Hi: I am interested in learning how to knit socks, but don’t know whether to go with toe up or top down. Which is easier for beginners? Thanks in advance!

I’m not sure one is really easier than another. Both will likely require you to learn new techniques. Choose one and try it then the next time try the other and find your favorite.

A few of the things to think about before you choose/start -

  1. Do you want to use DPN, or magic loop?
  2. Do you want to make socks for shoes or around the house? Socks for shoes usually use fingering weight yarn and tiny needles (usually 0-2 depending on your gauge). Socks for around the house, like slipper socks, often use worsted weight and you could use a larger needle size which will vary by your gauge.

I used this pattern to learn technique and it’s still one I recommend. My choice then was top down, DPN and fingering weight. I use magic loop now regardless of yarn weight or method.

Hi Jan:

Thank you, this is super helpful! I though I’d try a worsted weight sock for starters, and do use the magic loop method. I will look at your pattern, I appreciate you sharing!

Best, Erin

I just noticed this pattern doesn’t have a magic loop pattern other than two at once. You can probably follow the DPN pattern, but it may be a tad confusing since it’ll have specific in for DPN. I have some patterns bookmarked and I’ll edit if I have a good beginner pattern for slipper socks.

Here’s a beginner worsted weight magic loop pattern. I haven’t used it myself, but it looks good from a glance.

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Hi Jan, I saw that too and was going to convert the dpn to magic loop, or I have a set of dpns, just to follow it as is the first time around, It would be much appreciated to see another with instructions for magic loop if it isn’t too much trouble, thanks!

See link above. :slight_smile:

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Thanks! :grinning:

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I learned how to knit socks whilst a short spell in hospital. I use dpn and top down, just finished a pair in fact.

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Wow, that’s a productive use of hospital time for sure. Thanks for weighing in!

I enjoy learning new techniques and socks were certainly a new skill. Staff were dropping by to watch me with a nest of DPNs.


I know I’m 7 days out, but for myself, I only do two at a time, toe up socks. Also, I find the Turkish Cast On to be the easiest fastest cast on for toe up socks. I mainly do a plain sock with ribbing on the front and trying to get really comfortable making socks before trying more complicated patterns. The socks I’m working on now, I’m trying out the Fleegle Heel. First try I made the mistake of starting the heel too late for Fleegle; so I learned to check that starting point for each new heel I learn. I also learned that I should put a lifeline in before starting new heel techniques so that I don’t have to rip out the whole sock, which for me are TWO socks.


For me toe up is easier (no swatching, no worrying about fit) and makes more sense. For you that might not be true.

I started with Lifestyle Toe Up Socks - No Swatch Needed because I wanted my first pair to fit and worked this way they did. They can and do fit no matter what yarn and needles I use. I quickly ditched the short row heel for myself though and learned to do them magic loop, two at a time. I do Fleegle heels or the heel in Fingering Faux-Heel-Flap Toe-Up Socks - Magic Loop. It can be worked on any number of stitches (my socks are typically 56 sts) and the measurements for when to start the gusset increases work no matter what weight of yarn I use and they work for Fleegle heels too. I made myself a little cheat sheet on a Ravelry project page so I can find it when I need the reference.

I’m a real stick in the mud. I prefer plain stockinette socks.

Congrats on getting the Turkish cast on down. I admitted defeat and use Judy’s magic cast on because it’s the one that I could manage.


You may encounter some not necessarily entirely accurate assertions about why toe up sock knitting is better.

You can try them on. True, but cuff down socks can be tried on.
It lets you skip picking up gusset stitches. True, but they can also be avoided in cuff down socks, even with a gusset and heel flap style heel.

What I see as the real advantages: You can do toe up socks knit to fit (the toe is the swatch) and I don’t know of a way to do that cuff down, you gotta swatch and do the math. Toe ups don’t use Kitchener to close the toe and for some people that’s a biggie.

I love my toe up socks. They are for me the only way to go. But that’s me. You will figure out what works for you.


Thank you for sharing Grumpy Grandma, and for the links!

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I found a video tutorial that helped me SEE it being done and I just got it. I love it because, do one, then push it to the side and do the other one same exact way. At first, I wasn’t sure if the knitting of it was going to work out, but I said that mantra: Trust the pattern… and it worked out. After the first round, it seemed normal knitting. We all find out what works best for us. It’s great~!

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I love toe up for the reason being I can just knit without doing preliminary calculations. I m so bad at math that it NEVER WORKS OUT… ugh… Anyway, when I first started doing two at a time, I wanted to make sure I had enough yarn to finish the socks and sure enough, sometimes I could make socks with longer legs and sometimes I had to make crew socks… The legs can be compromised, but the toe and foot really cannot.

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You’re not alone!!!

Math is a 4 letter word, literally and figuratively, for me. I’m working on a top down raglan. Math and gauge told me all was good. All wasn’t good. The sleeves were too wide. I ended up adding afterthought cables to pull them in. So for me toe up, try on, quit increasing, learn to do heels on my number of stitches was the only way to fly and it works. Every. Single. Time.

You’re welcome. Those are things I wish I’d had someone tell me about 5 years ago when I thought socks were impossible and I decided to knit one pair and get over socks. I did knit socks but I didn’t get over it. I’m still knitting socks. You’ll find what you like best. Just have fun with it.

Did you know there are people who don’t like to knit socks? :scream:
That’s OK. They knit other lovely things.

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This is how I do socks. Top down DPNs. This is the article I started and figured it out with, I had only done double knit hats before this.
I have a pair I’m trying toe up double but it’s just as bad as closing the toes top down and that’s the only part of top down I don’t like.

My main reason for DPNs is they impress people. They do make good markers but I think the same can be done with a loop.


Hi Mike: Thank you for the link!