Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sock Knitting 101 - Sock Knit Along Part 1

Welcome back to Lilly My Cat.  Do you have your yarn and needles ready to start our sock knit along?  If so, then let's start....

**********UPDATE***********After I wrote this post, I changed the size of the sock and did an initial cast on of 44 stitches; 11 stitches on each needle.  I hope this hasn't confused everyone.  Sorry.

As you know, we will be knitting these socks in the "round" using double pointed needles (DPNs).  So, please mark the end of your row with a stitch marker so that you can keep track of where you are in the pattern. If you missed the intro you can find it here

Cast On:
Depending upon what pattern you have decided to use, you will be casting on your stitches over 4 needles.  I am using 6 ply yarn and I am going  to cast on 48 stitches over four needles, hence 12 stitches on each needle.  Please do not cast on your stitches too tight.  They should have even tension throughout all the cast on stitches.
 Here is a photo of needle one with 12 stitches cast on.  The "tail" is to the right of the photo.

Here is needle 2 with 12 stitches cast on. Do you see how I staggered the needles and bound them together with scrap yarn at the bottom?  This way my needles stay in place and my cast on stitches do not get twisted....

Here is needle 3 after 12 stitches have been cast on.  I added needle three to the other needles and wound my scrap yarn around the base of the needle to keep it in place.

Finally, here is needle 4 with the 12 cast on stitches.  Again, I secured this needle with the scrap yarn at the bottom.  Your "live" yarn is at the end of Needle 4 (along with the leftover tail yarn).

Count your stitches and be sure you have the correct number on each needle.  Note:  If you are doing the worsted weight yarn pattern, you may have 40 or 44 total stitches with 10 or 11 stitches on each needle.

Carefully unwind the scrap yarn and put each needle into the shape as shown below.  Please do not twist any needle or else your stitches will be twisted.

This is how it should look before you slide the stitches on the needles to their correct position to knit....

Now, let see how it looks....

We are now going to knit the first row of the ribbed cuff.  We will pick up the "live" yarn that ended at Needle 4 and use it to knit the first stitch from Needle 1; thus connecting the needles.  We are going to be knitting in the round.  Tip:  I take the leftover of my cast on tail yarn and tie it into a bow.  This way I won't get confused and use it to knit with.

Now we are going to join these needles together.  Remember, there is no yarn between needle 4 (on the right) and needle 1 (in the bottom of the picture).  So, we are going to make the first "knit" stitch into the first cast on stitch of needle one.  Tip:  Your live yarn ended at the end of Needle 4 so you're going to insert your needle into the first stitch on Needle 1 and bring the live yarn over the needle and finish the stitch.  Be sure to keep the tension of the yarn tight on this first stitch since you don't want any holes....

We are now going to knit the first row of the cuff.  The cuff is usually always knit in a  rib pattern to allow for elasticity.  I am doing a "k 1, p 1" ribbing pattern for the cuff.  Repeat each row of this ribbing pattern until the desired length of the cuff. 

You will continue to knit and purl each stitch all the way around Needles 1 through 4.  At the end of Needle 4, place a marker.  As you can see, I use a safety pin.  This reminds you that this is the end of the row.  The photo above shows how your first row should look.  You can see that there are no twists in the cast on stitches.

 Here's a photo after I have knit all the rows for the ribbing.  My cuff is approximately 1 1/4" or 10 rows (using 6 ply yarn).

You will now begin knitting the leg.  Knit each stitch for every row until the leg measures approximately 7" from cast on edge.  I knitted 43 rows.  You can add more rows if you want the sock to be longer.
Halfway done knitting the leg....

Completed leg of sock.......

This completes Part 1 of the Sock Knit Along.  I hope I haven't gotten confused.  The nice thing about socks is that you can adjust the size as you go along; i.e., the length of the leg, the length of the foot.  Sometime, I "try on" the sock as I'm knitting it to see if the size is correct.

SOCK SIZE:  I just want to share a couple of pointers for correct sizing.
1.  I knitted a pair of socks with worsted weight yarn on size 4 needles.  The pattern said to cast on 44 stitches but I cast on 40 stitches to fit a US woman's shoe size 7.
2.  For the 6 ply socks, please do not cast on too tight.  You might want to go up a needle size for the cast on and first row of the ribbing.  I made a second pair of 6 ply socks using a size 6 needle for the cast on and first row of the ribbing and then changed to a size 4 needle.  I cast on 44 stitches for a US woman's size 7 shoe size.  I hope this helps you.  But, of course all of us knit with different tension.

Part II:
On February 15th, I will post Part 2 of the sock knit along.  We will be doing the heel flap, turning the heel, and gussets.

If you have a question, please feel free to contact me via the comments and I will try my best to answer you.  And, feel free to add a link to show a picture of your sock progress.

Until next time, happy sock knitting :)


P.S.  Lilly insisted that I share this week's photo of her.  She loves all the attention she receives via this blog.....

I am joining the Yarn Along today over at Small Things


  1. very handy- will use this when i knit my first pair! thanks for sharing look forward to part 2 :)

    1. Oh, I do hope you will knit a pair one day! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by.

  2. That's a beautiful photo of Lilly! I'm disappointed not to see where her sock is up to though :-) I like your tip about attaching the DPNs together whilst you're casting on, it's always very fiddly until you get going xx

    1. I like that! Lilly said she's a bit behind in her knitting this week.....and I was too since I posted this before adding all my pictures! Hopefully it's fixed now...Have a wonderful week:)

  3. What a great idea to have a sock knit along - still too intimidating to have go though!!

  4. No I know I would get in such a muddle with 4 needles, hard enough with 2 but looking good

  5. I love your clear pictures and tips for casting on. One day I'm going to give it a try but it looks a little complex for me right now.

  6. Thanks for a wonderful tutorial with such clear pictures and it's always lovely to see a photo of the gorgeous Lilly xxx

  7. What a great tutorial but it looks so complicated, my stitches would be falling off all over the place. lol! xx

  8. Lily sure is a beautiful cat - and she knows it!
    I used to knit socks like this as a little girl. Mum knitted all dad´s socks and she taught me. I´m not sure I could remember how to turn a heel though. I did it by dividing my stitches between three needles so there was always an empty one to knit on to. But that is much the same as you really. I look forward to seeing nyour finished product. Kate x

  9. Wow! I always want to try this! What a great explanation! Now I'm following you :) Thank you for sharing!
    Lilly is a wonderful kitten! A big kiss to Lilly!
    Hope you have a wonderful day!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  10. I enjoyed perusing your blog, and will be back. I do know how to knit, and have made a fair amount of socks; but now I seem to focus more on sewing. I always thought I will go back to knitting when my eyes are too far gone to do close-up work!! Sally

  11. Wow you are amazing! Thats looks complicated and yet you are making it! Dropping by from

  12. Woah! That looks so complex. I love the way knitted pieces look but I can barely comfortably hold the two to work up a ruffle scarf, let alone 4. Props to you! Can't wait to see the finished pair of socks.
    I would love if you shared that at our Yarn Fanatic Linky Party -
    Don't forget to enter the Yarn Giveaway while you're there!

  13. Funny, I am knitting a sock right now! I also learned to cast onto three needles like you shared when I knit my first socks.
    Lily is pretty, and I think she knows it.
    Thanks for your comment, you should read the book.

  14. I love how there are so many ways to get the same result! I do my socks every so slightly differently----but you would never know!!! Nice tutorial....and so kind of you to take the time to illustrate it so well. (Certainly slows down the knitting time!!!!!!!) :)


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