There are three different versions -- worked in sport, worsted and bulky yarn -- with three different, interchangeable design options, so you can use the yarn you have and the style you like to bring a handmade touch to a useful gift.
by craftbits (shellie wilson)
What you need
For the sport weight version: about 33 yards total of two colors of yarn (I used Red Heart Sport in red and green); a set of size 3 US (3.25 mm) double-pointed needles; scissors and yarn needle
For the worsted weight version: about 30 yards total of two colors of yarn (I used Red Heart Super Saver in turquoise and white); a set of size 8 US (5 mm) double-pointed needles; scissors and yarn needle
For the bulky version: about 12 yards total of two colors of yarn (I used Reynolds Lopi for the gray and Martha Stewart Crafts Lofty Wool Blend for the green); a set of size 13 US (9 mm) double-pointed needles; scissors and yarn needle
Note: I used just three needles for each of these projects, putting half of the stitches on each needle and knitting with the third. If that's uncomfortable for you, you can use more needles, but knowing where the middle of the round is comes in handy.
Instructions are given for the sport weight version with instructions for the worsted weight and bulky weight stockings in parentheses.
The sport weight and worsted weight versions are about 5 inches around and 4 inches long in the leg, while the bulky version is about 7 inches around and 5 inches long in the leg.
For the purposes of these instructions, color A is green (turquoise, gray) and color B is red (white, green). You can of course use any colors you like.
Cast on 30 (24, 16) stitches in color A. Work in corrugated ribbing (knit 1 in A, purl 1 in B), 1×1 ribbing or 2×2 ribbing (shown on the worsted and bulky versions, respectively) for about 1 inch.
Work the leg in 2-round stripes (shown on sport weight version), alternating colors each stitch (worsted version) or in Christmas tree pattern (instructions are for bulky stitch count, but you can use the same shape on any size) as follows:
Work 1 round in color A, 1 in color B, 1 in color A.
Knit 3 in A, 2 in B, 3 in A. Repeat on other side. Repeat this round.
Knit 2 in A, 4 in B, 2 in A. Repeat on other side. Repeat this round.
Knit 1 in A, 6 in B, 1 in A. Repeat on other side. Repeat this round.
Knit 3 in A, 2 in B, 3 in A. Repeat on other side.
Work 1 round in A.
Heel shaping: each heel is worked the same way, using short rows. I worked the sport and bulky versions in color A and the worsted in B, but you can use either color.
Put half of the stitches — that’s 15 (12, 8) — onto one needle if they aren’t already there. Knit 14 (11, 7), turn the work. You can wrap the last stitch or not as you like; I did on the bulky version but did not on the others, which leaves visible holes in the heel.
Purl 13 (10, 6), turn. Knit 12 (9, 5), turn. Continue in this manner, working one fewer stitch on each side, until 5 (4, 3) stitches remain worked in the middle. Then begin working one more stitch each row — together with its wrap, if applicable — until all stitches have been worked. If necessary, work back to where the other color yarn is.
Continue in pattern for sport and bulky socks until foot measures 3 inches from back of heel. For bulky version, work 1 round in A, 1 in B, 4 rounds in A and 1 in B.
For toe shaping all sizes, knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to 3 stitches before center of round, slip, slip, knit, knit 1. Repeat on other half of stitches.
Repeat this round until 8 (10, 8) stitches remain.
Cut yarn, leaving a long tail and thread onto yarn needle. Slip remaining stitches onto yarn and cinch toe closed. Weave in remaining ends.
All done. What do you think of this idea?