I live in Arkansas, so you'd think there wouldn't be much call for bulky knee socks, but I had some Lopi hanging out in the shoe holder that's now a yarn holder on the closet door in my office, and for some reason I decided it needed to be socks. My feet are pretty much always cold, so it's not that much of a stretch.
As you might imagine, these socks are very warm, perfect for the coldest night nature can throw at you. If you have some shoes that are a little loose, you can also wear them out of the house -- mine are long enough that just the ribbing peeks out over my favorite pair of boots.
- 3 skeins of Reynolds Lopi or about 265 yards of bulky yarn of your choice
- set of 4 size 13 US (9mm) and 11 US (8mm) double-pointed knitting needles
- tape measure, scissors and yarn needle
About 10 stitches and 15 rounds per 4 inches on larger needles (2.5 stitches and 3.75 rounds per inch)
Finished sock is 14 inches long on leg, 12 inches around the top, about 9 inches at ankle and with a foot that's 8 inches long. To fit an average woman's foot with a smallish calf. (See below the pattern for sizing options.)
Knitting the Sock Leg:
- Using larger needles, cast on 30. Divide evenly onto 3 needles and join in round.
- Work in knit 1, purl 1 ribbing for 2 inches.
- Switch to Stockinette Stitch (knit every round) and work 4 rounds.
- Decrease 1 stitch in the next round and knit 3 rounds even. Repeat these 4 rounds 8 more times. 21 stitches.
Working the Heel:
- Switch to smaller needles and knit across 10 stitches. Place remaining stitches on a holder or just let them hang out on the needles. Work back and forth on these 10 stitches for the heel.
- Slip 1, purl across.
- *Slip 1, knit 1. Repeat from * across.
- Repeat these 2 rows 4 times, then repeat the purl row again.
- Slip 1, knit 6, knit 2 together, knit 1.
- Slip 1, purl 5, purl 2 together, purl 1. 8 stitches.
Picking Up Stitches and Working the Gusset:
- Knit across the heel stitches again. With an empty needle, pick up and knit stitches along the side of the heel flap (I picked up 9). With another empty needle, knit across the 11 held stitches, which will make up the top of the foot. With a third needle, pick up and knit stitches from the other side of the heel flap and knit 4 stitches from the heel. The back of the heel is now the end of the round. Slip the remaining heel stitches onto the needle with the other heel flap stitches so you have 3 needles with stitches on them and 1 empty to knit with. 37 stitches.
- Next round, knit to within 3 stitches of the end of needle 1, k2tog, knit 1. Knit across second needle. On third needle, knit 1, slip, slip, knit, knit to end.
- Next round, knit.
- Repeat these 2 rounds until 21 stitches remain.
Knitting the Foot:
- Knit 1 round. On the next round, decrease 1 stitch from the top of the foot stitches. 20 stitches.
- Work even until foot measures about 6 inches from back of heel.
- Knit to 3 stitches from end of first needle, k2tog, knit 1. Second needle, knit 1, ssk, knit to 3 stitches from end, k2tog, knit 1. Third needle, knit 1, ssk, knit to end.
- Knit 1 round and repeat decrease round. Repeat those 2 rounds again. 8 stitches.
- Knit across 2 remaining heel stitches on first needle using the third needle (so all heel stitches are on one needle and all top-of-foot stitches are on one needle.
- Cut yarn, leaving a long tail for grafting, or simply slip the stitches off the needles onto the yarn and pull tight.
- Weave in ends.
Make a second sock in the same manner.
Changing the Sizing:
Making socks that fit gets more complicated when you're working with knee socks because we all have different calf sizes that don't correspond to having bigger or smaller feet.
If you need a bigger or smaller calf size for the top of the sock, figure out your gauge and multiply the number of stitches per inch by the number of inches your sock needs to be around, remembering that socks need to be slightly smaller than the actual calf measurement (mine is 13 inches, for example, while my sock is 12 inches around).
Remember, also, that you need an even number of stitches for the ribbing.
Then determine how many stitches you need at the ankle in the same way and figure out how many stitches you need to decrease in what length (I had 12 inches to decrease 9 stitches, so after the first inch I decreased 1 stitch about every inch). If your calf is bigger you will need to decrease more often to get to the ankle size you need.
The switch to the smaller needles further tightens up the knitting, which is necessary for the sock to wear better. If you plan to wear these as boot socks, you might also want to work some nylon reinforcing yarn into the heel and toe of your socks so they'll stand up to even more abuse.