Sock it to me!(sock newbie)

I’m debating on when to start my first pair of socks; and thought it might be a good idea to ask the community here at KH about what basic skills I should learn and practice before I start them.

A little info:
*I love basic, modest, and easy projects.(especially basic when it comes to socks)

Skills/Projects I have learned/completed:
*Cuffs (bracelets)
*Cable knitting
*Very novice dpn skills

Info I am looking for:
A good gauge of yarn to use for socks.
A good size of dpns to use.
Whether a set of 4 dpns is ok, or if I should move up to the 5 sets.
Links to good tutorials for socks for beginners.
Common mistakes and how to prevent/fix them
What types of increases/decreases I should learn.(As of now I know how to do the cable increase, and have yet to try ANY decreases.)
Any other info I haven’t specifically asked for that y’all might think I should know/look for.

I tried to be as specific as possible. Thanks in advanced for any help you might offer.


p.s. I was thinking of a theme of ‘Green horns’ as this will be my first attempt at socks, so any thoughts on that would be appreciated. :mrgreen:

Rather than try to answer each of your questions I’ll send you to the best starting point I know of of for learning socks…Silver’s Sock Class. LINK

She suggests you start with a sock on 4 dpns. She doesn’t really give a pattern, but has a super tutorial. I can’t remember, since it has been a while since I read through it, if it is possible for you to make a sock without a pattern based on her tutorial of if you need to have a basic pattern too. Check out her site and she explains everything.

She likes to have you start on bigger yarn for practice, and that is a good idea because you can finish much faster, but in general I think the best socks are made on actual sock weight yarn. I’ve made socks on worsted and even worsted doubled. The worsted isn’t bad if you knit it real tight, but the double thick is a bad idea except maybe for sitting around in. They hurt my feet to walk in them. I can feel the stitches and one should not feel ones stitches. :lol:

I like 4 dpns over 5 but some are otherwise disposed. Read the tutorial and then see what questions you have.

I knit my socks cuff down with 2 strands of lightweight yarn on a size 6. Since I only wear socks with boots or athletic shoes, these are a good thickness for me. And I can’t work with tiny needles like 1s or 2s anymore.

Here are some things that make it easier for me.
I continue the ribbing down the top of the foot. Gives me some fudge room on the fit. And I like how it grips the foot.
I mark the gusset edge with scrap yarn. Since you decrease ever other row. I put a different color in as a marker on the decrease rows. Helps me not lose track of when to do decreases.
I prefer cuff down because it uses decreases as shaping. I like the look of decreases vs increases. The little bar with from the make 1 by kbf, bugs me.

A lot of it is just personal preference. You’ll have to try the different techniques to figure out which you prefer. Magic loop (one set of circulars with long cable) is my choice over DPNs. I’m going to try the two circs method shortly too. I may like that as well. I would suggest starting with a sports weight yarn and a larger needle size just to practice the techniques needed for sock construction. I used regular old Red Heart for mine (can’t remember the needle size though) and it was great practice. They are nice slipper socks.

I started socks by doing Christmas Stockings. I figured, like a child, I should learn on something big, then work down to finer work as I got better. My first attempt was a disaster, but I kept trying, kept practicing and got to the point now where I can pretty much look at a sock and figure out the pattern in my head.

I use DPNs because I’m too chicken to try ML, but I will when I need a challenge.

I am making my first pair of socks now. I am a very visual learner and I absolutely HATE double pointed needles…I usually end up dropping stitches off from one or something disasterous like that.

I bought the book [COLOR=red][B]2-at-a-time socks,[/B][/COLOR] because I need the visuals. I like this book because it is STEP BY STEP and only[SIZE=4][COLOR=red][B] 1[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE] circular needle (not 4 or 5) :woot: I also like that the author has included many tips in the book, different sizes for each pattern and best of all in the back there is a Standard Sock Size List, which I found to be EXTREMELY helpful. I guess I just love the book [COLOR=red][B]but[/B] [COLOR=black][I](bet you knew that was coming LOL)[/I][/COLOR][/COLOR] not the cuff down technique.

Soooo I decided that I didnt want to knit from the cuff down, because I HATE to sew, and sewing is required for the toe. I decided I wanted to do a simple toe up sock…

I am using this pattern: [COLOR=#8c0000]Cabletini Socks[/COLOR] from Wendy Johnson’s website

I LOVE all of Wendy’s designs and most of her socks are VERY easy.

I learned how to do the turkish cast on here:
Good Luck hope this helps! :slight_smile:

I have never made a toe up sock, but would like to some time just for the experience and to see how I like it. But I just wanted to say I don’t consider what you do at the toe of a cuff down sock to be sewing, although it does involve using a threaded needle with an eye. It is grafting or kitchener stitch and can be quite a gratifying thing to learn for some. Everyone has different likes as well as distinct dislikes. Try everything (if you live that long [there are so many variations in knitting]), pick what you like.

Now that I understand the Kitchner Stitch, I love it. But boy, did it give me grief until I understood my knitting.

Since you have at least some experience with dpn’s, I’d suggest knitting your first pair of socks on dpn’s. It might be a bit overwhelming to try to learn a new technique (magic loop or two circs) along with learning how to knit your very first pair of socks. But that’s just a suggestion.

You might want to consider knitting a baby sock first, for practice. It has all the same parts as an adult sock, just on a smaller scale (not as much knitting and it goes by quickly). And you don’t have to knit the second one, unless you really want a pair of baby socks (or want more practice).

Best wishes on your socks! It is so exciting! Just remember that there are many different ways to knit socks, so if you don’t like one way, you can always try another.

How wonderful! I knit my first pair of socks in December, and was instantly hooked (now I’m working on pair #6). As a recent total beginner, here are my thoughts.

Yarn. I did my first 2 pairs on “sock” yarn (fingering), but then I did a worsted pair, and the yarn was easier to handle, plus I love how the slightly thicker socks feel on my feet. DK weight is in between, but not as many ready-made patterns out there.

DPNs. I like the set of 5. I started in 7" needles on advice from LYS, but soon found the length cumbersome. 5" length is much easier to handle, although when I get to the gusset/instep there are so many stitches that I go back to 7" needles for that section, so I don’t worry about losing stitches off the ends. So now I like having both lengths (and I even like having 2 sets of the short ones, so I can have both socks in progress at the same time).

Kitchener stitch is cool. I learned it off of the video on this site! I also learned how to do a felted yarn join from a video here.

Decreases. The only ones I’ve used so far, for the gusset and for shaping the toe, are K2tog and SKP (also called Sl1 K1 PSSO). You need 2 kinds because one make a left-leaning stitch and one a right-leaning one. So the socks look symmetrical. Both are easy and there are probably videos.

My only other advice is when you get to “turning” the heel (just after knitting the flap), make sure you are uninterrupted, undistracted, and have a marker to keep track of the lines of instructions for each row. It is quick to get through this part of the sock, and MUCH calmer, especially the first few times, if you can focus quietly.

Let us know how it goes, and good luck!

Happy sock knitter

I know this was posted a couple of months ago, but I thought this might come in handy for someone out there.

Instead of knitting into the front and back of the stitch, knit into the front of the stitch, don’t remove it, go in as if you’re going to knit into the back and slip it off. This eliminates the purl bump.

I got this from a Schoolhouse Press Newsletter. Unfortunately, I haven’t earned the right to post links here yet, so… go to In the search bar at the top of the page, enter “nlf2008” (without quotes). This will result in a link to the newsletter where Meg explains this variation of the kfb… with pictures!

Hope it helps someone!

SuBethJimBob, Welcome to KnittingHelp forum and thank you for that tip. That is great. I was getting to where I hated to ever use KFB because of the bar and now I know how to “go barless”. :lol: