New to knitting

Hi. I’m Radioarno, middle-aged man, new to knitting.
I want to start with socks. I’ve been watching my wife watch Amy’s videos, (incidentally, I feel about my wife, Srna, the way Amy feels about Sheldon…smartest, and luckiest ‘thing’ I ever ‘did’ !), and I’ve been amazed by Amy’s skill and attitude and politics, which come through in everything she does on this site. I’ve been inspired by my wife’s progress, and by Amy’s instruction, to start knitting.
Actually, I knitted a couple of scarves, and a silly hat, when I was nine or ten. I haven’t done any knitting since, but I’ve always been good with my hands, and like hand-work. My dad used to always come to me with knots he needed untying; he knew I was patient and focussed and dexterous.
I’m going to start with socks. I’m confused as to all the comparative plusses and minusses of toe-up, cuff down. I’m not ‘scared’ of kitchener, or increasing or decresing; I’m more interested in the comparative comfort/fit of different toe and heels possible with toe-up versus cuff-down.

I’m also not sure if I’ll start with 4 or 5 dpns, or with two sets of circulars. But we’ll find out before long.

Any strongly-held opinions out here regarding comparative comfort/fit possible on heel and toe styles associated with toe first/last techniques?

Thanks again, Amy and everyone,
Radioarno, Toronto, Canada

:waving: WELCOME Radioarno :waving: It’s always great to have another guy aboard. Although I am a woman I really love the stuff that you men do. For some reason you men seem to be bolder with new things. I think you might want to try 2 circular needles for the socks although dpns are not as hard as everyone thinks the circs are great for toe-ups. has some really good articles on toe-up socks.

Once again welcome to KH

Nadja xxx

This site is the best thing that ever happened to my hobby. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Welcome!

Hello & welcome! I’ve been working on socks using the book "Sensational Knitted Socks, " and highly recommend it. The book has many different style options, and the instructions are designed around a chart – you pick your gauge, size of foot and knitting method (3 or 4 DPNS or 2 Circs). Very clear instructions, lots of stitch patterns to choose from as well as different heels, toes, etc…

I learned to make socks using the magic loop method (one long circular needle), but switched to 4 DPNS as most patterns are written for DPNS, and I’m not a fan of converting patterns to fit a different method. As I get more experienced, I’m sure convering patterns to different methods will be easier.

As for the 2 circular method, I haven’t tried it because a friend of mine said she continually had problems with “ladders” on her socks where the circs met. More importantly, I don’t have 2 tiny circ needles!! I have considered purchasing a couple of size 2 circs and the book “Socks Soar on 2 Circs,”

Good luck!!


Have you visited Silver’s Sock Class?? It’s a very extensive sock tutorial written for new knitters. I highly recommend it! :smiley:

Hi! Julie, Hollay and Nadja, thanks for the welcomes and the info. As it turns out, I went out yesterday and bought two sets of 2.5mm circs, and two balls of nice, dk merino. I learned casting on from Amy’s video, and continental knit stich from her video too. It all went pretty well. i love the wool, and the small stitches.

Julie, I checked out silver’s sock tutorial, and it looks great and detailed, but its for dpns. Did I make a mistake to start with circs? Do I have to go out now and buy dpns? I’d rather continue with the circs, and find out after a pair if I like them, or if they work for me.

There’s so much skill to acquire…my tension, dropped stitiches, split yarn, wierd half loops all over the place…all the stuff you guys know about and laugh about.

the really nice thing is that this little bit of red yarn I bought makes a nice little stitch of red fabric, and I aim to make more, much more.

Questions: any other stong feelings, for or against two sets of circs for socks? Any strong feelings about toe-up vs. cuff down? Any strong feelings about types of heels, toes for maximal comfort and shape? Any strong feelings about how to prevent dropping stitiches off of needles?

Hi again. I’m a knitter! yippee!

I like circs and DPNs equally well. :shrug: I’m working on two socks on two circs at one time. Among all the other projects. :teehee:

I started them toe up with the turkish cast on, which you can find instructions for if you google it. Good luck!

I LOVE doing socks. I would like to learn how to do them on 2 circs but in the mean time am quite happy with DPN’s.

Welcome to the site, and I hope you’ll be knitting here with us for a long time to come!

I’ve only done toe-up with 2 circs. I like the Turkish CO because it’s invisible and no seam bump on your toes. I do love my dpns for things like hats.

Nadja xxx

Hmmmm…now you all are getting me interested in different methods of sock knitting – and I have to look up turkish cast on now!! I just turned the heel on my current, top down sock (on DPNS) last night :-). I really should be getting back to the second sleeve of my sweater… :oops:

Hi. Yah, this brand new knitter who can’t even knit a row without some kind of screw up is already wondering about types of heels and toes!!

I’m still interested in that question; there seems to be a few different ways of making heels, with flaps or without, square heels, heels cupped various ways…and different types of toes, with different ways of shaping them. There also seems to be a fundamental difference in starting from cuff, toe, or middle (yup, middle).

As I’ve mentioned before, I bought a couple of circs (turns out I bought smaller ones than indicated for my wool, altho’ I don’t think that will be a big problem, seems that it’ll just make a more densely knit sock…), and some dk merino wool, and I’m working on …knitting. I’m making a few rows, ripping them out, doing them again, ripping them out, looking at Amy’s videos again ( at this point, just the knit stitch video).

As a complete beginner, I’m seeing that holding the yarn, feeding it, i.e. winding around the pinkie and index, and the use of the middle finger, these are the most crucial things for a beginner, or me at least, to focus on. I need to get that coordination right.

Let’s keep talking. I think I’ll be around for awhile.

Hi Arno,

How nice to have another man on this site!

I know exactly how you feel with the whole knitting business being fiddly. I felt the same way when I started but I just kept on trying and didn’t give up and it paid off and still is.

As with the socks - sorry I can’t help you. I’ve never had the slightest desire to even try them. I’ll go to the shop and get the most soft and cozy pair for a couple of $s if I want. I never did understand the big deal about knitting socks. :shrug:

Have fun knitting.


Welcome to the forum, Arno!

I started sock-knitting not too long ago and have become addicted. Like you, I wanted to know what the best methods (for me) were. I found this site to be a good resource. And here’s another. I borrowed almost every sock knitting book available through my local library as well (turned out to be quite a few).

What I ultimately ended up with as my favorite: I follow the basic magic loop technique given in 2 toe up socks on one circular but I use the Turkish cast on for the magic loop, 2 socks at once instead of figure 8, along with the rectangle toe, and the round heel for toe up socks.

Why? Two at once because it’s efficient and I know both will turn out the same; magic loop because it only takes one circ; Turkish because it’s easy; rectangle toe because it makes a roomy rounded toe instead of those pointy toes that most patterns have; and the round heel because it’s a nice-fitting, toe-up, gusset and heel-flap type construction that doesn’t require picking up stitches. YMMV, of course.

Nadja, Tamar and Janelane:

Thanks for the welcomes and the responses.
Janelane, you sound a lot like me (I feel a little sorry for you!!, just kidding), looking for the best way…getting all the books the library has on knitting socks (!, yup, sounds about right!).

On a more serious note, Jane and Nadja, thanks for the substantive opinions. I’m particularly interested in people’s opinions of what works for them, and why their preference. Jane, thanks a lot.

A question: why do you prefer one circ over two? I’ve watched Amy’s video on knitting with two circs, and altho it looks like a lot of cable flying around, I imagine with a ‘flimsy’ enough cable the needles will simply hang out of the way.

Another question: how does alpaca wear, for socks? Anybody out there made alpaca socks? Pure alpaca, or mixture, with what?

Anybody use the alpaca with Tencel, whatever that is, for socks?

By the way, regarding Tamar’s response about socks…I’m definitely going to be a sock ‘addict’. I can’t imagine why any knitter wouldn’t want to make socks (sure sign of an addict, I guess…).
Store bought socks (imo of course) are the worst example of small variety, boring style, crappy materials (nylon or polyester socks, yuck), imprecise sizing, and lack of pattern-interest (like cabling, etc.).

Any knitter who hasn’t seriously tried getting addicted to knitting socks should re-consider!!

Arno (wink emoticon)
Thanks. Arno

Two more things.

Jane, thanks so much for the links. Fantastic. Great.

If anyone wants to tell me anything I’m doing wrong re: using this board, please do tell. I’m new to this kind of thing… I wonder if I should be posting somewhere else on the forum, starting a different topic for each question, a different location, looking harder for other threads or to see if my questions have already been answered, etc… etc.

thanks. Arno

Mainly because I’m cheap. I don’t have to buy any more needles than I already have. There are also fewer pointy objects around the house to accidentally or step on this way.

I’ve also been wondering about alpaca for socks since it’s supposed to be stronger than wool – seems like it’d make a good candidate for something that gets a lot of wear. It’d have to be pretty tightly spun, though, and most of the alpaca I’ve used has not been. Tencel is some sort of plant material, I think. I’d look it up, but since you’re also into researching stuff, I’ll allow you the honor.

I’d probably start a new thread for a different topic, just so everybody can tell by the subject line what’s being talked about inside. Other than that, if a moderator sees something that might be better located somewhere else, they’ll move it. Doesn’t happen that often.

I tend to be pretty thorough about looking for answers to my questions before I post, but then you probably already surmised that. I had actually been a KH member for quite some time before I made my first post because most of my questions had already been answered in past threads. A lot of times it’s really hard to do searches without getting too much info, though, or not quite the right info. In those cases, I just ask and don’t worry too much about the possibility of rehashing. Folks here tend to be really nice, and very patient, so if a question has been asked before, it’s not really a big deal.

ETA: I’ll add to the one circ versus two rationale: I tried two circs again today to make sure I didn’t like it better, and it reminded me of another reason that I don’t – I’m not sure why, but I’ve somehow gotten into the habit of dropping my right needle while turning my work. With two circs, this means that one set will often end up on the floor. This is the same reason I don’t like straights.

Hi Arno,

I looooved your response! :roflhard:

I must be a really boring person because most of my socks are either black or white and they hardly show anyway. So, I don’t even bother buying colourful ones.

Also, I don’t particularly like wool. It felts if I knit with hot sweaty hands but the worst thing is that it has to be handwashed! Who’s got time for that?!

'll be looking out for further posts from you.


Tamar, you’re not boring!! I looked at your website, and your pix are lovely. That boa thing with the frills is great!! Playful. Maybe different people have different taste (duh!). I would never make that frilly scarf, but I love it, and I’d buy it for someone, and I’d think it was cool seeing someone wear it. But you have to look at some of the socks people knit. Like this one.
I get weak in my knees when I see stuff like that.

Love your stuff. Arno

Wow! Thanks for your positive feedback. I’ve just updated my blog with another couple of pics.

I love the socks on your link above. I might make a dishcloth using that whiskers pattern. It’s georgous!

Regarding the ruffles scarf I made - well, I just fell in love with it when I saw it on I had to experiment in making something that pretty. Just as well I made it as a gift because by the time I finished it I didn’t want to see it anymore. If I was to make another one one day I’d make it a bit easier using thicker needles and 100% machinewashable material (ruffles included).

Hope to see some of what you knit very soon.