Thursday 21 December 2017

New Model Sock ...

I've been working on my basic sock pattern, and I've made a few tweaks: I've introduced Kitchener toes and Dutch heels.

You can find my other sock patterns here: snuggly socks and here: spring into summer socks.

And to knit these socks I've used 4 ply sock wool (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon) that I dyed using logwood chips. You can read more about my logwood dye vat here: All the Purples.

To better explain what I'm up to I've prepared this photo showing the different parts of a sock:

The cuff

Cast on 60 stitches using 4 ply wool and 2.5 mm double pointed needles.
Share the stitches equally between three needles - i.e. with 20 stitches per needle. Join the circle so that the sock may be knit in the round. Remember that you knit from right to left so you need to join the circle to knit clockwise going around the circle. Be careful not to get any twists between the needles when you join.

If you wish to make your socks larger or smaller you can cast on a greater or lesser number of stitches. Just make sure that your total number of stitches is a multiple of 6 for this pattern to work.

Row 1: *Knit 2, purl 2*. Repeat from * to * all the way round.
Repeat row 1 until the cuff of the sock is the desired length - about 4cm for my taste.

The leg

When you've knit the cuff, continue with knit stitch only until the leg of the sock (including the cuff) measures 15 cm.

The heel

From this point onwards we must distinguish between the 30 heel stitches and the 30 instep stitches. For the purpose of making the heel only the 30 heel stitches are worked. The instep stitches get a rest whilst the heel is being worked. They do not get worked whilst we work on the heel. We'll work them again on the other side of the heel.

Row 1: Knit 2, *slip 1, knit 1*. Repeat from * to * until you have worked a total of 30 stitches. Turn. N.B: you will work the heel flap back and forth in the flat.
Row 2: *Slip 1, purl to the end of the row.
Row 3: *Slip 1, Knit 1*. Repeat from * to * to the end of the row.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until the flap measures 5 cm (2").

Now we need to turn the heel. The idea here is to use short-row shaping to create the little pouch that will cushion the underside of the heel. This is structured so that one third of the stitches in the centre are worked all the time, with each row picking up an extra stitch from the third of unworked stitches at each side on the turn of the short rows. I'll set out the exact stitch numbers for my 60 stitch standard sock below, but if you're trying to work out the maths for a different sock stitch combination, just keep that principle in mind.

Row 1: slip 1, purl 16, purl 2 together, purl 1 and turn (i.e. you finish the row before you finish all the stitches and start knitting back the other way ignoring the 10 unworked stitches on the right needle).
Row 2: slip 1, knit 5, slip 2 stitches knit-wise from the left needle to the right needle, and then insert the left needle into the front of them both and knit them together (SSK), knit 1 and turn.
Row 3: slip 1, purl 6, purl 2 together, purl 1 and turn.
Row 4: slip 1, knit 7, SSK, knit 1, turn.

Carry on in this way picking up one extra stitch each time to work the decrease stitches (SSK/ Knit 2 together) until you have worked in all the stitches from the edges of the row. You should finish on a knit row with 18 stitches on the needle.

The Gusset

We now need to pick up stitches along the sides of the heel flap where those slip 1 stitches with which each row of the heel flap was commenced have given you an exaggerated stitch along each edge of the flap. This makes the business of picking up stitches all the easier.

Using a new needle, Pick up 16 stitches on the left side of the heel, knit across the instep, being careful to pull the tension tight on the first stitch of the instep needle. With another new needle, pick up another 16 stitches on the other side of the heel flap.

I now work with 4 live needles: needle 1 for the heel stitches, needle 2 for the picked up stitches to the left of the heel flap, needle 3 for the instep and needle 14 for the picked up stitches to the right of the heel flap.

Row 1: needle 1 heel stitches: knit, needle 2: knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1, needle 3: knit across the instep stitches, needle 4: knit 1, SSK, knit to the end of needle.
Row 2: knit all needles.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 60 stitches: i.e. 18 stitches on needle 1 (back of heel), 6 stitches on needle 2 (left heel flap picked-up stitches), 30 stitches across needle 3 (instep) and 6 stitches on needle 4 (right heel flap picked-up stitches).

Now return to using 3 needles. i.e. next row knit around to needle 4, and on needle 4 knit 6 needle 4 stitches together with 9 stitches from needle 1 (back of heel) onto the same new needle, knit the second 9 stitches from needle 1 (back of heel) onto another new needle along with the 6 stitches from needle 2 (left heel flap picked-up stitches), and keep 30 instep stitches from needle 3 intact. In this way you will have two needles of 15 stitches for the left and right heel with a third needle of 30 instep stitches.

I'm making a fuss about getting the stitches on the correct needles so that when you come to shaping the toes, the toe shaping will work symmetrically at the sides of the toes. If you don't keep this stitch configuration your toe shaping will work at random angles, which just won't look right.

Carry on knitting until your work is about 5 cm short of the total length that you would like the sock foot to measure.

Shape the toes.

Row 1: decrease row - you will lose a total of 4 stitches on this row.
Needle 1: knit to last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1. Needle 2: knit 1, SSK, knit to the last 3 stitches, k 2 together, knit 1. Needle 3: Knit 1, SSK, knit to the end of the needle.
Row 2: knit.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until there are 32 stitches left in total. After this point repeat, only row 1 until there are 12 stitches in total.

When you have 12 stitches, divide them evenly between two needles and finish the toe with a Kitchener seam. You can find an explanation of how to sew a Kitchener seam towards the end of the pattern here.

Congratulations: you've just knit a sock. And now you need to do it all again to knit a second one.

All the best,

Bonny x


  1. How lovely to be able to design your own socks and custom-dye your yarn. I’ve never knitted socks, but I hope to rectify this some time soon (when I’m not in the middle of numerous other knitting projects). Marie x

  2. Just stopping by to wish you and your family a very happy Christmas. Marie x