A Case For Knitting Socks

The first thing I ever knit was a sock and it was the ugliest sock I’ve ever seen. It was knit with the worst kind of squeaky acrylic yarn and was fluorescent green. It was so stiff that we used it as a mitt to open the fireplace gate to add more logs. I never knit it a partner, it was a sole ugly sock.  I am pleased to report that I improved both in my sock knitting technique and in yarn appreciation since then.

I learned to knit specifically so I could knit socks. I hate elastics in socks — like really hate, more than shorts even.

The Yarn Harlot says that knitting socks is the ultimate labour of love. You spend your time and energy knitting something that is meant to wear holes in and I think she’s right.

Here’s 10 reasons why I think you should knit socks too:

  1. Socks are a great choice for a beginner. There’s shaping and ribbing and Kitchener stitch, lots of learning.
  2. No elastics. I said that already but it warrants repeating. Socks that leave dents in your leg and cut off circulation are evil.
  3. Knitting with double pointed needles is a valuable skill. It’s not scary, I promise.
  4. Sock yarn comes in a rainbow of patterns and colours. There’s even self-patterning and self-striping yarns.
  5. Turning a heel is the coolest knitting trick ever. It will impress your friends.
  6. Warm. Cozy. Comfy.
  7. Socks are a great way to learn a new skill on a small scale. Lace, cables, fair isle, magic loop…
  8. They fit perfectly. Once you knock off that first disaster.
  9. There’s a lot of simple straight part to sock knitting, they are the perfect knitting companion to tv watching or train riding.
  10. Best of all, there’s hardly any finishing to a sock. Sew in the yarn and you are sporting new socks.

One warning: if you are knitting with double pointed needles best to avoid sock knitting in the car. Once I was knitting in a car that was rear ended, I very nearly had knitting needle through the lungs. Also through the back of the driver’s head. Safety first friends.

Here’s your weekend homework, get to a yarn shop and treat yourself to the prettiest sock yarn you can find. Look for a fingering yarn, about 7 to 8 stitches per inch or per 2.5 mm. Plan for 450 yards or 410 metres of yarn for 2 socks, less if you like short socks. I recommend using a superwash yarn, it’s treated wool, sometimes mixed with nylon, and it is washing machine friendly.

You will also need needles, the double pointed variety. Don’t let the lovely yarn shop ladies talk you into circular needles for socks, stay firm with double pointed needles. Read the ball band on your fancy new sock yarn and see what size needles it recommends, aim for a size in the smaller range. Socks are best tightly knit. Likely you will be looking for US size 2 to 3 and metric size 2.75 mm to 3.25 mm.

Then get ready. We’re starting a new project next week. Start practicing your cast on, knit stitch and purl stitch.

Are you asking yourself why on earth we are knitting socks in the summer? I’ll tell you because I totally have a plan. Socks are small and won’t make us sweat. Also I’m pretty sure it’s going to take us a few weeks, maybe months, to finish them up. By the time October hits we’ll be ready to warm up our feet. See? There’s a method to my madness.



  1. Jessica Anne says:

    Ok, maybe. I might start late. I love the safety first bit. Sharp objects and car accidents don’t mix.

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