Ten Tips for Knitting Socks

When I say summer knitting, do you say, “Socks!”? I do, too. I have a pair of footies on the needles, and yarn for another pair, too. I mentioned in an earlier blog that I want to get several pairs of footies so they’ll be ready for Dansko-wearing in the fall. I’m well on my way with two pairs completed. I just need to finish the toes. Hopefully I’ll do enough grafting this summer so that the technique will stick in my head. I feel like I’m doing it for the first time, every time.

Ann Budd’s Go-To Socks is a simple
pattern that you’ll want to knit again and again. It’s perfect for showing off your colorful sock yarn!

Anyway, here are some tips whether you’re an expert or just learning how to knit socks.

Ten Tips for Better Socks

1. To tighten the join between the heel flap and gusset, pick up stitches through the back look of the chain edge stitches along the heel flap. This will twist the stitches and tighten them up.

2. For a nice, dense sock that will last longer, knit the foot portion of the sock on a needle one size smaller than the pattern calls for.

3. Learn the Magic Loop method of knitting and you won’t have the ladders that some knitters get from using double-pointed needles.

4. Choose the right yarn for the project; 100% cotton yarn isn’t necessarily appropriate for socks because they may bag and lose their shape when worn. Wool and wool/nylon blends are popular for socks because of their elasticity.

5. Did you know that too-tight socks fall down more than looser socks? If you’re knitting top-down socks, make sure to cast on loosely—try casting on over two needles if you tend to cast on tightly. If you’re knitting toe-up socks, bind off extra loosely! Many bind-offs are innately inelastic, so choose wisely. The sewn-bind-off is a good one to use on toe-up socks.

6. If you love knitting toe-up socks, learn Judy’s Magic Cast-On. It’s easy and amazing. It looks great; none of those loose toe stitches that you sometimes get with other toe-up cast-ons.

7. Vary your toe and heel designs. I love the Eye of Partridge Stitch for heel flaps. I do what I call the Lazy Toe. Simply knit until there are eight to twelve toe stitches left and use a tapestry needle to draw the yarn through the stitches. I go through the stitches one time and pull them together, then a second time and pull them as tight as I can without breaking the yarn.

8. If you tend to wear out the heels and toes of your socks, try working a strand of thread with the yarn while working the heel flap, the heel turn, and the toe shaping. You can use regular sewing thread or buy special sock-reinforcement yarn at your local yarn shop.

9. Avoid hot water when you wash your handknit socks. Even socks knit from superwash yarn might felt or shrink a little in hot water. To make your socks last longer, always dry them flat. Over time, the dryer will break down fibers.

The dreaded gusset hole!








10. To avoid the little hole that appears at the base top of gussets, pick up an extra stitch at the base of each gusset. Work these stitches together with the edge instep stitches on the next row. Check out Kate Atherley’s video workshop, Knit Socks with Gapless Gussets for more ideas to fix this pesky problem.

Bonus Tip:
Order Ann’s Go-To Socks (pictured above) and Kate’s Gapless Gussets workshop as a bundle! It’s a great deal.

Free Download! 7 Free Sock Knitting Patterns

If you count carefully, you’ll see that there are lots more than ten tips here. I hope they will help you knit socks all summer long!


P.S. Do you have a sock-knitting tip? Leave a comment and share it with us!

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