Mary Beth Temple: Simple Sock Tutorial
The brilliant Mary Beth Temple is back and through a series of weekly posts is going to show you how to make the perfect sock! Read on for the fantastic tutorial and tips…
Socks are some of my favorite things to knit! They are packable and portable, offer a low risk way to try out new skills and stitches, and frankly there’s just nothing quite like popping on a hand knit pair of socks after a long day in the office and relaxing at home.
Over the course of three tutorials I am going to take you through a very simple pair of socks. These are top down, and while I knit them on DPNs, you can knit them in the round too and choose your own favorite circular knitting method!
These are made in Deramores Studio DK. I used several different colors to denote the different parts of the sock pattern, but you only have to use one! One skein of Deramores Studio DK will make one pair.
I have written out the sock pattern for you here, but in this post I will add some tips, tricks and photo tutorials so you can really see what you need to do. In this first post we will talk about ribbing and the leg; the second post will cover the heel flap, heel turn, and gusset; and the third will cover the foot and the toe.
So let’s start with the ribbing. Why do almost all socks have ribbing? To keep the sock up! At the very least you want to have 2.5 cm (1”), but more works too. I used 3 cm (1 ¼”) in the socks in the photo.
It’s also important to remember that most socks use a smaller knitting needle for the ribbing than for the sock proper. This tighter ribbing makes it more functional.
I started with a long tail cast-on on the smaller needles. 48 sts divided by 3 is 16, so I put 16 sts on each of 3 DPNs.
I want to get ready to knit in the round so I want to make sure all of the stitches are facing the same way and that when I start to knit, I am not adding a twist into the fabric.
You can use a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round. I didn’t – since I work on DPNs I can always tell which needle is Needle 1 because of where the yarn tail from the cast-on is hanging - but a marker is a must if you are using circulars, or even just a little worried.
Work in k1, p1 ribbing for 3 cm (1 ¼”). Remember, if you are working on DPNs, to make sure your tension is even between needles, and that you are not making ladders.
To knit the leg, you are just going to work even on the stitches you have, but remember to change to the larger needles.
As you get more comfortable with sock knitting, or you’re even feeling a little adventurous now, you can insert almost any kind of stitch pattern in the leg. You just need to make sure the stitch repeat shares a denominator with the number of stitches you are working on. Since we have 48 sts you could use something with a repeat of 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16 or 24 stitches. Smaller stitch repeats are definitely easier to manipulate though.
I also want to talk a little bit about length. There’s really only so tall you can go before you get to the point where you’d need to do a little bit of carefully placed shaping to accommodate your calf. No matter your size or shape, your calf is going to be larger than your ankle. For that reason, many sock legs are not very tall. In this pattern you work the leg for 10 cm (4”), but you can make it longer or shorter depending on your size and taste in socks.
So get knitting and in the next post we will attack the heel flap, heel turn and gusset!