Flat-Bed to Circular Adaptation for Knitting Socks with a Ribber
Instructions for adapting the Magic Knitting Machine Sock Formula (or any flatbed sock pattern) to Circular (Tubular) Knitting on a Flat Bed Machine with a Ribber ©Catherine Goodwin 1998
Cast on and knit your ribbing in the usual way. You may rib the entire leg of the sock, or rib a few inches and make a decorative (fair isle or whatever) leg before you switch to tubular knitting. For expediency, you can knit the entire leg flat, and shape the heel on 1/2 of the sts while they are still on the main bed before you switch to tubular knitting for the foot only.
However, some people think it looks nicer to have some tubular knitting before the heel, as described below.
How to switch to tubular knitting:
- Move all stitches from the ribber bed to the knitter bed.
- Put half of the sts into HP, on the other half, knit a few rows of waste yarn and remove these sts from the bed.
- Remove the CO comb and fold these scrapped off sts over and rehang them onto the ribber bed opposite the sts in HP (the waste yarn makes this easier)
- Remove WY.
Weight the knitting with lots of claw weights, or with a knitting needle run through the knitting with weights hanging from it.
Another neat trick is to grasp the sock below the bed and encircle it with a strong rubber band, you can then hang heavy weights from this rubber band without snagging stitches and it will give an even pull on the knitting from both beds.
Set your KM to knit tubular. When you are ready to begin shaping the heel, drop the ribber down and replace the ribber carriage arm with the main carriage arm, as you will be shaping the heel on the main bed. This may seem like extra hassle, and is not imperative, but it saves you aggravation and dropped sts in the long run. It also gives you more room to get in there and hang the necessary extra weights.
If you are knitting the "hand-knit-like heel" from the Magic Knitting Machine Sock Formula, it is helpful to use the weaving brushes when shaping the heel. Use lots of weights! When picking back up the gusset sts, be sure not to leave any gaps at the junction of the ribber and main bed sts.
Put back the ribber arm, move the ribber back up and knit the foot tubular.
Select whatever toe you want, and kitchener stitch to finish.
Wow! What a sock!