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World War I Sock Pattern

New Red Cross Directions for Socks


Cast on 64 stitches on 3 needles: 20-24-20.
Knit 2, purl 2 for 4 inches. Knit plain for 1 inch.
Very loose knitters use 60 stitches: 20-20-20.

Narrow for ankle as follows:

*Knit 1 on "first" needle to be called "middle back" stitch. Knit next 2 stitches together (called "Narrowing"). Knit plain to last 2 stitches of "Third" needle. Knit these 2 stitches together. Knit plain for 1 !/2 inches (10 to 12 rows according to quality of yarn and looseness of knitting. * Do this from * to * 4 times.

You now have 56 stitches on needles (or 52 stitches if casting on 60 stitches), and are ready for the Heel> Sock should now be 11 inches long. Divide all stitches on 2 needles, to be called "Front" and "Heel" needles respectively. Slip some of "Front" stitches on to extra needle for flexibility. Have "Middle Back" stitch in middle Heel needle.

You are now to knit back and forth on "Heel" needle only, as follows:

Semi Double Heel: Knit every stitch to end of "Heel" needle, always slipping first stitch. Turn, slip 1, purl 1, slip 1, purl 1 to beginning of "Heel" needle, Turn and repeat until "Heel" piece measures 2 1/2 inches in length You have 14 to 16 stitches on sides of heel piece.

Single Heel for Heavy Wool: If plain Heel be preferred on heel needle knit plain with outside of sock toward you; turn and purl back, always slipping first stitch. Turn and repeat until "Heel" piece measures 2 1/2 inches in length. You have 14 to 16 stitches on sides of heel piece.

Knit 1 more than half of "Heel" stitches. Knit 2 together, knit 1 more and turn. Purl 4 stitches, purl 2 together, purl 1 more and turn.

* Knit to the stitch before the 'hole." Knit 2 together, knit 1 and turn. Purl to the stitch before the hole. Purl 2 together, purl 1 more and turn*
Repeat from * to * until all stitches are taken up.

Divide stitches on "Heel" needle on 2 needles designated "Right" and "Left". Pick up all stitches on right and left sides of heel piece, always picking up loop on wrong side of sock, usually 14 or 16 stitches on each side, and knit once around to center of heel. On "Heel" needles narrow every other row on ends of needles next to "Front" needle, as follows: On "Left" needle knit plain to last 2 stitches. Knit the two together. On first end of "Right" needle slip 1, knit 1, slip the sliped stitch over and complete row to middle of heel. Knit one row plain, and continue, alternating one narrowed row and one plain row until the stitches on "Heel" needles equal the number on the "Front" needle, 56 in all (52 stitches for 60 stitch sock). (The same number always as the number after narrowing for ankle.) Knit plain until the foot measures 9 inches from tip of "Heel" by rule.

Narrow the toe as follows: Knit 2 together, knit 5 knit 2 together, knit 5. Continue once around. Then knit 5 rows without narrowing. Then a row of narrowing the interval of 4 stitches and 4 plain rows: 3 stitches and 3 plain rows, and 2 stitches and 2 plain rows, until you have only 20 stitches left. After last narrowing knit 2 rows plain, and then divide stitches on 2 needles, 10 on "Front" needle 10 on "Heel" needle. (Do not knit last stitch on heel needle. This should be a slipped stitch. Break off wool thread length and use darning needle.)

Holding the knitting needles together with "Front" needle next to you, wool at right end of "Heel" needle, you are now ready to finish the "Kitchener Toe". With wool always under knitting needles and at right of darning needle, slip darning needle through the first "Front" stitch in the position of knitting," and slip stitch off the knitting needle. Slip darning needle through second "Front" stitch in the position of "Purling" and leave stitch on the knitting needle. Draw wool close as in knitting. Slip darning needle through first "Heel stitch as in "Purling,"and slip stitch off knitting needle. Slip darning needle through second "Heel" stitch as in "knitting" and leave stitch on knitting needle. Now slip darning needle needle through third "Front" stitch in position of Purling and leave on. Purl second "Heel" stitch, slip it off knitting needle, and knit third "Heel" stitch and leave on. Continue until all stitches are slipped off and then weave thread lengthwise through the sock for 4 inches. Also thread the 4-inch length of wool at beginning of sock and weave it into the leg lengthwise.

Wash socks with pure soap flakes in lukewarm water and rinse in same temperature; lay socks on smooth surface, shape and stretch to original size, and leave to dry. Tie loosely in pairs with piece of wool.

These were given out by Puritan Flour, Wells-Abbott-Nieman Co. Schuyler, Nebr. Contributed by Susan Martin (email:, who found them in an old treadle sewing machine she bought for a lamp table.

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