Last night we held our first Baby Socks class and turned two knitters into sock enthusiasts. If you ever want to feel clever, just turn a heel – it is knitting magic. If you’re new to sock knitting, baby socks are a great place to start because they’ll teach you all the basics of top-down sock knitting, in an adorable little package. Additionally, even small skeins of fingering weight yarn are big enough to knit at least three socks, meaning you’ll have enough yardage for a learning sock and then a full pair. If you’re already a sock knitter, baby socks offer all the joys of sock knitting, but really, really fast. They’re a great gift, an easy item to have on hand for any babies you know (or are expecting), and a tonne of fun to knit.
Here’s how we make them:
(To make larger or smaller socks, simply go up or down a needle size.)
Materials: approximately 175 yards fingering weight yarn (we love Koigu for these), double-pointed needles size 2.25 mm (or size to get gauge of 8 stitches = 1 inch), stitch marker, darning needle
k – knit
sl – slip
st – stitch
ssk- slip two stitches (without knitting them) one at a time, as if to knit, from left needle to right needle, insert the left needle into the front of these two stitches and knit them together
tog – together
Cuff and leg
1. Cast 40 stitches using the long-tail cast-on onto one needle. Divide the stitches evenly between the three needles (14, 14, 12). Join in the round, being careful not to twist.
2. Work 5 rounds of k1 p1 rib (this keeps the top stretchy and straight)
3. Knit until work is 1.5 inches long (or as long as desired for leg of sock).
Divide for heel
1. Knit half the stitches onto one needle (20). Without knitting them, divide the remaining instep stitches over the other two needles.
2. Using just the heel stitches, work back and forth as follows:
Row 1 (WS): sl 1, p19
Row 2 (RS): sl 1, k19
Follow this pattern for 15 more rows (17 rows worked in total). At the end, you should be ready to work a knit row.
This will sound/feel weird at first, but once you’ve done a couple of rows, it will make sense.
Row 1: sl 1, k 10, ssk, k 1, turn
Row 2: sl 1, p 3, p2tog, p 1, turn
Row 3: sl 1, k 4, ssk, k1, turn
Row 4: sl 1, p 5, p2tog, p 1, turn
Row 5: sl 1, k 6, ssk, k 1, turn
Row 6: sl 1, p7, p2tog, p 1, turn
Row 7: sl 1, k 8, ssk, k1, turn
Row 8: sl 1, p 9, p2tog, p1, turn
The heel is turned! There should now be 12 sts on the heel needle. Slip all the instep stitches onto one needle
1. Knit across half (6) heel stitches. Using a new needle, knit across the remaining heel stitches (the beginning of the round is now between these needles, at the bottom of the foot).
2. Using the same needle (needle 1), pick up and knit 9 stitches – go under the legs of your slipped stitches, which probably look like wide, sloppy V’s.
3. Using a new needle (needle 2), knit across the instep stitches.
4. Using another needle (needle 3), pick up and knit 9 stitches along the side of the heel flap and then knit across half the heel stitches.
5. Your stitch count should now break down thusly:
Needle 1: 15 stitches
Needle 2: 20 stitches
Needle 3: 15 stitches
*If you pick up additional (or fewer) stitches along the selvedge edge, make sure to do the same on the other side — just ensure the stitch counts on needles 1 and 3 are the same.
Shaping the gusset:
Work the following two rounds until you’re back to your original number of total stitches (that is,
needle 1 = 10; needle 2 = 20; needle 3 = 10)
Needle 1 – k to within 3 sts of the end of the needle, k2tog, k 1
Needle 2 – knit
Needle 3 – k 1, ssk, knit to the end of the needle
Round 2: Knit
Babies have small feet, but not all are the same size, to make the sock longer or shorter, add or subtract the
number of plain rows.
1. After you have finished your gusset decreases, knit four plain rows (or however many you need) until you are 0.5 inches from your desired length.
2. Shape the toe by repeating these two rows until you have eight stitches left:
Needle 1: k to within 3 stitches of the end of the needle, k2tog, k1
Needle 2: k1, ssk, k to within three stitches of the end of the needle, k2tog, k1
Needle 3: k1, ssk, k to end of the needle
Round 2: Knit
2. When only eight stitches remain, cut yarn and, with a darning needle, thread it through the remaining stitches and pull tight.
3. Weave in your ends.