Easy Cable Socks – free pattern and tutorial
Here we are then – all ready to start the first tutorial of 2017! Please note – this tutorial is picture-heavy!
If you read yesterday’s post then you’ll know this tutorial is for Easy Cable Socks – and if you haven’t read it, you might want to take a quick look at it (the link is here) before we get started as I’ve tried to answer some of the questions you might have about this sock.
The cables are very simple in construction, just four stitches which twist around each other. This tutorial shows you how to create the cable with a cable needle; there is a method for cabling without a needle but I’m not going to cover that here – you can always search online if you want to look into it.
I just love the smooth lines of these cables, they look just like ropes – you can see why cables work so well in fishermen’s jumpers!
You don’t need a cable needle for this crossed rib heel – you can complete that with your usual needles. Doesn’t this stitch go well with the main rib section? I love the way that you can combine different stitches and techniques to create something that looks as if it should always have been that way!
This tutorial is slightly different from the ones I’ve written before in that there are both photos and videos to go along with the written instructions to help you. I’ve put the video links after the photos so you’ll need to get to the end of each section to see them – and I’d recommend that you read each section first anyway before you start knitting so that you’re sure you’re happy with what you’re doing.
Before we launch into the pattern itself, I want to talk to you about the chart that’s included in the pattern along with the written instructions. Some people like charts and others run from them as if their pants are on fire. They are really not that bad, trust me! Think of a chart as a road map, directing your knitting as a map would direct your car on a journey.
This is the chart for the Easy Cable Socks (I’m not quite sure why it’s slightly fuzzy – apologies for that, but you can still read it!):
It doesn’t look that scary, does it? Let’s have a look and see what it’s telling us.
Firstly, you can see that there are 6 rows (these are the numbers going up the right hand side) and 32 stitches (these are the numbers along the bottom). The numbers go outwards from that very first square on the bottom right hand side because that’s where you’ll start from, but we’ll talk about that in a minute.
Every chart is created by a combination of symbols, and there is always a key to tell you what those symbols mean. Remember the road map? You wouldn’t be able to read it without a key to help you and this is the same. Here’s the key for the Easy Cable Socks chart:
There will usually be written instructions within the pattern that tell you how to do any special stitches (charts are not just for cables, you’ll see them in lace, intarsia and Fair Isle patterns too), so don’t worry if you don’t know how to do the stitch that’s been charted – the designer should make everything clear!
Remember that I said you always start reading the chart from the bottom right hand corner?
Using the key above to tell you which stitches to knit, you will complete the first row of the chart like this:
For row 2, you’ll go back to the right hand side and read along the row 2 line, and the same for row 3 and so on. Some people like to mark off the rows as they go along so that they can see where they’re up to – you can use a ruler or write on the pattern. If you’re using a pattern with a charted (paid for or free) and don’t want to write on your original pattern, it’s OK to make a copy of the chart for your own personal use as long as you don’t share it with anyone else for copyright reasons.
As well as telling you which stitches to use in the pattern, the chart also tells you where to place your stitches. Looking at our pattern, you can see that the cable stitches are only on row 5, and the symbol shows you which direction your cable stitch will go in (cable stitches usually go forwards or backwards). Can you see that the symbols show the cables leaning towards each other?
Now let’s have another look at the knitting …
Can you see how the chart and the knitted cables are showing the same thing? It’s really not as hard as you think!
If you want to adjust the size of your sock, you may want to adjust the size of your pattern panel too. That’s really easy to do. If you look at the chart, you can see that there’s a panel of 8 knitted stitches in the middle and two panels of 4 knitted stitches on either side. You can easily add and remove stitches from those panels to fit the number of stitches for your sock. If you change the stitches in the side panels, remember that you’ll have to do the same for both sides or your pattern block will be off-centre!
OK then, that should be everything you need to get started with the pattern. Don’t forget that if you’ve never knitted a sock before, you can find lots of help in the Sockalong tutorials, and even if you have knitted a sock before but want to brush up on a few things, that’s the place to go!
Are you ready? Then we’ll begin!
Easy Cable Socks – you can download a PDF copy of the pattern here.
These cabled socks are constructed as top-down socks with a gusset heel. The heel is knitted in crossed rib stitch which creates a durable, cushioned heel.
Size To fit ball of foot circumference 8in; 20cm, and advice is given to adjust the size for any foot
Tension 30 stitches to 4in; 10cm in stocking stitch (worked in the round) on 2.5mm needles (or size required for tension)
2.5mm needles – I use a 30cm circular needle but DPNs or an 80cm circular for magic loop will also work
1 x 100g ball of 4ply sock yarn (or 2 x 50g balls depending on brand) I used 1 x 100g skein of Northern Yarn 100% Poll Dorset Lambswool (www.northernyarn.co.uk)
1 set DPNs size 3.0mm (optional)
1 set DPNs size 2.5mm
C4F Slip the first two stitches purlwise on the left hand needle onto the cable needle and hold in front of your work. Knit the next two stitches on the left hand needle then knit the stitches from the cable needle.
C4B Slip the first two stitches purlwise from the left hand needle onto the cable needle and hold at the back of your work. Knit the next two stitches on the left hand needle then knit the stitches from the cable needle.
Cross2RK Knit the second stitch on the left hand needle, keeping the stitch on the left hand needle whilst you knit the first stitch on the left hand needle. Slide both stitches off the needle at the same time.
K2tog Knit two stitches together
Sl1 Slip 1 stitch purlwise holding yarn to the back of your work
SSK Slip the first stitch on the left hand needle knitwise onto the right hand needle, slip the second stitch on the left hand needle purlwise onto the right hand needle, slip both stitches back onto the left hand needle and knit together through back loop
( ) Repeat instructions inside brackets
Note: I cast on using DPNs then change to my short circular needle – it’s not easy to cast on using the circular as it’s too small.If you want to use magic loop you will be able to cast on with the larger circular needle. If you use DPNs, you might find it easiest to cast on and work 2 rows before dividing the stitches across the needles.
Adjusting the size: To adjust the size for this sock, just add or remove stitches in blocks of 4 from the cast on total – you can find the Sock Stitch Calculation here. Remember that you will need to make adjustments when turning the heel if you use extra stitches.
The cable pattern is 8 stitches wide and will work with any weight of yarn and any number of stitches that you cast on, although if you may need to alter the size of the cable pattern. Simply add 4 stitches to your usual cast-on number of stitches to accommodate the cable pulling the knitted fabric inwards and then work out how many stitches you need to add or remove to position the pattern block in the centre of your “top of the foot” stitches (the pattern block will always be half the number that you cast on). See above for the diagram on where to add or remove stitches.
Cast on 64 stitches using 3.0mm needles.
Row 1: (K2, P2), repeat to end, turn.
Row 2: (K2, P2), repeat to end, turn.
Change to 2.5mm needles. A this point, change to a short circular, magic loop or divide the stitches across DPNs and join into a circle, place marker. It’s easy to change to the circular needle simply by knitting off the DPN onto the new needle.
Continue in K2, P2 rib for 14 more rounds or until desired length of rib (I knit 16 rounds of rib).
Here’s the video for the cable cast on, transferring to a short circular need and joining into the round.
Start the cable pattern on the next round. I’m going to give you the pattern instructions first and then show you how the cable is worked below. The cable block is worked in sections of 6 rounds and instructions on how to work the cable are below:
Rounds 1-4: K4, P2, K4, P2, K8, P2, K4, P2, K4, knit to marker.
Round 5: K4, P2, C4F, P2, K8, P2, C4B, P2, K4, knit to marker.
Round 6: K4, P2, K4, P2, K8, P2, K4, P2, K4, knit to marker.
If you want to use the chart, the pattern is as follows:
As you can see from the key above, the reason the stitch is called C4F is because it’s a cable stitch (C), there are four stitches in the block (4) and you’re bringing the stitches forward (F). This is the point where you’ll need your cable needle.
1 To complete your C4F stitch, slip the first two stitches of the block purl-wise onto your cable needle and hold those stitches in front of your work.
2 Now, keeping the cable needle in front of your work, knit the next two stitches of the cable block.
3 Next, you need to knit the two stitches off the cable needle and back onto your right hand needle. Don’t worry if it feels a bit tight, it will sort itself out on the next round.
You’ve completed your cable stitch! You can see how the stitches have twisted to form the cable. Easy, eh?
Now I’m going to show you how to do the C4B stitch. It’s very similar to the C4F – it’s a cable stitch (C), there are four stitches in the block (4) but this time you’re taking the stithces backwards (B). You’ll need your cable needle for this stitch too.
1 To complete your C4B stitch, slip the first two stitches of the block purl-wise onto your cable needle and hold those stitches at the back of your work.
2 Now, keeping the cable needle at the back of your work, knit the next two stitches of the cable block.
3 Next, you need to knit the two stitches off the cable needle and back onto your right hand needle. Don’t worry if it feels a bit tight, it will sort itself out on the next round.
You’ve completed your next cable stitch! You can see how the stitches have twisted to form the cable but this time they’re twisting in the opposite direction.
Here’s the video tutorial for the C4F and C4B cables:
Continue to knit each round until you reach your desired length before the start of your heel (for me, this was 9 blocks of the 6 round pattern which makes 70 rounds including the rib) ending with round 6.
The heel flap for this sock is created with crossed rib stitches which are knitted without a cable needle. There are 3 stitches in this pattern. If you have more or less than 64 stitches in your heel flap, you will need to either add or remove crossed stitches.
If you prefer to make a heel stitch heel flap rather than a crossed rib stitch one, you can follow the instructions in the Sockalong tutorials to do this.
To start the heel flap, we need to knit across the top of the foot stitches to work on the back section of stitches:
Next round: K4, P2, K4, P2, K8, P2, K4, P2, K4 (these are the top of the foot stitches from row 1 of the cable pattern) and create the heel flap as follows:
Change to 2.5mm DPNs if you are using a short circular needle. You are going to create the heel flap from half the number of stitches that you cast on, so if you have cast on more or less than 64 stitches, remember to adjust the number of stitches when you start the heel flap.
I’ll show you how to do the crossed rib stitch (cross2RK)below:
Row 1: K2 (cross2RK, P1) until you have 32 stitches on your needle, turn.
Row 2: Sl1, P to end, turn.
Row 3: Sl1, K1, (cross2RK, P1) to end, turn.
1 To make your crossed rib stitch, start by knitting into the second stitch on your left hand needle like this …
2 Pull the yarn through but don’t try to slide the stitches off the needle …
3 Instead, knit into the first stitch on the left hand needle. It’s a bit fiddly until you get used to it so relax your hands and pull a bit more yarn through from the first stitch if you need to …
4 Pull the yarn through …
5 And slide both stitches off your left hand needle onto the right hand needle.
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until your heel flap measures approximately 2 1/2 inches (6cm), finishing on row 3 (for me, this was 29 rows but it will depend on your yarn). If you want to make the heel flap longer, continue knitting rows 2 and 3 until you reach the desired length, but remember that you will need to pick up more stitches to create the gusset.
This what your heel flap will look like on the outside …
and on the inside. Don’t worry if your heel flap seems to lean to one side, it will straighten up as you pick up the gusset stitches.
The video for creating the heel flap is here:
Now we’re up to the fun part! This is where your sock starts to look like a sock. Some people do worry about this bit, but just take it slowly and you’ll be fine.
*For a larger or smaller sock, you will need to alter the number of purl stitches in the first row of the heel (marked in bold below), increasing by 1 stitch for each block of 4 stitches extra that you cast on, or decreasing by 1 stitch for each block of 4 stitches less than 64 stitches. For example, if you cast on 68 stitches, your first row would be Sl1, P18, P2tog, P1, turn*
Row 1: Sl1, P17, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 2: Sl1, K5, SSK, K1, turn
Row 3: Sl1, P6, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 4: Sl1, K7, SSK, K1, turn
Continue in this way, adding one stitch between slip stitch and SSK or P2tog on each row until all of the heel stitches are used (ie, Row 5: Sl1, P8, P2tog, P1; Row 6: Sl1, K9, SSK, K1 etc). Note: You’re not making any new stitches, you’re simply adding one stitch to the number in the centre each time you decrease.
The video tutorial for the heel turn is here:
Knit across the heel stitches if required to bring you to the left hand side of the heel ready to pick up 1 stitch for every 2 rows knitted (I picked up 17 stitches). Remember that if you made the heel flap bigger you will need to pick up more stitches. Knit across the top of the foot in pattern – you will be on round 2 (I usually knit across these stitches on my circular needle at this point), place marker, then pick up and knit 1st for every 2 sts knitted up the other side of the heel. Knit across the top of the heel then shape gusset as below, placing your second marker at the end of the first set of picked up stitches.
Note: If you are using DPNs and/or have placed your top of the foot stitches on a stitch holder, you can arrange the needles as follows: Needle 1 for stitches across heel, Needle 2 for picked-up stitches down left side of foot, Needle 3 for stitches across top of the foot (knit stitches off the stitch holder if required), Needle 4 for picked up stitches on the right side of the foot. You may find that stitch markers are not required at first.
Round 1: K to 3 sts before the marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, knit to next marker, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to marker.
Round 2: Slip marker, knit to next next marker, slip marker, knit to 3 sts before marker.
Round 3: K2tog, K1, slip marker, knit to next marker, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to marker.
Repeat rounds 2 and 3 to shape the gusset and continue in this way, decreasing by two stitches at the gusset on every other row until there are 64 stitches on the needle. You can see the line of the gusset quite clearly here:
The video tutorial for the gusset is here:
Once you have 64 stitches again, continue to knit each round in pattern until you reach approximately 2 inches (5cm) before the desired length of your sock ready to start the toes. (For me, this was 11 blocks of the pattern which is 66 rounds.) You’ll need to use two markers for the toes to indicate the decreases, so you’ll want to be sure that you get them in the right place. This should be quite easy as you’ve had the pattern block across the top of your foot so you should be able to see where they should go, but do take a minute to check.
Don’t be afraid to try your sock on before decreasing for the toes and when you measure your sock, make sure that you are standing up as you need your full weight on your foot. Sometimes you have to do more rounds than you might think to get the length, but it’s worth make sure that your sock is the right length for your foot otherwise it will pull against your toes and also pull your heel under your foot – neither of which are very comfortable!
At some point whilst decreasing for the toes, if you are using a small circular needle you will need to change back to DPNs as the number of stitches becomes too small for the circular. Alternatively, you could use a larger circular needle for magic loop and follow the instructions in the Sockalong tutorials for magic loop at the toes. It’s up to you when you choose to do that, and how you distribute the stitches across the needles; just keep following the pattern as set below. Create the toes as follows:
Round 1: K1, SSK, K26 sts, K2tog, K1, place marker, K1, SSK, K26 sts, K2tog, K1
Round 2: Knit one round, slipping markers as you come to them
Round 3: K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, K1, SSK, K to 3 sts before marker, K2tog, K1
Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until you have 28 stitches left and divide these between two needles so that front and back of your socks match (14 stitches on each needle).
Grafting the toes with Kitchener stitch
This is another part of the sock-creation that some people aren’t so keen on, but again it’s not too bad if you take it slowly. Cut a long length of yarn and thread it onto a wool needle. I’m giving you right-handed instructions here.
The first two steps are set-up stitches which give some people an “ear” on the side of their sock so if you want to, you can miss out the first two steps and start at step 3.
1 Hold the two DPNs with your left hand. Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and pull the yarn through. Don’t take the stitch off the DPN.
2 Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the back DPN. Don’t take the stitch off the DPN.
3 Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the first stitch on the front DPN and slip it off.
4 Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the second stitch on the front DPN and don’t slip it off.
5 Insert the wool needle purl-wise into the first stitch on the back DPN and slip it off.
6 Insert the wool needle knit-wise into the second stitch on the back DPN and don’t slip it off.
Repeat steps 3 to 6 until you get to the last two stitches on the DPNs. You will already have taken the yarn through the front stitch so after you have taken the yarn through the back stitch, you can slip both stitches off the DPN. The single yarn thread through the first stitch will be strong enough to hold it and it will sit flatter when you weave the end back into your sock.
Weave the end securely into the sock and cut the yarn.
You can find the video on grafting the toes with Kitchener stitch here:
Finally, sew the seam together at the cuff of the sock where you knitted your first two rib rows on DPNs, tightening it up if you need to and your first sock is done!
Now all you need to do is make a second sock and your pair of Easy Cable Socks is finished!
This sock pattern is free and will always remain so, but if you have enjoyed using it and would like to make a donation to future projects, it will be gratefully received! You can find the donation button on the sidebar on the left hand side. Thank you! xx
You can also find this pattern and other tutorials and exclusive patterns in More Super Socks.
This pattern copyright © 2017 Winwick Mum (updated 2021)
Not to be included in any collection or used for profit without written consent of Winwick Mum.