Back on sock making. It’s Socktober and a great time to pick up a sock that’s been waiting for you to finish it or to start sock making. In part 2 I was talking about how to cast on your sock. Once you’ve got your sock joined in the round – making sure the yarn isn’t twisted you are ready to go.
The tops of socks need to be a little bit stretchy – they need to grab onto your leg and not just slide down in. So nearly every sock top is some form of rib. My two favourites are variations on a 2 x 2 rib. The most basic one is knit 2, then purl 2 for a set number of rows. My second favourite is a k2tbl (knit two stitches through the back of the loop) and then purl two.
The blue top in the picture above is a straight knit 2, purl 2 rib.
Different types of ribbing
Sock patterns can be great at telling you exactly what they are doing and others leave it a bit in the air. You can do a 1 x 1 rib, a 2 x 2 rib or a 3 x 3 rib. Much bigger and you aren’t going to get the stretch you want. But you could also do a 2 x 3 to mix it up a bit for example. If you don’t like the rib at the top of the pattern you are using – change it. There is nothing to stop a sock knitter from moving to a preferred rib.
How long should the rib go on for? Well it depends on sock length and also personal preference. If I am doing an ankle sock I will do 6 – 10 rib rounds. If I am doing a sock where the leg part is 7 – 9 inches (18 – 23 cm) then my preference is for 15 ribbed rounds. But you can get away with 10 or 20.
There are also special socks where you fold down the rib pattern – doubling what you would normally knit. It’s incredibly customizable!
Once you’ve done the top of your sock you are ready to start your leg pattern or just happily knit a vanilla sock (knit all stitches) giving you a stocking stitch sock. This is particularly effective with a self-striping yarn as it looks great and you didn’t have to think about it at all. You can see this below in a straight 2 x 2 rib going straight into a vanilla (stocking stitch) stripe.
In part four – sock heels!
To start from the beginning – click the link below