A simple sock consists of basic parts, each having a different function. Socks are knitted in different directions, and this post discusses socks worked from the beginning of the cuff down to the final part, the toe of the foot.
The most important dimensions to the sock are the calf circumference, leg length, foot circumference, and foot length. The calf circumference is the measurement at the widest area of the calf. Leg length is just your desired length; ankle, calf, or knee length or any length in between. Foot circumference is measured at the widest part of the foot near the ball of the foot. Foot length is measured from the back of the heel to the tip of the longest toe; generally the same as your shoe size.
Cuff To Toe Sock – Steps Using 4 Double Pointed Needles
1. Cast on the appropriate number of stitches (measures the calf circumference according to the gauge), and divide onto the double pointed needles. Knit rounds in desired pattern stitch and desired leg length to beginning of heel flap or the top of the heel.
2. Heel flap is worked back and forth over approximately 1/2 of the total number of stitches. The rest of the stitches are divided, and placed on 2 of the double pointed needles to be worked later (forms the instep). The best stitch to use for the heel flap is the heel stitch, worked as follows: Row 1 (Right side): (slip one, knit one), repeat across. Row 2: Slip the first stitch, purl across all remaining stitches. This stitch adds durability to the heel.
3. Turning the heel using short rows just means that you are turning the corner so you can begin the foot and instep of the sock. Pattern instructions will describe the procedure. Basically, the process involves working so many stitches, knit two stitches together, turn, and repeat the process on the back side with a purl two together, each time decreasing one stitch towards the side edges. These rows are repeated until all the stitches are used up.
4. The gusset is where the stitches are redistributed, and stitches are picked up along both sides of the heel flap. Generally, the first needle has half of the heel stitches, some stitches are picked up along one side of the heel flap. A new needle works across the stitches held in step 2 for the instep; these stitches usually maintain the pattern stitch established for the leg. The third needle picks up the same number of stitches along the other side of heel flap, and finally across the other half of the heel stitches. This round begins with the center back of heel. At this point, decreasing is done on each side of the heel flap every other row, creating a gusset with a diagonal line towards the foot. Gusset shaping ends with the total number of stitches measuring the foot circumference (usually the same number of stitches as you began with).
5. The foot is created by knitting rounds until it is approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches less than desired length of the finished sock. This is measured from the back of the heel.
6. Toe shaping is simply decreasing at the end of needle 1, beginning and end of needle 2 (instep), and the beginning of needle 3 every other row till about 1 inch of stitches are left for the top and underside of the toe. These stitches are closed by using Kitchener stitch or another technique.
I hope this post gives you a better idea of the steps in knitting a sock from the cuff to the toe.