Kick-back Two-Color Socks: Introduction

See details of all the sample socks | On to Lesson One

You've got a stash full of half and three-quarters skeins of sock yarn, or you've got a DGD who won't wear anything that isn't purple and pink, or you've got a serious fan who needs socks in the team colors, or you've found some luscious yarn in colors you adore but you don't want to have to buy a sweater's worth. So isn't it time you learned to design your own color-patterned socks?

What I want to do in this class is focus on the beginners. You will need to have made socks before, since I won't be covering the basic techniques like how to cast on or how to pick up gusset stitches. But anyone who has a bit of experience can plan a sock from the ground up (where else?) in a simple two-color pattern.


You'll need enough yarn to make a pair of socks, in two colors. In sock yarn, that would be about one 50g ball of each color (or maybe a little more of the heel and toe color); in heavier yarn, maybe 100g of one and 50g of a contrast color. If you have more of one than the other, that's fine as long as the total is enough for two socks.

Any weight yarn that you like to knit with will work. I prefer finer yarn because you can do more intricate patterning in a finer gauge, but for a simple design worsted weight is great. Be sure you have double-pointed needles appropriate for the yarn you'll be using. The gauge you'll be aiming for is the one on the label if it's a sock yarn, or a bit tighter if it isn't.

It's better if the yarn you choose has some stretch: wool or acrylic or a blend are fine. Cotton yarn is not stretchy and would not be a good choice for your first attempts at color knitting.

I'll be providing charts for the three patterns shown in the photo of the samples; if you'd rather do something different, look though your pattern books and magazines and be ready to chart your own. I'll help you plan your own design. The simplest pattern (also shown in the gold-and-rust socks) will be the one we'll follow through the class -- but I'll be giving plenty of options to help students go their own way.

See you in class!

Class Outline

This will be an easy kick-back class that will allow students to use up some existing stash yarn, and at the same time learn some simple two-color stranding techniques and learn to design a basic sock. "Extra credit" exercises help keep it interesting for students who already have some basic skills.

Lesson 1: Planning your sock
Yarn selection for color socks
Getting a gauge
Choosing a pattern: two simple charts given
Start your sock

Extra credit: planning a more complex color pattern

Lesson 2: Handling two-color knitting
Joining a new color
Cut or carry?
Meg's jogless jog trick
Two-fisted knitting

Extra credit: catching in a long float

Lesson 3: Planning a Turned Heel
Options for the heel flap
Turning a round heel on an even or odd number of stitches

Extra credit: the Dutch heel

Lesson 4: Finish the sock
Continuing the pattern down the foot
Handling gusset and toe decreases in color pattern
Getting a good foot length

Extra credit: Avoiding patterned gusset decreases

Details of the sample socks

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Judy Gibson
Descanso, California
Email to jgibson (at) cts (dot) com