Knitting with Needles

How to Knit Socks without Heels

Tips and tricks to avoid common knitting problems


by Pat Veretta


The whole secret is to create a spiral effect, and the way to do that is to knit a few, purl a few, for a few rounds, then move one stitch over and do it again. Yeah, that's hard to envision.

Ok, so from the beginning, a tube sock:

Measure or estimate how many inches around the highest part of the leg where you want the sock to be. Subtract one half to one inch. Make it easy on yourself when counting stitches and make it an even count of three, four or five stitches. Make a swatch to see what the gauge is. If you're using number 0 or 1 sock needles, your gauge will be somewhere in the range of 10 stitches per inch, so, for example, if your leg measures thirteen inches around, make it twelve inches and cast on 120 stitches.

You're ready to start.

Divide the stitches on three (or four needles if you have them), reserving one to knit with. Knit one stitch, purl one stitch for a ribbing of an inch or so. Count rounds so that you will know how many for the other sock.

Begin to make the spiral depending on your stitch count. If your stitch count is divisible by three, then you will be working k3, p3. If it's divisible by four, you'll start with k4, p4, etc.

I'm going to use a k4, p4 spiral as an example, so on the first round, k4, p4 around and repeat for four rounds. (Work even for four rounds always, regardless of which stitch sequence you choose).

The next round: P1, *k4, p4* to last 3 st, end p 3, repeat for four rounds.

Next round: P2, *k4, p4* to last 2 st, p2, repeat for four rounds.

Next round: P3, *k4, p4* to last 3 st, p1, repeat for four rounds.

Continue this way, moving one pattern stitch over, until the sock measures to within two inches of the toe.

At this point you can abandon the spiral and make a toe in the traditional manner of decreasing four stitches every other round until you're down to a dozen or so stitches then weaving them together... Or you can continue the spiral:

K2tog, k2, p4, k2tog, k2, p4, etc, and work three rounds.

Next round, k3, p2tog, p2, k3, p2tog, p2, etc. Work three rounds.

Next round, k2tog, k1 p3, k2tog, k1 around. Work three rounds.

Continue this pattern until the toe is narrow enough to weave the stitches together.

The whole thing is simpler than it sounds, and the lack of real pattern frees you to do what you want with it. You can make beautiful socks, utilitarian socks, funky socks, bed socks or work socks with this method. It's up to you, your yarn and your imagination!

page created by Frances Osborne Austin TX