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How hard is knitting socks?

(48 Posts)
LunaLoveg00d Mon 18-Jul-16 22:47:38

I would describe myself as an intermediate knitter. Confident with all of the basics and with some of the more advanced stuff like following a chart, fair isle style knitting, lace work, cables etc.

Really fancy having a bash at socks. I know I'd need double pointed needles, everyone I speak to says "oh socks are SO easy" but I haven;t a clue where to start!

ouryve Mon 18-Jul-16 22:59:16

I find a long cabled needle using magic loop easiest for socks. Fewer pointy bits and less likelihood of ladders than with dpn. There's a few vanilla sock recipes on Ravelry which would work well with regia sock yarn, for something inexpensive with nice colourways. For more adventurous stuff, Cookie A and Socktopus have some lovely designs.

MooseBeTimeForSnow Mon 18-Jul-16 23:01:09

You should be fine with socks. I keep meaning to try the magic loop. I only have dpn's and suffered terribly with SSS

(Second Sock Syndrome)

LunaLoveg00d Mon 18-Jul-16 23:05:37

I have loads of circular needles of all sizes, they do seem easier than double pointed needles. I just need to find time when the kids are out of the house to sit in front of you tube and practise without the constant "Mum, he's being mean to me", "Mum, there's a rattata/spearo/pidgie in the kitchen", "Muuuuum, I'm huuuuungry".

tribpot Mon 18-Jul-16 23:10:27

Yep, I wouldn't use double-pointed needles. If for no other reason than you will never get a chance to progress to doing socks two at a time.

Have you knit in the round before? If no, I wouldn't start with socks, maybe ease yourself into it with a hat.

How easy you find it to make socks you like may come down to whether your feet are 'normal shaped'. I have a high instep and my feet are out of proportion to my heel and ankle, which is a pain in the arse to fit. My fave book is Kate Atherley's Custom Socks but you can start with a basic pattern and see how you get on. A good technique is to knit a pair of house socks in DK or Aran. They go much quicker but you still have to use all the same techniques as in a 4-ply or sock yarn.

You could maybe start with the Very Pink Knits toe-up sock with a German short-row toe and heel, or Liat's Beginner Worsted Weight (a thicker DK or a thinner Aran is basically worsted weight).

RaisingSteam Mon 18-Jul-16 23:11:28

Yes they are easy when you have the knack. You will be going "is that all?".

I knit on four needles, as long as you pull the first stitch on the new needle firm you shouldn't really have loose stitches between them (i.e "ladders"). I would start with DPNs and move onto magic-loop once you know what result you are trying to achieve TBH as most patterns are written for needles.
explanation of how DPNs work. You hold 2 needles at a time and work as normal.

For a beginner, top down socks are the easiest start. You need 100g 4 ply yarn , there is special sock yarn which is 25% nylon (wears better) but anything you have hanging around will do. Set of double pointed needles about 20cm long and 2.25mm size.
this is a good beginner pattern.

Main thing to remember is your cast - on row is the top of the sock - cast on really loosely or it is annoyingly tight! maybe even google for stretchy cast-on methods. There are lots of videos showing all the steps.

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 19-Jul-16 09:39:43

Try dpns and the magic loop with a circular and see which you prefer.

The sock knitting book I use a lot is Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush - very clear explanation of all the different heels and toes.

But the most useful sock book I have ever had is Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch which has patterns but also will enable you to knit any sock you want, from scratch, without a pattern.

There are also some brilliant designs in Sock Innovation by Cookie A. Worth checking out for inspiration.

Also worth pointing out you can knit socks from the toe up. Socks From The Top Up by Wendy D. Johnson is great.

Knitting socks isn't hard at all, once you get used to knitting in the round, if you can't already. The cast on and first couple of rounds are the only fiddly bit.

I'd use a machine washable wool. Check out the Yarns tab on Ravelry for ideas.

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 19-Jul-16 09:41:28

Oh and here are some socks I did last week! Repros of 1850s' baby socks - 16 stitches per inch on 1.5mm needles!

CatherineDeB Tue 19-Jul-16 10:43:49

hmmm this is interesting. I can knit but get bored with it because I can produce things much quicker by sewing.

I can knit in the round, cables, etc.. Perhaps socks (because they are small) could be for me.

How do you make sure that the sock fits/isn't big enough to rub in your shoe, etc., etc.?

Thinking of my cycle camping holiday in a couple of weeks, I could manage to fit in a ball of wool and some needles.

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 19-Jul-16 11:41:57

Catherine, you measure your foot, and do a tension square first, then whatever sock you're casting on, double check by doing a quick bit of maths in your head. (For plain stocking stitch socks, where you're not worrying about motif or pattern repeats).

My feet are size 5, and I find most commercial sock patterns I've knitted fit me just fine, without any adjustment, so long as I'm knitting to gauge (the right tension). Knitting is elastic, and designers make sock designs with 'negative ease' so they should fit.

AnthonyPandy Tue 19-Jul-16 12:18:19

Winwick mum has a blog, book and two facebook pages. One page is for any knitting and the other is for knitting her very easy beginner's sock pattern. People who have never knitted at all do her socks.

CatherineDeB Tue 19-Jul-16 19:18:47

I might give this a whirl. I will report back!

PurpleFrog Wed 20-Jul-16 13:25:54

I did Winwick Mum's pattern a few weeks ago after a recommendation I read from someone here. They turned out well, but I haven't worn them yet. I'll try to remember to post a photo when I get home. The pattern is fairly easy to follow, and the sock is knitted all-in-one so only 2 ends to deal with afterwards! I did them on 4 dpns, but am intrigued by the notion of knitting 2 socks together. I spent quite a long time before I started knitting trying to match the colours in my 2 balls of self striping sock yarn and choosing the same point in the colour scheme in each ball to start. But then I forgot to write down the number of rows done at crucial points, so am not sure if it was a difference in tension that affected the final stripes or counting!

CatherineDeB Wed 20-Jul-16 14:53:38

Well, I took my sewing machine in for a service and popped into the wool shop. 40% off Rowan shock, I bought lots .... but no sock wool! So I will be knitting another hat on my travels, I found one I like on Ravelry.

tribpot Wed 20-Jul-16 16:41:13

Here's a video on two-at-a-time (TAAT) socks from the cuff down and here's one for toe-up. You can either knit on one very long circular needle (which is what I do) or on two shorter ones. On two shorter ones, you place half the stitches for each sock on each needle. The trick so as not to get confused is that each needle only works its side of the sock. So you never knit with the tip of one needle and the tip of a needle which is on a different cable, that way madness lies.

Catherine, sock yarn is just 4 ply with around 25% nylon content. too much Plenty of choice on the usual sites like Wool Warehouse and Loveknitting.

CatherineDeB Thu 21-Jul-16 07:45:17

I am going back there tomorrow to pick my machine up. I was ill prepared, hadn't thought about the wool shop. So I will make sure I know how much and what I need to buy for socks!

Sorry OP, your thread, perhaps we could have a knit along grin.

tribpot Thu 21-Jul-16 15:04:52

100g should make a good pair of socks. For practice you could always make some house socks in DK that don't have to have the hardiness of sock yarn, which is what the nylon is for.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Thu 21-Jul-16 15:11:07

I prefer toe up socks...i have a mortal fear of managing 90 percent of the second sock and not having enough yarn to finish.

plus you can just keep going until you have used up a whole ball, so no piddly odd ends milling about which are good for nothing but too good to chuck

I have been struck with a terrible bout of SSS also. It's a pain to shake! ;)

RachelLynde Thu 21-Jul-16 16:55:40

You don't need dpns or magic loop, you can buy mini circulars. They're only 23-30cm long.

I love sock knitting, got into it through Winwick Mum and am an avid sock knitter now. I love my 'happy feet'!

Warning: sock knitting is addictive. I've made myself 6 pairs, 2 pairs for DH, and 3 pairs for family since last year. That's on top of lots of other projects. They are portable and fun and there's so much lovely yarn to choose from.

I do fish lips kiss heel (a short row heel, pattern on revelry for about £1) which is much quicker and doesn't involve picking up stitches.

RachelLynde Thu 21-Jul-16 16:56:09


Viviennemary Thu 21-Jul-16 17:02:36

I was determined to master this and did a couple of years ago but it was tricky at first and fiddly. A few things helped like casting on all the stitches on one needle and then dividing them up. The casting on and first couple of rows were the hardest bit. After that it was OK. Apart from the heel bit and that took a bit of practice. I used four needles and not the circular one which I couldn't get on with at all.

CatherineDeB Thu 21-Jul-16 19:33:56

I have got a nice set of interchangeable circulars, think I have a 25 cm wire bit, will that do?

I need to look up some of the links but our internet is broken so will have to do it when I go out tomorrow.

RachelLynde Thu 21-Jul-16 22:06:20

Go on Winwick mum's blog - she gives a full tutorial for dpns, magic loop, and mini circulars.

25cm wire sounds ok but with the needles to am thinking you'll end up with more like 40cm which will be too long. Magic loop is really good if not, it's just if you haven't magic-looped before it's another thing to learn.

I tend to do the first couple of rows straight on dpns, then put them on my mini circular and join in the round which gives you stocking stitch with knitting each row, then the heel bit is a case of monk-like silence and concentration, whizz on with the foot part in the round, then monk-like silence again when you do Kitchener stitch at the end to finish the toes grin

If you are on Facebook, join the Winwick Mum Sockalong. It's so worthwhile, I love sock knitting now. I tend to have a pair on the go much of the time. Very handy and portable for lunch hours / waiting rooms / visits to friends who don't mind you knitting whilst you chat.

LunaLoveg00d Thu 21-Jul-16 22:10:09

You don't need dpns or magic loop, you can buy mini circulars. They're only 23-30cm long.

My lovely DH bought me a very swish set of circular needles last Christmas, the sort with various lengths of cable and interchangeable tips. Sounds like they might do the job. I am shipping the kids off for a few nights next week to granny's so will spend some time on youtube then and see what I can manage.

RachelLynde Thu 21-Jul-16 22:28:30

It's a lot of fun! Once you get going you'll find the sock grows quickly, it's very rewarding. Make sure you buy sock yarn though.

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