Knitting – Learning to make socks

I’m a relatively new knitter and have been working my way through learning new techniques. I’d never made socks before and decided it was time to give it a try. I went to my favorite yarn store in Boulder, Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins. They recommended this sock pattern by Ann Norling. The directions are very straight forward and the pattern has multiple size and style options. You can use fine, fingering, sport or worsted size. I went with the sport sock style, which uses a size 4 needle and worsted weight yarn. It’s a very good size for a hiking sock. I used a 100% superwash merino wool so that I could wash them in the machine instead of by hand.

Knitting socks is relatively easy if you are experienced in knitting in the round on double pointed needles. First, you knit in a rib stitch for a few inches. I did about 2 1/2 inches of ribbing followed by a straight knit stitch for a total of 7 1/2 inches in length. This part is simple and if you’ve made a hat, basically the same thing expect on a smaller scale.

The ribbing section

Next is making the heel flap. This part is working in short rows on one needle until you have a large section not attached to the rest of the sock. Once you make the heel flap, you do a short decrease section to make basically a small cup that will hold the heel.

The heel flap before picking up the gusset

The most difficult part of making a sock is picking up the gusset. In this part, you pick up stitches along the side of the heel flap on either side. What this does is attach the heel flap to the rest of the sock. It can be a little confusing as to where to pick up the stitches, getting an even number of stitches along and not leaving any big holes. What I did was take stitch markers and pre-pick the stitches I wanted to pick up. This allowed me to evenly space them out ahead of time and pick up on the right part of the heel flap. You tube will be your friend here and can show you better than I could in pictures.

After picking up the gusset

Once you pick up the gusset, the rest is easy! You just do a few decreases, knit the length of the foot, shape the toe and then finish the sock with the Kitchner stitch. I recommend Purl Soho for a good tutorial.

I made Pat and his Dad both a pair of socks. When I was finished with Pat’s, he wore them for three straight days without taking them off! He’s actually wearing them as we speak.

Like I mentioned before, if you make them with superwash merino wool, you can wash them in the machine and lay them flat to dry. I accidentally put one sock in the dryer and nothing actually happened. I was worried it would shrink up to 1/4 the original size, but thank goodness it didn’t!

The finished product after a few washes.
My beautiful sock model. What a hunk!

Overall, knitting socks is not that hard. They are pretty quick to make and I’m discovering are a great gift! I will definitely be making more with this pattern. I may try using fingering weight yarn to make a thinner sock.



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