Sock-A-Long: Cuffs and Cables


I’ve been knitting socks. I know that you probably know that already. I am having a Sock-A-Long after all. But I wanted to have the satisfaction of writing that little sentence. Its is indeed satisfying. Almost as satisfying as the actual knitting of socks.

Posts in this series:

Sock-A-Long: A Prelude

Sock-A-Long: Getting Gauge and Getting Ready

Sock-A-Long: Cuff and Cables

Sock-A-Long: The Discipline of Knitting the Whole Leg and Not Skipping to the Heel (because I know how I am)

Sock-A-long: Don’t Get Flapped by the Heel Flap

Sock-A-Long: Turning a Heel is Like Freaking Magic

Sock-A-Long: Knitting the Foot is Like Freaking Boring

Sock-A-Long: Toes and Done!

The knitting of things is not well understood by most non-knitters. In the modern age where almost everything we own is disposable, choosing to make something stitch-by-stitch seems (to those non-knitters) like a waste of time. That is especially true of socks. You can buy socks almost anywhere, they even sell them in grocery stores. And they are cheap! And they go on your feet! So why, whywhywhy would any sane person choose to spend hour upon hour to make a single pair?

Because hand knit socks are like homemade bread.

Ramble #3: Hand Knit Socks are like Homemade Bread

I’m going to assume that everyone reading this post has had, at least once, homemade bread. If you have not, stop reading this post immediately and go make/get some. Because if you have gone your entire life eating only bread from a store then you have been deprived of something wonderful. Homemade bread, fresh, warm, with no preservatives, will kick store-bought bread’s ass every time. The favor is richer; the hard crusts are flakier, the middle is softer, and the smell of fresh bread can’t be described. If you can make homemade bread then you probably wish you could make homemade bread all the time and never bother with store-bought again.

You know what? Hand knit socks are like that. If you’ve gone your whole life is machine-made, mass-produced, store socks then you are deprived. Hand knit socks are comfier, softer, warmer. Put on a pair of hand knit socks are a sigh will come out of your mouth. They just feel… right. They feel like exactly what you never knew you always wanted. Which is why any one who owns a pair of hand knit socks wants more. They want hand knit socks to wear every day because they don’t want to go back to store-bought.

Hand knit socks are like homemade bread for your feet.

So let’s all make socks. I’m making Cirque Socks in Stroll Fingering.

Its the yarn that the pattern was designed for and its a very nice yarn. I love the way it works up and its so soft in the hands. Feel free to jump in! make some Cirque Socks if you like. Or make your favorite pattern. But let’s all make hand knit socks. There is nothing quite like them.

The Cirque Socks are cuff-to-toe construction. I promised I’d go through the pattern step by step so that anyone feeling a bit hesitant could jump in and knit with me. Here we go.

Pick your size, and cast on either 72 or 80 stitches. Then…

skip right over that part. Yep, you can put that off until you are ready to knit the heel flap (which comes later). For now you will be better off if you make 4 sections, each with the same number of stitches. If you are using DPN’s then arrange your stitches on four needles each with 18 (or 20) stitches. If you are using circular needles, get some stitch markers and set then every 18 (or 20) stitches.


Then make cuff.

This is one-by-one ribbing with a twist. By knitting through the back loop, your knit stitches will be much prettier, especially when they are all stretched out around your calf. That’s because a knit-through-the-back-loop stitch pulls closed when stretched.

As it says in pattern, work 1×1 rib until you have an inch. If you are working to gauge that will be 12 rounds. More is not a bad thing, btw. The more ribbing you have, the better your socks will be at staying up.

And then its on to cables. Of yes, cables. Admit it, the cables are why you are in the Sock-A-Long in the first place. They are lovely.

What you are making in this section is the leg of the sock. Its four… well really 3 and half… repeats of the cable pattern. There is one set of instructions for the small and another for the large size. I’m working the small size.

So before I knit this I look it over and break it down.

  1. This is what you knit for each section or each needle. You work these instructions a total of 4 times for each round.
  2. There is a “TW” at the beginning of every other round. TW stands for Twisted Stitch and its a maneuver that happens over two stitches. You treat the first two stitches as a set. Skip over the first, knit into the second, then knit into the first. Then slip them both off the left needle. Its sometimes called a mock cable. I usually call this a Left Twist (there is also a Right Twist but not in this pattern). I have a video tutorial for making both Left and Right Twists if you want help with that stitch.
  3. There are cables to be made on Rounds 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 & 15. The ones on Rounds 3 & 5 and 13 & 15 are traveling cables. They “move” the knit stitches over the background of purls. The cables on Rounds 7 & 11 are cross cables; they just cross over themselves.

Never made cables? They are easier than you think. So easy I won’t teach classes on them. I’ve been asked and I always say no. I say no because, it only takes 5 minutes to teach someone how to make cables. Maybe less. Its so easy there is no way I could live with myself taking money it. Here is what you need to know about making cables:

Cables happen when you work stitches out of order. That what cable needles are for. They are there to hold some stitches out of your way while you work the next ones. You can hold those stitches, the ones on your cable needle, to the front of your work or to the back. You get a different look for each. Then, when you have worked the next set a stitches from the left needle, you work the stitches that are hanging out on your cable needle OR you just slip them back onto the left needle. And then work them. Whichever is easier for you.


Work one set and you are on your way!

I’m on my way too. I’ll have socks in no time a few weeks!

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16 Comments on "Sock-A-Long: Cuffs and Cables"

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You are a speed demon! (okay, now fervently rummaging in stash to find yarn) Have needles. Check. Found a paperclip/cable needle. Check. Now to print out/find/print out again the pattern. Find counter. I’m trying to catch up, really I am!


l, too, am playing catch up … all my ducks must be one legged ..sigh.. Anyhoo, would there happen to be a chart for this pattern ?? l hope, l hope…


I am not getting very far along on this A-Long. The people in my world don’t want to leave me alone long enough for me to get started knitting a pair of socks!


You are so sweet to demystify cables for everyone!
I’m about to the heel of Sock1, but that’s because I’m just knitting very simple socks with self-striping yarn. Easing back into daily (well, nightly) knitting, to the extent that my hands can take it. Your comparison to homebaked bread is excellent! I wear handknit socks most days, but keep several pair of stretchy storebought socks for days when I’m pulling loose rubber boots off and on every couple of hours…just sparing the handknits the unnecessary friction.


I want to jump in right now. I have the yarn and printed out the pattern, but I feel I should finish my husband’s second sock first. Maybe I should just wait a week until he leaves on his business trip, then he’ll never know.

I love reading your blog.