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Knitting Socks

I kind of feel like I’m the only knitter on the planet that doesn’t knit socks. I’m sure that’s not true, but I  feel like that, anyway. Every time I go to a local Knit Night, there are more people knitting socks than knitting not-socks. When I browse the Projects section of various pretty thin yarns, there’s a bajillion socks. Whenever I’m making fingerless gloves I get asked if I’m making socks! They’re everywhere, man. What’s a girl to do?

Make socks, apparently!

I’ve been looking up sock-knitting related things, and to be honest, I feel confused and slightly overwhelmed. There’s so many different things to consider!

First you have to decide if you’re going to knit toe-up, or cuff-down. I’ve read various things about both, and toe-up seems to be the way to go. Most patterns should be fairly easy to reverse, to knit them toe-up if they’re not already, I’m guessing. I certainly won’t be trying for a while, though! I’ll just start with a toe-up pattern.

But then you have to consider which method for knitting in the round to use.

I learned how to knit in the round on double pointed needles. That method works pretty well for me, most of the time. My biggest complaint is that the back tip of the needle I’m knitting with pokes into my right hand most of the time, which gets uncomfortable after a while.

A lot of people seem to not like DPNs, and I can’t figure out why. I haven’t tried the other two methods yet, so maybe something is just missing in my head, but it seems like the quickest, most straight forward method.

I was reading about Magic Loop, and it seems like I’d spend SO much time sliding stitches around and rearranging them. Though, knitting two socks at a time on magic loop seems like it might be worth all the rearranging… I think I want to try this method first.

The double circulars just seems to be even more finicky to me. Not only are you sliding stitches all over the place, you’re also constantly rearranging your needles, and keeping track of which cable is attached where.. DPN’s really seem easier! Not to mention the idea of buying 2 pairs of circulars in every size I’d want to knit socks on is a bummer, especially since I already own DPNs in all those sizes.

Unfortunately, all the good cast-on methods seem to be aimed at Magic Loop or 2 circulars. No love for the DPN!

Then I was looking at sock-blockers.. those suckers are expensive. I know it’s a one-time purchase (or only once in a while at least) but I still cringe at the idea of dropping $40 to make my knitting look like a foot.

And finally, I wonder, are knit socks really even comfortable? I had a pair of hand knit socks once, and they sucked. They dug into my skin and left little stitch mark indentations on my foot. The yarn rubbed against my foot in an uncomfortable way, and overall, I did not enjoy wearing those socks the one time I wore them. Did I just have a bad experience? Are most socks better than that?

Are socks really as fun to knit as everybody makes it seem? Am I really missing out on something, or is it overrated?




  • Em

    I think maybe you just had a bad experience with handknit socks. They are the most awesome things to wear on your feet, ever. I’ve never had indentations left from mine – those must have been some super tight socks! Do you know what kind of yarn they were made from? That might make a big difference.

    Really, knitting socks can be a bit intimidating, but I love it. Have you seen Silver’s Sock Class? She does the most awesome step-by-step pics, and shows 3 different methods.

  • Alarid

    I wasn’t much of a sock knitter, but then I test knit a pair using Malabrigo and LOVED it. They are so soft and warm, and they went by quickly because it was worsted-weight, and I didn’t get bored because there was always some new thing to do.

  • Erin

    I’m scared to start knitting socks too. Perhaps scared isn’t the best word.. intimidated. =)

    Although I’ve used the magic loop technique before (I’m making a kitty pi — and it’s really not bad. Once I finish the project I’ll let you know whether I prefer DPNs or the magic loop. It just seemed more feasible than buying size 11 DPNs off the internet since no local stores carried them.

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