How to Knit Socks With Socks Machines

Written by michelle powell-smith
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A sock-knitting machine can speed up the process of sock knitting, allowing you to knit a pair of socks in around 2 hours. Socks machines are antiques and are no longer produced, so finding one can be a challenge. If you are lucky enough to own one, you can use it to knit socks, mittens and other small items commonly knit in the round. Any fingering weight or sport weight yarn will work in the sock machine, and some can use worsted weight yarns as well for boot or slipper socks.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sock-knitting machine
  • Set-up bonnet or webbing that fits on every other needle
  • Waste yarn
  • Fingering weight sock yarn

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  1. 1

    Place your webbing onto the sock-knitting machine. Thread waste yarn onto the machine and knit 2 to 3 inches by turning the hand crank on the socks machine.

  2. 2

    Tie on your sock yarn as you would for standard knitting and knit approximately 10 rows for a standard fingering weight sock to allow for a hem on your sock machine sock. Take a stitch from the first row knit with your sock yarn and hang that stitch on the needle all the way around. This will create a neat and professional knit-in hem.

  3. 3

    Put your ribber onto the socks machine. The ribber has smaller needles than the main cylinder. Crank the machine until the leg of your sock is the length you prefer.

  4. 4

    Transfer half the sock stitches back to the cylinder needles. Raise the back needles to remove them from the working process, allowing you to simply knit a heel on your sock-knitting machine. Raise and lower single needles, using the markings on your socks machine as a guide to shape the heel. Raise needles to decrease for the heel until you reach the marking on your sock-knitting machine, then begin increasing by lowering needles.

  5. 5

    Crank the socks machine until you have reached the desired length for the sock, allowing room to finish the toe of the knit sock. Remove the ribber, transferring all stitches back to the cylinder. Make the toe as you did the heel, raising and lowering needles to decrease and increase back out. Kitchener-stitch closed the toe at the top of the foot and remove the waste yarn.

Tips and warnings

  • Your sock machine will probably need the timing adjusted and may need new needles if it has not already been restored.
  • Do not buy a sock-knitting machine that you haven't seen knit. These machines are costly, so be certain one works before you buy it.

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