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Workshop With Cookie A: Adding Stitch-Patterns to Socks

Blog » Designing Patterns » Workshop With Cookie A: Adding Stitch-Patterns to Socks

Workshop With Cookie A: Adding Stitch-Patterns to Socks

Alex Capshaw-Taylor

April 1, 2011

Three professional tips for adding cables, lace, or other stitch-patterns to your socks, including combining multiple stitch patterns, checking to see if the socks will come out too big or too small, and heel-flap design tips.
Designers Alex Capshaw-Taylor and Cookie A.

Fun news! My friend and fellow knitwear designer and instructor, Alex Capshaw-Taylor, owner of WorldKnit and Handspun, has volunteered to share with us her experience of a weekend class she took in October with one of the knitting world’s most famous and beloved sock designers, Cookie A.

This is part III of her guest blog series.

Top Down Sock Design

…My final class of the weekend was Top-Down Sock Design. I myself prefer toe-up socks, not because of the kitchener stitch, but because I find that when using two circulars on top down socks my stitch joins aren’t tight enough.

I think if I were still using DPNs to make socks top down wouldn’t be such a big deal. Maybe I should start on the dpns and then move to circulars.

Regardless, Cookie prefers top-down because of the design benefits:

  • you can fold the sock to figure out where you want your heel and top of foot.
  • You can also make sure the sock isn’t too tight to fit over your heel.

Things to keep in mind when sock designing:

1) If you want row repeats to match up when using multiple stitch patterns in a sock, choose patterns whose rows have the lowest common denominator.

For example, if one pattern is a 12-row repeat and another pattern is a 10-row repeat they won’t line up again until row 60.

2) For colorwork, chevron, and bias-stitch socks, always add more stitches because the sock will have less elasticity.

3) Be sure to factor your “suckage” for cables (usually a 50% stitch loss, so a 4-st cable has the same width as 2 stitches). You can always stagger your cables to correct the suckage.

4) Check the sizing of your sock after one full repeat. If it is too big, pinch it to see how many stitches you need to eliminate.

If your heel flap is narrower than 50% of the total stitches then you need to make the flap longer and vice versa.

Cabled socks by Cookie A

During this class we got a chance to design a pair of socks. I’m excited about my honey-combed socks with a bobbled cable running straight up the back of the leg!

About the guest-blogger: Alex Capshaw-Taylor blogs at, and you can see her handspun yarn and knitted creations in her Etsy shop.

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If you liked this guest post on top-down sock design, post in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Workshop With Cookie A: Adding Stitch-Patterns to Socks”

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  1. I started knitting when I was in my 40’s. (I’m 60 now.) I began with the increase/decrease dishcloth on regular needles. I didn’t think I could master circular needles; now I have them in every size. I didn’t think I could master double points; now I have them in every size and have a huge hat collection. I was positive I couldn’t knit socks but after following your instructions for the toe up version I now have a set on my circulars and they are nearly done. They won’t be perfect but it has been such a great learning experience. I really love your calm voice and encouraging manner. Thank you!

  2. Karin (fireflysummer)

    I am so glad that KnitPurlGurl sent me your way. You have so many fabulous videos and tutorials. I wish I’d have found you earlier.

    1. Hi Karin,

      Welcome and thanks for commenting! I’m so delighted that you like my video lessons – I hope they help you become a fantastic knitter! Feel free to stop by the forum to meet some other KNITFreedom students :)

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