If you want to learn how to knit socks, but it seems intimidating, start small. The hardest part of sock knitting is often understanding the shaping and construction. By the end of this project, you’ll have it down pat and your fear of sock knitting will be gone!
Your finished sock will be the size for a baby, and you can knit another sock if you like. Even if you don’t knit this for someone, it’s a good sample project to learn a few skills.
Equipment / Tools
- 1 pair of scissors
- 1 yarn needle
- 1 ruler or tape measure
- 1 US double-pointed needles No. 7 (set of 4)
- 1 piece worsted weight yarn, about 20 yards
Cast on and Join in Round
To begin, cast on 20 stitches on one needle.
- Distribute the stitches on three of the four needles.
- Slip the stitches to the end of the needle, starting with the first cast-on stitch.
- Slip 7 stitches one at a time onto another needle.
- Place the next 6 stitches on a third needle.
When the stitches are evenly spaced, join the work in rounds.
- Place the first cast-on stitch on the needle with the last cast-on stitch.
- Slip the last stitch over the first stitch and onto the last needle.
At this point, you can slide a stitch holder onto the needle to mark the end of the row. Or you can note where the tail of your cast on is; This is the end of the row.
Knit the Ribbing
Work in knit 1, purl 1 ribbing for 4 rounds.
Use the fourth needle to work across the stitches on one needle. After that needle is empty, use it to work across the next needle, and so on.
If you’re new to double-pointed needles, you might need to knit a little slower than usual. Once you’ve knit a couple of rounds, the work will begin to flow and feel much more stable.
Knit the Leg
Knit one inch each round. If you are knitting in rounds, each row is knit in plain right.
The leg is the part of the sock that often has interesting stitch patterns or incorporated cables. But if you are learning for the first time, the simple stockinette makes it easier to get started.
Knit the Heel Flap
There are several methods of knitting a heel, but one of the most common is to use a heel flap and then “turn the heel”.
- Knit the first 10 stitches of the round on one needle.
- To make it easier, slip the other 10 stitches onto one needle and let them hang while you work the other stitches.
Knit the heel flap with a two row repeat:
- Row 1 (back): Knit the first stitch with the yarn in front purl, knit the remaining stitches purl.
- Row 2: Knit the first stitch with the yarn to the back and knit the remaining stitches right.
- Repeat these two rows 4 more times until you have knitted a total of 10 rows, ending on the knit side.
Turn the Heel
Turning the heel is a common method for holding the shell that your heel sits in when you wear the sock. This method uses short rows, turning the work over and knitting back over the stitches you just knitted, without knitting over the entire row.
As before, lift the stitches with the yarn in front to the left.
- Row 1: Slip 1, purl 5, purl 2 together, purl one. Turn the work, leaving one stitch unworked.
- Row 2: Slip 1, purl 3 stitches, slip, slip, knit (SSK), purl 1 stitch. Turn the work and leave one stitch unworked.
- Row 3: 1 Turn the work. There are no unworked stitches.
- Row 4: Slip 1, knit 4, SSK. There are no unworked stitches. Six stitches remain on the needle.
Pick Up Stitches and Divide Them Again
The gusset of a sock knits the leg stitches and the heel stitches back together. It shapes the sock to fit around the heel and the top of the foot.
- Take an empty needle and pick up six stitches on the side of the heel flap and knit them. The stitches should be easy to find as they are the picked up stitches along the edge of the heel flap.
- Use another needle to knit over the 10 stitches on the leg that you did not work when making the heel flap.
- Use the new blank needle to pick up six stitches and knit along the second side of the heel flap. Knit three of the stitches from the heel itself.
- Slip the last three stitches of the heel onto the needle with the first stitches picked up. Use the new empty needle and knit the three stitches lifted together with the first stitches picked up.
Work the Gusset
The stitches from the leg are on needle 1, the next needle is needle 2, and the needle you just finished knitting is needle 3.
Now it’s time to form the gusset.
- First row: Knit over the first needle. Knit 1 SSK on the second needle and knit to the end of the needle. On the third needle, knit to within 3 stitches of the end of the row, knit two together,and knit the last stitch.
- Row 2: Knit each stitch.
- Repeat these two rows until you have five stitches on each of the second and third needles; 20 stitches total.
Knit the Foot
When you have formed the gusset and are back to 20 stitches, knit each stitch in each round for another inch. This will make the foot part of the sock.
Knit the Sock Toe
Now form the top of the sock. As before, the stitches on the top of the sock are on needle one, followed by needle two and needle three.
- Row 1: On needle one knit 1 SSK to the last three stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1 stitch. On needle two, knit 1 SSK and knit to the end. On needle 3, knit right to last three stitches, knit 2 stitches together, knit 1 stitch right.
- Row 2: Knit each stitch.
- Row 3: Repeat row 1. You have 12 stitches left.
- Slip the stitches from needle two to needle three so that you have two needles with 6 stitches each.
Finish the Sock
To finish the sock, practice the common method of closing a sock known as grafting or Kitchener stitch. Weave in the ends.