RE: socks. I use the craft council sock chart for sizes.
It is here:
The following measurements are for crew-style or dress socks, which usually come several inches above the ankle and below the calf. 11a.
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I use the actual foot circumference, along with my stitch gauge, to determine the number of stitches, then round up or down to a multiple of 4. (I break that rule whenever it is convenient- such as when using a multiple of 3 because I am using a 2-1 rib.)
I use the sock height measurement that I like, rather than the sock height on the chart- to Sort- of decide how much ribbing I will make. I like to have an inch or two of plain knitting between the ribbing and the heel shaping, so that is also part of the sock height, as well as half of the heel shaping.
I use the actual foot length to determine how many rows the foot will be. I subtract 4.5 to 5 inches from the actual foot length (because the heel and toe shaping will take up that much of the length) and multiply what's left by my row gauge to tell me how many rows of foot to knit between the heel and the toe.
Now for the machine knitting. I use 4 ply sock yarn. 2 ends of 2/24 work, too. But the sock yarns are superwash and nylon and they wash in the washing machine and dry in the dryer. The superwash/nylon sock yarns also wear like iron. The wearer will have them for years.
So- the basic instructions for my cadillac socks :
If my gauge is, for example, 8 st and 11 rows per inch in stockinet in the round, and I want to make a medium woman's crew sock, then I want the sock to be 68 stitches around, for 8 1/2 inches. The industrial rib will actually have 30% more stitches, but the stockinet part will be 68 stitches throughout.
Cast on in industrial rib on both beds from 34 L to 34 R. Tension one click less than stockinet tension. K 68 rows.
Transfer stitches to the main bed, and set up for in-the-round stockinet. See the notes for this.
set tension for stockinet. Knit 20 rounds for preheel.
Heel: Shortrow on main bed only- down to 11 - approximately one third of 34. then shortrow back up. Please see the notes.
Sock body: knitting circular again, Knit 55 rounds. (for a sock that totals 9 1/2 inches in heel to toe length)
Toe: Knit as for heel.
Knit one complete circular row. Knit one circular row with ravel cord, and take off on waste yarn.
Seam the ribbing- see the notes.
kitchener the toe.
I like to use industrial rib- it stands up nice and does not bind or cut. It does use more yarn. People with skinny ankles don't need industrial rib- you can just use 1x1 or 2x2.
On your main bed, pull forward the number of needles indicated by your foot circumference. Push back every 3rd needle. On your ribber, set to half pitch, and pull up two needles in the space of each out of work needle on your main bed. Now rack your ribber bed by one click, either left or right, so that you can see that when you knit the first row, you will get a nice zigzag. You can add a needle on one end or the other to make it work. Now go to your ribber manual and use the racked circular caston. Remember which way you racked to set up, so you can rack back to that setup when you are finished casting on.
Also, when you are finished casting on, transfer the stitch on each end needle out to a new needle, and put the original end needle out of work. You may want those end needles both on the main bed. I don't mind where they are, but I'm on a fixed double bed. The purpose of this move is to put some extra yarn in near the end stitches, which will be ever so handy later when you are seaming up the ribbing.
I knit soft ribbing. It is knit at a tension that is only once click down from my stockinet tension, which is used on the rest of the sock. I am thinking that on a brother, I would be ribbing at 4.2(both carriages) and knitting stockinet at 5.1. You will need to be sure that your ribber knits at the same tension in stockinet as your main bed- do your tension gauge in-th-round, so you will know if you need to set one looser or tighter than the other.
When you have knit all the rows of ribbing, transfer the ribber stitches to the main bed- in each set of two ribber stitches, one will fill the empty needle between two sets of 2 on the main bed, and the other will transfer to a needle that already has a stitch on it. Move the end stitches in, as well. You should have the correct number of stitches for the body of the sock. If I am plus 1 stitch at this point, I leave it that way right now, and after the next transfer operation is completed, I transfer that extra stitch to the last stitch on the opposite bed. That's just me.
Set your carriage for stockinet and knit one row.
I like the rib seam on the inside of the ankle. So I make a left and a right sock. I always make the left first- so on the first sock, I will be transferring the right half of the stitches . Take the weights off your knitting- put on a claw weight at center left. Put the stitches from R0 to Rwhatever on a garter bar- the first needle must be on the left end prong of the garter bar. This left end prong will stay close to where it is, and the right end of the garter bar will go down between the beds and then up under the left hand half of the stitches. You will have folded your knitting in half. Have your ribber needles raised with the latches open, and carefully drop the garter bar onto the hooks. You will get very fast at this.
Set up your beds, weight the ribber side of the sock with a claw weight. Check your carriages settings and tensions. Beds will be at full pitch (needles opposite) Knit in the round (RC counts 2 for each round- I write down my end number so I don't confuse myself). Knit that inch or two of preheel. Drop the ribber bed down one notch, so you can do the heel on the main bed. change your sinker place. change from circular to stockinet
Heel (and Toe) are both short row. If you have 34 stitches on the main bed, then you are going to shortrow down to 11 - approximately one third of 34. then shortrow back up.
Going down: Set for holding position. and stockinet. On the carriage side, pull one needle out to hold position and knit across. Repeat until there are 12 stitches left in the middle. You will need to weight (or hold down with your fingers as you knit across) because as you get more stitches in hold, your live knitting will be wanting to climb up and make getting a good stitch difficult. I use claw weights but hang them on the back of the live work by just one or two prongs. I also use my fingers.
When there are 12 stitches left, pull out one needle on the carriage side, and on the other side, put 2 needles back in upper work position and knit across. Repeat this row until all the stitches are back in work. This 1 up-2 down does a self wrap that matches the self wrap on the way down.
When the heel is knitted, some folks swap the end stitches on the main bed with the end stitches on the ribber. I don't. If I think I will have a hole, I wrap into the end ribber needle hook when the end needle on the main bed is the last needle in hold.
Body of sock- set up to return to circular. Knit the number of rows you calculated for the main body. Then make the toe the same way you made the heel.
When the toe is complete, return to circular, and knit one complete circular row with main yarn, then one complete row with ravel cord then 5 or 6 full rows of waste yarn and take off the machine.(make you ravel cord and waste yarn a color that contrasts with your main yarn.)
Kitchener close the toe. (I do this on the purl side.)
Side seam: With a double pointed needle (size 2 or 1 is good) pick up the side of the every other edge stitch of your ribbing. If you knit 50 rows of rib, you should have around 25 on each side. With your cast on yarn, and a blunt tapestry needle (I like an 18) take alternate stitches off the needles from the top of the cuff down. When you get to the bottom of the opening, stretch the cuff so that the seam is not pulled, then run your yarn back up the seam part way.
How many ways will you go wrong? The common rookie mistakes involve getting ahead of yourself , or forgetting a step.
You will forget to take off the ribber arm when you change to just the main bed for the heel and the toe. You will forget to change from the regular arm back to the ribber arm when you go back to circular knitting. You will forget to set your carriages correctly for circular knitting when you change back and forth. You will forget to set your main bed carriage to hold position when it is needed. You will forget to take weights off and you will forget to put weights on. You will forget to check the tension setting. You will forget to rack back your ribber bed after you cast on. You will forget to change to full pitch when you set up for circular.
These are a lot the mistakes that we make. Even as we read the directions carefully, and look at what we are doing-
My advice is to write the directions out in steps that YOU can follow. Use a sharpie, and hang them on your yarn mast where they are visible as you are working, because I know you will NOT get up and get those directions. No, you will forget a step, and then, you will go get them.