nylon works best. This fibre combination wears well and is slow to pill, the colours last don’t fade as quickly and the yarn doesn’t felt during washing.
- 2.75mm set of 5 double pointed needles (dpns). For sock knitting you will find that bamboo dpns are ideal. They are flexible and can ease joint pain. Bamboo and wood are slightly ‘sticky’ which helps prevent the stitches slipping off the needle.
- 3.25mm needle. If you use a larger sized needle to cast on the stitches loosely it helps prevent the cuff edge from being too tight.
- 2.25mm set of 5 double pointed needles (dpns). For knitting the toe. These are optional but you may have a set in your needle collection.
- Tapestry needle. For sewing in loose ends.
- k – knit
- p – purl
- ssk – slip 2 stitches knitwise, one at a time, to right needle, then insert left needle from left to right into front loops and knit 2 stitches together – 1 stitch decreased
- p2tog – purl 2 stitches together – 1 stitch decreased
- sl 1 – slip 1 stitch purlwise
- st – stitch
- st st – stocking stitch/stockinette stitch
- Using the 4 ply sock yarn and the 3.25mm needle cast on (loosely) 60 stitches.
- Change to the 2.75mm dpns.
- Next, work the first row of k1, p1 rib. Divide over 4 needles as you work this row. 15 sts on each needle.
- Join into a round being careful not to twist the stitches. The loose tail is a useful way of knowing that you are at the back of the sock.
- Work 14 rounds of k1, p1 rib.
- This will give a ribbed cuff which measures 3.5cm/1 3/8 inches. As this is your sock you can add additional depth to the cuff at this point. Just keep a note of how many rows you rib so that you can do the same for the second sock.
- There are other rib options that work beautifully for the cuff. K2, p2 rib is wonderfully elastic. An elegant solution is k3, p2.
- Knit 42 rounds
- Length of sock from the cast on edge after completing these rows is 13.5cm/5 1/4 inches.