Stranded Colorwork Sock Knitting Tutorial
Hello my Yarn Lovers! Since the release of my Happy Jack socks, I've been getting questions about the best way to knit up a grinning pair of Halloween socks.
I want your socks to fly off your needles in a happy haze of pumpkin-scented stitches so I've put together my best resources which cover the trickier parts of knitting colorwork socks.
Happy Jack Sock Questions Answered
How long should I knit in the main color after the colorwork chart but before I begin the heel flap?
I knit for 1.75" / 4 cm before beginning my heel flap. I like shorter ankle socks, and so I keep my total cuff length 4-5" / 10-13 cm - including the ribbing - before beginning my heel flap.
If you'd like your colorwork to peek above an ankle boot or you have long legs, feel free to make your own sock cuff longer. There's plenty of yardage in the main color for a longer cuff.
How do I customize the heel fit?
Since socks should be worked smaller than your actual foot (negative ease) for best fit, and because feet come in so many shapes and sizes, changing up the heel a bit for a custom fit is a great option.
In general you can:
- Work fewer sts in the heel flap if you have a narrow heel.
- Work fewer rows in the heel lap if you have a short heel or more for a longer heel.
Be aware that when you change the number of sts in the heel flap, you will need to alter the total number of sts worked between paired wrap and turns (W&T). I usually like a minimum of 6 W&Ts on each side of the heel, so leave at least 6 unworked sts on each side of the heel if you narrow the heel flap.
Again, if you alter the number of rows worked in the heel flap, you will need to change the number of sts picked up on each side.
Pick up and knit 1 st for every 2 rows worked. This is really easy if you've slipped each selvage st as you pick up and knit in every st on each edge (since there is 1 selvage st for every 2 rows).
Double check that you've picked up the same number of sts on each side of the heel flap, and decrease as the pattern states until you return to the original number of total sts.
Full article on sock fit customizing - written by Interweave, this article goes in-depth into customizing sock fit.
Color Dominance Tips for the Happy Jack Sock Pattern - Make your dominant color the "bright" color for all rows of the colorwork chart except Rows 11-12. For these rows only, switch the black to the dominant color (pulling this tail under the brighter accent). That way your single-stitch eyes and nose show up fully in the jack o'lantern face.
Two Handed, Two Color Knitting - This is how I knit with two colors at once. One note - read the tutorial on color dominance below then choose which color to hold in which hand. The color running below will appear more dominant in your final product (for me, that's the yarn I hold in my left hand).
Two handed, two color knitting can be super-awkward to learn because you are training yourself to knit all over again, using your other hand. However, if you practice and push through the initial frustration, your two color knitting will flow much faster, and I found it improved my final tension, too.
Color Dominance in 2 Color Knitting - Before you embark on even your first 2 color, stranded knitting project give this article a read! How you carry your colors affects how they appear in your knitting. Nail this before you switch halfway through you project!
Top Down Sock Construction
Though the pattern referenced in the video is for a worsted weight sock, all the other instructions apply. Watch these videos to see how the top-down flap style heel sock is worked. It's like having your own knitting coach!
- Basic Sock - video guide
Do you have a question that I didn't answer? Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org - I'm happy to help you get a lovely pair of Happy Jack socks!