Tennis Socks and Crank-In

My cranking buddy, Sid, is back so we had a little crank-in at her house by Malibu Lake last Sunday. The lake is spectacularly beautiful at this time of the year but alas no pictures! I had every intention to sneak out during our crank-in to take pictures, but the warmth of the fireplace, the delicious chicken soup, and the glasses of wine beckoned me to enjoy the moment.

NZAK in front of a roaring fireplace.

Sid’s NZAK in front of a roaring fireplace.

While we crank, Hirax dozes.

Cutie Hirax.

Cutie Hirax.

Katy joined us so we had fun exploring Sid’s cave, her healthy stash of fiber, and various collections of antique spinning tools.

Antique knitty knotty.

Antique knitty knotty.

Lately, I’m into making short tennis socks and the pattern was posted on Ravelry for the 72 cylinder. Since I have small feet, I use the 64 cylinder and below is my revision. Note that the first stitch should be marked at the 3 o’clock position. Also, stopping in the front means the yarn carrier is at the 6 o’clock position. No ribber needed!

Short sock on the 64 cylinder.

Short sock on the 64 cylinder.


  1. Put on waste yarn (must be highly contrast from the working yarn) and crank at least a good one inch. Stop before the first stitch.
  2. Put on the working yarn starting from the first stitch.
  3. Crank 9 rows and stop at the front of the machine.

Making the tab

  1. The little tab at the back of the sock is simply a mini heel. Lift all of 32 needles in the back out of work, PLUS 6 more needles in the front from each side. A total of 44 needles out of work.
  2. Complete row by cranking to the right to the back of the machine.
  3. Do your favorite heel by gradually decreasing down to 12 stitches for the tab, and increase back to finish the tab.
  4. Stop at the front of the machine and push all 44 stitches down (back to working entire sock).

Hang the hem

  1. Crank another 9 rows and stop at the front of the machine. Remove all weights.
  2. Lift the work back to the first row and hang every stitch (hill side) of the working yarn  from the first row and place on each needle. This is when you pat yourself in the back for choosing a very contrasty waste yarn. You should have two stitches on each needle (working row and the first row).
  3. Pull work down and crank hard around and hang as you go to close the hem.
  4. Crank 5 rows.

Making deep heel

  1. These socks are short so they have a tendency to slip out. The trick is to make really deep heel.
  2. Crank to the front of the machine.
  3. Lift only 20 stitches at the back out of work (instead of lifting all of 32 stitches in the back) or another way of thinking is to leave 6 additional stitches down (in work) in the back half.
  4. Do you favorite heel by decreasing down to 14 stitches for the heel, and increase back to finish the heel.
  5. Stop at the front of the machine and push all 20 stitches down (back to working entire sock).

Crank for the foot and toes

  1. Making a deep heel means you will need less rows for the foot. The number of rows for the foot is completely dependent on your gauge. For a rough estimate, remove your weight and stick a ruler down to the heel and measure to the top of work. Then use the US shoe size below and crank until the length is equal to column Length2Toes below, or roughly the length of your foot minus two inches (1.5″ plus a 1/2″ for negative ease). Below is a quick calculation from Excel based on the formula 3 x Lengh in Inches – 20.5 (for women) and 22 (for men) according to Wikipedia for US shoe sizes.
  2. Crank the toes using your favorite heel and graft the open stitches.


The reason I crank 9 rows for the hang hem is for the fair isle pattern. After you finish making the tab, crank 3 rows, then do fair isle for 3 rows, and crank 3 rows before hanging the hem.

20.5 22
Foot length in inches Length2Toes in inches Women’s shoe size Men’s shoe size
8 6
8.5 6.5 5
9 7 6.5
9.5 7.5 8
10 8 9.5 8
10.5 8.5 11 9.5
11 9 12.5 11
11.5 9.5 14 12.5
12 10 14

About knottyewe

Blogging about knitting, making yarn, and making socks.
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1 Response to Tennis Socks and Crank-In

  1. Andy says:

    Got the bug, have a couple machines, one running one not yet, and I must say your site is really inspirational! I can relate to the sweet spot of a machine. I have had days where I couldn’t make a single sock and other days that make making socks addictive.

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