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Easy Striped Socks Pattern for Beginners

Easy Striped Socks Pattern for Beginners

There are many ways to knit socks: You can knit them cuff-down or toe-up, with 2, 4 or 5 needles and there are also different ways of making the heel and shaping the toe. For this pattern, I have selected, in my opinion, the easiest and most beginner-friendly sock knitting techniques.

  • Toe-up: This way it’s easy to have just the right amount of stitches without making a separate swatch. You can also easily optimize the amount of yarn you use.
  • Magic loop method (you knit with two needles): This way you don’t have to worry about dropping or losing needles. With this method, you can also avoid loose stitches between the needles.
  • Afterthought heel: The heel is knitted in the round similarly as you would knit for instance the toe part of your sock. No special techniques such as short rows or picking up an extensive amount of stitches are needed.

Sizes

Sizes

With this pattern, you can make a pair of basic socks of any size. You can make them based on your own measurements or this sock size chart for knitting.

Gauge, notions, needles

Gauge

Recommended gauge for fingering weight socks is between 32 and 42 sts per 4″ (10cm) in stockinette after blocking.

If you want to make a lasting sock your fabric needs to be dense enough. The gauge is, however, a matter of taste and you may also knit with a looser gauge if you prefer softer fabric over more long-lasting sock. A good rule of thumb is that the fabric should not be see-through.

Usually, fabric knitted with wool also relaxes a bit after you have given it a soak and dry so knit rather with a bit too tight gauge than a bit too loose.

Recommended needles

Most common needle sizes that are used to knit fingering weight socks are US 0-1.5 [2-2.5 mm]. If you are a loose knitter you should select a smaller needle size than if you are a tight knitter.

For magic-loop method I recommend you to use 30″ [80cm] or longer circular needles.

If you need help with needle selection please read this guide.

Other

Tapestry needle, measuring tape, scissors, three pieces of scrap yarn

Yarn

Yarn used in the sample

The sample is knitted with Filcolana Arwetta Classic (420m / 100g).

  • C1: Hawaiian sea (no. 224)
  • C2: Aqua (no. 197)

Yardage

Filcolana arwetta classic

  • C1: 1 skein (230 yards / 210m / 50g)
  • C2: 1 skein (230 yards / 210m / 50g)

Or a similar amount of light fingering weight sock yarn 460 yards (420 meters) / 100g 

Recommended yarns

This pattern is great for self-striping yarn.

Here you can find a guide for selecting a good quality yarn for your sock knitting project.

Pattern

The socks in the images have contrasting color heel and toe and they are striped but you can also knit them with one color only which makes the pattern even easier.

1. Calculate Sock Dimensions

Measure your foot circumference: Take the measurement around the ball of your foot, which typically is the largest circumference. Do not include a bunion in this measurement. You should be standing when you measure your foot.

The circumference of my foot is 22cm (8.7″)

Measure your foot length: The easiest way to do this is to place a piece of paper on the ground and then trace around your foot. Make sure that you’re having your full weight on the foot while tracing. If your foot does not fit into one paper, tape two pieces together. Then take your drawing and measure the outline from the back/central part of the heel to the end of the longest toe.

The length of my foot is 23.5cm (9.3″)

If you are not able to measure the circumference or the length of the foot (for instance because you are going to gift the socks) you can use the foot size chart for sock knitting to determine the foot length and average circumference based on shoe size.

Now that you know the measurements of the foot the sock is going to be knitted for you can calculate the dimensions of your sock.

  • Calculate the circumference of your sock: Plain stockinette or ribbed socks should be worn with a little bit of negative ease meaning that the circumference of your sock should be smaller than the circumference of your foot otherwise the sock won’t stay up on the leg. The rule of thumb here is that the sock should have approximately 10% of negative ease. You get this number by multiplying the circumference of your foot with 0.9. 
  • Calculate the foot length of your sock: I recommend you making the sock 10% shorter than the foot in order to avoid sloppy socks. You get this number by multiplying the length of your foot with 0.9. 

For instance:

  • The since circumference of my foot is 22cm which means that the circumference of my sock should be 22cm * 0.9 = 19.8 cm.
  • The length of my foot is 23.5cm which means that the circumference of my sock should be 23.5cm * 0.9 = 21.15cm

Abbreviations

The knitting abbreviations used in this pattern you can find here.

2. Cast on

With Turkish cast-on method CO 16 sts (8 sts / needle).

Knit one round.

You can place a marker at the beginning of the round.

After the cast-on you should have a total of 16 sts.

3. Shaping the toe

Increase round

  • Needle 1: k1, k1fb, k to 2 sts from end, k1fb, k1.
  • Needle 2: Work the same way as Needle 1.

Repeat increases every round 3 more times. You should now have a total of 32 sts.

Now keep on increasing every other round (knit plain stockinette rounds between the increase rounds) until you reach desired sock circumference.

Typically fingering weight women’s sock has 56-68 stitches and men’s sock 64-76 stitches.

Measure the length of your toe and write it down. This measurement is used for calculating the heel placement.

The length of my work after toe shaping is 3cm and I have a total of 60 sts on my work (30 sts / needle)

4. Work the foot

Knit in the round until your work measures

Desired lenght of socks foot - the length of your toe after increases

I recommend making the sock 10% shorter than the foot you are knitting it for.

If you are gifting the socks you can use this size chart for estimating the foot length based on shoe size.

In the sample socks, each stripe is 4 rows but you can knit your socks with one color if you like.

For instance, based on my measurements the length of my sock should be approximately 21cm as calculated before. It means I should be knitting until my work measures 21cm-3cm = 18cm.

5. Place stitches for the heel on a scrap yarn

Needle 1: Using a tapestry needle, insert a strand of yarn into the stitches on Needle 1. This strand of yarn is called a lifeline and it allows you to later unravel the heel opening safely.

Place a lifeline so that it’s easier to unravel the heel stitches later.
  • Needle 1: Take a piece of scrap yarn in a different color and leaving the working yarn aside, use it to k the sts on Needle 2. Then, transfer all those sts back to the left needle (without twisting) and k over the scrap yarn using the working yarn.
  • Needle 2: k all sts.
Knit the stitches on Needle 1 with different color scrap yarn.

Needle 1: Using a tapestry needle, insert a strand of yarn into the stitches on Needle 1.

You have now two lifelines for the heel opening in your work.

Two lifelines and 1 row between them knitted with scrap yarn.

6. Work the cuff

Work until your leg measures 1″ (3cm) less than desired length.

Typical leg measurements below:

  • Kids: 3.5 – 6.5″ [9 – 16.5 cm]
  • Women: 6-8″ [15 – 20 cm]
  • Men: 7-9″ [18 – 23 cm]

Work 1″ (3cm) of 1-by-1 ribbing (knit 1, purl 1) and bind off using some stretchy bind-off method.

The easiest one is the elastic bind-off method as follows:

Work the first two stitches in pattern, then knit those stitches together through the back loop, work the next stitch in pattern and knit the worked stitches together through the back loop.

In the image above the leg measures 12 cm.

7. Make the heel

Remove the waste yarn, placing the live stitches onto two needles. You should now have the same amount of stitches as you had with the body of the sock divided evenly into two needles. You can now remove the lifelines.

Round 1

  • Needle 1: k all, pickup and knit 2 sts between the Needle 1 and Needle 2
  • Needle 2: Work the same way as Needle 1.

See this very helpful video tutorial of how to pick up stitches for an afterthought heel without any gaps or holes.

Heel opening after the scrap yarn has been unravelled.

Knit one round.

Decrease round

  • Needle 1: k1, ssk, k to 3 sts from end, k2tog, k1.
  • Needle 2: Work the same way as Needle 1.

Repeat decreases every other round until you have a total of 32 sts (16 sts per needle) remaining. Now decrease every round until you have a total of 16 sts (8 sts per needle) remaining.

Break the yarn leaving approximately 12″ inc (30cm) tail. Close the heel using the Kitchener stitch. If the Kitchener stitch is not familiar technique please see this tutorial.

After the decreases are done.

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