Friday, June 15, 2012

sock knitting success: my tips and tricks

Here is my real first ever sock which never got completed in to a pair but which I've kept just to remind myself. Sorry it's not even a good photo. And I haven't located our camera in the move yet.

Anyway the major issues with this sock were that it was too loose and the place where I changed between needles was very loose - you can see the ladder on the very left of the sock. Also, I think a heel flap is a bit neater for me than this short row heel.

The things that I think help the most are:
1) using a long-tail cast-on cast on the number of stitches directed in your pattern onto one needle.
Check out the video here
It's a very neat cast-on. It's stretchy which is good for socks. Also you end up with a cast-on plus your first row done which helps you to figure out which is the right and wrong side and keep it untwisted when you come to join your work in the round.

2) using a bigger needle to cast-on then you'll be using to knit with. I use a 3.5mm need.

3) distribute your stitches evenly onto 3 or 4 double pointed needles. It usually depends for me how many needles I have available in the correct size and also if there's a pattern whether it works better over 3 or 4 needles.

4) join your knitting in the round making sure you don't twist the stitches. So, if you've used the long-tail cast-on make sure all the purl ridges are oriented to the middle. And then use this neat trick to make sure you have a tight join between the beginning and end of the row.
Slip the first stitch of the row onto the needle holding the last stitch of the row. Then slip the last stitch of the row over the first stitch and onto the needle that had been holding the first stitch. Knit that last stitch which has the yarn attached first and go clockwise.  
Clear as mud? Check here for another explanation.

5) make sure you keep the knitting pretty tight when you're moving between needles.

6) if you start getting holes at the top of the gusset (the area where you join between the heel flap and the top of the foot try this nifty trick.

7) you usually need to graft the stitches at the tip of the toe using the kitchener stitch. See this tutorial for instructions.

8) if you like a more rounded toe see this pattern for instructions.

9) you can follow this tutorial and make a small sock with thick yarn, a quick way to try out all the techniques...

I hope this helps. I'm happy to answer specific questions or another good option is to find your local stitch n bitch group (you can locate these through there's bound to be some avid sock knitters among the group.

Here's a sneak peak of my latest project.

Happy sock knitting!


  1. Great tips, ensuring newbie sock knitting success!

    Not all sock patterns are created equal, it's a light bulb moment when you realise you can substitute out toes, heels and cuffs with your own preferences.

  2. So true - I'm just hoping I'm not being too overwhelming... It certainly is worth knitting a well-written pattern when you're starting out.... I'm thinking I should push the Cookie A patterns even more :-)