Improv Socks

Make It Nifty-Improv Socks-TitleIf you follow me on instagram you would have seen these socks pop up earlier this month.


I’ve been meaning to knit a pair of sock ever since I bought both of Melissa Morgan-Oakes 2-at-a-time sock books. I wanted to make a pair of house socks but didn’t want to have to buy new yarn or needles. So after knitting the sample socks from both the books I decided that I would just wing it and knit these up on 4mm needles using some 8ply yarn I had in my stash.

I cast on some stitches to about the toe width I thought would work and just kept trying these socks on as I was knitting them; writing down the pattern as I stitched.

According to Ravelry I cast these on in ahem November last year, but I must have been inspired by Erin’s February Goal to knit socks, because not long after I read her post I dug this WIP out of the cupboard and tried to get them finished during our cold weather.

I finished these just in time as one my Brown Pippy Slippers got a hole not long after I finished these socks.

Make It Nifty-Improv Socks-Brown Slipper HoleI was tempted to darn my Pippy Slippers, but I’ve worn them a lot during the cooler months for the 3 years that I’ve had them. So they’re going in the rag bucket.

The Improv Socks are Ravelled here. I wrote out my pattern so I don’t forget it and I’ll have something to reference if I try to knit these again.


Improvised the pattern, using the Sample Socks from Toe-up 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes as a guide.

Pattern Adjustments

  • Cast on more stitches for the toe
  • Knit more rows for each section of the socks
  • Made the sock legs very short

Make It Nifty-Improv Socks-SideMaterials

  • 8ply ‘soft’ acrylic yarn I had in my stash
  • 4mm 150cm cable needle from my stash


As I was knitting I tried these on to see how the toe fit. Then to see how many rows of knitting I needed for the foot. I stopped knitting the foot with the sock was where the top of my foot joined my leg (that makes sense right?).

I knit the gusset, turned the heel and then tried them on again to see how much ribbing I wanted for the leg.

Changes I made this time

Changes I made compared to the Sample Socks

  • Cast on more stitches at the toe
  • Increased the toe for more rows
  • Knit the foot for longer
  • Followed the instructions for the gusset and heel
  • Didn’t knit many rows of knitting for the legs

What I Like

  • Colour and composition of the yarn
  • I like the height of these socks.

What I don’t like

  • They are a bit loose, I think because of the needle size.
  • The opening is tight because I didn’t bind off loosely enough or use a proper stretchy bind off

Make It Nifty-Improv Socks-Toes UpChanges for next time

  • Go down a needle size to get a tighter fabric
  • Or knit with 2 8ply yarns held together
  • Use a much stretchier bind off


Pattern Improvised pattern based on a book $0.00
Materials About half a ball of 8ply ‘soft’ acrylic yarn  – stash $0.00
Notions 4mm 150cm cable needle – stash $0.00
Time I’d generously estimate 20 hours20 hours (* $17-ish Australian minimum wage) $340.00
Total   $340.00

So that is a lot for a pair of socks. But I was never going to find these in a shop and I really find knitting a combination of relaxing and challenging. I also just wanted to use this yarn up.

Final Comment

I’m already thinking about casting on my next foot accessory 🙂

Do you knit or crochet?
Have you made socks or slippers before – knit or sewn?
Do you have any tips for making your own socks or slippers

Until next time,

4 thoughts on “Improv Socks

  1. It’s so impressive that you made up this pattern as you went! That stresses me out just thinking about it! 🙂 The finished product looks great. Are you addicting to making socks now?

    • Thanks Erin!
      I’m actually quite surprised that knitting these up went so well. I totally thought they going going to end up a total mess.
      The fact that footwear and accessories take so little time to make (excluding all the breaks…sometimes very long breaks) makes them very appealing.
      I’m yet to knit an cardigan or something though. I want to work on knitting through my stash first. You know to make more room for fabric 🙂

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