This file was downloaded from

Socks Made of 4 Ply Wool from "Guide to Knitting for Active Service"
by the Australian Comforts Fund, 1940

Cover of a world war two military booklet

Socks - General Directions

To ensure good results, choose your wool and needles carefully, according to whether you wish to turn out a heavy or a medium weight sock.

Wind the wool very loosely, turning it over three fingers to begin with, and avoid pulling it at all tight.

Cast on very loosely, using a larger size needle.

Join the wool always with a "splice," never with a knot. To splice the wool, separate the strands and remove some from each of the ends, laying the two together, pointing in opposite directions, damp them slightly, and rub between the palms of the hands, or else use a wool needle and run the ends into each other for two or three inches.

Hints for Making Socks

Socks must be cast on loosely, as the tight row round the top will not go over a man's heel or will not go far enough up the leg.

Note from Sarah: Use the twisted German cast on and work it on needles one or two sizes larger than you are knitting the rest of your sock for a nice stretchy cast on. The following is a video by New Stitch a Day showing how to work the twisted German cast on.

There must be no knots anywhere in socks.

The toes must be grafted off neatly as in pattern, and must not be grafted tightly.

Finishing thread must be run down side of the toe, and not across or under the grafting.

There must be no tightness anywhere in socks.

Pattern for Socks Made of 4 Ply Wool

Any colour for the Army; navy blue or black only for the Navy and Air Force

Use UK No. 12/2.75mm/US 2 needles if tight knitter, or UK No. 13/2.25mm/US 1 needles if loose knitter.

Cast on 64 stitches loosely (so that it will stretch to 14½ or 15 inches). 32 on one needle and 16 on each of the other two needles.

Knit 4½ inches of k2, p2 rib.

Knit plain till leg measures 12 inches.

Now knit heel flap on needle with 32 stitches, 1 knit row and 1 purl row till flap measures 2½ inches.

Now turn the heel, starting on plain row.

Knit 19, k2tog, k1. Turn.

Purl 8, p2tog, p1. Turn.

Knit 9, k2tog, k1. Turn.

Purl 10, p2tog, p1. Turn.

Knit 11, k2tog, k1. Turn.

Purl 12, p2tog, p1. Turn.

Knit 13, k2tog, k1. Turn.

Purl 14, p2tog, p1. Turn.

Knit 15, k2tog, k1. Turn.

Purl 16, p2tog, p1. Turn.

Knit 17, k2tog, k1. Turn.

Purl 18, p2tog, p1. Turn.

There are now 20 stitches on the needle.

Knit 10 plain, use another needle, knit 10, then pick up 18 stitches along the side of the heel flap.

Knit all of the 32 stitches of the instep needles on to one needle.

Pick up 18 stitches along the other side of the heel flap and the 10 left on the heel needle.

Stitches are now 32 on one needle, and 28 on each of the other two needles.

Decrease for foot

Knit the next and instep needles plain. Mark this as the beginning of the round.

1st side needle, knit 1, slip 1, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over, knit to the end of the row. 2nd side needle, knit to the last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1.

Next round knit plain.

Repeat these two rounds till the stitches on the side needles are reduced to 16.

Continue knitting plain till foot measures 9 inches from the back of the heel.

Decrease for toe

Start with instep needle. Knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to the last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1.
1st side needle, knit 1, knit 2 together, knit to the end of the needle. 2nd side needle. Knit to the last 3 stitches, knit 2 together, knit 1.

Next round knit without decreasing.

Continue these two rounds till there are 14 stitches on the instep needle and 7 on each of the side needles.

Slip stitches on side needles on to one needle, making 14 stitches on two needles.

Graft the Toe as follows

Break the wool from the ball leaving about 18 inches. Thread into a wool needle.

Bring wool from the back. Put needle through 1st front stitch as if to knit and take it off.

Put needle through 2nd front stitch as if to purl and leave it on.

Put needle through 1st back stitch as if to purl and take it off.

Put needle through 2nd back stitch as if to knit and leave it on.

Put needle through 2nd front stitch as if to knit and take it off.

Put needle through 3rd front stitch as if to purl and leave it on.

Put needle through 2nd back stitch as if to purl and take it off.

Put needle through 3rd back stitch as if to knit and leave it on.

Continue till all the stitches are woven off.

Run wool neatly down the side of the toe. Be very careful not to graft off too tightly.


The original publication of this pattern is in the public domain, however this updated and modernised version with additional information is copyright Sarah Bradberry, May 30th 2012. All rights reserved. You may not edit, email, publish, or distribute the contents of this page in any form without the prior permission of the copyright holder. If you would like to share the information on this page you may do so by giving the link to this page which is http://knitting-and.com/knitting/patterns/socks/service2.html