Have you ever wondered how to be completely independent of knitting patterns when it comes to socks. This sock knitting recipe will empower you to knit a pair of socks using the yarn you want and the needles you want.
Measure your knitting tension by knitting a square of at least 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4 inches).
This lets you measure your stitch gauge (S) (stitches per centimetre). For fingering/4 ply sock wool this will involve casting on more than 28 stitches. Some patterns require 2.5 mm needles for socks, however it is possible to use needle sizes up to 3.25 mm for 4 ply wool depending on how tight you want the fabric of the sock to be. DK wool usually needs 4 mm, chunky usually 5 mm needles.
To custom fit socks you need to measure around the ankle (C) as well. Please use the same unit for measuring as you did for your tension square, so either inches or centimetres. Using this measurement of ankle circumference will give loose fitting socks suitable for wellies. Some knitters subtract 5-10 % from the circumference measurement to get a close fit for wearing inside shoes.
K2tog Knit two stitches together as if they were one stitch
SSK Slip one stitch to the right needle as if to knit, slip another stitch as if to knit, then take the left needle into the two slipped stitches from left to right, but lying in front of the right needle, and knit them together.
K knit stitch
P purl stitch
P2tog purl the next two stitches together as if they were one stitch
Number of stitches to cast on:
No. of stitches required = Ankle Circumference C _________ x Stitch gauge S ____________
= _________ stitches.
Round this number down to the next multiple of 4 stitches especially if you are not subtracting anything to make them tight fitting.
Joining to a round on double pointed needles:
Arrange stitches on four needles taking care not to twist them.
The fifth needle is inserted over the last needle into the first stitch on the first needle for a knit stitch. If you start with ribbing (k1,p1) or (k2,p2) at the top of your sock, it is best to start with a knit stitch at the beginning of each needle. Rearrange your stitches to achieve this.
Rib:K1, P1, repeat to end of round. Continue for at least one inch or even along entire leg if desired. Alternatively you could do the rib in K2, P2, and repeat this to end of round.
Leg length:Historically the leg was knitted to measure the same as the length from ball of thumb to tip of wearer’s thumb. If you don’t have the wearer to hand then 10 cm or 4 inches is also usual.
After working the leg of your sock, half of the stitches (for the instep) are arranged on one needle or a stitch holder and the other half of the stitches for the heel are arranged on two needles.
These heel flap stitches can be worked in stocking stitch for as many rows as there are stitches being worked across, or until the flap is as long as it is wide. It is also possible to reinforce the heel flap by working purl rows as follows: p1, [slip1, p1], repeat instructions in brackets until two stitches remain, p2. Repeat this row for as many rows as there are stitches.
Turning the heel:
This requires a bit of maths but once you have learned to do it you are independent and never ever need a pattern for knitting socks again.
First read my example, then below I take you through working it out for your own number of stitches.
Divide the number of heel flap stitches by 3. Take this number for the sides, but add any remainder to the centre stitches. e.g. 16 heel flap stitches. 16/3 = 5 remainder 1. Therefore there are 5 stitches on either side and 6 in the centre in my example. This is described in the schematic below using a V for a stitch. Starting top right for a knit row:
V V slip 1
V V k
V V k
V V k
k V V k
VV V V V V
Ssk k k k
Written out this row is as follows: (RS): slip 1, knit to two stitches before end of centre stitches, (in my example this would be knit 7), SSK, knit 1. Turn your work.
Slip1 V V p1 turn
V V V VV
p p p p2tog
The next row is: (WS) slip 1, purl to two stitches before end of centre stitches, (in my example this would be purl 3), p2tog, p1, turn . This number of stitches sets the pattern for the rest of the heel turn as follows: (increase by one every row as shown in bold)
Next row(RS): slip 1, knit 4, ssk, k1, turn.
Next row(WS): slip 1, purl 5, p2tog, p1, turn
Next row (RS): slip 1, knit6, ssk, k1, turn
Next row(WS): slip 1, purl 7, p2tog, p1, turn. And so on until there are no more stitches to turn. The next row is a right side row.
Now it is your turn to work this out for your own number of stitches
Your number of stitches in the heel flap ______(half of the total number of stitches cast on to start with),
divided by 3 = ________ stitches for the sides. Add any remainder to the middle. This means there are __________ stitches for the centre stitches.
2. Next row (RS): slip 1, knit to 2 stitches before end of centre stitches, SSK, knit 1, turn
3. Next row (WS): slip 1, purl to 2 stitches before end of centre stitches
(make a note of this number N), p2tog, p1, turn
4. Once you have the number of purled stitches N that come before the p2tog you can just continue by knitting one more on the next row (N+1). This means the next row is:
(RS): slip 1, knit (N+1) stitches, ssk, k1, turn
Next row(WS): slip 1, purl (N+2), p2tog, p1, turn
Next row (RS): slip 1, knit (N+3), ssk, k1, turn and so on.
Continue until you run out of stitches to turn. You should end so that you are ready to knit a right side row.
Pick up stitches for the gusset:
Knit across half of the heel stitches on one needle. Using another needle knit across the other half of the heel stitches then pick up and knit half as many stitches along the edge of heel flap as there are rows. You can pick up one or two more when you reach the end in order to avoid a hole. These can be decreased in the following rounds. Knit the instep stitches on one or two needles. With a new needle pick up and knit the same number of stitches along the other side of the heel flap as along the first side. Knit the remaining half of the heel stitches on this needle.
Shape the gusset:
The round starts at the middle back of the heel it can be useful to mark it with a stitch marker.
Round 1: Knit to three stitches before the end of the first needle SSK, knit 1, knit the instep stitches, Knit 1, k2 tog, knit to end of round.
Round 2: Knit
Knit these two rounds until you again have the same number of stitches on each needle as you started with.
Foot: Knit the foot until it measures 1 1⁄4 to 1 1⁄2 inches less than the desired length.
At first it is useful to use four needles but as you decrease you have less stitches on the needle and you can spread them over less needles.
Round 1: Knit to three stitches before the end of first needle, SSK, knit 1. On the next needle knit1, k2tog, knit to end of needle. On the third needle, knit to three stitches before the end of the needle, SSK, knit 1. On the fourth needle, knit 1, k2tog, knit to end of needle.
Round 2: Knit
Repeat these rounds four or five times then switch to decreasing every round (Leave out round 2) until only 6 or 8 stitches remain. Thread the yarn through these stitches and knot. Weave in the ends.
I hope that if you follow my instructions you will have learned to knit a top down sock with a turned heel and be able to do so again and again. The next step is to try and incorporate different designs into this basic sock recipe and you will soon be designing your own sock patterns.