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Tuesday
Nov202012

Whit's Knits: 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!

 

Reader Comments (65)

waouh, these socks are so beautiful!! can't wait that my sock-knitting course here in Bxl at "kaléidoscope" starts, so that I'm able to try your wonderful version :)!!
November 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermuenzeeins
I'm looking at these and thinking I could do this magic loop style, if I used markers. Anyone have any thoughts?
November 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterM
Any idea how much comfortable stretch these get at the widest part of the calf? I think I may need to Frankenstein together a smaller size foot with a larger leg.
November 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRandi
These are beautiful. I always knit kneesocks top down - it is so nice that the rows get shorter .... but the pattern is easily turned around to accommodate the OTHER direction. And another heel ....
November 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpetra
I would definitely change to Judy's Magic Cast-on to avoid all the kitchener nonsense, but otherwise these look fantastic. I usually use two circulars instead of DPNs, but I imagine with markers it would still be easy enough. It's amazing how much character that one little cable adds.
November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrenna
Come on Purl bee, lets not be size-ist! One of the joys of hand knitted socks is that us taller ladies needn't feel sidelined by commercial ideas of 'normal size'. I'm 180cm tall with size 44 feet. And I'm not tall at all by 'tall lady' standards! I wear the shortest leg Long Tall Sally stock. However, even amongst more average heighted friends, a 41 is common.

Let's give some sizing guidance and support to all those lovely mummies and friends knitting gifts for the tall girls in their lives, who perhaps more than any deserve surprise perfect fit socks under the tree this year!
November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelen
do you think spud and chloe fine would also work well?
if so, how many skeins would I need?
thanks- they look really nice
November 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersusan k
Oh I love them so, I want to knit at least seven pairs for myself.
My feet and top of my legs always seem to get so cold.
I shall sleep with them on as well.
Because the shorter socks come off in the night.

Thank you so much for these beautiful knee-highs.

God bless you and yours
Brenda
November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrenda
HI M,

Sure! Practically anything that you knit with double pointed needles could be knit with the Magic Loop method. So if that's your favorite way to do it, go for it!

Thanks for asking!
Whitney
November 26, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Randi,

I'd say that the calf comfortably stretches about 4-5 inches.

Thanks for asking. Hope the Frankenstein experiment works out!

Whitney
November 26, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Helen,

I'm about your height and so did naturally think about tall gals! My thought was that nearly everyone could wear these socks either with the cuff folded over or left unfolded. Alas! If you want to fold the cuff down, it's true that we'll have to think about some minor adjustments.

I'd recommend repeating the cable stitch pattern a couple of more times before you start the increases. I'd also work the pattern evenly for a few more repeats after the increases. And if that's still not enough, you can always knit the cuff a little longer too.

I hope this helps! Thanks for your question!
Whitney
November 26, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Susan K,

Good question! Yes, Spud & Chloe Fine would be a great substitute, although you may need three skeins of it, especially if you're knitting the medium or large size. (If you don't wind the third skein into a ball, you can return it within six months to Purl Soho for store credit.)

Thank you for your question!
Whitney
November 26, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi,

These knee socks are really nice. I would love to knit them for my 7 year old granddaughter to wear under her boots, but I know nothing about how to adjust patten size. How can I figure that out? Thanks for any advise you can send my way.

Mary
November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMary
HI Mary,

Unfortunately sock patterns are fairly complex so that adjusting them to a new size isn't such a simple matter. However, if you followed this pattern at a smaller gauge, then you would indeed get a smaller pair of socks! For example, if you knit the small size at 9 stitches the inch, the foot circumference would be 6 2/3 inches and if you knit at 10 stitches to the inch, it would be 6 inches.

If you'd like to let me know what size you hope to knit the socks, I'd be happy to tell you what gauge you should try to get!

Thank you for your question!
Whitney
November 27, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
im in the midst of completing my first pair of top down socks...
but I LOVE these!
do you think this is doable for someone with no experience in toe up socks? a wrap turn neophyte??
November 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersusan k
Hi Susan K,

Sure! We have a great Short Rows Tutorial right here: http://www.purlbee.com/short-row-tutorial/ and otherwise, it's just a question of carefully following the pattern (as always!).

I think if you're inspired, you should go for it! And I'm always happy to help if you run into any problems!

Thanks for asking!
Whitney
December 3, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
i think i can do this!
the wrap and turns don't look too bad- just not sure about the picking up of the wraps.
do you only do it when it says to do it and is it only after all of the short rows are completed?
im planning to try this very soon and ill use the spud and chloe fine.
thanks so much
December 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersusan k
Hi again Susan K,

I think you can do it too! Yes to both of your questions: you do only pick up the wrap when the pattern says to and only after all the short rows are completed.

By the way, short rows are much more complicated to think about than to do, so don't get too intimidated beforehand. All will be revealed!

Whitney
December 3, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi,

I absolutely love these! I would like them to cuff above my knee, though, so I can wear them over tights with my knee high boots and the socks show. I'm not very tall (only 5'3 size 7.5 shoe), so I would assume on a normal basis I would wear a small. In order to get the extra length and room for the tights, would you suggest I go up to a medium? Or just increase the length of the small?

Thanks!

MH

P.S I can't wait to make these for my sisters for Christmas!
December 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMH
I love the simple beauty of these socks and can't wait to knit them up. How do I determine my size? My calves are 14" and my foot just under 9". How do body measurements translate to unstretched sock measurements?
December 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathrine
HI Katherine,

Since the calves comfortable stretch about 3-4 inches, I would recommend the medium size for a 14-inch calf. Your foot length doesn't matter at all because the pattern tells you how to customize the sock to your exact size.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions and thanks for this one!

Whitney
December 26, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I wish I could do this!!! I love love love these!!! Would you take an order to make them?
December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachaelle
Hi Rachelle-

We don't take custom orders but if you call our retail store in NYC they might be able to get you in touch with a custom knitter. 212-420-8796

Thank you!

Molly
December 31, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Heya - just got the yarn in the mail to make these - I went with the squishy in clay. Is it two skeins per sock or two for both??? Stupid question I know but after getting the yarn I can't see how I'm going to get two socks out of it :p Thanks! M
January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Hi Michelle-

It is 2 skeins for the pair not per sock, so you will have enough yarn.

Thanks so much for your question!

Molly
January 13, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello!
Is there a more affordable yarn that you can recommend? $65 for a pair or socks is kinda steep for me.
Thank you.
January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFranny
Hi Franny-

We don't carry anything in a similar weight that is less expensive but you are welcome to use any sock weight yarn you'd like! Just make sure you're getting 8 1/4 stitches per inch!

Thank you for your question and good luck with the project!

Molly
January 24, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
For those of us who are truly cheap bur love this yarn and the idea of this sock with the delicate cable, how long a sock, with a regular (not folded cuff), would one hank make?
January 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Hello!

I started knitting these for my beau (size 10-10.5 men's), but felt like the socks were getting too wide with the yarn I'm using, so I stuck with the stitch count of the small sock. I've finished the gusset (stitch count at 30, 24, 24), but am stuck on the heel. I'm not sure if I should continue to follow the pattern according to the small or large pattern. I was thinking the heel needed the extra rows of the large sock pattern, but am not sure how to recalculate for the smaller stitch count.

Can you please help?!
January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBailey
Just wanted to say that I love this site! It is filled with such wonderful information. I am pretty new to knitting and this is probably a dumb question, but when you say 2 skeins (2,2) what does that mean? Is that 2 per foot or 2 total? I just wasn't sure about the (2,2). Thanks so much and this site is so inspiring and helpful! I absolutely love it!
February 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany
Hi Brittany-

This is a great question for anyone who has never followed a pattern with different sizes!

The numbers inside of the parenthesis indicate the number of skeins needed for the different sizes. In other words you need 2 skeins for the small (2 skeins for the medium, 2 skeins for the large.)

This particular example is a little confusing since you need the same amount for all three sizes but read down in the pattern a bit and you'll see similar formatting. For example, in the "Pattern" section you'll see this:

Foot Circumference: 7 1/4 (8 1/4, 9 1/4) inches. This could also be written: Foot Circumference: 7 1/4-inches for the small size (8 1/4-inches for the medium size, 9 1/4-inches for the large size)

Hopefully this makes sense, and thanks for your question. Please let us know if you have any more!

Molly
February 2, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Lisa,

The great thing about knitting from the toe up is you can stop whenever you want! So I would recommend knitting until the remaining yarn weighs half the total skein's weight (which is 114 grams, so until it weighs 57 grams.)

To give you an idea of what you might end up with, I used a little over half the second skein to make a small size.

Thanks for asking and good luck! Let us know how it goes!

Whitney
February 3, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi

Busy knitting these up at the moment and was just wondering if you could help. When you do the increase up the leg do you put in two cables between increases or just do the increase one after the other?

So far I love how they look.

Thanks

Frith
February 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrith
Hi. this is going to be my first sock attempt. ive got the provisional cast on etc but i was just wondering about the first comment on 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."

at what point do i need to start doing this? and .... could anyone explain this for me.

thankyou.
February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZen
Hi Bailey,

I'm not totally sure what you mean by the heel "needing extra rows". Do you mean that you're afraid that when you turn the heel, it won't be big enough? Or are you talking about the heel flap? I think either way, if your gauge is getting you the right size sock by following the small size pattern, you should continue with the small!

Thanks you so much for your question and good luck!

Whitney
February 11, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Frith,

There are two plain cable rounds between increase rounds (the next increase happens on the third cable after the previous increase).

I hope this helps to clarify! Thanks so much for making these socks and good luck with finishing them!

Whitney
February 11, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Zen,

You make the cable later in the pattern when it says to "make a cable". Knitting patterns often start out with explanations for the special techniques that will come later in the pattern.

I hope this helps and good luck with your first socks!

Whitney
February 11, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Confused..... "*Slip 1, k1, repeat from * to 2 stitches before the gap" this is my 1st pair of socks and so far I've been able to follow this pattern until now? I'm only confused by the (*) does this simply mean slip 1, k1 until 2 stitches b4 gap? Can someone please provide clarification?
February 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeniqui
Hi Deniqui,

Yes, it does. An asterisk is a pretty standard knitting pattern tool that let's people know the point at which a repeat starts. So when the pattern says "repeat from * to..." it means to go back to the * and repeat what comes after it until you get to where the pattern tells you you'll get to, in this case to "2 stitches before the gap".

I hope this helps! Good luck with the rest of your socks and thank you for your question!

Whitney
February 22, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
On the heel flap (*Slip 1, k1, repeat from *), am I slipping the stitch purlwise or knitwise? I have been doing purlwise and realized that I wasn't certain this is correct.
March 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
Love this pattern! I am working on this project and its my first pair of socks. I am having some issues regarding the short rows and turning the heel, and I was wondering if you might be able to advise. I am making a small size. When I get to the turning the heel part, I knitted across needle 1 and 2 like the pattern calls for, then I knit 7 stitches across needle 3, yo and knit 1 and perform the wrap and turn. This is where my confusion begins because I appear to have too few of stitches facing the wrong side to be able to purl 14 without purling into needle 2 in round 3. I have 14 stitches to the right side of the work.

Do you have any advice or wisdom to share? Thanks!
March 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commentererica
Hi Elizabeth,

Purlwise is correct!

Thanks for asking and good luck!

Whitney
March 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Erica,

The Turning the Heel section is worked over both Needles # 2 and #3 (see the Notes at the beginning of the section). So for Row 2 to purl 16 stitches, you will have the wrong side facing you and you'll purl the 9 stitches that are on Needle #2 and then finish by purling 7 stitches from Needle #3, yo, p1, wrap and turn.

I hope this gets you on the right path! Please let us know if you have any more questions and thanks for this one!

Whitney
March 25, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi-

I'm working on the first sock...When I finished the heel flap, the yarn was on the wrong side to re-join in the round. I knit all the way around again to join, but now I have a small hole on each side of the heel flap. Any idea what I did wrong?

Thanks-

Cindi
April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindi
When knitting the heel flap when I p2tog, the increase on the knit side slants the the right rather than the left. Can I use a different decrease to try and rectify this? If so, which would you recommend? Thanks, Amy
April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Hi Cindi,

You did nothing wrong, in fact, you're absolutely right! The error is mine! It has been corrected for future knitters of these socks, but for you with your holes on each side of the heel flap, I would recommend using nearby tails to sew the holes closed. If there are no ends close by, you can add a length of yarn by weaving in its end, sewing the holes closed and weaving in the other end.

I'm so sorry for the inconvenience! Thank you again and again for letting us know!

Whitney
May 6, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Amy,

A "purl 2 together through the back loop" (or p2tog tbl) will give you a left-leaning decrease on the knit side. Here's a tutorial that shows you how to do it: http://www.purlbee.com/decrease-purl-2-together-tbl-p/2012/3/16/decrease-purl-2-together-through-back-loop-p2tog-tbl.html

Thanks for asking and good luck!
Whitney
May 6, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Question, when working the decreases on rows 2 and 3 of the heel flap, do you slip the stitch onto needle 1? I left the decrease stitch on either needle 2 or 3 for the first few rounds, but then I realized that the number of stitches was supposed to stay at 30 for needle 1 and decrease on needles 2 and 3...
June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAna
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
June 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjackie
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
June 13, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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