Constructing a sock

In order to enjoy sock knitting, it helps to understand the basic components that go into creating a sock and how you might be able to make adjustments to the patterns to get a better fit. Don't be afraid to try socks on as you knit them and make any necessary adjustments, such as knitting more rows if you want them to be a little longer.

t'rojca 19 (above) ¡s kniticd on uro necdlcs, I so ilic Inri ¡s 'iiiniat' using slwrl-rou> shaping. Tlic Inri o/a sock tlial is knilicd ¡11 thv round (bclow left) is cretued by working <i lieel flap ¡tí rows, ilicn 'lurnin<¡' llic bollom ofthe Iwclflap and Jitmlly resutuint> workiiitf in rounds for ihe remainder of tlie sock.

The leg

This usually has an edging at the top, such as rib, and can be long or short, depending on whether you are knitting ankle or knee socks.

Terminology

It is worth looking at a basic sock and familiarizing yourself with the terminology used to describe its various components.

The leg

This usually has an edging at the top, such as rib, and can be long or short, depending on whether you are knitting ankle or knee socks.

Terminology

It is worth looking at a basic sock and familiarizing yourself with the terminology used to describe its various components.

The foot

This is exactly what it sounds like and is generally worked until it is about 4cm (l'/in) shorter than the desireti length, to allow some stretch in the sock for a snug fit.

The heel

For most people, working the heel is the most daunting part of sock knitting, but it does not need to be. Once you have made your first pair of socks, you will soon learn I how straightforward they really are. When knitting a sock on two needles, the heel is constructed by working in short rows. This | causes the sock to bend, thereby creating a heel. When working in the round using either double-pointed or circular needles, the heel flap is the only part of the sock that is worked backwards and forwards in rows. The bottom of the heel is then 'turned* from the back ofthe sock to the bottom using short-row shaping. In most projects, the heels are worked plainly, with attention focused on the stitch pattern in the leg and foot sections - ideal for newcomers to sock knitting.

The toe

This is shaped either by decreasing stitches at both sides of the foot if knitting the sock from the top down, or by increasing stitches if working from the toe up. The toe seam can be finished in various ways, such as grafting or oversewing the seam.

The gusset

This is the part of the sock that joins the turned heel to the rest ofthe sock, allowing you to complete the foot. By picking up and knitting stitches down each side of the heel flap and then returning to working in rounds, you incorporate the heel stitches with the stitches being held on the other double-pointed needles or on the cord of the circular needle to create the gusset. This needs to be shaped by decreasing until you arrive at the number of stitches originally cast on.

Constructing a sock

Reinforcing heels

The more socks are enjoyed and worn, the more they are likely to wear out, particularly in areas like the heels. For this reason, it is sometimes necessary to reinforce the heels and there are a number of ways of doing this.

Using a special heel stitch

Some of the projects in this book use techniques like slipping or working into the back of stitches alternated with normally knitted stitches. This 'heel stitch' creates a denser fabric that stands up better to frequent wearing and washing. The type of heel stitch varies from project to project.

Using reinforcement yarn

When using yarns not specifically designed for sock knitting that may not be as durable as a special sock yarn, try knitting a wool/ synthetic blend yarn in a matching colour together with the main yarn just in the heel area to create a harder-wearing fabric there. You can buy reinforcement yarns designed specially for this purpose.

TIP: ADJUSTING THE SIZE

If you are new to knitting socks, it is best to make a couple of pairs to get to grips with how they are constructed before trying to adjust the size. Once you are more confident, you can easily adjust the length of the leg or foot of a sock by working more or fewer rows. Just remember to keep any pattern or shaping correct.

To adjust the circumference of a sock, you need to adjust the number of stitches. Measure around the ankle, just on the joint. Knit a test tension swatch and multiply the ankle measurement by the number of stitches per centimetre or inch in the tension swatch. Then round up or down to the nearest whole number. This is the number of stitches you should be working with at that point in the pattern, so adjust accordingly.

Project 1.1 is knitted oil two needles and the heel worked using short-row shaping.
Project IH is knitted on a circular needle and the heel is reinforced by working it in a twisted slip-stitcli pattern.
Project 16 can be knitted on either double-pointed needles or a circular needle. The heel flap is the only part of the sock worked in roii's, with the rest being knitted in the round.
Project 20 is worked on double-pointed needles and the heel is reinforced by working it in a slip-stitcli and k2tog pattern.

Finishing

Now that you have completed your project, you hare come to the task that a lot of knitters hate — sewing in ends, blocking and steaming, and sewing seams. Having knitted a project with such care, take your time. There are many finishing tips and techniques; the ones described here will help you with the projects in this hook.

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