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Little Cable Knee Highs

Whether you have legs like Rob Roy or Jerry Hall, whether you fancy yourself riding a horse in ancient Mongolia or hopping a subway in 21st century Manhattan, knees high socks are for everyone, everywhere, anytime!

These Little Cable Knee Highs are designed to look like they could as easily have been plucked from a case at the Victoria and Albert Museum as from a shelf at Barney's. They're simple and practical, but with an attention to detail that's both timeless and beautiful.

Serious sock knitters are also seriously particular about their sock yarn. That's why I used Anzula's Squishy, one of our favorites for everything from socks to baby blankets.

Squishy is the perfect blend of fibers for knitting up a superior pair of socks: merino for warmth and ruggedness, nylon for durability and cashmere for totally happy feet. Plus, I love how its hand dyed color is so gentle and spontaneous, like a wash of watercolor paint.

These Little Cable Knee Highs are just in time for holiday giving. Wouldn't they be a spectacular gift to find under the tree? -Whitney

The Materials

The Pattern

Gauge

8 1/4 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Finished Sizes

Women's Small (Medium, Large)

Foot Circumference: 7 1/4 (8 1/4, 9 1/4) inches (unstretched)

Calf Circumference (at widest): 9 1/4 (10 1/4, 11 1/4) inches (unstretched)

Foot Length: Adjustable

Height from Heel to Top of Cuff (unfolded): 21 inches (unblocked)

(The photos in this pattern show a size Small.)

How to Make the Cable

Make Cable: Slip 2 stitches purlwise to cable stitch holder and hold in the front of the work; knit next 2 stitches from double pointed needle; knit the 2 stitches from the holder.

The Toe

Using a Provisional Cast On, cast 8 (8, 8) stitches onto one double pointed needle. Make sure to leave a 10-inch tail for finishing at the end.

Set-Up Row: K4 onto Needle 1, k2 onto Needle 2, k2 onto Needle 3.

Join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Increase Round: Needle 1: K1, yo, knit to last stitch, yo, k1; Needle 2: K1, yo, knit to end of needle; Needle 3: Knit to last stitch, yo, k1. (4 stitches increased)

Repeat Increase Round 4 (8, 12) more times, knitting all yo's through the back loop as you come to them. 28 (44, 60) stitches

Next Round: Knit every stitch, knitting yo's through the back loop.

Increase Round: Needle 1: K1, yo, knit to last stitch, yo, k1; Needle 2: K1, yo, knit to end of needle; Needle 3: Knit to last stitch, yo, k1. (4 stitches increased)

Repeat last two rounds 7 (5, 3) more times, knitting yo's through the back loop. 60 (68, 76) total stitches and 30-15-15 (34-17-17, 38-19-19) stitches on each needle

The Foot

Knit every round until piece measures 6 (6 3/4, 7 1/2) inches from cast on, or 2 1/2 (2 3/4, 3) inches less than desired legnth from toe to back of heel.

Here's a guideline for final sock lengths:

US size 6 shoe (European 37) = 9 inches

US size 7 shoe (38) = 9 1/4 inches

US size 8 shoe (39) = 9 5/8 inches

US size 9 shoe (40) = 10 inches

The Gusset

Round 1: Needle 1: Knit; Needle 2: K1, yo, knit to end; Needle 3: Knit to last stitch, yo, k1.  (2 stitches increased)

Round 2: Needle 1: Knit; Needles 2 and 3: Knit, working all yo's through the back loop.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 eight more times. 78 (86, 94) total stitches and 30-24-24 (34-26-26, 38-28-28) stitches on each needle

Knit across Needle 1.

Turn the Heel

Notes:

  • The heel is worked back and forth in rows over just Needles 2 and 3.
  • You will shape the heel using short rows. If you need some extra help, we have a great Short Rows Tutorial right here!
  • Work all yo's through the back loop as you come to them.

Row 1 (right side): Needle 2: Knit; Needle 3: K7 (9, 11), yo, k1, wrap and turn.

Row 2 (wrong side): P16 (20, 24), yo, p1, wrap and turn.

Row 3: K14 (18, 22), yo, k1, wrap and turn.

Row 4: P12 (16, 20), yo, p1, wrap and turn.

LARGE SIZE ONLY

Next Row: K18, yo, k1, wrap and turn.

Next Row: P16, yo, p1, wrap and turn.

MEDIUM AND LARGE SIZES ONLY

Next Row: K14, yo, k1, wrap and turn.

Next Row: P12, yo, k1, wrap and turn.

ALL SIZES

Next Row: K10, yo, k1, wrap and turn.

Next Row: P8, yo, p1, wrap and turn.

Next Row: K6, yo, k1, wrap and turn.

Next Row: P4, yo, p1, wrap and turn.

Knit to the end of Needle 3, working the wraps together with the wrapped stitches and knitting the yo's through the back loop; knit across Needle 1; knit across Needle 2, working the wraps together with the wrapped stitches and knitting the yo's through the back loop. 86 (96, 106) total stitches and 30-28-28 (34-31-31, 38-34-34) stitches on each needle

The Heel Flap

NOTE: The Heel Flap is worked over just the stitches on Needles 2 and 3. You'll be working back and forth in rows.

Set-Up Row (right side): Needle 3: K14 (16, 18), ssk, turn. 85 (95, 105) stitches

Row 1 (wrong side): Working just the stitches on Needles 2 and 3, slip 1, p28 (32, 36), p2tog, turn. 84 (94, 104) stitches

Row 2: *Slip 1, k1, repeat from * to 2 stitches before the gap, slip 1, ssk (the 2 stitches on either side of the gap), turn. (1 stitch decreased)

Row 3: Slip 1, purl to 1 stitch before the gap, p2tog (the 2 stitches on either side of the gap), turn. (1 stitch decreased)

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 eleven (12, 13) more times. 60 (68, 76) total stitches and 30-15-15 (34-17-17, 38-19-19) stitches on each needle.

Next Row: Needle 2: *Slip 1, k1, repeat from * to last stitch on needle, slip 1. Needle 3: *K1, slip 1, repeat from * to last stitch on needle, k1.

Join for again working in the round.

The Leg

Set-Up Round 1: Needle 1: Knit; Needle 2: Knit to last 3 stitches, p1, k2; Needle 3: K2, p1, slip these 3 stitches to Needle 2, knit to end. 30-18-12 (34-20-14, 38-22-16) stitches on each needle.

Set-Up Round 2: Needle 1: Knit; Needle 2: Knit to last 6 stitches, p1, k4, p1; Needle 3: Knit.

Cable Round 1: Needle 1: Knit; Needle 2: Knit to last 6 stitches, p1, make cable (see How to Make the Cable at beginning of pattern), p1; Needle 3: Knit.

Rounds 2-4: Needle 1: Knit; Needle 2: Knit to last 6 stitches, p1, k4, p1; Needle 3: Knit.

Repeat Rounds 1-4 eight more times.

+Increase Cable Round: Needle 1: Knit; Needle 2: Knit to last 7 stitches, m1r, k1, p1, make cable, p1; Needle 3: K1, m1l, knit to end. (2 stitches increased)

Repeat Rounds 2-4.

*Work a Cable Round.

Repeat Rounds 2-4.

Repeat from * 1 more time.

Repeat from + 7 more times. 76 (84, 92) total stitches and 30-26-20 (34-28-22, 38-30-24) stitches on each needle

**Work a Cable Round.

Repeat Rounds 2-4.

Repeat from ** 4 more times, ending last repeat with Round 3.

The Cuff

Round 1: *K2, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 until cuff measures 5 inches.

Bind off loosely in rib pattern.

Finishing

Pick up the 8 cast on stitches, putting 4 stitches onto each of two needles.

Use the cast on tail and the Kitchener Stitch to graft together the toe.

Weave in the ends and make a second sock. Block them both and you're done!

 

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66 Responses to Little Cable Knee Highs


  1. jackie says:

    i started these socks (only my second pair of socks)i am ready to do the cable but i'm having a little trouble understanding the directions! is the cable considered round 3? cause on pg. 13 it says to end last repeat with round 3! but on the previous page it refers to the cable at round 1 and when it says repeat rounds 2-4, does that mean only round 2 and round 4?
    thank you, i'd appreciate any advice you may offer.
    jackie

  2. purl bee says:

    Hi Ana,

    You're right, you should be maintaining 30 stitches on Needle #1 throughout the Heel Flap, and you should just be working back and forth on Needles #2 and #3.

    I hope this sets you on the right path and thanks for asking!
    Whitney

  3. purl bee says:

    Hi Ana,

    You're right, you should be maintaining 30 stitches on Needle #1 throughout the Heel Flap, and you should just be working back and forth on Needles #2 and #3.

    I hope this sets you on the right path and thanks for asking!
    Whitney

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Jackie,

    Good question! No, round 3 is not the Cable Round; Round 3 is two rounds after the Cable Round. When you have set-up rounds in a pattern, they are never included in subsequent instructions. That's why they're set apart as "set-up rounds."

    I hope this clarifies things for you. Congratulations on having gotten so far and thanks for your question!

    Whitney

  5. Ian says:

    Hi there, I'm knitting my first of these socks, and have reached the end of the heel flap. It seems to work out fine, until I begin the first leg round, at which point, after knitting across needle 1, I find myself faced by a hole. On the other side, there is no such problem, but here, each side has a couple rows of knit stitches unattached to the other. I've now reread the pattern several times and can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, so any advice about how to make this problem go away would be much appreciated.

    Thanks.

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Ian,

    It sounds like maybe you didn't decrease across the gap at the end of your last two or three Row 3's. By "decrease across the gap", I mean that maybe you didn't purl together the two stitches on either side of the gap. Even if your stitch counts are correct, it could be that your decreases are misplaced. Does this sound like a possibility?

    Please let me know if this doesn't help because I'm sure we can get to the bottom of it!

    Thanks so much for your question and good luck!

    Whitney

  7. Victoria says:

    Hi. I was wondering about the heel flap- it's been extremely frustrating going for me, and this'll be the third time I've torn out the heel flap to do it over again. I think my confusion has to do with "the gap." To what exactly are you referring to by "the gap?" The gap between needles 1 & 2, and 1 & 3? Or a large gap between stitches that I'm not seeing? I assumed it meant the gaps between needle 1 and the others, but doing that doesn't have it come out the way it's supposed to look in the photo and only creates large holes in the sock on either side between needle 1 and needles 2 & 3. Would you clarify?

    Thanks!

  8. Ian says:

    Hi, thanks for your help, but I don't think that's the issue? At least, I've now tried it again a couple times, even to removing all of the heel rows and building them back up pretty carefully, and it's still doing this. (Maybe I'm confused and it's supposed to do this somehow, but this looks like a fairly sizable hole, don't know how it'd vanish later.)

    here's a picture. http://grab.by/qtJS
    (the rows on the right, that is from needle 1, actually look normal. they're just twisted so I could show the rest.)
    I don't know if that helps any, but the other side seems to come out fine, it's just once I've knit around needle 1 that the rows seem off, like I've knit one row too high on needle 1. am I missing something about the transition from heel to leg?

    thanks.

  9. purl bee says:

    Hi Ian,

    I'm sorry you're still having trouble! Unfortunately, the link you sent isn't working, but let's see if I can clarify the transition from Heel Flap to Leg in a way that will illuminate the problem…

    First of all, since the end of the Gusset, you should have worked only one row on Needle 1: at the end of the Turn the Heel section.

    Then for the Heel Flap section, you should have worked exclusively on Needles 2 and 3. The last step of the Heel Flap is to work the slip stitch pattern on Needle 2 and then Needle 3. Done with the Heel Flap.

    Next, to start the Leg with the Set-Up Round, you should have just finished Needle 3, and you continue now (without turning the work) onto Needle 1 (where you knit), then onto Needle 2 (where it seems you have a hole) and then onto Needle 3. This is the first time since the end of the Turn the Heel section that you should have worked Needle 1. Is that the case for you?

    And again, are you sure that you're joining the stitches on either side of the gap each time you decrease in the Heel Flap section?

    If none of this triggers anything for you, then please do try to send the photo again, and maybe that will trigger something for me!

    Whitney

  10. Faith says:

    I have never done the short rows before now and I cannot locate your video on them. Ok so after I wrap and turn do I purl back down the row, or do I do continue in direction I started out in?…. Can't wait to complete my first pair of socks!

    Faith

  11. purl bee says:

    Hi Faith,

    We don't have a video tutorial on short rows (yet!), but we do have a very thorough photo tutorial right here: http://www.purlbee.com/knitting-tutorials-advanced-te/2008/6/18/short-rows.html

    And in answer to your question, you turn the work after you wrap and work back the way from which you just came!

    I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions and thanks for this one!

    Whitney

  12. June says:

    Hi Whitney & everyone at purl bee,
    Happy new year!
    Love all things purl bee especially these socks!
    Just had a quick question, when you're starting the socks , are the very first set of increase rounds done without knitting evenly in between rounds ?
    Thanks so much!

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi June,

    Happy New Year to you! You have it right, the increase rounds do not have plain knit rounds in between them.

    Thanks for asking. Please let us know if you have any more questions and good luck with your socks!

    Whitney

  14. Gemma says:

    These are so pretty and I'm going to try them, but I honestly think you'd be crazy to cast on with anything other than Judy's Magic Cast On. Also I will definitely magic loop them.

    And! I thought it would look prettier if the cables on one leg mirrored those on the other – so cable them in front for one sock and in the back for the second. :)

  15. Kaitlin says:

    Hello!

    I have a question about the heel flap. I've been stuck here for a long time. On row 2 of the heel flap, every time I get to 2 stitches before the gap, I'm on a slip instead of a knit, which would make 2 slips in a row if I followed the pattern. I don't see how it could ever be a knit, since there will always be an odd number of stitches. Is it supposed to be 2 slips in a row?

    Thanks!

  16. purl bee says:

    Hi Kaitlin,

    Perhaps the problem is with your Row 1, since you should not be working on an odd number of stitches. So, for Row 1 you should slip 1; purl x number, depending on your size (whatever your size, you're purling an even number of stitches, plus the original slip stitch, means you've now worked an odd number of stitches); p2tog (this becomes one stitch, added to the odd number you've worked so far, means you have an even number of stitches). Is this how you've worked your Row 1?

    Then for Row 2, working a repeat of two stitches (slip 1, knit 1) should land you two stitches before the gap, ready to slip 1, ssk.

    I hope this helps you figure out how to move forward. I hate to think of you stuck on the heel flap forever! Please let us know if you have any more questions and good luck!

    Whitney

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