Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Beginnner's Guide to Knitting Socks

My first successful pair of socks.
I am a knit nerd, and especially a sock knit nerd.

I love spending time alone in a yarn shop feeling the fibres and browsing the patterns. I am willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money on beautiful needles.

After several failed starts and knitting yoga socks (no heels, no toes), I decided that this was the year I was going to learn how to knit socks.

For some reason turning the heel and picking up stitches for the gusset intimidated me.

When I found the book How To Knit Socks: Three Methods Made Easy, by Edie Eckman, I finally found my key to successfully tackling my own socks. It gives very clearly explained step-by-step procedures for socks, along with photos to show what each stage should look like.

Youtube has been a wonderful self-teaching tool for crafters, and I have used video tutorials to see the process for a few stages of knitting socks.
Yoga socks

I discovered that turning the heel (knitting short rows) was not difficult for me, but picking up the gusset stitches after knitting the heel just didn't feel or look right the way I was doing it. This youtube video is excellent and I love the nice braided edge it gives my socks.

Ankle socks

Then once I had knit a few pairs I purchased the basic sock pattern from Churchmouse Yarns, which expanded my repertoire and gave me another way to knit a sturdy heel that I now use for all my socks.

I love ribbing all the way down
for a snug fit.
I started learning socks using four or five double pointed needles (the yoga socks were made with two small circular needles), but several knitters I follow on Instagram raved about the magic loop method using one 32" circular needle so I knew I would have to give it a go. The Edie Eckman book teaches this method so I was set, and I can now say that I, too, prefer magic loop for socks.

I have tried several different patterns for my socks and I love seeing the different textures as they develop.

There are several things I love about knitting socks:

Grain stitch socks
  • they are easy to transport and I often have my project bag in my purse, ready to work on if I have a few spare moments
  • it is easy to adapt patterns and customize them once you understand the basic anatomy of a sock
  • they are relatively quick to knit; I can knit a pair in approximately 6 days with dedicated knitting time
  • they make great presents that everyone is happy to receive
  • homemade socks feel so cozy and warm and it is satisfying wearing something homemade

My next challenge is to learn a different heel method, the fish lips kiss heel.

Harris tweed rib stitch
But currently I am knitting socks like crazy for Christmas presents for all the men in my life.

Here are some tutorial videos that have helped me on my sock knitting journey:

* I used my own money to purchase How To Knit Socks: Three Methods Made Easy and I have linked to it because I think it is an excellent beginner's sock knitting book.


  1. You totally impress me. I'm pinning but I'm still too intimidated - and still busy knitting little critters for the kids for Christmas. But, very much intimidated.

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    Excellent article. Good tips! Fantastic stuff!