Debbie Bliss is hosting a knit along!

Debbie Bliss is hosting a knit along!

The project is a blanket composed of individual blocks measuring 4 3/4″ x 4 3/4″ each.
You can either make a baby blanket of 40 squares (23 1/4″ x 37 3/4″), or a throw blanket of 60 squares (28 1/4″ x 47 1/4″).

Debbie Bliss KALThe Knit Along starts on Monday, November 24, which is when the first pattern will be released.

Another block pattern will be released each Monday until December 15. On the last Monday, December 22, she’ll discuss ways to embellish and personalize the blanket.

The patterns will be available on the Debbie Bliss Website, here on Knitting Fever, and on the Designer Yarns website. (Designer Yarns is Debbie’s distributor in the UK.)

I got a sneak peek at the first two blocks. One has texture and one has color work. If they are anything to go by, this will be a beautiful blanket that is fun to knit!

Remember, when you participate in a virtual knit along the idea is everyone is working on the same project at their own pace!


8 (12) balls of Debbie Bliss Mia yarn in Ecru color 02 (Main color) and 1 (2) balls of Mia in ruby color 09 (Contrast Color)

US 6 needles, or size needed to obtain gauge

Gauge: 22 sts x 28 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch

Mia is a wonderful 50% Wool, 50% Cotton blend yarn with approximately 110 yards per 50g balls.
I used it a few months ago to knit a pair of Susie Roger’s Reading Mitts and it was wonderful to knit with.

Share Your Progress

I created a Ravelry project page for the knit along: Advent Blanket KAL 2014 so you can add it to your queue.

ravelryPeople are using the image above as a place holder until the Knit Along starts.

Debbie created a Ravelry group where you can ask questions and share in the fun: The Debbie Bliss Holiday Knit-Along

You are also encouraged to connect with her other social media accounts: Facebook: debbieblissonline, Instagram: @debbieblissknits, or Twitter: @debbieblissnews

Gee, I guess that’s all I can tell you for now. Stay tuned to our Facebook page on Monday for the release of the first block.

Get ready by visiting your local yarn store to get your Debbie Bliss Mia yarn.

Is there anything as enticing as a ball of Noro yarn?

IMG_4372The colors, the textures, the potential!

It’s no accident that Noro yarns are so mesmerizing. A lot of time, attention, and care go into creating them.

An earnest feeling for the purity in and preservation of nature has been part of the Noro philosophy from the start.

The premier issue of Noro Knitting Magazine included an article by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton titled “Noro: Behind the Scenes”. That issue sold out quickly, so we are pleased to offer the article in PDF form.

Mr Noro

Eisaku Noro during his visit to KFI headquarters in September.

In the article, Hamilton recounts her visit to the Noro headquarters in Japan. She provides a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the care and attention that goes into creating the yarns you love.

The preservation of nature is such an important part of his business that Mr. Noro leaves nothing to chance, personally overseeing every aspect of production from sheep to yarn ball, including all machinery, labeling, yarn bags, boxes and even the garbage that the company produces.

I think the article will enhance your appreciation of this beautiful yarn (if that’s possible!).

Noro machinesTo learn even more about how Noro is created, check out the video from when Noro was featured on the Japanese TV show Great Gear.

Years ago I came to regard each skein of Noro yarn as an individual. Now I can really understand why. Having seen how the yarns are produced has only deepened my respect for Noro yarns.

After reading the article, do you agree with Hamilton’s respect for Noro yarns?

The time for running around barefoot is, sadly, coming to an end.

IMG_0681The weather forecasters here on the East Coast have themselves all in a lather about the possibility of snow this weekend.

This early in the season, I’m sure it will be more rain than snow, and it probably won’t stick, but I suppose it’s still exciting.

Even if there isn’t snow, the nights have been getting cold, which means the mornings require slippers.

Lucky for us as knitters and crocheters, we’ve got our toes covered!

DB slipper socksThese cozy, cabled Slipper Socks are from Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine issue #3. They are knit using her Cashmerino Aran yarn.

The pattern includes directions for make the sole using felt or leather, but your local yarn store might have those nice suede and sheepskin ones in stock.

DB bootiesAnother lovely Debbie Bliss slipper pattern are these fun booties from Debbie Bliss Magazine issue #5. They are knit using Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran yarn and are sized for US Shoe 6.5-7.5(8.5-9.5).

That issue of the magazine includes a cute pair of baby booties, so you can make a pair for almost everyone in the family!

JMF sheepSpeaking of slippers for the entire family, the Juniper Moon Farm Lamb Shoes are sized from Toddler to Adult Large.

They take 1 to 3 skeins of Juniper Moon Farm Yearling yarn, a yummy Merino Wool/Cotton blend

ER Pdk bootiesIf you’re just concerned about the smallest toes in the family, take a look at the Phoenix DK Beanie and Bootie set from Ella Rae.

You need just one hank of Ella Rae Phoenix DK yarn to make the set. Don’t be fooled by the pink sample shown, this is a great pattern for a boy baby, too.

Considering this 100% Combed Mercerized Cotton yarn comes in over 35 colors, you don’t have to limit yourself to pastel pink and blue!

Katia slippersWhile all the patterns I have highlighted so far have been knit, I know that crocheter’s have cold toes, too!

The Big Ribbon Slippers shown above are a free pattern from our friends at Katia. They are made using Big Ribbon yarn, a Cotton/Polyester blend that is machine washable. That could be a good feature for slippers to have!

The Big Ribbon Slipper pattern has a non-traditional format that could be confusing. I wrote a blog post about how to interpret it.

Noro slippersFor a more straight forward crochet slipper pattern, check out this wonderful pair from the premier issue of Noro Knitting Magazine.

They use 2 or 3 skeins of Noro Kureyon yarn. I made a pair when the magazine first came out. I ended up crocheting a back panel on mine for extra warmth.

The patterns I’ve highlighted are available digitally on our website for instant gratification. They are also available at local yarn stores that participate in the Ravelry in-store pattern sales program. Ask the staff at your favorite local yarn store if they participate!

Don’t let your toes get cold! Knit or crochet some slippers this weekend.

It’s time to work our toe shaping! By the end of the weekend, you’ll have a finished sock! Or you’ll have a pair, if you’ve been knitting them two-at-a-time.



Knit Along Index

Overview. Key Questions. Cast on & Cuff. Leg. Heel Flap & Turn. Gusset & Foot. Toe Shaping (you are here). Click on the blue links to navigate through the knit along. EDIT: The full pattern is in our Free Pattern section.

The Pattern

Note:Before you start the toe shaping, this is another good place to put in a lifeline.

Begin Toe Shaping

Decrease round
Needle 1: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, SSK, K to end of needle
Needle 3: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
Needle 4: K1, SSK, K to end of needle (52 (56) sts)

Knit three rounds even

Work Decrease round (48 (52) sts)
Knit two rounds even

Work Decrease round (44 (48) sts)
Knit two rounds even

Decrease every other round to 24 sts (6 sts each needle)

Close toe using Kitchener Stitch or Three-Needle Bind-Off

Weave in ends. Knit second sock to match.

The Kitchener Stitch

(A discussion of adjusting the foot fit is below. You might want to check it out before you cut your yarn to work the Kitchener.)

Many knitters fear the Kitchener stitch.

It’s understandable. When I knit my first pair of socks I couldn’t figure out the Kitchener stitch to save my life and ended up using a three-needle bind-off to close the toes. It worked, but it leaves a little ridge. Of course, you might want to use that as a design element down the line.

An advantage of the Kitchener stitch is that it is a smooth continuation of the fabric.

Brace yourself for a ton of pictures! I used orange yarn to work the Kitchener stitch so you can see what is happening. Obviously, you’ll use your yarn tail.

IMG_5392Ok, when you finish working your toe decreases you sock will look like this. The working yarn will be at the bottom center. To successfully work the Kitchener stitch you need the working yarn at the side.

IMG_5393Knit half a row, working all the stitches onto one needle.

IMG_5394Then knit across the top of the instep. Again, work all the stitches onto one needle. This also gets you one row away from the last decrease, which I prefer for reasons I’ve never contemplated.

IMG_5395You don’t want to run out of yarn halfway through your Kitchener stitch. I find that if I wrap the yarn loosely 3 to 5 times around the toe of the sock I’ll have plenty of tail available. Cut the working yarn.

Kitchener set up. You work the next two steps once at the beginning. Don’t take any stitches off the needles yet.

IMG_5396Step 1: Go into the first stitch on the bottom needle purlwise and pull the yarn through.

IMG_5397Step 2: Go into the first stitch on the top needle knitwise and pull the yarn through.

Kitchener Stitch. You’ll repeat these four steps across the row. (pictures below)

  1. Go into the first stitch on the bottom needle knitwise and take it off the needle
  2. Go into the next stitch on the bottom needle purlwise and leave it on
  3. Go into the first stitch on the top needle purlwise and take it off the needle
  4. Go into the next stitch on the top needle knitwise and leave it on.

Another, shorter way to say it:

  • Knit, take it off. Purl, leave it on.
  • Purl take it off. Knit leave it on.

IMG_5398Step 1: Knit, take it off.

IMG_5399Step 2: Purl, leave it on.

IMG_5400Step 3: Purl, take it off.

Step 4: Next stitch, top needle: Knitwise, leave it on. (I didn’t take a picture of that step!)

IMG_5401You are, basically, tracing the path of the yarn and creating a new row of knitting between the rows on the needles.

When you get to the end of the row, you won’t be able to work all four steps because you won’t have enough stitches. By then you should have the rhythm and might just work it automatically. I like to say all 4 steps to myself, anyway, to keep myself on track.

IMG_5403Don’t panic if your finished Kitchener stitch looks a little loose.

IMG_5406All you have to do to snug it up is take your darning needle and pull the slack across the row to the tail end.

IMG_5408Ta-da! No more slack. And when I worked it with my yarn tail, it’s a nice seamless toe.


The Discussion

The fit of the foot is going to be a combination of the length of the straight, foot section and the depth of the toe shaping. If your socks feel baggy at the end, you might want to pull back and either shorten the foot or try a different toe. Which means you’ll want to try them on before you cut the yarn and shut the toe.

IMG_5708Most sock patterns will instruct you to work the foot until is it 2″ less than the desired length. As you can see, the toe shaping I’ve given you takes about 2″ to work.

Instead of using a tape measure to measure the sock, you can try it on. I find that when the sock reaches my pinky toe I can start the toe shaping.

IMG_5354Another option, depending on how tall you knit your leg, is to fold the sock in half. The foot of my socks usually reach to just below the cuff.

IMG_5390The finished toe shaping ends just below the cast off.


You can find other toe options on the Socknitters website.

Your local yarn store can probably direct you to sock knitting books that will have tips and patterns to help you grow your skills.

Did you notice how the corners of my sock toes poke out a little? Those are called “dog ears”. I usually ignore them, but there are tons of people who have developed fixes.

The TECHknitting blog has a way of working the Kitchener stitch with a knitting needle, but her rhyme is opposite of mine, so don’t get confused.

Knitters Review has a post covering all the steps for knitting a sock.

Knitty Socks 101 and Socks 102

IMG_5610And that concludes our sock knit along! I hope you had fun and have a new sock. As you’re working on your second sock, of if you just found the knit along, you can leave questions in the comments. I receive an email notification when there is a new comment.

I sent the pattern to our graphics design guy on Friday afternoon, hopefully he’ll have it laid out early next week and you’ll have a nice PDF for your second sock rather than flipping through the blog posts! EDIT: The PDF of the full pattern is ready!

You’ve probably had plenty of time to admire your heel turn by now and are eager to get started on the gusset.

Knit Along Index

Just joining us? It’s not too late to jump in! I’m hosting the KAL here on the blog so the information stays available. Do you have questions? Leave a comment! I receive an email notification when there is a new comment, even on old posts.

Overview. Key questions. Cast on & Cuff. Leg. Heel Flap & Heel Turn. Gusset & Foot (you are here). Toe shaping.


  1. We are now done working flat, in rows. The next few steps we work will position us for knitting in the round again.
  2. The last row of your heel turn, and the waiting stitches on Needles 3 & 4, are good places to put in lifelines. That way, if you don’t like your gusset pick-up for some reason it will be easier to try again.
  3. You can now mentally divide the sock into the Instep (the top of the sock) and the Sole (the bottom of the sock). This division won’t matter for this pattern, but it could come into play for future sock patterns you knit.
  4. The last heel-turn row you worked should have been a wrong side (purl) row. You should be ready to work a knit row, as in my picture below.

IMG_5571See, my working tail is at the 4 o’clock position, near my right hand. If you don’t look like this, get to that point.

We’re going to be working clockwise around the sock from the 4 o’clock position. We’ll knit the heel turn sts at 6 o’clock, up the side of the heel flap at 9 0′clock, across the instep at noon, and down the heel flap at 3 o’clock.

The Pattern

Gusset Set Up (I’ll be referring to double pointed needles here. If you’re using a different method just ignore the needle notations.)(See The Discussion for dealing with a potential gap at the top of your picked-up stitches.)

New Needle: Knit across stitches remaining from heel turn

Same Needle: Pick up and Knit 15 (17) sts along first edge of heel flap

New Needles: Knit across 28 (30) sts on instep

New Needle: Pick up and knit 15 (17) sts along second side of heel flap

Same Needle: Knit 9 sts (half the stitches left over from the heel turn). Place marker for beginning of round.

NOTE: The beginning of round is now in the center of the sole. Mentally renumber your DPNs accordingly. The instep sts are now on Needles 2 & 3. If you’re using two circs or magic loop you’ll want to shift your stitch markers around to match.

Smaller size: 76 sts total: 24 sts N1, 14 sts each N 2 & 3, 24 sts N4. Larger size: 82 sts total: 26 sts N1, 15 sts each N 2 & 3, 26 sts, N4

(If you made your heel flap longer or shorter than mine, adjust your numbers accordingly. You’ll pick up one stitch in each ridge.)

Also, don’t sweat it if you end up picking up 16 sts on one side and 15 sts on the other! People won’t be looking that closely at your sock and one stitch won’t change the fit much. Just remember to decrease the extra stitch away at some point to keep things even.

IMG_5271Begin Gusset Decreases

Knit one round even

Decrease round:

N1: Knit to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1

N2 & 3: Knit even

N4: K1, SSK, K to end

Alternate working a knit even round and a decrease round until there are 56 (60) sts remaining.

Note: The gusset decreases are another place you can customize the sock. For instance, work more even rows between decreases to change the taper. Cat Bordhi has an entire book devoted to working the gusset in different places.



Knit even for 62 rows from picked up gusset sts, about 6″. Or about 2″ less than desired length.

IMG_5356We’ll tackle the toe shaping and Kitchener stitch next week!

The Discussion

Such a small part of the sock, but so much to tell you! I’m about to flood you with pictures to help you see what is going on.

Many sock patterns have you work the heel flap by slipping the first stitch of each row. That creates a column of bigger stitches along the edge, which is where you pick up for the gusset. I worked my socks that way for many years. It can be tricky to see where to pick up, and you can end up with little gaps along the edge of your heel flap.

I think the garter stitch edge makes things much easier.

IMG_5572Take a good look at the edge of your heel flap. When picking up stitches for the gusset, you’ll be aiming for the stitch between the ridges.

Since it can be hard to see what is happening at the fine gauge of my Indulgence 6-Ply with Silk yarn, I knit a big sample using Viking of Norway Balder yarn.

IMG_5575There are the garter stitch ridges.

IMG_5579You’re grabbing the stitch in between the ridges. The picture above is how it looks as you’re knitting.

In the picture below, I stuck the needle in through the back of the stitch to give you a better view.


Here is how the picked up stitches look on my regular sock.


Now, once you’ve picked up all the stitches along the first edge of the heel flap, you’ll automatically want to start knitting the instep stitches. Stop! If you do that you might end up with a little gap where your gusset and instep meet.

IMG_5587You can see the gap in this picture. There are two instep stitches on the left, then a gap, then the last picked up stitch. You can keep going, and ignore the gap, but it might make you sad later.

I like the dodge the gap by picking up an extra stitch at the top of the gusset in the same way you work a Make 1 increase.

IMG_5586In this picture I’ve backed off to the top of the gusset. See that strand on the left hand side spanning the two columns? That’s the strand I’m aiming at.

IMG_5589Pick it up, front to back, with your left hand needle.

IMG_5590Knit it through the back loop to twist it.

This picked-up, close the gap, stitch is included in the 15 (17) stitches mentioned in the pattern.

It will look a little different when you’re coming down the second side of the sock.

IMG_5591You will probably have to fuss around with which strand you pick up. You’ll find that some are looser than others, which makes them less efficient for closing up the gap.

Resources for dealing with the gusset gap

The Knitting Squirrel uses a garter stitch edge, too.

Wise Hilda uses a slip stitch edge and picks up a different strand.

By the way, I’m using Knitting Fever brand “Indulgence 6ply with Silk” yarn in color 7 for my socks.

IMG_5292Caution! I’m at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend. I might not get to check for questions until Sunday night or Monday morning! If you get stuck, hang tight and work on another project until I get back. :-) Thanks!

This week we are tackling the heel flap and heel turn for our sock knit along.

The heel flap, heel turn, and gusset (which we’ll do next week) is an area that usually trips up new sock knitters. It is also the magical section that transforms your knitting from a plain tube into a sock!


Knit Along Index:

Overview. Key questions. Cast on & Cuff. Leg. Heel Flap & Turn (you are here). Gusset & Foot. Toe Shaping.


Let me start by providing some notes so you know what is going to be happening before you start knitting.

  1. The heel flap is worked over half the stitches. In this case, needles 1 & 2
  2. The heel flap is worked flat, in rows.
  3. You’ll be ignoring the stitches on needles 3 &4 for a while.
  4. This is a good place to put in a lifeline if you want some extra security.
  5. The heel turn is accomplished using short rows.
  6. If this is your first time turning a heel, you should do it somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted. You want to work the heel turn all in one sitting so you don’t get confused.

If you are working on double pointed needles, you’ll want to work across all the stitches on needles 1 & 2 so they are on a single needle. If you are using two circulars, you’ll already have the stitches divided in half, but you can drop the extra marker designating the DPNs. If you’re using magic loop, all I know is this is an area that might get weird for you.

We’ll be working our heel flap using the “heel stitch” with a garter stitch edge. I learned this style heel flap in a class with Charlene Schurch and it’s my favorite.

The Pattern

Begin heel flap. (worked over 28 (30) stitches) Note: Slip the stitches purl-wise with the yarn in back.

Row 1: P3, (K1, S1) to last 3 sts, K3

Row 2: K3, purl across

Repeat these two row 15 (17) times more. You have worked 30 (34) rows

IMG_3701Note: Your heel flap will be about 2 1/4″ to 2 1/2″ long. Heel flaps are usually 2″ to 2 1/2″. This is an area where you can customize your socks. You can make the heel flap longer if you want, say to accommodate a high instep, but you’ll need to adjust your numbers when we get to the gusset.

Heel Turn

Row 1: S1, K16 (17), SSK, K1, turn

Row 2: S1, P7, P2tog, P1, turn

Row 3: S1, K8, SSK, K1, turn

Row 4: S1, P9, P2tog, P1, turn

Continue in this manner, working one more stitch each time, until all the stitches are used up.18 sts remain.

EDIT: Remember you are working short rows to create the cup for the heel. You are working little bites out of the 28 stitches you’ve been knitting for the heel flap. Each row will grow by one stitch.

So the first row will use up 20 sts (S1, K16, SSK-that’s 2- K1), and leave 8 sts unworked. On the second row you’ll purl back, but again working up just a few stitches and leaving several unworked.

Eventually you’ll reach the last stitch at each end of the needle you’ve been using for the heel flap and turn. You have also decreased from your original 28 sts down to 18 sts.

If you are using your own set of numbers for your sock, refer to the Heels By the Number chart for your heel turn. I’m using the “Rounder heel” style, which is the third one down.

Take a breath and admire your lovely, magic sock heel.


As you are working your heel turn, keep an eye out for the little gap formed by the decrease in the previous row. There are two examples in the pictures below.

IMG_4286IMG_4287After you work the first two rows, which are coming off the heel flap, subsequent decreases are worked across that little gap. That is, when you SSK, one stitch will be on each side of the gap.

Don’t worry, it will make more sense as you’re knitting. But if you can pay attention to the gap, you won’t have to worry about counting as much!

The Discussion

Did you survive? Isn’t it cool? Feel free to jump around, waiving your sock in the air while exclaiming, “Look what I did!” But try not to drop any stitches.

The “heel stitch” is pretty classic for socks. If you take a look at the inside of your heel flap you’ll notice the strands from the slipped stitches.

IMG_3699They help make the heel flap cushioned and also provide durability from the extra layer of yarn.

Some people like to reinforce their heel flaps with a special carry along thread. It can be tricky to find, but your local yarn store might have it in stock.

However, if you are using Indulgence 6-Ply With Silk yarn, like I am, you shouldn’t have to worry about that. Indulgence has 25% Polyamide (a type of nylon), which helps strengthen the yarn. My husband and I both have Indulgence socks that are three or four years old and they are still going strong!

You can also work the heel flap in plain stockinette stitch, or Eye of Partridge, or two colors, or well you get the idea. It’s an area you can experiment a bit. But it is also an area that wears out first for many people, so eyelets aren’t a good idea.

Many patterns have you slip the first stitch of the heel flap, instead of working the garter stitch edging. I think the garter stitch edge makes it much easier to pick up stitches for the gusset. It makes a nice detail as well!

The heel flap and turn are just one combination you can use. There are many classic heels, and people seem to be inventing new ones on a regular basis. Cat Bordhi and Lucy Neatby are both great designers if you want to learn more about sock construction.

I enjoyed poking around in the Sock Knitters Forum when I first learned to knit socks. There are several types of heels and toes documented there.

A member of Ravelry named Taina has a project that is just testing out a variety of heel constructions. It’s rather inspirational. I can see how just working the heel area would be fast if you are testing them out, but I think I’d rather have actual socks!

The heel turn is based on pivot points. You are knitting to the center, then a few stitches beyond, at which point you turn. Then you work back half the stitches again, and pivot back. Or you can just refer to the Heels By the Number chart.

Next week we’re onto the gusset.

Many of you finished knitting your sock cuff quick as a flash! I know you’re excited to get on to knitting the leg.

IMG_3408Knit Along Index:

Sock KAL Overview. Sock KAL Key Questions. Cast on and Cuff. Leg (you are here). Heel Flap & Turn. Gusset & Foot. Toe shaping.

The Pattern:

Working in Stockinette Stitch, knit even for 60 (90) rounds total, or about 6″ (11″) from cast on edge, or desired length.

Alternate leg: Continue in K2,P2 ribbing for 60 (90) rounds total, or about 6″ (11″) from cast on edge, or desired length.

The Discussion:

What?! You waited a whole week for that?!

Well, yeah, I didn’t want to overwhelm you will too much all at once. :-)

Knitting the leg will be easy since it’s just all knitting. But it might take a while since you have to knit 6″.

The first question you should ask is, “How tall should I make my sock?”

IMG_3410A good rule of thumb (or is it toe?) is to knit the leg to be as long as your hand. This is very convenient if you are knitting socks for yourself, since you always have your hand along you don’t have to worry about carrying a tape measure, too.

If you are knitting the socks for someone else, it might not be as easy.

IMG_3411As you continue to knit socks you will find the leg height you prefer.

Get a Counter

Unless you are knitting your socks two at a time, I strongly suggest your acquire one of those hanging row counters (or another counter) like you see in my pictures. It’s much easier to make sure your second sock matches if you do all the counting on your first sock. Remember to take notes!

It’s also much easier to use a counter than it is to need to keep stopping and counting all the rounds. (Although I’ve been known to get on a roll and forget to advance my marker!)

Another advantage of the hanging row counter is that it can be used as your end of round marker.

Row counters should be easy to find at your local yarn store.


Custom Fit

Some people don’t like hand knit socks because they fall down. That might be a simple matter of improperly sized socks. While it is obvious that socks that are too big will fall down, the book “Getting Started Knitting Socks” by Ann Budd (Interweave Press, 2007) says socks that are too small will shift down as well.

Most sock patterns are sized for the widest part of your foot on the assumption that it will be similar to the size of the top of your leg. But, since people are different, that isn’t always the case. Unlike commercial socks, you can easily change your hand knit socks to accommodate those differences.

The leg is a good the place to make adjustments to your sock size and how it fits.

If you want more room in the cuff of the sock for your calf, you can cast on enough stitches to fit there and then decrease down the sock leg to the ankle. If you are working toe up, you would flip that suggestion and increase up the sock leg.

It’s a simple matter of measuring your leg where you want the cuff to be and your ankle. Multiple those numbers by your gauge to get your target stitch counts. Then subtract them to figure out how many stitches to decrease (or increase). Then work the decreases at regular intervals down the leg. You don’t want to work them all at once because the change in size will be too abrupt and the sock will probably be restrictive in that area.

For more of a discussion on applying knitting math to shaping check out the “sleeve” section of The Knitting Architect  in the Tools & Tips section of  our website.

Another option Budd gives is to knit the cuff and upper leg on a knitting needle one size larger than you plan to use. Many people, she writes, find the larger gauge from the bigger needle provides enough room.

Knee high socks are fun, but take more yarn.

Knee high socks are fun, but take more yarn.

Another time shaping will be important is if you make knee-high or thigh-high socks, like these Rainbow Knee-Highs from the Knit Noro book. (The ruffled cuff can be worn up as shown or folded down.)

For taller socks you’ll want to work shaping to accommodate the change in circumference from your calf to your ankle. If you are following a pattern the designer will have figured it out for you. If you want to design tall socks yourself, Elizabeth Zimmermann has a discussion along with a legging pattern in her “Knitters Almanac”, which could be adapted.

Keep in mind that the taller you make your socks the more yarn you are going to use. It is very sad to run out of yarn on the second sock.

You can use a kitchen scale to weight and divide your ball before you get started to ensure you have enough for both socks. (Yarn usage is a good argument for knitting socks toe-up. You divide your yarn in half and just knit to you run out!)

When using self-striping yarn, if you want your socks to match, you’ll also want to account for the need to reel out yarn to find the same starting point in the colors pattern. But that’s a discussion for later on!


If you are knitting your sock on double pointed needles you might notice a gap developing in the space between the needles.

That row of loose stitches is called a “ladder”, which makes sense when you think about it since it does resemble the rungs of a ladder.

Be comforted to know ladders are the bane of many socks knitter’s existence. Find hope in the fact that they tend to go away, or at least diminish greatly, with every sock you knit.

One way to reduce how noticeable they are is to shift your needles by one stitch every few rounds. This will disrupt the continuity of the column and make it less noticeable. Simply knit an additional stitch or two before switching needles. This technique makes it important to have and end of round marker in place.

Some people also suggest giving the second stitch on the new needle a tug. That is supposed to take up some of the slack that forms between the needles.

For a more comprehensive discussion of defeating ladders check out the TECHknitting blog.

See you next Saturday when we tackle the heel flap!

Did you know we have an app for iPad and iPhone?

If you go to the iTunes store and search for “Knitting Fever” it should be the main result.

The app itself is free to download. Once you have it, you can purchase digital versions of Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine and Noro Knitting Magazine. You can also get digital subscriptions.

Want to know a secret? The digital versions of the magazines are often available in the app before the print editions start shipping.

There is also a selection of individual patterns available for free or purchase from a variety of the brands we represent, including Ella Rae, Mirasol, and Juniper Moon Farm, among others.

I’m bringing all this up because I just upgraded to an iPhone 6 and had a little bit of a freak out when I didn’t see my magazine issues the first time I opened the app.

Moving into a new iPhone is both fun and vexing as you learn the various quirks of the new model and discover which apps ported smoothly.

Happily, getting your issues back is super simple. Just click the “Help” icon in the lower right corner of the screen.

IMG_5444Then click the “Restore Purchases” button in the top right corner. My issues reappeared very quickly.

I think the app looks great on the new, bigger screen of the iPhone 6. It’s much easier to read the patterns than it was on my 4S. Of course, on an iPad it will be even better!

If you’re new to the app you should find it fairly easy to navigate. Just poke around to become familiar with it.


You can swipe left and right to flip to the next page. Tapping that box on the bottom left in the above picture will open a thumbnail list of the various sections, which you can tap to quickly navigate to the one you want.

The double arrow icon is to zoom when you have the phone in landscape position. The next box, with the up arrow, allows you to share snippets through email, Twitter, or Facebook. Finally, the star is to favorite/bookmark pages.

A single tap on the screen will hide those white navigation bars.

To really zip around, and access your favorites/bookmarks, you’ll want to access the thumbnail navigation screen.

First make sure the screen is at its neutral start position. You don’t want to be zoomed and you don’t want the white navigation bars showing.


Then swipe upwards to reveal the thumbnail navigation area.

IMG_5446You can grab that white dot and drag it, swipe the thumbnails to see them whiz by, or tap the gold start to see your bookmarks.

The thumbnail navigation tool has been really handy for me as I’ve been entering Issue 13 of Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine into Ravelry. You don’t realize how much page flipping happens when you’re entering a magazine pattern until you do several at a time!

Do you use our iPad app? What is your favorite part?

Maybe it’s because I’m working on a simple, stockinette stitch shawl on US5 needles, but I’m getting the urge for some instant gratification knitting.

You know what I mean. Chunky yarn and big needles!

The new Debbie Bliss yarn Roma seems like a good candidate to fulfill this need.

The Roma book features 13 “super simple knits.” There are 9 accessories patterns and four sweater patterns. Worked on US15 and US17 needles, you’ll be finished knitting and onto wearing these projects in the blink of an eye.

If you follow us on Instagram, you already know I’m drooling over this jacket.

Roma JacketThe “Contrast Band Jacket” covers four sizes: 32-34 (36-38, 40-42, 44-46)” bust and is meant to have 5″ or more of positive ease.

This looks like a great coat for walking the dogs on a chilly morning, or running errands around town. I like the generous, set in pockets.

The contrast of the taupe with the hot pink boarder is fun, but you can make a different combination using Roma’s 16 colors. The trickiest part of this pattern is that the band is knit along with the body using the intarsia method of twisting the colors together.

Add the Contrast Band Jacket to your Ravelry queue.

Roma CableAnother sweater making my heart pitter-patter is the Cable Yoke Pullover.

This cozy pullover is sized for 32-34 (36-38, 40-42)” bust and is meant to be worn with 7″ or more of positive ease. For example the largest size has a finished bust of 52 1/2″.

Side vents, a generous turtle neck, and relaxed drop shoulders make this sweater look super cozy. The cables could be tricky if you haven’t done them before, but it would be a great time to learn since it will be easy to see what you’re doing with this bulky yarn.

Add the Cable Yoke Sweater to your Ravelry queue.

Roma BagThis fabulous Houndstooth Bag is one of the accessory patterns that caught my eye.

Wouldn’t it make a fabulous knitting bag?

There is extensive finishing involved with this project since you have to make a fabric liner. The bag is stiffened with cardboard on the bottom and interfacing on the side. I’m not a sewer, but the directions in the book look pretty clear so I think it would be manageable!

Add the Houndstooth Bag to your Ravelry queue.

Roma braidThis Plaited Cowl is another accessory topping my list.

It is simple to knit with an impressive looking finished project. I love the explosion of both size and texture!

The question is whether to work it in a sold color as shown or to go wild with multiple colors?

Add the Plaited Cowl to your Ravelry queue.

Patterns using the new Roma yarn aren’t limited to the Roma book. You can find more patterns in Debbie Bliss Magazine issue 13.

Roma balletThese pretty Ballet Slippers from the magazine are what first caught my eye and caused me to take a closer look at Roma.

The slippers take just one ball of Roma and are sized for a US shoe 5 1/2-7 1/2 (7 1/2-9 1/2). My toes feel warm just looking at them!

Add the Ballet Slippers to your Ravelry queue.

And don’t forget the Dandelion hat from Conway + Bliss.

hat-patternRoma is used for the body of the hat, while the pompoms are made using Baby Cashmerino.

Download the free Dandelion hat pattern.

Add the Dandelion hat to your Ravelry queue.

Debbie Bliss Roma yarn and book have been arriving in local yarn stores across the USA. Use our Store Locator feature to find an independently owned yarn store near you so you can see them in person.

Which pattern would you knit first?

It’s time to start our Beginner Sock Knit Along!

IMG_3346Knitting 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.

The Pattern:

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″

Stitches divided on DPNsPattern:

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.

The Discussion:

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.

The Cuff

IMG_3400I’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.

Twisted cast on
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.

Suggested reading:

“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.

Advanced Tip

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.

In the round gapYou 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.

In the round tight