This step-by-step guide will show you how to knit a stocking using the basic knit stitch. With a little practice, you’ll be able to make your own stockings to decorate your home for the holidays!
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Shapeless sacs or pieces of fabric sewn shut at the top were once the only way to qualify as a stocking. Nowadays, there are many different ways to create a stocking. The basic idea remains the same: create a three-dimensional shape that can hold goodies. However, you are no longer limited to the size and shape of your great-grandmother’s stockings. This guide will show you how to knit a stocking step-by-step, from start to finish.
What You’ll Need
In order to knit a stocking, you will need the following materials:
-A skein of wool yarn in the color of your choice
-A pair of size 8 US knitting needles
-A tapestry needle
Once you have gathered all of your materials, you are ready to begin!
Knitting the Stocking
This guide will walk you through the process of knitting a stocking step-by-step. You will need to know how to knit and purl before beginning this project.
4” = 18 stitches & 24 rows in stockinette stitch size:
10” long from top to toe, 8” circumference at cuffNotes: The stocking is worked from the top down.
CO 36 stitches using long tail cast on (or your preferred method). Distribute stitches evenly over three needles, and join in the round being careful not to twist your work. Place a stitch marker on the first stitch of the round.
Rnd 1 – 3: *Knit all stitches*
Rnd 4: *K2, p2* around
Rnd 5 – 7: *Knit all stitches*
Rnd 8: *K1, p2* around
Rnd 9 – 11: *Knit all stitches*
Rnd 12: *Purl all stitches*
Repeat rounds 4 – 12 until your work measures approximately 7” from the top of the cuff (unstretched). End on an even round.
Casting on is the first step in knitting a stocking. You will need to determine how many stitches you will need to cast on, depending on the size of the stocking you are making. For a basic stocking, you will need to cast on about 30 stitches.
Once you have determined how many stitches to cast on, you will need to gather your supplies. You will need a set of knitting needles in the size appropriate for your yarn, and a skein of worsted weight yarn. You will also need a tapestry needle for weaving in ends later.
To begin, make a slipknot in your yarn and place it on one of your needles. Hold the needle with the slipknot in your right hand and the empty needle in your left hand. Insert the tip of the left needle into the stitch on the right needle from front to back. Then wrap the yarn around the tip of the left needle (counterclockwise if you are right-handed, clockwise if you are left-handed) and pull it through to create a new stitch on the left needle. You have now cast on one stitch! Repeat this process until you have cast on the desired number of stitches.
The Knit Stitch
The knit stitch is the most basic stitch in knitting. To knit, insert the right needle into the front loop of the next stitch on the left needle from left to right. Wrap the yarn around the right needle. Draw the yarn through the loop on the left needle, and drop the loop off the left needle. You have now made one stitch (or one “knit”).
The Purl Stitch
The purl stitch is one of the basic stitches in knitting. It is made by inserting the needle into the fabric from the back to the front and then wrapping the yarn around the needle. To complete the stitch, you then pull the yarn through the fabric and slip the old loop off the needle.
Increasing and Decreasing
There are two methods of shaping the stocking at the top: increasing and decreasing. With both methods, you will need to knit two stitches together (k2tog) at the point where you want the stocking to begin to taper.
Knit two stitches together as if they were one stitch (k2tog), knit one stitch, k2tog, knit one stitch. You have now decreased by two stitches. You will need to do this decrease every other row until you have the desired number of stitches on your needle.
Make one stitch (M1), knit one stitch, M1, knit one stitch. You have now increased by two stitches. You will need to do this increase every other row until you have the desired number of stitches on your needle.
Knitting the Heel
To knit the heel, you will need to work on a small number of stitches at a time—usually just 18 or 20. You will knit two rows, then turn the work and purl two rows. You will repeat this four-row pattern until you have a total of 10 “ridges” on the needle (20 rows).
Next, you will begin shaping the heel by working short rows. To do this, you will knit or purl partway across the row, then turn the work and leave the remaining stitches unworked. On the next row, you will work across the stitches that you had left unworked before, then turn again and leave more stitches unworked. You will continue in this way until you have only 6 stitches remaining on the needle.
Now it’s time to close up the hole that has formed at the center of the heel. To do this, you will first need to pick up 4 stitches along one side of the hole—1 stitch in each “ridge” (2 rows). Then, with a second needle, you will knit together 2 stitches from each side of the heel (1 stitch from each needle). Finally, you will pick up 4 more stitches along the other side of the hole and knit together 2 more stitches from each side of the heel. You should now have 18 stitches on your needles—the same number that you started with.
Knitting the Foot
To knit the foot of the stocking, you will need to:
1. Cast on 28 stitches using your chosen yarn and needles.
2. Knit in stockinette stitch (alternating knit and purl rows) until the piece measures 8 inches long.
3. To shape the toe, knit 2 stitches together at the beginning of each row until you have 24 stitches remaining. Then, knit 1 stitch together at the beginning and end of each row until you have 20 stitches remaining. Finally, knit 2 stitches together at the end of each row until you have 12 stitches remaining.
4. Cut a tail of yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches. Pull tight to close up the hole and knot off. Weave in any loose ends.
Finishing the Stocking
The following steps will show you how to finish your stocking.
1. Thread a tapestry needle with the tail of your yarn.
2. Insert the needle into the top of the first stitch of the last row, then insert it into the bottom of the next stitch. Pull the yarn through both loops on the needle (Figure 1).
3. Continue inserting the needle into the top of one stitch and then into the bottom of the next, until you reach the end of the row (Figure 2). All stitches should now be on one needle.
4. Turn your work so that you are ready to work a purl row. Purl all stitches until you reach the end of the row.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you have knit 4 rows total.
6. Cut yarn, leaving a long tail, and thread it onto a tapestry needle.
7. Insert needle purlwise into first stitch on needle and pull through (Figure 3).8. Insert needle knitwise into next stitch and pull through (Figure 4).9. Repeat Steps 7 and 8 until only one loop remains on needle (Figure 5).10. Pull tail tight to close hole (Figure 6).11. Weave in ends on reverse side of work