Monday, November 4, 2013

Some Questions About Sock Knitting

At long last here is my first pair of socks.

As you can see, I am already thinking about a second pair for some fall/winter knitting. I picked this yarn from the fall swap with Kathy. My package came from Nancy the amazing knitter and life adventurer of Wyoming Breezes :)

But sock making has me a thinkin'. I have so many questions:

Blocking Techniques: Does getting those foot shaped blocking things make a big difference? What's an agreeable way to block socks?

Turning the Heel: When it says slipped stitch at the beginning of the row, I slip knitwise for the knit rows and purlwise for the purl rows, is this right?Where is it best to insert / pick up extra stitches when it seems I do not have enough based on the slipped stitched edges alone? I feel like I force it and get a bit of a gappy heel seam.

Patterns: What are good beginner patterns? Toe up or cuff down? Magic Loop? dpns? I saw that Wee Pleasures knits two bloody socks at a time. Les Wow! Do you do this too?

What is your sock wisdom? Do tell.


  1. I purchased my sock blockers from STITCHES West two years ago. I think they help block handknit socks well because sometimes a pattern may scrunch up the FO.
    I forget what I do for the slipped st. I don't think it matters unless you really want the stitch to slant a certain way. Sometimes I had picked up extra stitches to avoid gaps in the gusset. I just picked it up along the way or very near the edge.
    I like the book I have - Teach Yourself Visually Sock Knitting by Laura Chau. I like her type up pattern more than the cuff down. For cud down, hands down, Ann Budd.

  2. I slip purl-wise every time unless specified in the pattern. I don't use blockers. I figure with as much as socks stretch when they're on your foot that blocking isn't really necessary. For beginner patterns get the Simply Sockupied e-mag (though with a warning that you may be hooked and get ALL the Sockupied e-mags). It is a great beginner book, has lots of words-of-wisdom, reviews yarns, has videos about doing specific techniques (like Kitchener)...and the patterns are super-easy to follow. Complete step-by-step which is nice when you're getting started and turning your first few heels. After that I'd get Clara Parke's Knitters Books of Socks because there are such a nice variety of patterns that you get to try out different techniques to decide what you like best and what fits your feet (or those you're knitting for).

    Your socks look great! Congrats! And I will tell you that I knit my first pair of socks just a year and a half ago and I currently have 10 pair for myself, and knitted several to give away. They are awesome!

  3. Nice job on the socks!

    I have sock blockers but only use them for taking photos and for getting a more accurate size for the socks I knit. I never block my socks. I wash them in the regular laundry (in a mesh bag) and never put them in the dryer.

    I have a plain jane sock that I knit - ribbed cuff (2x2 rib) and a stockinette foot. I don't knit or wear lacy socks because I want the socks for warmth rather than fashion.

    On the heel flap, I always slip as if to purl because it gives me a more distinct way to pick up stitches for the gusset.

  4. Oh I love knitting socks, and yours are lovely! Here's my two cents' worth on the topic.

    1. I bought sock blockers, but only because one year I was making a bunch (12 but who's counting) for Christmas gifts, and wanted them to look as nice as possible. I will admit that when I make a pair for myself and they are finished, I just put them on ...

    2. On the heel flap, I always do: Row 1: slip as if to purl, put yarn in back, knit the next stitch, etc. across the row. Row 2: Purl.

    3. There is an awesome pattern, published by Yankee Knitter, called Classic Socks for the Family, by Melinda Goodfellow. It has the instructions for several sizes and weights of yarn. The instructions are incredibly clear (even though I use 4 needles to hold the yarn and knit with the 5th - she uses 3 and knits with the 4th), and it's a pattern I go back to time and time again.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy knitting socks!!

  5. OKay: 1) you dont have to block socks at all. Good sock yarn stretches and rebounds.
    2)I only knit top down.
    3) It I knit two socks at time it is this weirdo way:
    *8 double point needles. 4 needles for one sock and 4 for the other.
    Knit cuffs, then leg, then heel etc. Mirroring one sock to the other.
    THis way I dont get second sock syndrome . they are both done at the same time.
    4) any Ann BUdd pattern will be easy to follow. THe book that is shaped like a sock gives you row by row basic easy no miss instructions.

  6. i switched to toe up for a while, and liked it while knitting but found that i was really bad at getting a good fit when knitting that way... so now i do top down with a heel flap.
    i much much prefer two circs over the dpns.
    that's my two cents on sock knitting, for what it's worth! :)

  7. Yes slip the stitch as you see it, knit for knit, purl for purl. On the following round when you get to the picked up stitches, knit through the back loop to twist the stitch and that will tighten up that row. All subsequent rows knit regularly. Your socks look fantastic!!!!!!!!!

  8. I always forget to do the slip stitch on the heal, and it turns out fine. I don't block mine just because I don't have a blocker.

  9. Wow, nice socks !
    I agree with Karen for the slipped stitches. When picking stitches up after the heelturn, I always insert the needle underneath the entire slipped stiitch, to avoid holes. And at the edge of the picked up st., before you knit the ones that will make the upper side of the foot ( and after you knitted those ) I always make 1 ( m1r ).
    I never tried magic loop for socks, always use dpn's. And I agree on the top down knitting - makes it easier to get a good fit ( for me ).
    However I think it is all personal.. Maybe you could stick with the techniques you already know, and once you figured out which is the exact right size sock and how you like your heel and such, you can try all other varieties :)
    Did my first sock from the book "Knitting rules!", and also like this one