It’s time to start our Beginner Sock Knit Along!
Knitting your first sock will be exciting, scary, and intimidating all at the same time. But when you are done you will have a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
If you’re just joining us, you should read the overview and key questions first. I’m providing numbers for two sizes, an 8″ foot and a 9″ foot. There will also be a discussion of sizing that should enable you to knit a different size if you want. In that case, remember to take careful notes! EDIT: Knit Along Index: Leg. Heel Flap & Turn. Gusset & Foot. Toe shaping.
Size: 8″ (9″)
Yarn: Indulgence 6 Ply with Silk
Needles: 3mm dpns or size needed to obtain gauge
Gauge: 7 sts x 10 rows = 1″
Using the Long-Tail method, Cast on 56 (60) sts. Divide stitches evenly over 4 needles (14 sts each or 15 sts each)
Join to work in the round, begin careful not to twist sts. Place marker for beginning of round.
Beginning with a K2, work K2, P2 rib around.
Continue working in K2, P2 rib as established until 15 rows have been worked (or desired cuff height).
A Note About Needles
The pattern for the knit along is written for double pointed needles. If you are more comfortable knitting in the round using two circulars or magic loop, you are welcome to use your preferred method during the knit along.
However, I won’t be addressing either method! I don’t even know how to do the magic loop method. We’ll have to rely on other participants to help out if you get stuck.
If you do use two circs or magic loop, I urge you to place extra stitch markers where the spaces would be for double pointed needles. When we reach the heel flap I’ll be referring to the various needles by number and the extra stitch markers will help keep you oriented.
Fit and Ease
The great thing about hand knit socks is they are customized to fit you.
You can make the leg as long or as short as you want.
You can start with a wide cuff and decrease to fit a narrow ankle.
You can make the foot the correct length so you don’t have baggy toes.
And that all comes back to fit and ease.
It might take some trial and error, i.e., a couple pairs of socks, before you decide on just how you want your socks to fit.
You want your sock to be snug, but not too tight. A snug sock is more likely to stay up and not slouch down into your shoes. In general, socks are knit with negative ease ranging from 1/2″ to 1″.
What do I mean by negative ease? Ease refers to how much “breathing room” there is between you and your garment. So if your foot measures 8″ at the widest part a sock with no ease would also measure 8″. A sock with negative ease will measure less than 8″. (By the same token a sock with positive ease would measure more than 8″, but you would probably only want that for slippers or bed socks.)
For example, my foot measures 8.5″ around the ball (the widest part). I like -1/2″ of ease so I calculate my socks based on a 8″ circumference. (7″ gauge x 8″ circ = 56 sts)
If the measurements in my pattern don’t suit you, it is a simple matter of applying your measurements to your gauge to adjust your stitch count. For instructions on how to accomplish that check out “The Knitting Architect” in the Tools & Tips section of our website. This free book outlines how to design or adjust a sweater, but the principles are the same for adjusting a sock.
I’ve given you directions for a basic 2×2 ribbed cuff that will be about 2″ tall.
The Cuff is one of three areas of a sock that usually trip up new sock knitters (they sometimes get experienced sock knitters, too!) along with The Heel Turn, and Closing the Toe.
Since we’re knitting a cuff down sock, you’re tackling the first hurdle right away.
The difficulties you encounter when starting will vary depending on how experienced a knitter you are in general and how you feel about double pointed needles.
First: Beware of twisted stitches. If you knit anything in the round–a hat, sleeves, etc., you already know what this is.
- Not a sock, but you can see the twist.
You want to ensure all the stitches are aligned and not flipped around the needles at all or you will get a permanent twist in your sock and have to start over. On double pointed needles be aware the twist might be between needles and you might have to rotate the entire needle, not just a few stitches.
Second: It’s going to be fiddly and floppy. People who aren’t accustomed to working on double points will especially have this issue. Have faith and stick with it. After a few rows the fabric will be substantial enough to offer stability and things will get easier.
If you are feeling impatient, there are a few ways to address this issue.
One option is to work the first few rows flat, then join to work in the round. You will have to go back and sew a little seam to close the gap. Some people find this is easier because it helps them avoid a twisted cast on and is more stable when they do start to work in the round.
Another option is to knit your sock on two circular needles instead of double pointed needles. Many local yarn stores offer classes in this method. There are also books devoted to this method that should be easy to find at your local yarn store.
Finally, you can use the “magic loop” method. This is done by using a very, very long circular needle and sliding the stitches around on the cable and needle tips. Again, you can find classes and books for this method at your local yarn store.
While we’re knitting a standard 2×2 rib for our cuff, keep in mind you have options. You can use different combinations of ribbing (1×1, 1×2, etc), make a ruffle, or continue the pattern.
But this is your first sock, so we’re keeping it simple.
“Getting Started Knitting Socks” by Ann Budd and “Sensational Knitted Socks” by Charlene Schurch are both good reference books. Ask for them at your local yarn store.
There are pictures of working in the round on DPNs on the For Dummies website.
Sometimes when you join to knit in the round the first stitch pulls out and you end up with an ugly gap and a long strand at the start of your row.
You can avoid this gap by swapping the first and last cast on stitches.
Step 1: Bring the needle tips together. Slip the first stitch on the left hand needle (the first stitch you cast on) to the right hand needle without working it.
Step 2: Use the tip of the left needle to grab the second stitch on the right hand needle (the last stitch you cast on) and bring it over the first stitch as though you were binding off, but don’t drop the stitch. Keep it on the left hand needle. It is now your first stitch.
Step 3: Tug on the tail left from your cast on to tighten up the slipped over stitch. Begin knitting while pretending you didn’t just move stitches around.