Monday 24 September 2012

Socks: How do you knit yours?

A few weeks ago, my current knitting project (a jumper, you can see a sneak peak here) reached the stage where it was too big to be carried around in the little bag I use to transport knitting when I am on the go. It was therefore relegated to "home knitting", a fate which inevitably, sadly, means that progress on this particular project will now be much slower. I was therefore left with the dilemma of which new project to replace this with. In my wisdom, I decided that it was time to have a go at knitting socks. I've knitted snoods before...surely a sock is basically just a miniature snood with some shaping round the foot, right? Simples.

Oh how wrong I was. First, I naively assumed that I could knit a sock with a single circular needle (a la a mini snood). Apparently, this is not the case. After a bit of research, I purchased some double pointed needles and merrily cast on for sock number one.

Oh the minefield of the unfamiliar!! There seems to be a multitude of different things that can go wrong when knitting a sock...and bear in mind that I am currently about 15 rows in, and haven't even attempted any form of shaping yet. The set up of the double pointed needles seems to resemble some kind of knitting torture device (something I'm sure the many people who swiftly rejected the empty seat next to me on the train this evening on noticing the strange contraption I was wielding will agree with!). After a few tens of rows I seem to be slowly getting the hang of it. However, fellow sock knitters out there, I need your help. I have questions!

1) Firstly, I seem to be knitting my sock inside out. That is, the wrong side is facing outwards. I turned it so that now the wrong side faces in and the knitted tube is growing towards me, but this feels wrong. Is this normal?! And if not, what on earth am I doing wrong?

2) Secondly, I seem to have very obvious gaps at the join of each needle of stitches. I have tried knitting the first stitch of each section as tight as possible, but I still seem to have a very obvious join. I've tried to show a picture of this below but it isn't as obvious in the photo! Will this disappear as the sock grows, or is there a way I can avoid this?

3) The heel....oh my goodness the heel. I am terrified of this even at the early stage, as the instructions seem to make no sense. Can anyone recommend any good tutorials that can demystify this process for me?!

Thanks in advance sock knitters!!! Any other hints and tips for a sock knitting novice are greatly appreciated. Other than these slight issues, I am quite enjoying the way my sock is knitting up. I am using self striping wool, so it is quite fun seeing the pattern emerge. I will conquer this sock!!!

If you haven't done so already, don't forget to enter my giveaway! Three lovely patterns are up for grabs...pop over and have a little look and pick your favourite!

K xx


  1. 1) Completely normal, knit which ever way feels comfortable to you.
    2) The laddering will probably go away once you get more experienced with the dpn's. Also, I've seen many knitters on Rav say that pulling the second stitch tight works better than pulling the first stitch. Not sure why, but give it a try :)
    3) This video shows how to make the heel flap:
    And this video shows how to turn the heel and pick up for the gusset:

    Hope that helps. Once you have the hang of socks, they make great little projects :) Good luck!
    Ashley x

    1. Thanks for the tips Ashley, especially the one about tightening the second stitch...I will be giving this a go!

  2. I have no advice, but I'm nervous to knit socks too! I've only made a couple of hats on circular needles. So I feel your pain! Good luck!

  3. I quite enjoy working on dpns for some reason, sometimes I move the last stitch (or stitches) from one needle to the next so the join isn't in the same place to avoid the laddering, but you can just pull the stitches tight and it does tend to work out in the end. YouTube is great for turning the heel tutorials as well (I keep having to help my Mum who is knitting socks!).

    1. Ah, moving the stitches, another good one to try - thank you!

  4. Hi there!
    1 - Absolutely fine either way, though I reckon I would start knitting backwards if I didn't have my tube running towards me!
    2 - As Ashley said, a sharp tug on the second stitch after the needle change works wonders. You could also experiment with differerent sorts of needle: you might not get this problem with metal or plastic? I don't like brittany birch needles for this reason - they are too "sticky" and I get ladders. I like Clover Bamboo dpns myself! ;)
    3 - the heel? Don't worry! I would stick to a simple heel-flap style for your first sock. It only gets messy when you start playing with toe-up or other fancy constructions!
    Good luck! You'll soon be a sock addict!

    1. Hi Roobeedoo! Thanks so much for the tips. Hmm I have been knitting with metal dpns, but that's an interesting point! As for the heel-flap style suggestion, I will be investigating this further!

  5. I prefer to do socks from the toe-up because they're easier to try on as you go. You can make socks on circular needles, you just need needles with a really long cable, about 100cm-120cm. The technic is called Magic Loop. I'm not going to try to explain it because I'm rubbish at that kind of thing! But there are loads of on-line tutorials. I always use this method because I find DPNs so hard!

    I agree with the other comments about pulling the second stitch tight, it definately helps. Good luck with your socks!

    1. Hi Lynne, magic loop - this sounds intriguing! Who knew there were so many ways to knit socks. I will be looking this one up too!!

  6. 1. I knit socks inside out - it doesn't matter which way.
    2. The gaps gradually decrease with wear and they do get less obvious with practice.
    3. Don't be afraid of the heel. Heels are exciting! The first time you see it turn into a curve is like magic - and to be honest I still find it magical many pairs of socks later!

    Enjoy your socks :)



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