How to Knit Thick Soles

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Thick, knit soles for bed socks or house slippers are just the thing to keep feet warm during chilly weather. Double-knitting weaves two knit fronts with wrong sides together, thanks to the continuous "yarn-overs" that are an integral part of the technique. While taking advantage of trapped air insulation for extra warmth, double-knit soles also help cushion tired feet. And they provide an opportunity to create intricate two-sided knit patterns using two colors of yarn.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Five-ply worsted yarn
  • Size 4 knitting needles
  • Sock pattern for knitting
  • Place a piece of paper on the floor, and ask the future wearer to stand on it. Trace around her feet. If the slippers are intended as a surprise, present it as an art project or check the size of her favorite pair of shoes.

  • Knit a 6-inch, single-ply square to check the number of stitches per inch, also known as determining the knitting gauge. This will help you adjust the pattern size. Since you want to use the small needles with large yarn to make the sole thicker, you cannot adjust the gauge by changing the needle or thread size; therefore, you will have to adjust the number of stitches intended to produce the indicated size. Compare the number of stitches in your knitting gauge with the recommended number of stitches per square inch. If your gauge has more stitches per inch, you will need to add stitches to the pattern; if it has fewer, you will need to use fewer.

  • Pencil in adjustments to the pattern before you begin knitting. This help you make sure the changes are consistent throughout the process. Knit the sock top normally to the point where you need to begin making changes to set the heel. Knit the back flap to the turn normally, then pick up one stitch between each stitch as you prepare to knit the sole of the sock. Mark the beginning of your increase, if you are using double-pointed needles, by slipping a knitting marker or a loop of differently colored yarn onto the needle. You will slip the marker onto the needle at each round; likewise mark the end of the decrease.

  • Knit around the sock foot normally till you come to the marker. At the marker, knit the first stitch normally, then pull a yarn strand from your second skein. Double the end over to make a loop. Yarn over (pull the thread to the opposite side of the work, by moving it over the top of the needle) with your original strand, and purl with the new strand into the first added stitch. Yarn over with both strands. Use the original strand to knit a stitch in the next original stitch. Yarn over with both strands, purl in the next added stitch. Continue in this way, knitting the top part of the sock normally, and double-knitting the sole. As you knit, check the width of the sole against the foot outline to make sure you are creating the correct size.

  • Decrease stitches according to the pattern directions to form the toe. In the double knit areas, decrease by twice as many stitches. When finished, you will have a comfy pair of thick house-shoe socks to wear on cold winter evenings or to wear inside rubber boots.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sock patterns that are set up for multiple sizes are best for this process.
  • You can make the slippers more interesting and the double-knit process easier by using a second color for the added yarn strand.

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References

  • Photo Credit MASH/Photodisc/Getty Images
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