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Sock Tips, Pt. 1: The Basics of Knitting Socks

Why are socks so popular? Socks are a great easy-to-carry project and they're compact and satisfying to make. Over the next month, we will be showing you different ways to embellish your sock patterns. The first project in our sock series is the solid colored sock -- the pattern on which all the rest of our socks will be based.

Knit Child's Solid Sock in Zinnia Knit Child's Solid Sock in Lemongrass

Here are a few helpful hints about our pattern and sock-making in general:

  • Child-size socks are a great introduction to the world of sock-knitting. The small size means you’ll be finished sooner –- ready to make your next pair!
  • If you're a sock novice, this solid sock pattern is a good way to get some practice. By making this first pair of socks, you’ll become familiar with the basics of sock construction and with working with double-pointed needles.
  • Read through the pattern before beginning, but just to get a sense of what you’ll be doing. Don’t be intimidated! Just work each step as written.
  • Basically, a sock is a tube with shaping (usually done by working 'short rows') for the heel, and simple decreasing to shape the gusset and toe.
  • To cast on, use just one double-pointed needle. Once you've cast on the required number of stitches, the instructions tell you to divide your stitches onto 3 double-pointed needles. Simply slip stitches (as if to purl) – one at a time if you’re nervous – onto another 2 needles.

  • Once you've divided the stitches onto 3 needles you’ll need to join the last stitch to the first stitch so that you can knit in continuous rounds. This is super easy to do--just begin knitting! Since the working yarn will be attached to the last stitch you cast on, when you knit the first stitch you cast on your work will be joined.
  • Short rows are used to create the heel shaping on these socks. The slip and wrap technique we outline is not difficult, just follow the instructions step by step.
  • When you reach the toe of your sock, follow our instructions for grafting the sock ‘tube’. Grafting makes an almost invisible seam and doesn't add bulk to the toe.

To get started making socks or for more sock-making help and ideas, our Design Department recommends the following books:

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A version of this article first ran in The Weekly Stitch newsletter. Click here to sign up for the newsletter and get articles, free patterns, and exclusive offers in your inbox each week. 

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