[updated 14 Mar. 10]
My nephew inspired me to learn to knit socks. I guess this is because baby socks seem like a much smaller commitment than adult socks. (Although, babies, as a rule, are a rather large commitment.)
I found a great free pattern for baby socks, available here at the charity knitting web site Bev's Country Cottage, and I knit a few pairs following this pattern pretty closely, with a few mods.
Then I decided that, since I only knit on double-circs, and because I'm not crazy about the proportions of these socks, and finally because I wanted to add some color, I would rewrite the pattern for others like me--but still give credit to Bev's C.C. because I think a charity knitting site with free patterns is awesome.
So here's the pattern--
Julian's Stripy Socks
30 grams each of 2 colors of worsted weight yarn. I used Moda Dea Silk-n-wool in green color "wasabi" (MC); and Cascade 220 in Blue (CC).
Two pairs of size 5, 6, or 7 circular needles, depending on desired size. The sizing for these socks is attained by changing needle size. The pair shown are worked in size 6 needles, and would fit a 6-9 month old.
Cast on 24 sts--loosely! Spread sts evenly over 2 needle, 12 sts per needle. Work 8 rows in k2, p2 rib using MC.
Begin color pattern:
Row 1: Knit in MC
Rows 2-3: Knit in CC
Row 4: Knit in MC.
Repeat color pattern 2, 3 or 4 times depending on desired height of socks. (Pair show has 4 pattern repeats to make knee socks.)
The heel is worked in CC yarn, but DON'T break the MC--just let it dangle and get in the way while you work the heel.
Using CC, working on first needle only (12 sts):
Row 1: Sl 1, k all sts.
Row 2: Sl 1, p all sts.
Repeat rows 1-2 until 10 rows total have been worked.
Repeat row 1.
Turning a heel was a self-inflicted mystery until I started knitting these socks for Julian.
Seriously, it's so easy. Keep these things in mind:
First, slip the first st of every row worked.
Second, remember that the first two (partial) rows set up the turn, and the next four rows just follow that set up.
Also, this is still all worked in CC.
Here's what I mean:
Row 1 (WS): Sl 1, purl 7 (until 4 sts rem on needle) and then p2tog. TURN.
Note: There are 2 unworked sts rem on the needle when you turn. Also, this p2tog and the turn will create a "gap" in between those unworked sts and the sts you are working. Pay attention to the gap! Also, you are about to create another gap:
Row 2 (RS): Sl 1, k 4 (until 4 sts rem on needle), k2tog. TURN.
Note: See, you just made a second gap. These gaps are key!
Row 3 (WS): Sl 1, p until the one st rem before "gap" (3 sts rem on needle), p2tog.
Note: This purling together across that gap starts to turn, or bend the fabric. It's magic! Also, the p2tog and turn you just did in Row 3 creates a new gap, one that will be important on Row 5.
Row 4 (RS): Sl 1, k until one st rem before "gap" (3 sts rem on needle), k2tog. TURN.
Row 5 (WS): Sl 1, p until one st rem before "gap" (2 sts rem on needle), p2tog. TURN.
Row 6 (WS): Sl 1, k until one st rem before "gap" (2 sts rem on needle), k2tog. TURN.
Note: That's it--the heel is "turned," or bent, or whatever you want to call it. You should have 6 sts remaining on the heel needle.
Pick Up Stitches for Gusset:
Again, this was a mystery for no apparent reason.
For these socks, you will pick up the gusset stitches in MC. You can now break the CC yarn, leaving enough of an end to weave in later.
When you pick up the sts, use the needle end that is most convenient.
You will adjust the placement of sts across your needles later, when you are finished picking up sts.
With right side of work facing you, using MC yarn, and starting where it is dangling near the instep of the sock, PU sts down the side of the heel, 7 total sts picked up.
Knit across the heel sts.
Then, pick up 7 more sts up the other side of the heel. Knit across the instep stitches.
There are 32 total sts on your needles: 12 for the instep, 6 for the heel, and 14 picked-up gusset sts.
Adjust the sts across your needles so that the 12 instep sts are on their own needle, the "instep" needle, and the rest of the sts are on the second needle, the "heel" needle.
Decreases for gusset:
Place marker to indicate the beginning of the round, at the beg of the instep needle.
Round 1: K across instep needle. On heel needle, k1, ssk, k until 3 sts rem on heel needle, k2tog, k1.
Round 2: K all sts.
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 12 sts rem on heel needle, a total of 24 sts on needles.
Work 8 rounds of k sts for foot.
Then, begin decreases for toe:
Round 1: K1, ssk, k until 3 sts rem on instep needle, k2tog, k1. Repeat across heel needle.
Round 2: K all sts.
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 4 sts rem on each needle, 8 sts total.
Break yarn, leaving 6 inches of tail. Thread tail onto yarn needle, then pull yarn through the live loops on the instep needle, then the loops on the heel needle.
Draw the yarn tight to close the toe.
Insert needle through hole at toe, and weave in snugly.