Knitting Pattern for Simple Socks
I use size 2 or 2-1/2 dp needles for typical 4-ply sock yarn, with great success. Some people use a little smaller, and some use a little larger, but the pattern of the yarn works well with 2-1/2 or 2. If you knit loosely don't go over a size 2!
Make sure you start both socks from the same area of the color pattern in the ball, if you want both feet to match fairly exactly. Start knitting from either the outside of the ball, or use center pull (if you can get it to work). Either way, make sure you do both feet from either outside or inside of the ball, not one foot from the outside or one from the inside.
I find knitting socks much easier than doing sweaters. If you only read one step at a time, and do that step before going on to the next, it shouldn't be too confusing.
Here is a simple pattern for women's socks, fairly easy to change for bigger or smaller feet. It is primarily the same as Celia Quinn's Boot Socks pattern in Jan/Feb 1989 Spin-Off magazine, adapted to work with trendsetting current patterned yarns.
Cast on 60 sts and transfer to 3 needles; join without twisting the stitches.
Do the ribbing: k1, p1 ribbing for about 1.5² , or if you want, do k2 p2 ribbing. You don't want to rib too much or the yarn design gets lost.
Knit the leg: Knit in stockinette to the overall height you want the leg to be above your ankle. 7 inches is pretty safe. Be careful to make sure you don't make the sock too long, which could cause you to run out of yarn. Once you get some practice you'll know how long you can make your socks without running out.
Make the heel flap: At this point you'll divide your stitches onto 2 needles. One of these needles will hold the heel, the other the instep stitches. To knit the heel, slip every other stitch on the knit row (slip 1, knit 1, repeat) and then purl on the back side. For neat edges that can be picked up easily later, slip the first stitch and purl the last stitch of each row of the heel flap. Knit the heel flat until it is 2-1/2 " long, to reach the base of your heel.
Turn the heel: Knit half of the stitches on the heel flap, then decrease as follows: SSK (slip 1 as if to knit, slip 1 as if to knit, insert left needle from left to right through the fronts of these same stitches, and knit together), K1, turn. Purl 2 (until you get to the gap caused by the decrease), then decrease - P2 together, P1, turn. Knit to gap (K4), SSK, K1, turn. Purl to gap (P6), P2 together, P1, turn, and continue in this manner until all the stitches on the heel flap have been used, which means that the heel turning is complete. End with a knit row, and then pick up and knit stitches along the heel flap. There are various obvious stitches to pick up, as long as you slipped the first stitch and purled the last stitch of each row on the heel flap. Picking up approximately 15 stitches on each side works well. Once you have picked up the stitches on one side, knit the stitches that have been held for the front (instep) of the sock, then pick up and knit the same number of stitches along the heel flap that you picked up on the other side.
Now you need to decrease enough extra stitches to end up with the original number of stitches that you started with (60 in this case). Decreases are done on either side of the stitches for the front of the sock. Decreasing one stitch on each side every row until you get back to 60 works well. On the right side, two stitches before you reach the front needle, K2 together. Knit the stitches on the front needle, then at the beginning of the left needle, SSK.
When you are back to 60 stitches, knit in stockinette again until the sock reaches to the base of your big toe (for size 7 shoe size, about 7" is a good length).
Toe Decrease: At this point you will need to decrease two stitches at either side of the front stitches, until 20 stitches remain. Start decreasing on the needle to the right of the front stitches. Knit to within three stitches of the end of the needle, then K2 together, K1. Then do a decrease at the beginning of the front needle by K1, SSK. Knit to within 3 stitches of the end of the needle. K2 together, K1. Decrease at the beginning of the 3rd needle with SSK.Knit the next round and every other round plain.
Grafting the Toe: When you have 20 stitches left, put them on two needles, half on the front and half on the back. Be sure your yarn is on the right edge of the stitches. Break yarn, leaving a long tail. There are many excellent webpages with instructions showing how to do the kitchener stitch. Here is one of them: http://www.software4knitting.com/psockwizard/WebHelp/sock_knitting_techniques/cuff_to_toe/kitchener_stitch.htm
Feel free to print out this sock pattern for your own personal use, but please do not distribute it on the internet, on the web or via email.
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