What Size Cylinder is Best for Me?
I usually knit socks at 60-64 st on 2.5mm needles and at 68-72 st on 2mm needles, how do I work out which size cylinder is best for me?
48 size cylinder - child size sock
60 size cylinder - ladies size sock
72 size cylinder - mens size sock
With hand knitting you can change the type of yarn, the number of stitches and the size of the needles easily. With circular machine knitting you can only change the type of yarn, the height of the cams or the cylinder size.
Circular knitting machines by their very nature, produce a tube. The first step to sock knitting is to measure your foot and leg for a sock.
Is sock size the same as shoe size?
Shoe size is the measurement of the length of your foot, from the heel to the tip of the toe. When you see socks labelled "sock size 9-11" this is a reference to your foot length in inches, NOT your shoe size. Most of us buy socks that are too small (myself included) and end up with a hole in the toe!
Measuring your foot for socks:
Place your heel against the end of a ruler, against a wall. Measure from the back of the heel, to the end of your longest toe. (do not bear weight on the foot, as it will lengthen and spread)
With your foot on the floor, then measure around the widest part of the foot. (usually around the ball of the foot) and also measure the circumference of the calf. (you will need to measure BOTH feet)
Choose a sock size size that has about 10% negative ease, (which is about 1 inch for an average adult size sock and about 1/2 inch for a childs sock) smaller than the actual leg or foot circumference.
The majority of sock patterns are based upon foot or ankle circumference. The foot length can easily be adjusted by the number of rows.
If the pattern calls for 68 stitches when HAND knitting, and the gauge is 8 stitches per inch, the finished sock will measure about 8 inches in circumference.
If you are knitting socks with a circular sock machine, I suggest that you knit a swatch first, before knitting the entire sock. Different yarn bases knit differently in both width and length.
Circular sock machines will knit a wide range of yarns. THINNER yarn will produce a WIDER sock, when using the same size cylinder.
DK yarn knit in a 60 cylinder will produce a wider sock than in a 48 cylinder.
DK yarn can be knit using either the 48 or the 60 cylinder.
The width of the sock can be also changed by lowering the height of the cams.
Lowering the cam will loosen and lengthen the stitch, raising the cam will tighten and shorten the stitch.
I hope this has inspired you to experiement with different types of yarn with your circular sock machine. There are so many yarns appearing on the market, some suitable for machine knitting, some not.