Tag Archives: sock knitting

No-Nylon Sock Knitting

Since I had cancer last year, I have spent time examining how I live and what possible environmental effects could have had an influence on getting this disease. I have had to change many things in my life and to examine what foods I eat, the types of fabrics and clothes that I wear, the yarns, fibres and dyes that I use in my work. In addition to the air pollution around us from cars and factories, working as a weaver/spinner, we know that fibre creates dust and small airborne particles that we breathe. Those particles get into our lungs, our food, and everything we touch and can be absorbed by our skin.
As we know, in recent months there has been growing concern about the use of microplastics, that pollute our rivers, streams, oceans and invade the delicate balance of our world. The concern is not just plastic bags, plastic water bottles but also the bits of plastic particles that are in most of our clothing and fabrics.

So the gentle hobby of knitting that we enjoy also has an impact on our world. What yarns we choose to knit with and to wear can make a difference. Since it is November and the days are cold, I have been knitting some socks and mittens. There are many yarns and fibres to choose from – wools, mohair, silks, cottons,yak, alpaca, cashmere. A random Google search led me to a huge selection of sock yarns. When I looked at the fibre content of the yarn blends, most of them contain 10% to 25% nylon/polyamide. That might not seem like a lot, but it all adds up.
I begin to wonder, is nylon really necessary to add to the sock to give it strength? When you add up all the wools and other yarns that contain nylon, that adds up to a lot of microplastics.
When I knit socks that contain nylon, I find that they do wear out rather quickly at the heels and the bottom of the foot. I look at the yarn and how it has worn, and I see that the wool has broken and the nylon remains. I wonder if the nylon could be abrasive and causes the wool to wear?

I thought back to the days when my mother used to knit hats, mittens, socks, sweaters for our family. My Dad, my brothers, sister, nieces and nephews each got a sock, hat and mitten set every Christmas. She only used pure wool for her knitting. The socks were hard-wearing and almost never wore out. Our sock drawers were full of hand knit socks, made many years ago, though we did get a new pair to add to the collection every year. When the socks did get a bit worn, she would darn them with other bits of leftover wool. Make do and mend, and those socks would again be warm and durable.
I found some of my mother’s old double point sock knitting needles. I remember that she would use different sizes of needles for the socks – for the body of the sock she used a slightly thicker size of needle and a thinner one for the heel and foot of the socks. I measured her old knitting needles – and the fine ones were 2.0.

Sock Knitting Needles
Sock Knitting Needles

For socks that I knit, I have been using the recommended 2.5 mm to 3.0 mm for most of my knitting and the socks do wear out quickly. Perhaps the socks also need to be knit with a tighter tension to give the sock more strength. I will test this and knit with my mother’s fine needles on my next pair of socks.

As a hand spinner I am aware that the type of wool fibre that you use can make a difference to the durability and softness of the sock. And also how the yarn is spun – with a tight twist or a loosely spun one.
Wool spun for socks should be made from a sheep breed that has a long staple length and is worsted spun with a tight twist. Soft wools such as merino are not really suitable as the fibre is very fine, the staple length is short and I find that merino tends to break off and pill when it is worn. Merino is better suited for knitting lace shawls, hats or wool sweaters that don’t demand a lot of hard use.
I have some wool sensitivites and I find that many wools make me itch and can give me a rash. A sheep breed such as Blue Faced Leicester is my favourite yarn for knitting. Romney is also another favourite of mine, though it is difficult to find in the UK.
It is difficult to find a sock yarn that doesn’t contain some amount of nylon. Perhaps if we as consumers become more demanding and ask yarn companies to produce yarns that are nylon free, non-superwash, and use eco-friendly dyes and methods, this will change. For now, I dye my own yarns with natural plant dyes. Both for personal use and for sale. You can find some of my Indie dyed yarns in my Paivatar Yarn Etsy Shop. Please also support other Indie dyers and crafters who work with natural materials.

Naturally Plant Dyed Knitted Hanwarmers
Naturally Plant Dyed Knitted Hanwarmers

Comments from Readers
After publishing this post, I received this comment from a long time friend and All Fiber Arts community member.

I never did like the idea of nylon in our wool socks. I did not believe that it make the socks last longer; I just could never understand how it could. What I knew was that the wool would disappear and the nylon would remain behind — and we THOUGHT that made the socks stronger. It didn’t.

I remember many years ago, I had purchased a pair of socks, machine made, that looked sort of home-made. They were in a natural sort of uneven grey colour, and appeared to be warm. They weren’t. They were not even wool, but mostly a loosely spun acrylic! [I didn’t read labels very carefully back then!] They wore out very fast…. I perhaps only wore them twice, and they seemed to wash away! I had holes in the bottom of the heel and ball of foot.

So I darned them. I decided to do duplicate stitch. After all, I could see the stitches (in nylon) and the rest of the sock had vanished. So it seemed so easy to just stitch over the stitches as they were already there, and it would all be good! Famous last words.

It seemed to take so long to do! I used my own hand-spun yarn, and covered the hole with neatly made stitches just as they were. For a darning mushroom, I used a light bulb (remember those?). I stitched a little beyond the hole so it would blend in. The heel was done with short rows, and I followed the pattern, and discovered how they were made. I stitched under the ball of the foot, and then the toe, and any thin area. I never knew where to stop! I mean, should I go only up to this stitch, or should I include the one next to it as well? I really felt that I could have knit the socks from scratch with my own yarn faster than it took to darn them! But it was a very good learning experience.

[I do remember where I was living at the time. I was sitting in my kitchen, with the oven door open — it was very cold then in winter, and I had little heat. I was listening to the federal finance minister presenting his budget at that time as well. I remember very well thinking whether he ever has sat and darned his own socks! If he did, THEN he could talk to me about restraint and higher taxes!]

When I did a lot of weaving, I do remember reading somewhere that you should NOT use nylon as a warp when weaving rugs because it would cut through your wool weft. That was a revelation to me…. and I always remembered that. So putting nylon in socks seems to be counter-intuitive. Wouldn’t the nylon cut through the wool? Of course it did! But that only meant you would have to buy more socks sooner! [there is some sense behind their madness!]

I could never understand how the addition of the nylon, whether blended with the wool, or added while knitting, could make the wool last longer. All I could see is that the wool could disappear, but the stitch would still hold together… there could still be some fabric there…. and it would “last longer”.

I thank you for bringing this to our attention. I don’t like the prevalence of all these synthetics in our lives. I can’t believe they are doing us any good. I am so distressed when those ignorant knitters on the forum write that they HAVE to use acrylics for their grandkids because their children are too busy to be able to hand-wash any baby clothes. But they prefer to give them toxic clothes instead? Have any of you ever seen a baby burned by melting acrylics?? As you know, wool does not burn without a flame on it. Only one conclusion in my mind.

We need to be reminded of these things from time to time. We soon get caught in the ways of the world, and we forget. Until it is too late.

TG

Sock Knitting Books
Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Socks: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Patterns

The Sock Knitter’s Handbook: Expert Advice, Tips, and Tricks

The Knitter’s Book of Socks: The Yarn Lover’s Ultimate Guide to Creating Socks That Fit Well, Feel Great, and Last a Lifetime

Knitting Vintage Socks

Knit Like a Latvian – Socks: 50 Knitting Patterns for Knee Length, Ankle and Footless Socks

150 Scandinavian Motifs: The Knitter’s Directory

Prym sock loom

I purchased a Prym sock loom today. I have read mixed reviews of them but thought I would give it a try. This knitting loom is similar to the round knitting looms but it is oval in shape. It has a rubberized base and the metal pegs look like bent paper clips. With the unique paper clip shape to the pegs, there is plenty of space to pick up or hook the stitch as you are knitting the loops. There are no rough edges and I find that it is quite easy to hold in your hand, and compact and portable to toss into my purse or knitting bag to take with me. The Prym knitting loom comes with a pickup stick that looks similar to a knitting needle. I use this for picking up the stitches but have also found it handy to also have a small crochet hook for picking up different weights of yarn.

The Prym Sock Loom comes in 3 sizes ranging from small to wide feet:

SIZE # PEGS CIRCUMFERENCE UK EU US
Small 28 pegs 26 cm 3.5-12.5 20-31 4-13
Medium 32 pegs 29.5 cm 0-5 32-38 2-7
Large 36 pegs 33 cm 6-11 39-46 7.5-13

Sock Size Knitting Chart

You can make the socks any length you like, regardless of which size of knitting loom you purchased.
This chart gives the length for foot of the sock for different shoe sizes.

EU UK US Foot length
39-40 5.5-6.5 7.5-8.5 16 cm
41-42 7-8 9-10 17 cm
43-44 8.5-9.5 10.5-11.5 18 cm
45-46 10-11.5 12-13 19 cm

Knitting with this type of sock loom is very similar to spool or cork knitting.
How to Use a Corker

Prym sock mill

The instructions that came with the knitting loom are a bit difficult to follow as they are written in several languages.
I have rewritten the instructions to make this easier to understand.

To knit on this loom, each loop round is followed by a cast off round. Together this makes a knitted row.
To start, For thicker yarns, loop the yarn around each peg in 2 rounds, followed by a cast off round.
For finer yarns, loop the yarn around each peg in 3 rounds, followed by a cast off round.

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I am using Regia 4 ply sock yarn for this pair of socks. Because I am using a fine yarn, I am using the Triple loop method, looping 3 rounds onto the pegs before casting off.

Looping Round
1. Place the yarn from back to front onto starting position 0, leaving a length of 15 cm hanging from the back.

2. Loop the yarn counter-clockwise around the peg 1L, then around peg 1R, 2R, 3R and so on, working your way clock-wise around the loom.
Prym sock knitting
3. The first looping round is finished when peg 1L has been looped twice.

4. Loop the second round in the same way on top of the first round.
The round is finished when peg 1L has been looped 3 times.
Prym sock knitting mill

Cast off round
Use the cast-off needle to cast off.
To do this, pick up the bottom loop on the peg and lift it up and over the peg.
After each cast off, push the stitches down the peg to adjust the tension.
Continue to cast off working your way around the loom.

To cast off Double loops, Lift the bottom stitch over the top stitch and over the peg. The peg now has one stitch left.

To cast off Triple loops, Lift the bottom stitch over the 2 upper stitches and over the peg. The peg now has 2 stitches left.

Continue working around the sock knitter, alternating between Looping and Casting off rows.
The knitting develops behind the pegs. After about 5-10 rows (depending on the thickness of your yarn) you will begin to see the knitted rows below the knitting loom. I found it much easier to control the tension once the sock had some length as I could gently tug on the bottom of the sock to keep the yarn from slipping off the pegs.

sock loom knitting

Continue knitting around until you reach the desired length for the cuff of your sock.

U-Tube: How to Knit on a Prym Sock Loom

Knitting with the E-stitch

NEXT:
How to turn the heel
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Prym Sock Knitting Loom

The Prym knitting loom is currently available for sale in the UK. You can purchase it on
Amazon UK

Prym Knitting Sock Loom
Prym sock loom

I am not sure if the Prym knitting loom is for sale yet in the US. If it is, could you please let me know so that I can add links for where to purchase one.
Canada
Karp Styles
UK
Here a few other vendors in the UK who sell the Prym knitting looms. Perhaps they are also willing to ship worldwide.
Knit and Sew
Purple Linda Crafts

Loom Knitting Books
Loom Knitting Socks: A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting Socks on a Loom with Over 50 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)

Big Book of Loom Knitting: Learn to Loom Knit

Loom Knit Stitch Dictionary | Knitting | Leisure Arts (75566)
Loom Knitting Primer (Second Edition): A Beginner’s Guide to Knitting on a Loom with Over 35 Fun Projects (No-Needle Knits)
I Can’t Believe I’m Loom Knitting (Leisure Arts 5250)

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Charkha book style spinning wheel Vintage, Nice Condition!

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Sock Knitting Patterns: knitsocks

Knitting Needle Sizes Chart
A chart that lists US, UK and Metric knitting needle conversions.

I Hate Knitting
Karen from our Forum says she hated knitting socks.

Fiber Challenge Socks
Jessie shows us her Knitted Slip Stitch socks

Spiral Socks
Tuatara knit some spiral socks

Handspun Merino Socks
Some socks I knit up using handspun merino wool.

Basic Sock Pattern
From Borealis Sweaterscapes a basic sock pattern.

HJS Studio Sock Pattern
Anatomy of a sock.

Wool Works
Summary of heel options for knitted socks.

Knitting Patterns

Knit Socks
Knit Toys
ABC’s
Knit Scarves
Knit Baby
Knit Slippers
Knit Vests
Knit Hats

You Tube – Estonian Knitting Cast on for Socks

Sock Knitting Pattern Books

Knitting Socks from Around the World
socks inspired by knitting traditions from around the world: Scandinavia, British Isles, Europe, the Far East, and the West.
UK: Knitting Socks around the world

Knitting Circles around Socks: Knit Two at a Time on Circular Needles
Why knit one sock and then start all over again? With this different approach, knit two socks at the same time on two circular needles!
UK: Knitting Circles around socks

..more Sock Knitting books

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Stitchcraft – Gaily Striped Ankle Warmers

A vintage pattern from Stitchcraft December 1948 to knit and crochet these gaily striped ankle warmer slippers.

Materials:
Thick cord for soles.
4 ozs. main shade Patons Fingering 3-ply, Patonised;
odd balls of wool in different shades for stripes and ankle cords.
A set of four No. 8 ” Beehive” needlles pointed both ends.
A No. 10 crochet hook.
A pair of heel grips.

Knitted Slipper Boots
Knitted Slipper Boots

Measurements:
Original slippers fit a size 5 foot.

Tension:
5 stitches to an inch over stocking stitch
3 trebles to an inch over sole.

Sole

With crochet hook and cord make 24 chain. Turn.
Miss 1 chain.
(1 double crochet into 1 chain) 23 times.
3 d.c into last chain, thus working round the corner,
then down other side of foundation chain,
(work 1 d.c. into 1 ch) 23 times

Continue crocheting round in the same direction as follows:-
3 d.c. into missed chain of previous row for heel,
now inserting book into bat k loop of previous row throughout.
work 10 d.c.into 10 d.c.,
13 tr. into 13 d.c.
4 tr. into 1 d.c ,
3 tr. into 1 d.c.
4 tr into I d.c..
13 tr. into 13d.c.
10 d.c. into 10 d.c.
3 d.c. into 1 d.c .
2 d.c. into I d c
3 d.c into 1 d.c..
25 d.c. into next 25 sts
(2 d.c into next Stitch, I d.c. into next stitch), 3 times,
2 d.c. into next stitch,
25 d.c. into next 25 sts.
(2 d.c. into next .stitch, 1 d.c. into next stitch) 4 times.
Break cord and fasten oft with a slip-stitch.
Make five more pieces the same to create the thick soles.

Half Sole for Wedge

Make 10 chain, turn.
Miss I ch., 8 d.c. into 8 ch
4 d.c.. into 1 ch.,
8 d C into 8 ch., turn,
8 d.c. into 8 d. c.,
(2 d.c. into 1 d.c) 4 times,
8 d.c. into 8 d.c., turn:
9 d.c. into 9 d.c.,
(2 d.c. into 1 d.c, 1 d.c. into 1 d.c.) 3 times
, 9 d.c. into 9 d.c. Break cord and finish off with a slip-stitch.
Work another three pieces the same.

Sewing Up the Soles:
Sew three whole and 2 half soles together for each sole. placing the halfs between 1st and 2nd, then 2nd and 3rd soles, thus forming a wedge heel.

Uppers

Use wool treble throughout.
With a contrast shade cast on 60 sts, 20 on each of 3 needles.
Purl 4 rounds.
Change to main shade and knit 5 rounds.

* Change to another contrast and K 1 round then P 4 rounds.
Change to main shade and K 5 rounds,
repeat from * 4 times more.

Next Round:
* k 1, k 2 tog
repeat from * all round making 40 sts
Shape tor heel:
Take 9 sts from last needle on to 4th needle. and k 9 from 1st needle on to it
Divide instep stitches equally on 2 needles, 11 stitches on each

Work 15 rows of stocking- stitch on heel stitches, starting with a purl row.

Turn heel:
– k 12. slip I. k. 1, pass slipped-stitch over, turn
2nd row:
p. 7, p 2 tog.. turn
3rd row: k 7 sl. 1, k I. p.s s o turn
4th row:
p 7 p 2 tog. turn

Continue thus until all stitches are worked.
Knit back, pick up and K 16 sts along side of heel onto same needle.
Knit 22 sts from instep needle
pick up and k 16 along other side of heel and k 4 from 1st needle make 62 sts
(20-22-20)

1st Round:
Knit
2nd Round:
Knit to last 3 sts of 1st needle, k2 tog, k1
knit across 2nd needle
on 3rd needle, k1, sl 1, psso, knit to end
Repeat these 2 rounds until 11 sts are on 1st and 3rd needles. Do not break wool.

Now slip last 2 sts from 1st needle and first 2 sts from 3rd needle on to 2nd needle making 26 instep sts.

** Working on instep sts only in stocking st
join in a contrast shade
Next row: K 26
Next row: P 26
Repeat these 2 rows once more.
Now make a tuck by knitting a stitch from needle together with a stitch picked up from lastmain shade row at back of work all along. Break wool. Work 3 rounds in main shade over all stitches.

Repeat from ** using different contrast shades until 7 coloured tucks are done. Knit 7 rounds in main shade, then shape toe thus:

Divide all stitches evenly on 2 needles, 22 on each, by slipping 2 sts from each end of instep needle onto sole.
Starting on upper side
*k1, sl 1, k1, psso, knit to last 3 sts, k2 tog, k1
Repeat from * across sole.
Continue thus, decreasing in every round until 10 are left on each needle.
Cast off or graft together.

To Make Up

With strong thread, stitch sock firmly onto sole, catching upper base and sole and leaving a small welt all round.
Sew a heel grip in position at each heel.
For cords, take 6 strands of wool 60 inches long and twist together, then fold in half, allowing the 2 halves to twist round each other. Fasten each end securely.
Thread through the knitting at ankles, then finish each end with a small tassel, made of as many different colours as you like.

Knitting Patterns

Shetland Square Charts
Knitted Skirt
Seed Stitch Hat
Raglan Sleeve Jumper

Knitted Slipper Pattern Books

Knitting Scandinavian Slippers and Socks

25 Cozy Crocheted Slippers: Fun & Fashionable Footwear for the Whole Family

Fun and Fantastical Slippers to Knit

25 Stylish Knitted Slippers: Fun Designs for Clogs, Moccasins, Boots, Animal Slippers, Loafers, & More

Knitting Yarn on EBay

Unicorn Yarn Bowl Knitting Accessories Yarn Holder Crochet Accessories

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Knitting Crochet Yarn Lot Set Assorted Colors Craft DIY Starter Kit Yarn Skeins

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Sock Knitting: blhoad-socks

Our Guild in CT (Nutmeg Guild) recently held a fiber challenge. We were given bags of fiber which were varied in content and color. In fact, I didn’t think they went together AT ALL– and that was the challenge–to make something from the bag of fiber. There were wools, silk, llama, synthetics and who-knows-what-else!! The colors varied from green, burgundy, tan, blue and a stark white. I blended the white with everything else to mute the colors and make heathers of all of them. I thought they would “work” better together that way. I then chose a slip-stitch sock pattern and here is my finished project. This was a wonderful way to help us to be creative with our colors and our thinking. Hope you enjoy the picture.

Jessie in CT

knitted socks

Sock Knitting

Sock Knitting Patterns
Christmas Stocking
Kindle Sock
Spiral Socks

Sock Knitting Pattern Books

Sock Knitting Master Class: Innovative Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers
With patterns divided into two sections by top-down and toe-up construction, Sock Knitting Master Class explores such techniques as cables, twisted stitches, lace, stranded colorwork, entrelac, shadow knitting, and intarsia worked in the round.
UK: Sock Knitting Master Class

Getting Started Knitting Socks (Getting Started series)
From cast-on stitches to binding off, this handbook details the simple steps needed to turn complicated sock knitting projects into enjoyable activities.
UK: Getting Started Knitting Socks

Knit Socks!
Kindle Version
UK: Knit Socks

The Knitting Circle
UK: The Knitting Circle

.. more Sock knitting books..

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Book Store: Knit Socks Books

Sock Knitting Master Class: Innovative Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers

With patterns divided into two sections by top-down and toe-up construction, Sock Knitting Master Class explores such techniques as cables, twisted stitches, lace, stranded colorwork, entrelac, shadow knitting, and intarsia worked in the round.
UK: Sock Knitting Master Class

Getting Started Knitting Socks (Getting Started series)
From cast-on stitches to binding off, this handbook details the simple steps needed to turn complicated sock knitting projects into enjoyable activities.
UK: Getting Started Knitting Socks

Knitting Socks from Around the World
socks inspired by knitting traditions from around the world: Scandinavia, British Isles, Europe, the Far East, and the West.
UK: Knitting Socks around the world

Knitting Circles around Socks: Knit Two at a Time on Circular Needles
Why knit one sock and then start all over again? With this different approach, knit two socks at the same time on two circular needles!
UK: Knitting Circles around socks

Kindle Sock Knitting Books

Knit Socks!
Kindle Version
UK: Knit Socks
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Sock Knitting – Karen’s Socks: blkaren-knitting

But my friend Lisa told me that I HAD to knit something cause I am responsible for making her a weaver!

So I knitted up this pair of socks for my hubby.”

Karen in the Woods

Knitted Socks

Sock Knitting

Sock Knitting Patterns
Christmas Stocking
Kindle Sock
Spiral Socks

hand spun yarn
Paivatar Yarns
Look for my hand spun yarns on Folksy.

Sock Knitting Pattern Books

Sock Knitting Master Class: Innovative Techniques + Patterns from Top Designers
With patterns divided into two sections by top-down and toe-up construction, Sock Knitting Master Class explores such techniques as cables, twisted stitches, lace, stranded colorwork, entrelac, shadow knitting, and intarsia worked in the round.
UK: Sock Knitting Master Class

Getting Started Knitting Socks (Getting Started series)
From cast-on stitches to binding off, this handbook details the simple steps needed to turn complicated sock knitting projects into enjoyable activities.
UK: Getting Started Knitting Socks

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