Getting Started with Socks

Posted on March 27, 2015 by Clare Devine | O Comments
Sock Anatomy © Clare Devine


Sometimes the world of sock knitting can seem a little overwhelming; there are so many options where on earth do you start? If you want to dip your toe into the world of sock knitting here are my top tips for getting started.


Selecting Tools of the Trade



You will need knitting needles for working a small circumference in the round. Typically people start with the method they feel most comfortable with for working in the round and this is usually double pointed needles or a long circular for magic loop. You can also knit socks with two circular needles at once or a tiny circular needle. I wouldn’t recommend your first socks on these but they are excellent once you have the hang of basics. 

You can buy needles in a wide range of materials including metal, wool and bamboo. Each knitter has their own preferred needle, if you are just starting out I would recommend trying some bamboo needles as they are light and the surface helps to keep your stitches in check or some lightweight aluminium needles as these are also easy to use. Experiment with different needle sizes and materials until you find the perfect combination for you. 


Helpful tips 
1. Colour code your DPNs, it is much easier to keep track of what each needle is doing when they are colour coded. Or treat yourself to these fabulous needles by Addi that come in 5 different colours.
Addi Colibri
Addi Colibri are available in two lengths; 15cm or 20cm and are perfect for knitting socks

2. If you are using magic loop pay careful attention to your cable. You want something that is flexible, as this will help you to avoid ladders that can easily be caused by a thick or stiff cable.
3. DPNs come in a variety of lengths. I would recommend trying the 6” / 15cm needles first and then experimenting with shorter and longer versions if you need to.



Sock yarn is one of the reasons I love knitting socks as much as I do. There is such a fantastic range of gorgeous yarn that is suitable for socks. You need something reasonably hard wearing, although this doesn’t mean your yarn has to contain nylon. With so much choice it can sometimes be hard to know where to start, follow these easy steps and you should be well on your way to gorgeous socks to keep you feet cosy and warm.



If you want to know more about choosing great yarn for socks I have written two articles that you may enjoy reading, especially if you are keen to experiment with different types of yarn.



Some of my favourite yarns for socks include:


Crazy Zauberball

Crazy Zauberball



Manos Del Uruguay Alegria

Manos Del Uruguay Alegria



SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock

Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock


In Search of Direction


Socks can be knitted from the top down, starting at the cuff and ending at the toe, or from the toe up. There are pros and cons to both methods and as with all things knitting it really is a matter of personal choice. Some people find top down easiest as their first sock as you don’t have a fiddly toe to contend with straight away but really you could pick either method for your first sock.


These two diagrams give you the basic anatomy of a top down and toe up sock with a heel flap and gusset construction.





Ready to get going?


Here is a list of great resources to help you on your way.


  1. Now that you have mastered the basics try knitting the Rye Socks by Tin Can Knits. This simple sock pattern is incredibly easy to follow and packed with tutorials and helpful advice, with the added bonus of being free.
  2. Pop over to my blog for lots of in depth sock chat and inspiration. There are loads of technique posts, top tips and pattern suggestions. Just search for posts using the ‘socks’ category. 
  3. Tune into the Sock Surgery where I chat to Jo from the Shinybees podcast about socks every fortnight. 
  4. Don’t forget you can grab a copy of Sock Anatomy from the Tangled Yarn store. This book was designed to help you on your sock knitting journey and encourage you to experiment with different heels and toes.

 Sock Anatomy Sock Anatomy © Clare Devine


I hope you enjoy the journey, knitted socks are wonderful.


Happy sock knitting.



About the Author 

Clare Devine is a writer and designer. Originally from South Africa she has nomadic tendencies and is currently knitting her way around the UK. She is passionate about all things fibre related (especially if it’s grey), knitting, travel and sunshine in equal measures.

She regularly blogs at www.yarnandpointysticks.com. You can find her on Ravelry as Knitsforklipskaap, Twitter as @_ClareDevine and Instagram as @Clare.Devine.


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