Monday, May 21, 2012

Machine Knit Single Bed Flat Sock

I have made two new and very special friends who are learning to machine knit. I've been so fortunate in my few years of machine knitting to become not just friendly, but GOOD friends with several of the people who share my interest in machine knitting!

When I began, lovely ladies from all over the world helped me learn the craft, and are still doing so today. I am passing along that knowledge and the resources I have gathered and continue to find to my new friends. In that endeavor, I put together a pattern for the socks I have made when I only had a single bed standard gauge machine. (These are socks I wear every year all winter long, so they are perfectly good socks! Perhaps more utilitarian, but when you are beginning you need the basics.)

Machine Knit Single Bed Flat Socks--A Mishmosh of Patterns I Have Used

Abbreviations: (some won’t be used in this pattern, but you will need them later.)

COR Carriage on Right
COL Carriage on Left
MY Main Yarn
WY Waste Yarn
Dec Decrease
FFD Full Fashioned Decrease
Inc Increase
FFI Full Fashioned Increase
SR Short Row
TF Transfer
T# Tension Number
RC Row counter

Gauge: On a standard machine for regular sock yarn, I use a T4. It’s a little stiffer, tighter fabric, but it makes a better sock. (Be sure to wash your sock before judging it, because the wool will bloom and it will be much softer.) Make a gauge swatch and get your stitches and rows per inch measurement.

Size: Measure around your calf at the top of where you wear your socks (under the rib), then your ankle, then around your instep. Measure vertically from that same point of your calf to the top of your heel as you are standing. Measure from the back of your heel to the longest toe. Multiply the horizontal measurements by the stitches per inch and the vertical measurements by the stitches per row.

I’m going to use my gauge for the purpose of this pattern and you can either make a practice sock to learn on, put it on and see where you want to add or subtract; or you can use your own measurements to make a custom fit to begin with. My gauge will be in italics and underlined, so you will know where you need to plug in your own numbers.

If you are knitting the right sock, begin COR.

If you are knitting the left sock, begin COL.


Cast on 78 stitches with waste yarn if you want to hand knit your rib. (I knit my rib with size 5 circular knitting needles and bind off with size 6 circular knitting needles so it will be stretchy.) Knit an inch or so and switch to main yarn.


Cast on with a loose e-wrap 78 stitches in main yarn.
Knit one row at T6, or two more than whatever tension you have decided to use for your weight yarn.
Every third stitch TF to next stitch and place needle out of work. It will look like ||.||.||.||.||.||.|| (| is for the needle in work, . is for empty needle out of work.)
This makes a mock rib. The empty stitch in the beginning will give it a little more stretch at the cast on edge.
Knit 20 rows at T6.
Knit 1 row at T3. (This makes the rib fold.)
Knit 20 more rows at T6.
Pick up cast on stitches (ignoring the empty spot where you transferred) and place on the corresponding live stitches.
Knit 1 row at T7. (You have made a mock rib hem. Feel free to Knit 40 rows, 1 tight row, and 40 rows, rehang and one loose row if you want a cuff instead of a hem.)


RC 000
*Knit 10 rows.
Decrease one stitch each edge.* 5 times
Knit to RC096.


Place left half of needles in hold position if you are knitting the right sock. Place right half of needles in hold position if you are knitting the left sock.
Put carriage in hold (for Studios, move your Russell levers...can’t remember if it’s to one or two position, or if that’s forward or back. Just move them opposite of wherever they are.)

Pull needle closest to carriage into hold position.
Knit 1 partial row.
Wrap stitch nearest half point (usually it will be stitch number L1 (or Left of Zero number 1 if you are knitting the right sock; R1 if you are knitting the right sock) by pulling up the yarn and placing it UNDER that needle.

So to be clear, you have yarn on top of the needles that are in hold. Pick it up and loop it under the first needle nearest the working stitches, allowing the remainder of the yarn to the carriage to rest once again on top of the needles. If pulling it left it too loose, just pull the yarn as it goes from the ball to the yarn guide DOWN, which will take up the slack. This is called “wrapping” the stitch. It prevents a hole from forming. I’m sure you’re familiar with this technique from your hand knitting.

Put the next working stitch into hold position.
Knit 1 partial row back.
Continue until you have 11 stitches in hold on each side of the working half of stitches.

As you knit, the center will begin to form a triangular cup. You will have to place weight in this cup or the stitches will pop off. I just put a claw weight in the center and move it up every few rows.

It will look like this:


and then


and then


and eventually


At this point, you will reverse what you have been doing by placing the needles back in work, from the center of the working stitches outward, one at a time, one side at a time, as follows:

Wrap and place the stitch nearest the center working stitches of the group nearest the carriage back in work by moving it to working position (but not so far as to take it out of work, or to permit the held stitch to fall off.) It usually just takes placing it in the middle position. Knit across 1 partial row to opposite stitches in hold.

Wrap and place the stitch nearest the center working stitches and knit across 1 partial row.

You are making another triangular cup inverse to the first one knit. Continue to move your claw weight under the working stitches to keep them on the needles.

Continue until all needles of the short row section are back in work. (Half of the entire needles will still be in hold.

Take carriage out of hold.


Knit 64 rows.


Repeat heel instructions. The toe is on the same side as the heel, so the instructions are exactly the same.

Take carriage out of hold and knit one row at T7

YOU JUST MADE A SOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can take the stitches off on knitting needles, half on one and half on another, meeting at the middle, if you want to graft, or on a sewing needle and length of sock yarn, or you can waste off and pick up the stitches.

I like to waste off.

Then I steam and press the edges to reduce curl and I sew the seam from the toe across and up the side with a narrow zigzag. I wear them all the time and I never notice the seam. Done on the sewing machine, it’s even less noticeable than sewing up.

If you do decide to sew up, a flat seam is better than a mattress seam. Look closely at the edge stitches and you will see that there is always a loop and a knot. On one edge pick up the loop and on the other edge pick up the corresponding knot. This makes a very nice flat seam.

Weave in ends, wash and wear! You really do not have to block if you are using regular old sock yarn with wool and nylon. The best way to block a sock is to wear it wet until it dries!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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