4 tips for easy sock knitting

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For many of the knitters I know sock knitting is either a skill you have either  mastered or you haven’t. For some people (my beloved Grandmother for example) socks knitting is easy knitting. Something she could do even when she was nearly blind. For other’s it proves quite a challenge.

Today I would like to share some of my best tips on easy sock knitting.

Tip 1 – don’t do one sock at a time when you can do two in one go and avoid the dreaded ‘second sock syndrome’!

This is done by using what is known as the ‘magic loop method’, which seems to be credited to Sarah Hauschka. Heidi from Wool Rocks put me onto this KnitFreedom video showing how to knit two things at a time with the magic loop method.  Here is another video from KnitFreedom showing the basics of the magic loop method and a step by step instruction from  The Knitter.

Another advantage of this method is, as you can see below, that you can try on the socks as you go along.


Tip 2 – Begin your socks at the toe and you won’t run out of yarn!

In fact you can continue to make your socks as long as you wish until you run out of yarn. This technique is also a bit magic and uses Judy’s magic cast-on for toe-up socks published on the wonderful knitty.com. Judy also explains at the bottom how to do this with two socks at a time.


Tip 3 – Short row heels are wonderfully quick to make.

I have been happy using the yarn-over short-row method for a while now. The socktopus has a great instruction for yarn-over short-rows. While looking at her site I came across what she calls shadow-wraps short-rows.  I have never tried this before but would like to give it a try.


Tip 4 – Using a sock recipe will let you make socks from any yarn in any size – total sock freedom!

Priscilla Gibson-Roberts is really the go-to person for this with her book “Simple Socks (Plain and Fancy)” which we reviewed on Historic Crafts.   But let me see if I can explain it in a short and easy way for those of you who just can’t wait to get started on your first pair of socks.

  1. Measure your foots circumference = C
  2. For the yarn you wish to use, figure out the gauge G – in other words how many stitches there will be per inch – you can do this be either looking on the yarn label or knitting a sample square with the needles you plan to use.
  3. We will now use the maths from the Universal toe-up sock formula by Amy Swenson. So the overall number of stitches you want around your foot is G x C. If the foot circumference is 6 inches and and the gauge is 7 stitches per inch you are going to want 6 x 7 = 42 stitches around your foot. Your key number is 42. (K)
  4. You get the number of stitches you need at the end of each side of the toe and the beginning of the heel short rows by dividing the key number with 2. So in this case 21. (H)
  5. The last number is the one you begin the toes with and end the heel short-rows at. Using Amy’s formula this is the previous number multiplied by 0.4. So in this case: 8.4 rounded up to 9 (S). Amy says to round to the nearest odd/even number depending on whether the previous number is odd/even.

Now you have the numbers needed to use the tips above. For tip 2, you begin Judy’s magic cast-on with 9 (S) stitches on each needle and continue to work increases till you reach 21 (H) stitches on each needle, so 6 rounds of increases. For tip 3 you use half the stitches (H) and continue short-rows until you have (S) stitches in the middle left.

Note to the Europeans: Why am I, as a European through and through, using inches and not cm? Its because I feel inches gives a more exact measurement for this purpose. If I were to calculate the gauge in cm it would be something like 2.8 so I prefer inches. But just for the record. 1 inch is about 2.5cm so if you only have a cm measuring tape you can measure C and divide it by 2.5. Get G by measuring the number of stitches per 10cm and divide it by 4. 



This is also a great way to use up left over yarn for baby/kids socks.


I am very interested to hear how many already use some or all of the above methods. Please also feel free to link and share your sock projects with me.

Come ‘like’ my Facebook page and continue the conversation over there or in the comments below.

xx Eddie

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2 Responses

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