Kathleen’s Favorite Sock Knitting Tips

Sweetheart Socks
Knotty or Knice Socks
On-Your-Toes Socks

We’ve just come out with a download of sock patterns, Best of 2010: Top Ten Patterns for Knitted Socks (see photos of some of the “best of” at left). Looking through it got me thinking about how much I love to knit socks and some of the things I’ve learned over the years.

You know how I love a list of tips, so here you go!

Toes too pointy?
My favorite pair of socks has a “well-rounded” toe, and the toe shaping is interesting. The pattern has me make regular toe decreases and then knit 4 rounds even; make the decreases again and knit 3 rounds even; make the decreases again and knit 2 rounds even; make the decreases again and knit 1 round even; finish by making decreases every other row until all of the decreases are made. I love this toe and I’ve used it several times.

Gusset stitches too loose? To make my gusset stitches nice and tight, I twist every picked-up stitch on the first round of knitting.

Gauge off in the round? Did you know that your gauge is probably different in the round than it is when knitting flat? I found this out the hard way and had to give a pair of socks away because my gauge was off. Now I always do gauge swatches in the round for projects that will be knit in the round, and flat for projects that will be knit back and forth.

Your little one’s socks keep twisting around? I don’t remember where I heard this tip, but it’s a great one. Just make tube socks for kids! No heel to keep twisting to the top, and you can churn out tube socks one after the other-no heel flap, heel turn, gusset! And if you make several pairs out of the same yarn, you can just pluck them out of the sock drawer without worrying if you have a match. Love it.

Why do some people like knitting socks so much? I get this question a lot; some people just don’t understand the attraction. Well, let me count the ways!

1. There’s not a lot of instant gratification in knitting, but I can knit a pair of socks in a couple of weeks!

2. I like to have a pair of socks-in-progress in my knitting bag at all times. The portability of socks is great—I can pull them out anytime, anywhere.

3. What better gift is there but a pair of handknit socks? I’ve given several pairs of socks as gifts and they’re all treasured by the recipients. I even turned a knitter friend into a sock knitter by giving her a pair of handknit socks. She liked them so much she knits them all the time now.

4. Socks are the perfect way to try out stitch patterns on a small scale. There are so many sock designs to try—just look at the photos at left! And have you seen all the beautiful sock yarns out there lately? It’s amazing. I have so many gorgeous skeins of sock yarn—I put them in a clear glass vase so I can admire them before I turn them into socks.

5. One of the most important reasons that I knit socks is to continue the sock-knitting tradition that’s been going on for centuries. When I’m knitting a heel flap or a gusset, I love thinking about the knitters who’ve come before me, knitting socks for their families, soldiers, and so on.


Become a part of that history yourself with Best of 2010: Top Ten Patterns for Knitted Socks. Here’s to sock knitting and sock knitters!


P.S. I’d love to hear your favorite sock tips, so leave a comment and share with us!

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