If the instructions for knitting the heel portion of a regular sock seem as if they've been written in ancient Greek for all the sense they make, try knitting a pair of tube socks. Tube socks can be just as warm as heeled socks and are much easier for the beginning-to-intermediate knitter. Knitters who have never used double-pointed needles before, you may want to check out the link in Resources for tips on how to work with them. Otherwise, if you can knit and purl, you can make tube socks.
Things You'll Need
Set of 4 double-pointed knitting needles
Measure the recipient. Determine how high the eventual sock owner wants the socks to go and how wide his calf is at the widest. This will determine how much yarn you need to buy.
Choose your yarn. A soft yet hardy natural fiber like cotton is best. However, if you want winter-weight tube socks, a wool or wool blend will work just as well. If you are going to knit the traditional white sock with color bands at the top, be sure to pick out a colored cotton from the same manufacturer.
Cast on. For the ribbing at the top of the sock, you will need to cast on a multiple of 6 stitches. Depending on the size of your needle, this could be 36, 42, 48 or 54. Remember you want the top of the sock to stretch just enough to fit snugly on the recipient's calf, so you may need to cast on and knit an inch or two more than once to get the stitch numbers and gauge correct.
Knit the sock. For the first 3 or 4 inches, knit 3, purl 3, swapping in your stripe color after 1 inch for an inch and again at inch 3 to 4. Knit the rest of the sock knit stitch only (which makes stockinette stitches when you're knitting in the round) until the entire sock is within 1 1/2 inches of the overall desired length. Knit 2 then knit 2 together for 1 row, then knit the next row until you have 8 to 10 stitches left.
Finish the sock. Cut your yarn about 8 inches from your knitting and thread twice through the remaining loops. Tie off. Weave in the end and cast on the other sock.
Just because they're tube socks, doesn't mean they necessarily need to be white with the colored stripes at the top. Add some fun color throughout the body of the sock.