Knitting My First Socks

SocksThese are the very first socks I’ve ever knitted, using this excellent free sock knitting tutorial. They were made using just over one skein of Malabrigo Worsted wool and bamboo double pointed knitting needles. How long did this project take me? Er, eight months!

KnittingI knitted up the first sock in February and couldn’t quite bring myself to cast on the second sock. Apparently, this is known as Second Sock Syndrome. Who knew? It’s a bit like running laps – and I’m bad at that, too. I finally got round to my second lap in October.

Which is why I’m very tempted that my next foray should be the Hippity-hop sock pattern from Loop. The socks mirror each other, which means they’re slightly different in the knitting, which keeps things interesting. Is this pattern over ambitious for a sock newbie?

Socks ii

In case you’re a sock newbie too, I can assure you that this isn’t so hard and it is fascinating to learn how a sock is constructed.

I intend to use these as bed socks, but I have a question for the sock experts out there. Well, several questions.

  • How do hand knitted socks stay up when you’re wearing them out and about? There’s no elastic.
  • How do you bear to wear hand knitted socks inside shoes or boots that are going to pill and distort the wool?
  • When you’re down pat, how long does it take you to knit a sock?

They are all my questions for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more! Oh yes – any sock patterns you recommend? I may have caught the bug. They’re easy to knit on commutes and they only take … eight months to make!

Would you knit socks?

Socks iiiUPDATE I’ve already thought of another question. How do you wash your hand knitted socks? Thanking you!

 

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68 Responses to Knitting My First Socks

  1. helen says:

    I knitted my first pair of socks just over a year ago and I’ve just finished knitting my 5th pair for myself. To answer your questions…
    I don’t have a problem with them staying up – they stay up just fine. I knit on 60 stitches for myself usually with a 1×1 rib cuff.
    They don’t pill or felt. Most sock yarn seems to have some nylon in to make them more hardwearing. I wear with all types of shoes or boots and seriously no pilling.
    I could probably knit a pair in about 10 days – a few hours each evening. On this last a pair the first sock was started on a long haul flight and I went great guns at it but my eyes suffered!
    I don’t do much of a pattern, I’ve made two pairs of the Hermione Everyday sock – (on Ravely) it’s an effective pattern for such a simple stitch.
    I’ve just leant to knit toe up and do a short row heel – I love knitting them and I can’t see myself buying RTW socks for myself ever again.
    Good luck with your sock adventures!

  2. Nani Blyleven says:

    Nice first pair! I have been wanting to try socks for a long time and even bought yarn, needles and books. My knitting experience is a couple unfinished scarves and a headband, but you have motivated me to look at it again. I did hear there is a two sock at a time knitting method, but think I should probably try obe sock first. I too have the same questions you asked, and can’t wait to heard what the knitters out there recommend!

  3. Lovely job & dare I say, nice pair! I am a fellow Second Sock Syndrome (SSS) sufferer. How did you find the strength to go on? I’ve recently cast on my second one 3 months after finishing the first but it’s languishing in my craft cupboard. I wrote about it here: http://sewsouthlondon.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/knitted-prawns-and-the-slow-burn-socks/
    In answer to your question: you can thread shirring elastic through the first few rows of ribbing to help the socks stay up. I added shirring elastic to the rib of a slouchy hat and it really helped. I intend to use mine for keeping warm at home. It would be a shame to ruin them in actual shoes!

  4. Raquel Moncada says:

    I knit my socks slowwwwwwly….And two at a time because I hate the second sock syndrome. I use a long round needle because I don’t like those pesky marks when you change from needle to needle. If my socks are long I usually add elastic thread to the rib. And last but not least: I divide a ball of yarn in two and begin knitting my socks toe up, this way you can stop when you are getting out of yarn and you end up with two identical socks!!! I hope this helps!

    • LinB says:

      To avoid those pesky ladders between needles, all you need do is to pull the yarn quite firmly after you’ve made the first stitch on the new needle. You have to yank it tighter than you’d think, but he stitches will even themselves out beautifully as you go along.

  5. Miriana says:

    You knit them in something a bit tougher than malabrigo (sounds lovely for bed socks though). Love the arty photos.

  6. Erika says:

    I have yet to finish my first pair of socks but on the wrap around my wool it says that it can be machine washed at 40 degrees.

    I also knitted the first one slightly quicker than the second one but I must say that it did help I told myself to cast on the second the day after I finished the first!

  7. Jen (NY) says:

    Cute socks! I’m not a knitter (yet), but for washing wool I can recommend Euclan. Not sure if it’s available over there, but if not, maybe there’s something similar. I have a bottle of the lavender scent, but it smells like it has lanolin in it. It’s one of those cleaners where the items (socks) are soaked in a diluted solution for awhile and then flat air dried. Yes, I do this washing process even with socks, but I have some favorite wool ones and I’m kind of particular about clothing care.

  8. sweetalchemy says:

    Congrats on completing your first pair of socks! They look great. I’ve been making socks for myself and for my husband for years now. As long the socks have some negative ease (like 10-15%), they stay up without a problem. I think the fact that socks end up being my most-worn knits outweighs the fact that they are getting shoved into shoes. In my experience a lot of yarns made specifically for socks that contain a bit of nylon don’t pill as much as you’d expect. Knitting them at a pretty firm gauge also helps limit how much they pill. I use superwash wool for socks, run them through the washing machine with the rest of my laundry, and then hang them up to dry. I typically use fingering weight wool and 2.25mm needles and a pair of socks takes me about a week to complete.

  9. Well done, it is always satisfying to knit socks. To help them stay up socks used to be ‘fully fashioned’. i.e. a decrease of two stiches x three at regular intervals down the leg, making 6sts less when you come to divide for the heel. This makes for a neater heel too, which otherwise would ‘bag’. This, with longer ribbing knitted on a size smaller needles is the way mens’ socks were always knitted and helps with womens’ socks too. Hand knitted socks are normally handwashed. It takes me about a week to ten days to knit a pair of socks, but then I started knitting socks before you were born so have a head start there, sorry!

  10. Ros says:

    1. How do hand knitted socks stay up when you’re wearing them out and about? There’s no elastic.

    The ribbing in the cuff provides its own elasticity. Plus your hand knitted socks will fit your feet much better so there’s less pulling.

    2. How do you bear to wear hand knitted socks inside shoes or boots that are going to pill and distort the wool?

    Um, I don’t make socks from Malabrigo. 😉 Choose a sock yarn with 20 or 25% nylon which will make it much more hardwearing. Also see the previous point about handknitted socks fitting better. They don’t really get distorted. Plus wool is resilient. After washing, you can always block them back into shape. They do last a LOT longer than bought socks.

    3. When you’re down pat, how long does it take you to knit a sock?
    A few days. Depends how complicated the pattern and how much available time I have.

    4. I wash mine in the machine on the same cycle as everything else. If they’re not up to that they have no place in my wardrobe! I am careful to choose superwash yarn with nylon content specifically designed for socks.

  11. My Mum used to knit in shirring elastic in the ribs of things. Never knitted socks but would like to. Think that heels look very tricky indeed. Your socks are lovely. Xx

  12. Knitlass says:

    I agree with the others – I have oodles of handknit socks and only have a problem with socks coming off in bed. If you have shoes on they usually keep your socks on too!

    Sock knitting can get really addictive, particularly if you have some gorgeous (self striping) yarn that you can’t quite put down until you’ve finished the next stripe. I can make a pair in a couple of days if I have lots of time to knit!! It helps to have fairly small feet too 😉

  13. redsilvia says:

    I was going to tell you everything that Ros just did, but she did it first and better! Socks are great travel projects and I’ve dragged socks all over the world, You can buy double point keepers so the needles don’t slip out during transit but rubber bands work fine too.

    Once you’ve knit a few different socks you can figure out what heel and toe you like making that fits you well. Personally I love the short row heel and toe and a top down sock but a quick troll through ravelry will give you a crazy amount of options.

    Keep knitting socks, your friends will suddenly become quite interested in socks of their own…you’ve been warned. 😉

    • Ros says:

      People have to pay me if they want me to knit socks for them! Except for my dad. He gets them for Christmas and birthdays and they are the best presents I have ever managed to give him, since he is the sort of person who never wants anything.

  14. MrsAlex says:

    Congrats on such a lovely first pair of socks!

    I knit mine one at a time on a small Addi circular (30cms), which saves me from stitches falling off needles when I gather everything up and stuff it all back into my bag at the end of a journey.

    SSS – I cast on for the second as soon as I finish the first, but it does happen, esp when the yarn is dull or they’re not for me!

    I used to be able to do a pair in a few days, but then I stopped commuting and had children! Now I’m much slower!

  15. Becky says:

    You should always knit “out and about” socks from sock yarn. The yarn is tough enough to withstand a lot, and it has some elasticity built in via acrylic fibers so that when you knit the ribbing at the top, they stay up. However, you should be aware that handknit socks are generally not as durable as socks you buy. People knit and wear handknitted socks because they love the process and the resulting socks. If you suffer from second sock syndrome, try knitting them at the same time on the same needle. I think how long it takes depends on the pattern, the knitter, the gauge, etc. If you commute every weekday and have time to knit, it would probably go pretty fast. Your level of interest should stay up at least until you figure out how you like to knit them (top down or toe up) small gauge/larger gauge, simple/very complex pattern, kitchener’d toes/not, differing heels, etc. The permutations are many!

  16. Suzanne says:

    I started my first knitted socks last year, and haven’t finished. I keep getting distracted with other projects. You did a great job!

  17. Ella says:

    I usually use regular sock yarn like Opal or Regia, a 75% wool and 25% polyacryl superwash quality, and I throw them in the machine. The majority of my socks are plain stockinette with a 2 x 2 ribbing for the cuff, they stay up just fine (if you prefer longer a longer leg part, make sure to adjust them to your leg circumference for better fit). I wear handknit socks every day, even in summer, save on very hot days.

    Have you thought about trying the Mojo pattern? It’s very easy, perfectly adjustable to your own taste and size, can be knit cuff-down or toe-up, and even though the socks look rather ugly when finished, they’re about the best fit I’ve ever had in handknit socks. Here’s the link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mojo

  18. Carolyn says:

    Congrats on your first pair! I used to knit socks, but after a few pairs, I decided that sock knitting is just not for me! Too many tiny stitches and too much time involved. However, I LOVE wearing handknit socks, and I wear them in all kinds of footwear with no problem. I wash them by hand in a small tub of warm water and shampoo, with minimal agitation, and I lay them flat to dry.

  19. Emma Jayne says:

    I’ve yet to start my first pair but I have been given some advice that I can pass on unused (!)… use magic loop to knit both socks at the same time and no matter how cosy you think they’ll be, never attempt knee highs.
    If my first very basic beginner pair doesn’t put me off, I might make some double helix or love socks afterwards.
    http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEff11/PATTdoubleheelix.php
    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lovesocks

    • Ros says:

      I have a pair of kneehighs I knitted and I adore them. I have fat calves so there was no way of buying a pair. They are the cosiest thing to wear in winter. And they didn’t take all that long to knit. About the equivalent of two standard pairs of socks.

    • Geo P says:

      The double helix pair looks very intriguing! Pinned 🙂

  20. Roobeedoo says:

    Hooray! Welcome to the world of socks! 🙂
    To answer your questions:
    If you knit at a tight enough gauge, using a fingering weight wool / nylon mix, you should not get pilling or sag: that’s what the rib at the top is for. I would not knit socks out of thick pure wool – they will pill and felt. But these will make lovely warm house-socks 🙂
    I stick mine in the washing machine on a 30 degree silk wash using ecover delicate wash liquid. But in the old days when I still knitted pure wool socks, I hand washed them in Lakeland lavender wool wash. Lots of knitters swear by “Soak” because you don’t need to agitate or rinse – not sure how that works!
    If you want to feel really clever buy some self-striping sock yarn: it makes you knit faster because you want to see the next stripe appear and it impresses the Muggles no end!
    PS I can knit a pair in a week, but I allow a month, because I usually have other things on the go at the same time.

    • I’ve already ordered some self-striping sock yarn! I was hoping you’d give me some advice.

      • helen says:

        I love self striping yarn – just note the position in the pattern you started the first sock and start the second sock in exactly the same place. It’s a bit like pattern matching curtains but without knowing the pattern repeat before you start!

  21. marthaeliza says:

    a) Ribbing
    b) regia sock yarn doesn’t pill — I have 15 year-old pairs that look almost new
    c) heh — when asked, I say socks take “no time at all and forever” — “no time at all” because I knit socks only in time spent waiting in offices, in line, etc, that would otherwise be spent doing nothing (or worse yet, perusing decades old editions of mags) and “forever” because it might take me 4 months to finish knitting a pair this way.

  22. susew says:

    All of my handknit socks go in the washing machine and are air-dried. Of the three pairs of socks I’ve knit, none have ended up snug enough to wear with shoes, unless I wear my Birkenstock clogs, so they are all cozy, wear only at home socks. I’ve knit them with 2.25 mm bamboo dpns- maybe I’d be better off with 2 mm needles for a tighter gauge. For the cost of sock yarn , I don’t find them a good cost to wear ratio. I started knitting socks to use up sock yarn leftover from my grandmother.
    They have all been knit using machine washable wool nylon fingering weight sock yarn. It takes me weeks to months to finish a pair.
    Knitty.com has lots of sock patterns from simple to challenging- I like Zingerber, Java.
    Hedgerow by Jane Cochran is another simple, free sock pattern.
    Most socks have a ribbed pattern or ribbing on the cuff that makes them stay up(ish).

    • LinB says:

      I sometimes buy woolen sweaters from thrift stores and ravel them for sock yarn. Socks eat up yarn like sleeves eat up fabric, in that you might not believe how much raw material you are going to need. For plain, utilitarian socks for myself, the re-purposed wool is great value. I still like to purchase decent yarn for gift socks — and to support my LYS.

  23. Magic Cochin says:

    Please make a note to show us your Malabrigo yarn socks in 3 months time 😉

    I would always use a sock yarn (usually with a little nylon in it) I hand wash or use the wool/gentle/cool wash in the machine with a gentle liquid eg ecover.

    I’d recommend the lovely hand dyed yarns by Natalie of The Yarn Yard, or the gorgeous self striping yarns from Denmark and Holland if you can find them – a good excuse for yarn shopping when on holiday 😉
    Xx

  24. Sneaky says:

    Hi! People have answered the washing/time/fiber questions in ways I don’t disagree with, so I’ll let their wisdom stand. But in the “your mileage may vary” category, my handknit socks definitely do felt, most dramatically on the heels but also sometimes a little on other pressure points. 75/25 yarn felts less than 100% wool; cheap yarn that feels too thin and soft felts almost instantly, whereas good-quality yarn felts much more slowly. Socks that are appropriately tight to the foot felt more slowly than too-roomy socks. I wear mostly casual sneakers and Doc Martens. My socks felt in the sneakers much more readily than the boots–I think the soft sneaker fabric generates more friction against the wool than the leather boot insides. Note that they only felt on the outside–the inside, next to my foot, keeps its clean, nice stitches. Weirdly enough, I find that the heels that are supposed to be the most durable, like the slipped-stitch flap heel, felt more readily than something smooth like a short-row or afterthought heel.

    I can’t tell if I’m the only person whose socks are felting and if I’m doing something differently than everyone else is, or if other people’s socks felt too but there’s some sort of consensus about how we don’t talk about it in public because it is embarrassing. After all, other people say their socks wear out–how do handknit socks wear out if it’s not by felting? I don’t see how you could wear a hole through a sock without it felting first, since the hole-making would be causing friction against the yarn, and friction + wool = felt, right? But my own self-consciousness is making me digress.

    Even if you find yourself in my group and your handknit socks felt, I think you should make them anyway–at least one pair of “in shoes” socks to see if you like them. Handknit socks are so phenomenal on the feet. They are soft and warm and yet they are breathable and let air through. My feet are not stinky in handknit socks. They are the comfiest and warmest boot socks I’ve ever worn. After handknit socks, all store-bought socks feel like putting your feet in plastic sandwich bags. I only really wear commercial socks for working out–but then, I don’t wear my handknit sweaters for working out, either. So basically, even if they felt, it’s worth it. And if they get too felted to wear, then, that’s okay–you make more, knowing that they gave you excellent service, just like the new ones will.

    • Ros says:

      Felting and hole-making are very different things. If the yarn is felting, that will actually make it thicker and stronger and less likely to get holes! But also, less likely to still fit your feet. Superwash yarns won’t felt, whatever you do to them. It may be that what you’re describing is actually the yarn pilling – falling apart rather than clumping more tightly together. This will happen before you get holes, of course. And yes, sometimes it happens to hand knitted socks, but not necessarily. A lot depends on the gauge of your knitting, as well as the twist of the yarn and its composition. If you’re regularly finding holes in your socks after not much wear, I would start trying other yarns and tightening your gauge.

      • LinB says:

        Or attending to the calluses on your feet … my heels are apparently skinned in sandpaper. Socks invariably get a hole right at the ball of my heel. Sigh. Much of the year I go barefooted, in my climate, and those calluses are a benefit. Come October, I have to start doing unspeakable things with a pumice stone.

  25. Jenny Lester says:

    You are now hooked Karen!! sock knitting isaddictive!! Began knitting socks with circular needles some 6 years ago – first pair for husband, who immediately threw a M &S pair away ( think he showed you some at the Minerva bloggers meet!!) since then I have replaced ALL his RTW socks with hand knitted. They are my gift of choice for friends husbands who love them. I moved onto DPN’s being the way my grandmother made sock for my Dad! then discovered SSS and was persuaded to try toe up two together on a long circular needle. Result!! by using this method there are a number of advantages.
    You can try on as you go, which means a good fit is obtained.
    You can easily knit matching socks by beginning each sock at the same place in patterned yarn. You rarely run out of yarn even when knitting a large size, due to the fact that you don’t need to judge when to begin the heel to ensure you have sufficient yarn to complete the foot as once the heel it turned you just knit until you have no yarn left.
    You don’t need to use markers.
    You need to use sock yarn with some man made fibre added to help to keep shape and prevent pilling
    Regia make loads of patterned yarn but I have recently discovered West Yorkshire Spinners who make lovely sock yarn especially their Blue Faced Leicester Signature range in “bird”colours!! I also use Knitpro interchangeable wooden needles. Kind to hands!

    I use Knitpurlhunter’s “Lacery” pattern which is free, you don’t need to make them with the lacy pattern. See her really great range of videos lessons, especially Judy’s Magic Cast On and Magic Loop!!

    Sorry this is such a long reply but you will thank me honestly!! a very very easy way to knit a pair of socks and a totally wonderful travelling project as when you bet going you don’t even need to look at the pattern after a few pairs!

    Happy knitting!!

  26. Jenny Lester says:

    Oh – also meant to say that Mini Mania scarf – Ravelry is a great way to use all your sock knitting left overs!!

  27. Fadanista says:

    I have knitted socks for everyone and, as mentioned by others, you are better off using a sock yarn. The small amount of nylon stops them going into holes almost immediately as well. I now use a knitting machine to make mine – I can do a pair in 1.5 hours, which is important when I’m working, but if I’m handknitting I use the two circular needles as per the Cat Bordhi method (it’s worth watching her YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RybPvCNfrT8 and even buying the book)

  28. Danielle says:

    The whole motivating myself to do the second sock happened to me the first time I made a pair of socks, so I completely understand where you’re coming from. (Here’s a link to that easy pattern on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/easy-peasy-socks-for-first-timers) — they call for a thicker yarn, which was great practice for me.
    I’ve been working on a “real” pair of socks, too (actually sock weight yarn — have to get used to using since it’s so much thinner than most yarns I work with). I started the first sock a couple months ago, but I need the motivation to keep going. (here’s a link to the pattern on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/basic-socks-2)

    Good luck with the socks — and I love the red color!

  29. Donna says:

    I like a snug fitting sock. I knit the entire sock in a K3,P1 pattern from the cast on through the entire 8″ leg. Then after the heel flap and heel turn I continue the K3,P1 pattern on the upper foot but with a knit stitch on the sole until I reach the toe. Finish the toe with knit stitch on the top and bottom. Best fitting socks ever!!
    Donna
    Nova Scotia, Canada

  30. Alison says:

    I hope it’s the first of many socks! Make that many *pairs of* socks 🙂
    I’ve never needed elastic. I’ve been knitting socks for 7 years but they still take me forever. They are usually my handbag project, but now my kids are older I spend a lot less time hanging around waiting for them with nothing to do.

  31. Weeza says:

    The only path through heartbreak when handknit socks fall apart is acceptance 😉 and learning how to darn.

    • LinB says:

      Or cutting off the foot, picking up stitches from the bottom of the leg cuff, and knitting a whole new foot. I’ve refooted one pair three times that way. Also, there are several methods for knitting a separate sole and top of the foot, so that replacing the sole is an easy option. One of these ways is by using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Moccasin Sock — not the best-fitting socks I’ve ever knitted, but a perfectly lovely method for replacing a holey bottom.

      • Ros says:

        If you regularly get holes in the heels, you might think about using an afterthought heel so that you can replace that without needing to re-knit the whole foot.

  32. Geo P says:

    I always have cold feet and every summer I promise myself I’ll start knitting a pair fo the cold months to come. I’ve only made a pair so far in a very bulky yarn to give as a present and it took me a month to make. I don’t even want to think of how long it would take me to make a pair in sock yarn. But I love reading all the recommendations in the comments, I think I’ll start a pinboard 🙂

  33. Sheree says:

    Having read all the comments and also never having even thought about knitting socks, I now find myself checking out patterns and wools! The enthusiasm is infectious. Thanks all for inspiring me.

  34. jocolumbine says:

    Reference to darning reminds me of the Yarn Harlot – she reckons that the closest she get to this old institution is holding an old, beloved but hole-y sock over a bin a saying “darn it” . I grew with her

  35. jocolumbine says:

    Dash .. Fat finger.. I agree with YH, socks are lovely to knit and wear, but transient by nature. Enjoy the next pair.

  36. LinB says:

    A. Start both socks at the same time: 1. Use the very old method of knitting two at the same time on the same set of dp needles (tricky and difficult, I don’t recommend it except as a parlor trick. 2. Try one of the excellent tutorials for knitting two at the same time on circular needles — there are top down and toe up versions that both work great. 3. Use two sets of dp needles; work a few inches on one sock, then knit the other to match (my preferred method). You’ll end up taking the same amount of time to knit a pair as if you did one, then the other, but they’re both finished at the same time.
    B. Sock legs knitted in a K2-P2 rib stay up. This is the most elastic ribbing of them all. Socks knitted with at least a 3″ cuff in K2-P2 are the next best option. You can also make a casing at the top of the sock and insert elastic, but this seems tedious and unnecessary when you can knit in the elasticity you need.
    C. Use a firmly-spun yarn for longer wear in your socks. Expect that the heat and sweat your feet generate are going to felt the socks, just expect it. Firmly-spun yarns wear better than soft, fluffy yarns, but they’ll all felt eventually. There are several methods of knitting socks that incorporate separate soles and insteps, that really do make it easier to re-foot your precious hand-knitted socks when it becomes necessary. Or, cut off the offending foot, pick up stitches from the bottom of the cuff, and knit on a whole new foot.
    D. I wash my socks in with the rest of the clothes, in cold water. I dry them on a clothes horse, never in an electric dryer.
    E. When in doubt if you have enough yarn for a matching pair, start in the middle. Do a provisional cast on, and knit the foot from the heel down. Then pick up the waiting live stitches and knit the leg up as far as you have the yarn for (one presumes you divided the yarn into two equal amounts, for your two equal feet). You might end up with cute little anklets, or knee-highs. Stripes of another color can extend the leg farther if you want a longer sock.
    F. When knitting thick socks with worsted yarn, I can finish a pair and a half a week. Thinner yarns for finer socks may take me a week and a half for a pair. I knit during all meetings, choir rehearsals, and whenever someone else is driving me about; as well as when zoning out in front of the t.v. in the evening.

  37. I used to think hand-washing socks was a crazy idea. Then a dear person sent me four pairs in the mail, which were all slightly felted—too much so to fit her, but perfect to fit my feet. Since obviously they would felt more, & then not fit, if I put them through the washer, I was an instant washing-socks-by-hand convert. It’s actually really easy, and I like the feeling that I am giving the things I love the longest and best life I can, so now I wash the socks I’ve knit by hand too.
    I really like Cat Bordhi’s “Sweet Tomato Heel” method. Once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy to adapt to whatever patterns you’d like to make, and to fit your foot exactly. You can do two at time this way as well if you decide that’s your cure for SSS. Have fun on your sock journey!

  38. Ruth says:

    I haven’t read all comments, but here goes. Knit with sock yarn. It’s fine, superwash, and a combination of wool and nylon. That means your socks fit in your shoes and can be washed in washing machine and even dried in a drier. I confess that I err on the side of caution because even sock yarns can felt and shrink slightly if you abuse them. They’re still wearable but you lose that fresh-knit splendor. So I wash them on a wool wash with other woolens and not in a large load with jeans etc. Occasionally I hand wash a batch, just because I love them. They stay up if they are not too tight. Yes, if they are too tight they slide downwards to slimmest part – usually your ankle. Get your gauge right. Ribbing is easiest at the top if you want them to stay up, but you may get braver with tops later once you get your gauge right for your own feet and legs.

    I have nine pairs of hand knit socks. I never get second sock syndrome. I love wearing them too much. I have to finish them. It takes me about two weeks on average to knit a fairly fancy pair of socks on 2mm/2.5mm needles. But I take my time over them and tend to knit them in the summer because they are small and light and don’t make me hot while knitting them. My oldest pair is in its third year and no signs of wear, so I’m ahead.

    I started knitting again after a long (twenty year) break in 2011, inspired by your cowl. I told you back then that you had inspired me. So due to your inspiration. I now wear nothing but hand knit socks! And I have a few hand-knit sweaters too, now.

    Thanks, and good luck!

  39. Birgit says:

    I went through a time when I tired different sock designs – I didn’t care for the magic loop two at a time way – it slowed me down too much. I would suggest you do the same and figure out which pattern suits you best. I like DPNs and toe-up, this way I can use up all the yarn in the cuffs. When my hands are up for it I can knit a sock in a couple of days. To avoid second sock syndrome, I knit both socks alternating a couple of inches at a time. This has the added benefit of finishing a section of pattern off, so you won’t have to relearn it when it comes around on the second sock.

  40. Anne-Marie says:

    Hello Karen; I’ve knitted about 20 pairs of socks using the circular needle two at a time from the top down method – that means that when you’ve finished, you have a pair! No problem with them staying up if they fit well. I cast on on a larger size needle than I’ll be using for the socks themselves. I use sock wool that’s machine washable, as I’ve found that socks knitted from ordinary wool wear out too quickly. Good luck with your next pair!

  41. Angela says:

    Just to provide some balance of opinion – I can’t stand knitting socks. And I do a lot of knitting. I admit that self-striping yarn was exciting for the first pair (and even then the second sock of the pair was only exciting because I wanted to see if my stripes matched properly). Not only is the process boring but I find them too warm to wear inside shoes and socks. All I need is a few pairs for around the house in winter or wearing in wellie boots. I’d much rather knit a nice cardigan or hat or something useful :-).
    My partner’s German aunt has been knitting him a pair of socks every year, sometimes twice a year, for more than a decade and they never seem to wear out so he has a stuffed to overflowing sock drawer. I just chuck his socks in the normal wash and they are fine. (Mind you I have double standards as I hand wash my own socks….as I wouldn’t want to risk any felting…)

  42. Nicole says:

    I don’t knit socks.
    It’s not because I can’t. I know how to Kitchener and do short rows and all the things that make up knitting a sock. But I just don’t WANT to knit socks. My mom is a sock knitting fanatic and makes around 5 gajillian a year…so I don’t NEED to make socks, either. But she does keep hinting that I should. One year for Christmas she gave me sock yarn and a set of size 2 dps. Haven’t used the needles…
    The thing is, I have a terrible case of Second ANYTHING Syndrome. I don’t like making anything that requires a second item. Socks, mittens, gloves…sleeves…It’s terrible.
    But your socks are beautiful and I congratulate you on making them!

  43. symondezyn says:

    Yay! you’ve entered sock territory (AND DPN territory, which frankly, I’m very afraid of LOL). I like that they are not overly fancy – I have a sock book but all the patterns are very intricate and have kind of made me apprehensive about trying my first pair, because what if after all that time consuming cable and lace work, I totally hate them? I think your bright, lovely socks look awesome, and super soft and comfy 🙂 Are they like little squishy pillows on your feet? ^__^ I’m tempted to make socks in a heavier gauge just so i can have thicker, squishier socks that mimic my heavy alpaca socks from the Yukon – but first I have to get over my fear of DPNs – haha! ^_^

  44. kristina says:

    Be careful–sock knitting is addictive–I have sooo many pairs now! I don’t have trouble with them staying up. I usually knit 64 stitiches on 2.25 mm needles. I think the very best yarn (and I’ve tried loads) is Plucky Feet from the Plucky Knitter–a joy to knit with and wears beautifully. She is based in America but ships to the UK (I live in London) and her colors are divine! My favorite pattern is the BFF pattern from Cookie A. xx

  45. senjiva says:

    Sure, I knit socks. Not so many lately, But I do have a drawer-full. Malabrigo sock is like some kind of sparkly drug that keeps you coming back for more. I wash them in the washer on cold, inside a mesh bag, then i hang them over a plastic hanger to dry. Most sock yarns wash okay. DO NOT put Malabrigo worsted weight (the soft roving kind) in the washer. It will felt and you will have teensy weensy socks. Soak them in some Eucalan or “Soak” brand knits wash and gently squeeze out in a towel.

  46. Sara says:

    I wash my socks by hand using a small amount of all in one shampoo and conditioner which leaves them nice and soft. I rinse them out 5 times in clear cold water. Then I squeeze out the excess water and then lay them on a towel, arranged so they lie flat. Then I wrap the towel up in a roll all the way down the length of the towel and then I turn the other way and roll. Then I sit on the towel for 5 minutes. When I unwrap, the socks are quite dry and I then loop through a coat hanger to dry. I have 3 pairs of hand knitted socks, they are the only socks I wear and all are going strong after about 4 years now, no repairs needed even though I only have 3 pairs. They are comfy and cool in summer (no wrinkles, no sweaty feet) and warm in the winter. They start out expensive yes, but they last so long that they end up v cheap per wear. Mine have quite some while to go yet I think.

    They stay up by themselves. I use standard sock yarn. I use 60 stitches on 2.5 mm needles. I love dpn’s and don’t get ladders because I tighten up the first two stitches on each new needle. I’m not the slightest bit interested in having the stripes of both socks match up. I want them not too – far more interesting to look at that way as well as to knit. I knit cuff down and try them on as I go – you can do this with cuff first knitting, just as you can with toe up. The process is easy. I do both short row heels and heel flap, I make toes using Kitchener stitch or by reducing stitches and pulling yarn through the last few (as in the sock knitters work book). I am happy with all methods I have tried and it is fun to experiment. I love knitting socks. But I’m not addicted! I currently have a pair in progress.

  47. Yay, congratulations on your first pair of socks! I wear my handknit socks mostly at home, in lieu of slippers… 😉 I’m also currently learning to knit two socks at the same time using the magic loop method. No more second sock syndrome! (Fastest I’ve ever knit a sock was about two weeks, I think…)

  48. Liz says:

    · I’ve never thought about it, they just stay up – magic?
    · I’ve not had this problem
    · I knit all except 6 rows of a sock the day I was on jury service last year and spent all day sitting waiting, plus bus travel time.
    · Depends on the yarn. If I’m handwashing, I fill a bowl with warm water and a bit of liquid soap, soak, swish and rub a little, gently squeeze out, rinse, gentle squeeze, roll in a towel to remove excess water then hang to dry. Occasionally, I’ve washed them when I’m in the bath, a tip I read on yarnharlot’s blog.

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