Introduction to Sock Knitting (Part 1)

Casting On

Casting on for two socks at once is the trickiest part of the whole undertaking – but be reassured that once you’re underway it’s really straightforward. The video shows you how to do this – like this:

Our basic number of stitches to cast on is 68 – this tends to work well for most folks for this type of yarn and this size of needles. Of course, once you’ve made your first pair you can tell whether the socks are too big, too small, or just right – and adjust your stitches accordingly.

To knit two socks at once you need two balls of yarn – one for each socks. You basically have two projects on the go at the same time, knitting across one half of both before moving on to the other half of both. If your yarn came in two 50g balls, you’re good to go. If it came in one 100g ball you need to divide that into two balls first: wind half of it into another ball. If you want to be really precise about it you can weigh your yarn to make sure both balls are c. 50g. 

This is how ‘two socks at once’ works: 

The arrows are the points of your needles. The two socks sit next to each other, so to set this up you cast on half of the stitches for sock one, all the stitches for sock two, and the other half of the stitches for sock one. Like this:

Be sure to cast on somewhat loosely so the cuff isn’t too tight, otherwise you might have trouble getting it over your heel, or it might cut into your leg. If you find it difficult to cast on loosely, try casting on with needles that are a size larger than those you are going to knit with. First, cast on the red stitches – 34 of of them, half the total stitches. Then cast on the pink stitches, 68 of them. Then cast on the yellow stitches, 34 of them. You can see in the graphic that you use the same ball of yarn for the red and yellow stitches, and your second ball for the pink stitches. You’ll continue this setup for the rest of the socks, too – knit the pink stitches, knit the red stitches, knit the yellow stitches, etc. etc. 

This is much easier to understand if you watch the video and watch me do it! It is a bit fiddly to set up but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Here is what it looks like with actual stitches on the needles: 

It is easy to get your yarn tangled and your stitches, too, so be extra careful to keep them all facing the same way. If you turn your work the same way all the time your yarns will tangle, so it is a good idea to turn it one way halfway through the red stitches, and the opposite way at the end of the yellow stitches.

Knitting the Cuff 

Any ribbing pattern is appropriate for cuffs like these, but my favourite – and the one I’m showing you in the video – is a 1×1 twisted rib. I like this because it looks nice – the twisting helps to define the ribs – but also because I find it holds up well. But you can knit any pattern you like. I would recommend a cuff of about an inch, though – again – this is up to you. Whatever you prefer. To knit a twisted rib like I’m doing in the video, knit the first stitch through the back loop, and purl the next stitch. That’s your basic pattern: knit one through the back loop, purl one. Repeat this until your work measures an inch – or until it reaches the length of cuff you desire. 

Click on this image to progress to the next tutorial:

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