Dashing Myths And Squashing Rumors

In my travels around the known knitting universe I see so many people who say the same things: Socks are too hard, DPNs are too hard, I don’t have the patience to knit socks, I wish I could knit socks but I’m not <insert word here> enough. These same people are knitting sweaters and lace shawls. Let’s tell some truths here.

Sock knitting isn’t hard. Actually it is super easy. The hard part is looking at a sock and trying to figure out how one does that. I’ll tell you how: read the pattern a few words at a time. Really it’s that simple. Another secret, when using DPNs you’re only knitting with 2 needles at a time. The other needles are just holding your stitches until you get to them. I know it looks like juggling knives but it isn’t. Sure you’ll feel like your juggling knives the first few rows but then things fall into place and you’re on your way.

Now think back to when you first started knitting. The whole thing looked crazy! Taking a long string and two needles to make fabric. It’s like a magic act. And if you remember your piece of fabric, that first bit of knitting you did looked like swiss cheese. You dropped stitches, made stitches, split stitches and then all of a sudden, after some practice you had something that looked pretty good. You knit a few rows that ended up with the same number of stitches. You were so proud. Well knitting socks on DPNs is like that. You’ll feel all clumsy at first with the needles poking out in every direction and you’ll have ladders, wide spaces between the stitches, where you switch from needle to needle. But suddenly you’ll see that the knitting gets easier and the ladders get smaller (hint I learned from an Elizabeth Zimmermann video-pull not just your first stitch on the needle a bit tightly but also the second stitch. Over time you’ll get a feel for what is the right tightness.) and you’ve got something that looks like a darn fine sock.

I am a self-taught cuff down sock knitter. I have done toe up socks and I see nothing wrong with knitting socks either way. You just have to knit a few to get a feeling for which way you prefer. I don’t think either is better or worse. But I do think that people have different shaped feet and it will take time for you to decide which heel and toe are best for your foot. Once you understand the parts of a sock, did you know that a sock is made up of different parts? Once you know the parts you can put together whatever fits your foot the best and custom knit socks are fantastic.

So how do I recommend learning to knit socks? I think you just have to jump right in. First pick out some sock yarn. It really is easier to knit with fingering weight yarn than you’d think. It goes perfectly with size 2.25 or 2.5mm needles. I like 5 needle sets best. The balance of the stitches on 4 needles while you knit with the fifth seems easiest. A great pattern to start with is Infant Socks by Judy Ellis. The pattern has all the same parts as any cuff down sock pattern but they are small so you get through each part of the pattern quickly. Also you’ll move from sock number one to sock number two while the knitting of the first sock is still fresh in your mind. These socks make a great gift for a new baby so it doesn’t hurt to have a few pairs sitting around for when you need them.

If you decide to give sock knitting a try, and I really hope you do, feel free to ask me questions. If I can’t answer them I’m sure I can point you to the answer.

All socks in this post are my early attempts at socks. There are no mates though I do have the yarn to knit them if I wanted to. I like keeping these as an example of what I can do if I put my mind to it.



About nothingbutknit2

I'm a wife, mother and knitter. Watch out for my pointy sticks.
This entry was posted in Guilty Pleasures, knits, Quirky Knitter. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Dashing Myths And Squashing Rumors

  1. Marilyn says:

    I totally agree. Socks aren’t that hard. Just one stitch at a time! All of yours are great looking, BTW. 🙂


  2. L.E. says:

    I totally agree with you! Learning by doing. Grabbing a pattern to give it a try, and ask questions on forums along the way. Great post!


  3. Lisa says:

    Too bad there are no mates, I like some of those. Thanks for sharing. I completely agree that although it looked scary at first, sock knitting really isn’t that bad and it is now one of my favorite things to knit!


  4. Renee Anne says:

    I closed my eyes and jumped right in. Granted, my first sock was frogged after I did the heel/gusset decreases. I was trying to figure out how it all worked before I made my first “real” pair of socks….and those are huge and I only wear them with another pair of plain socks underneath and usually only around the house 🙂 But they’re mine, I made them, and I lurves them 🙂


  5. I love this! I wish I’d found it when I was struggling with starting socks. I agree with all your points, though 🙂


  6. Chrisknitsb says:

    I can knit socks, I have just found I don’t want to knit socks. I agree, it’s only a matter of reading the pattern and following directions. No great mystery there. I enjoy seeing your socks!


  7. Kepanie says:

    Word! I learned off a Susan B. Anderson free pattern and it took me many tries!
    Verypink.com has great sock tutorial videos. She breaks down each part. I found out through a video that I was joining in the round backwards and knitting backwards.


  8. Pumpkin says:

    I really enjoyed this post, it is so much fun to hear about a knitter’s history, especially when it comes to socks. Not only are they not that hard but they are so relaxing to knit too, they work up quickly and are so satisfying to finish.


  9. iknead2knit says:

    Sock knitting=favorite. Thanks for the read.


  10. YarnyDragonfly says:

    Well said! Thanks for the inspiration!


  11. Hannah says:

    Love this! It’s so true — socks aren’t that hard, and what a great what to use yarn/colors you wouldn’t normally wear 🙂 If I could only knit one thing for the rest of my life, it would be socks. I hope it never comes to that, though 🙂


  12. Michelle says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Socks are not the insane challenge people make them out to be. When I teach friends how to knit, I encourage them to get started on a sock project as soon as possible, so they don’t have a chance to hear other knitters tell them it’s too much for them.


  13. They do seem daunting at first, and then are surprisingly easy. One good thing about the myths of the challenges of sock knitting is how impressed you can be with yourself for having knit one 🙂


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