Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Question #4

Hi Knitters,
Today I am answering another question. This is a question I get all of the time not just over the past couple of weeks. I have also received this question on ravelry several times. So without further ado here it goes.

Question #4: What sock pattern do you use for the ribbed socks?
Answer: I have no idea exactly what pattern I used for learning to knit socks and when exactly I started ribbing them. This pattern is everywhere you look. It is a basic sock pattern and I am telling you it is in almost every sock book available. I have no clue who originally wrote this pattern or where it came from. It is just a basic sock pattern with a k3, p1 thrown in. I memorized this sock pattern so many years ago that it has become my go-to project every single time. It is permanently stuck in my brain. I suggest you memorize your favorite sock pattern so you just know exactly what to do when you are knitting on the go.

I love this pattern and when I knit a different sock pattern I am often disappointed and I wish I would have stuck to my old ribbed socks. It is fun to knit and the rib makes the socks fit your feet and ankle just right. I have recently mentioned how I have a dresser drawer filled with these ribbed hand knit socks. Can't seem to get enough.
I started searching through my books to see if I could find a pattern that would match the one that is sitting in my head. I actually found the exact pattern right down to the extra stitch I like to pick up on the gusset set up to help get rid of those nasty holes.
It is in a wonderful book by Ann Budd and I know I have mentioned it before. I suggest every sock knitter have this fantastic resource, Getting Started Knitting Socks. I found the pattern I use on page 76. The pattern is for the Fibonacci Stripes Socks. You can use this pattern for self-striping, variegated or solid colors of sock yarn.
Also you can use any fingering weight yarn to knit the socks I make. I always knit on a set of 4 US size 2 dpns and I always cast on 64 stitches. It seems to work for me with all of the yarns I have used and that's a pretty long list. I make the cuff 5-6 inches long before I start the heel flap. The needles I use are 6 inches long so many times I use this as my measurement while I am knitting the cuff. I am sure all of this isn't perfect but I'm sticking to it. The Fibonacci Stripes Socks will give you this exact ribbed pattern (k3, p1) that I have used for all of these socks for all of these years, just ignore the stripe pattern or not.
Another place I have found this pattern is in Charlene Schurch's, Sensational Knitted Socks, which is another great resource for sock knitters. And after starting a new pair of ribbed socks a couple of nights ago I found the same basic pattern for free on backside of the label of the Jitterbug sock yarn I am using. If you buy some Colinette Jitterbug you will get that pattern with the yarn.

The same cast on 64 stitches right through to the toe, you can add in the k3, p1 rib or you can always do a plain stockinette stitch. The basic sock pattern casting on 64 stitches, using a heel flap and a decreased toe with kitchener's stitch to finish is available all over the place. I didn't search the web but I am sure it is available for free somewhere out there.

One more terrific break down of a sock comes in recipe form from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in this book. I know everyone has probably already read this but I can't say enough good things about the information Stephanie has included in this little paperback book. It is worth so much more than it costs, good deal. Her explanation or recipe for "A Good, Plain Sock (knit from the cuff down)" made me think about my socks in a much clearer way. She has general information gathered in here for socks, hats, scarves and shawls, and sweaters. It is a plethora of valuable knitting tips, tricks and stuff you just need to know. If you don't have Knitting Rules you should go get it!

One last thing on this topic, I love working in a sportweight or dk weight yarn for socks as well as fingering weight. Talk about a fast way to knit a pair of socks. What I always do here is on a set of 4 US size 4 dpns I cast on 48 stitches and I work the exact same pattern on this heavier weight yarn. The exact pattern I use for dk weight yarn is in Getting Started Knitting Socks on page 58. Ann's pattern is listed for worsted weight or 5 stitches per inch but it works for me with the sportweight yarns, too.

Have a good Wednesday and go knit some ribbed socks!
best, susie