This post, understanding crochet socks is meant to guide you through your crochet sock making journey. Crochet socks are really fun to make, don’t be intimidated!
Up until 3 years ago I was not aware that you could hand make socks. They were just an item of clothing that you purchased to use with sneakers and were either black or white. Sometimes they came in fun bright colors but their purpose and make were the same. It wasn’t until I entered the realm of podcasts that I became aware that handmade socks were a thing, and what a thing they were. Kay from the bakery bears always spoke of knitting socks with such passion that I undertook the journey.
My sock knitting journey wasn’t that smooth. Let’s just say that wooden dpn’s, and cotton/silk/nylon yarns do not make for a good sock making experience. Still, I was not put out because seeing others peoples enjoyment for knitting socks fed my determination to learn.
Let’s be real, while I did learn how to knit socks, I am more or a product crafter than a process one. Meaning, I mostly felt frustration at how slow I knit.
I didn’t attempt to crochet socks until after Mind and Muse Crafts had made several and could help me understand the process. The first pair of socks I made were the Raulston Socks from Ron Strong’s book, step into crochet. It was love. the speed of crocheting socks, the satisfaction of being able to wear something I had made was addicting and similar to my first love, garment making. Bliss. I made these socks without really understanding crochet socks, but I still wear them often!
Before I go any further in describing my crochet sock love we need to understand crochet socks are not knit socks. They aren’t! The feel, and stretch of the sock is entirely different. To those that have knit socks successfully, crochet socks will be more like house slippers. That is okay, never be ashamed of your crochet! Wear it with pride!
Okay, got that off my chest, the first step to making crochet socks is understanding crochet socks. Let’s talk construction.
Crochet Sock Construction :
Socks, wether knit or crochet are essentially tubes. No, really they are the only thing that makes them less tube like is the heel. Crochet socks can be made cuff down, we start with crocheting the cuff and work our way down until we decrease for the toe to complete our sock, or toe up, we start at the toe and work our way up the sock until we finish with the ribbed cuff.
I prefer the toe up method when crocheting socks because trying on as you go is essential to getting the right fit for your sock. But this all depends on you. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Crochet Sock Anatomy:
Toe (Puntero), Foot (Pie), Heel (Talón) and Gusset (Cuña del talón) , Leg (Caña), Cuff (Borde de Caña o Elástico).
Toe: As the name suggest the toe is the part of the sock that covers your toe, in my case it’s also constantly rubbing against the shoes. This part of the sock is typically crocheted in sc.
Foot: The foot of the sock is a tube composed of the sole (bottom part of your feet) and the instep (top part of the foot) it also connects the toe to the heel.
Heel and gusset : This is where it can get just a lil’ bit tricky and if you really don’t want to attempt this part, go ahead and crochet a tube, might not fit great but it’ll be serviceable. The heel as we know it is usually made up of a few parts.
- The heel is literally the back part of the foot and measures 2 – 2.5″, and typically uses 1/2 the sock stitches. I like to crochet this part in sc, feels sturdier.
- heel turn – crocheted after the heel (cuff down) or before the heel (toe up) this part turns your crochet in the direction you want to go and is usually worked in short rows.
- the gusset is crocheted either before the heel (toe up) or after the heel (cuff down) this is the area the gives the socks extra space to fit over the widest part of your instep.
- Of course you can also choose to work up a short row heel in which case you don’t really need to worry about gusset increases or decreases.
Leg – is a straight tube that covers your calf. //
Cuff – a stretchy ribbing whose purpose is to keep the socks up. In crochet this can be really annoying as you will most likely have to deal with a baggy cuff. Some ways to solve this, reduce your hook size or decrease the number of stitches slightly, if you are crocheting a longer leg the cuff will be less baggy, you could of course knit the cuff as I sometimes do.
So far crochet sock construction and sock anatomy are really similar, okay, exactly the same as a knit sock. Very true, so why the difference and the warning labels? Why place such emphasis on understanding crochet socks?This is because crochet and knitting produce different fabrics. Don’t panic, I didn’t say one was better than the other, but we can’t deny that crochet stitches produce
- thicker fabrics
- stretch differently.
Crochet socks stretch vertically with little or slight stretch horizontally while knit socks stretch horizontally. Okay, what does this even mean. When you crochet a sock it will look and fit looser than a knit soc. The sock will tighten once the heel is crocheted. If your sock fits too well before you crochet your heel, it may not go past the instep, the widest part of the foot.
Given these differences, how can you ensure that when you crochet a sock they will fit? I’m glad you asked.
Understanding Crochet Socks
- GAUGE!!! I know, I know, this coming from someone who abhors doing gauge swatches, but in the case of crochet socks you really, really, really, need to match gauge. As I have stated previously if you don’t have gauge you may have to adjust row count, pattern repeats etc.
- Yarn – If a crochet sock pattern is written for a fingering weight yarn that has 462 yards and your yarn has 430, your fingering weight is not the same, this will of course affect your gauge and potentially pattern instructions. You can read about my experience with changing yarns and how it can alter a pattern in Socks Remade.
- Hook Size – this one of course is closely related to gauge, but one does have to careful to not use a hook that is too small, remember that crochet socks do not have much stretch horizontally and you don’t want a shackle instead of a sock. I use either a 3mm hook or a 3.25mm depending on the yarn.
- Measurements – Ultimately what will determine how well a sock fits you are your measurements. If you don’t have gauge or if you changed the yarn, your measurements will guide you. What measurements do you need? I find that the most important are:
- Actual Foot Length – put a tape measure on the floor and step over it, record how long your foot is, mine is 9.75
- Desired Sock Length – How long your crochet sock should actually be in order for it to fit you well, this accounts for the stretch. Typically your desired sock length is 1″ less than your total foot measurement.
- Heel – as I have stated before, heels are usually 2.5″ long, if you have a high arch you will need a longer heel. It is typical to start making your heel 3″ before you actually reach the end of your foot.
When getting ready to crochet my first sock I found that tracing my foot was the best way to keep my measurements handy. To trace your foot:
- Place a piece of cardboard down on the floor and step on it standing as straight as possible.
- Ask somebody to help trace your foot, if you do the tracing your model may not be accurate.
- On the cardboard, mark where your toe ends, and where your heel starts. Measure 1″ from your heel and draw a dotted line. This marks where you should start crocheting your heel.
I don’t necessarily think that crochet socks can replace knit socks but I just have so much more fun making crochet socks. Now, you will too!
Still not convinced that crochet socks are for you? Browse through some of my sock related posts. Remember, understanding crochet socks was the first step in your socks making journey.
Crochet Vintage Wave Socks – a free crochet sock pattern in English and Spanish
Crochet Endor Moon Socks – a free star wars inspired crochet sock pattern
Sock Review – comparison of how knit and crochet socks wear. This post is also helpful in understanding crochet socks.
I think 2020 has be addicted to making socks!