Over a hundred years ago, people knit their own socks. Those who did not know how to knit hired those that did. Rich and poor alike wore knitted hose and socks. In the early days of the United States, many homemakers knitted shawls, socks, sweaters, hats and more. Untold numbers of women made extra money for the house and some made a living providing knitted goods. Today, knitting is considered a “cottage industry,” or a “craft” instead of a profession. I prefer to think of my knitting as a personal profession. I do not make a living at it; my pay-off is the enjoyment my friends and family receive from the items I make.
Knitting socks has long been considered a difficult task. “Turning the heel,” or knitting the heel of the sock is seen by more than one knitter as confusing or difficult. With practice, it can be done quickly and easily. Knitting tube socks is a way to make a pair of custom socks without the heel hassle.
By knitting your own tube socks, you can also knit for anyone you know. Since leg shapes can range from the ultra-thin to the ultra-muscled types of athletes, knowing knitting techniques such as gauge, measurements and a little basic math will allow you to create socks for everyone. You can make socks of any size to fit babies, girls, boys, athletes, sportspeople, the elderly and everyone in between.
This article assumes the reader knows something about knitting. There are numerous sites and books with instructions. Friends who knit may give lessons.
There are a couple of tips I’d like to share about knitting with double-pointed needles and circular needles. The tips work for both. They are:
- · While any yarn can be used to make socks, the most common yarn is super-fine yarn. It is also called sport yarn, fingering yarn or baby yarn. Size 4 needles work beautifully for this yarn.
- · When leaving the work for any length of time, I’ll mark the beginning of the next row. I’ll always finish the last row, mark my place on the pattern and place a marker on the needle that will be in my left hand, indicating the next row’s beginning. The marker has a sharpie-made “S” for start on it. Needle caps or stoppers are then placed on the needles to keep the stitches from falling off. I can also use colored plastic rings or other types of markers.
- · You’re only using two needles at a time; the other two needles are essentially stitch holders. As you work, the other two needles move, giving the illusion that you are using all four needles at once. It’s cool-looking.
- · When joining the previous row to the new one, I always give a little tug on the yarn. This keeps me from having a hole every time I start a new round.
You will need:
- · Yarn
- · Knitting needles- circular or double-pointed
- · Scissors
- · Row marker
- · End caps
- · Measuring tape and notepad
Measure the length of your sock from the toe across the bottom of the foot and where you would like the top to be. This sock will be knitted from the top down.
Measure around your ankle, the width of your foot and your calf. You’ll need to know these so that you can cast on the right number of stitches.
Obtain your gauge. Knit a swatch in the pattern you choose and measure how many rows make an inch and how many stitches across make an inch. If you change or add a new pattern to your socks, you’ll need to do this each time. Some pattern stitches are fairly narrow. You can increase or decrease to shape the ankle and the foot; just make sure your foot will fit through the ankle area.
Let’s make a non-descript pattern that will make an average sock. Cast on 60 stitches. If you are using a circular needle, you can cast on all at once. If using dpns, or double-pointed needles, divide the stitches between three needles. The fourth will be used for knitting.
The pattern is as follows:
Cast on 60 stitches.
Use a ribbing pattern until your piece measures 12″ long or as long as you need. Ribbing is generally the “Knit one, purl two,” that you hear about. On the next row, you would Purl one, knit two. All knit stitches from the previous row will be purled, and the purled stitches will be knitted.
A good pattern would be k2, p2. On the next row, p2, k2.
For the toes:
You’ll begin to decrease evenly every row. This will be by knitting two stitches together, or k2tog.
On the first row, *k10, k2tog* repeat the instructions between the ** to the end of the row.
On the next row, *k9, k2tog* and repeat the instructions as for the first row.
On each subsequent row, k8, k2tog, the next row k7, k2tog and so on until 15 stitches remain. On that row, k2tog all the way across. Tie off and weave in any loose ends.
You can make your socks as long or short as you like. Incorporate lace patterns, moss stitch or any number of stitch patterns. Be sure to knit a swatch first and check your measurements. You may need to add or subtract stitches for fit.
For extra-stretchy and warm socks, knit and purl into the back of each stitch.
Hand-knit socks make wonderful gifts for every occasion. Use variegated yarns for a spectacular look. Use leftover yarns of the same size for one-of-a-kind socks.
Source: Staff article, “Free knitting pattern :: Heel-less Socks,” Cornflower Blue Studio website, 20 August 2012
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.