Best Sock-Knitting Tips from Our Readers

Apr 28, 2014

It's no surprise that Sockupied readers are terrific sock knitters, but the genius behind some of the tips we received in our contest showed just how innovative—and generous—you all are!

Before I get to the winning tip, I wanted to share a few others that were in close contention for the winner's spot. (I strongly encourage you to read all the submissions, which you can find on the contest page here.

Two Socks At Once

Mary of mdflowers says:

When I am knitting socks, I usually do two at a time on 2 circular needles.  Once I get going, I pin a small sandwich baggie around each sock so that the completed knitting doesn't get "roughed up" as I continue working.  I move the baggies up each time I complete about and inch or two of work.  When the socks get too long to fit inside the baggies easily, I roll the socks up and pin the edges so they won't unroll and they continue to fit just fine.  When I'm done, the knitted work is all fresh and pill-less, ready to be blocked.

awalker55 wrote:

When knitting two at a time socks, divide your skein of sock yarn into two equal parts by using a kitchen scale.  Weigh the unused skein of yarn using grams (i.e. 100 grams). Then wind your second ball of yarn from the skein until the skein weighs half the original weight (i.e. 50 grams).  There you have it: two balls of yarn exactly the same amount!

Advice for the Cuff-Down Sock

begarcia suggests: 

When knitting socks I cast on the appropriate number of stitches, then I purl one row, then join in the round and proceed with the pattern or ribbing. It makes a really nice edge and helps hold up the sock on the calf.

tribblesnz wrote
on Sat, Apr 19 2014 5:26 PM

My method for casting on and distributing the stitches for cuff-down socks on DPNs:

I long-tail cast on half the number of stitches on two DPNs held together, then the other half on the other two DPNS. Slip half the stitches out of the first needle and leave the second half on the second, slip half out of the third, voilà: all stitches evenly on 4 needles and cast on evenly and loosely. Double-check they're not twisted, and knit the first 3 stitches with both the running yarn and the long tail. Then drop the long tail. No ugly "step" or stretched stitch at the beginning.

Linda Nelson credits Ann Budd with this tip:

When working Kitchener stitch on toes, treat first two stitches and last two stitches as one stitch, to avoid those funny ears:)

mmk7237 wrote:

For sock knitters using dpns, do the following.  After completing the cuff, heel, turn, and pick-up stitches, you will have your stitches on 3 needles.  Place small safety pins or split ring markers on your work just below each needle.  Use 1 pin on needle #1, 2 pins on needle #2, and 3 pins on needle #3.  You will always know exactly where you are.

Great General Advice

HeatherK@23 says:

My best advice re socks is to also learn how to darn them properly. This can really extend the life of your socks.  Wind a bit of your sock yarn on a bobbin and identify it. Then you will have just what you need when the socks need darning. Don't wait for a hole—check the socks whan laundering, darn when they get thin , before the yarn breaks - if possible.  Your socks will thank you.

DebbieS@4 shares :

To keep track of what row I'm on when knitting socks (or anything) in the round with a pattern that says "every other row", I have a two inch piece of waste yarn with a large knot in one end at the beginning of the round.  If the 'P'lain end is out, that's a 'P'attern row, if the "knot' end is out, I do 'not' do the pattern on that round.  It's easy to flip the waste yarn every time I pass it, and saves trying to analyze where I was when I pick up the knitting again.

And the Winner Is . . .

djbseb wrote:

To keep track of the washing requirements on hand knit socks, I put in a row or two of color coded yarn in the toes - red = hand wash, line dry, yellow= machine wash, line dry, and green = machine wash and dry. This is easy to remember. I include the instructions when I knit gift socks.

(I loved this one for several reasons: It works for toe-up/top-down and any needle configuration; a knitter at any level can use it; and it's a neat way to use up a little bit of stash yarn!)

Thanks so much for your entries. And watch for more sock-knitting tips in the next issue of Sockupied this summer.


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Comments

Joy McGuffin wrote
on Jul 5, 2014 6:26 AM

I would like a more detailed explanation of how to do the following:

Linda Nelson credits Ann Budd with this tip:

When working Kitchener stitch on toes, treat first two stitches and last two stitches as one stitch, to avoid those funny ears:)

I often end up with the ears she is referring to.

judymassey wrote
on Jun 29, 2014 10:07 PM

concerning awalker55's hint above: be sure to start your socks in the same direction on the yarn.  Otherwise your color bands might end up upside down from one another.

Birdie2011 wrote
on Jun 28, 2014 4:28 PM

Perhaps this is the results of a different contest but here is a quote from you rules;

"What, you don't love spring cleaning? Well, you may love it when we clean for spring, because some of the treasures we've reviewed in past issues of Sockupied could come your way. In 20 words or less, tell us your best sock-knitting tip. We'll choose our favorite answer from the comments posted on this blog and send some spring treasures to the winner."

It clearly states "20 words of less" which of course is pretty difficult. So was there a CHANGE to the rules that I'm not aware of? Clearly the winner wrote more than 20 words.

Could you please explain this?

BarbaraW@34 wrote
on Jun 28, 2014 3:47 PM

These are great tips -- but the "Pin it" buttons on the page are only picking up the banner ad!  Ditto for my "Pin it anywhere" tool.

nanmanknits wrote
on Jun 25, 2014 11:38 PM

When I am knitting socks I use the toe up "Magic loop" method. I place my row counter (for circular knitting) before the last stitch of the second sock (this way it cannot fall off by accident).  I use a separate ball for each sock (and when using self patterning yarn I do match up the starting points in the yarn-pattern).  When the foot is long enough, I pop the ball for that sock into the foot and no more fumbling yarn!  The balls of yarn will no long twist around each other.

The greatest thing about this method is that when I finish binding off both socks are done! And I can add the cuff at just about any point and the pair of socks are done.

on Jun 24, 2014 8:16 PM

When I am knitting socks with self striping or patterned yarn, before beginning the first sock, I pull out a length of yarn that represents the entire repeat from start to finish.  I cut that one piece and save it until I'm ready to start the second sock.  I can then compare my repeat piece with where the yarn is now and it ensures I will start the second sock in the same place as the first and the two will match!

on Jun 23, 2014 5:08 PM

Unable to pin! These are great tips and I want to save them.

PatnPaws wrote
on Jun 23, 2014 3:25 PM

I have a tip about counting rows. I had been using a red Kacha-Kacha  row counter that I kept beside me, but being fly-brained, I sometimes forgot to "click" it. I knit socks on one 40-inch circular needle, so I purchased the green "pendant" Kacha-Kacha and, instead of hanging it around my neck, I slid it onto the cable. Thus, at the end of each round, I have to switch it to the opposite needle tip so it won't fall off, and I click it when I make the switch. There are probably lots of "reminder" items you could make yourself to do the same thing; the important part is that you must move it from one needle tip to the other and so keep track of rows, stitches, patterns, etc.

kandy@3 wrote
on Jun 23, 2014 2:37 PM

When I teach my students to do socks, I have them buy two sets of dp needles so they can do both at the same time. I have them do the cuff on both before moving on to the heel. This way they have them both even, do not forget what they did to the first sock and have them both done at the some time.

Also, if it is not self-striping yarn, they can use the yarn from both ends of the skein.

We put the yarn in a empty peanut container so it can roll or turn as it wants.

yvonnefrank wrote
on Jun 23, 2014 1:14 PM

I often forget whether I have done a decrease row following the heel shaping or a knit row so I make a loop at the end of my long tail (from casting on) and slip it onto the the needle a few stitches into the decrease row.  I remove it for a plain knit row.  I know if the loop is on I need to be decreasing and not so if it's hanging.

yvonnefrank wrote
on Jun 23, 2014 1:14 PM

I often forget whether I have done a decrease row following the heel shaping or a knit row so I make a loop at the end of my long tail (from casting on) and slip it onto the the needle a few stitches into the decrease row.  I remove it for a plain knit row.  I know if the loop is on I need to be decreasing and not so if it's hanging.

Pat Mac wrote
on Jun 23, 2014 1:10 PM

Sockupied tips were good! While Awalker55's procedure for weighing and dividing a skein may have applied to a solid color yarn only, it is worthy to note that if using using self striping yarn it will be necessary to rewind the first section of yarn that is removed from the skein, otherwise the color pattern will be the reverse of the remainder of the skein.

Yes, I know this because I have a beautiful pair of "magic loop" knitted socks that are the result of my dividing one large skein via the same method Awalker55 outlined! Socks are dandy but the self striping is consistent with the direction of the original skein on one and the reverse on the other.  

Thank you for sharing the great tips.

Pat

Polly Doodle wrote
on May 16, 2014 6:54 PM

I like the winners tip.  However, I feel it is unfair as the contest rules specifically state the  tip had to be in 20 words or less.  The winners tip is many more than 20.  I suggest you change the rules next time.

WheelyBad wrote
on May 10, 2014 9:21 AM

Wow! Can I say thank you everyone for posting your tips, as a relatively new knitter coming to the end of their first pair of socks (pink cotton mix aran weight, snuggly!) these tips have been truely enlightening, a real help and I can't wait to try them out on my next pair of socks.

As an amateur,  I can't offer any real advice except this:-

"Learn from anothers misfortune"

"Don't drop a full ball of yarn on the floor that'll keep rolling in front of a dog that likes to chase toys"

"Don't drop a full ball of yarn onto a carpeted floor when you own a dog that sheds"

and lastly

"Don't leave yarn on your lap so that aforementioned dog can't rest his wet face on it after taking a drink from his bowl, especially if that dog has a big, shaggy  beard"

Lesson learned. I keep my ball of yarn in a plastic bag, by my side, where it can't be raided by an opportunistic hound while I'm concentrating on my knitting! Dog has now learnt that the the best place to be while I knit is on the floor keeping my feet warm! Yarn staying in the bag though, seriously restricting opportunities for doggy temptation!!!

Happy Knitting,

'WB'

WheelyBad wrote
on May 10, 2014 9:21 AM

Wow! Can I say thank you everyone for posting your tips, as a relatively new knitter coming to the end of their first pair of socks (pink cotton mix aran weight, snuggly!) these tips have been truely enlightening, a real help and I can't wait to try them out on my next pair of socks.

As an amateur,  I can't offer any real advice except this:-

"Learn from anothers misfortune"

"Don't drop a full ball of yarn on the floor that'll keep rolling in front of a dog that likes to chase toys"

"Don't drop a full ball of yarn onto a carpeted floor when you own a dog that sheds"

and lastly

"Don't leave yarn on your lap so that aforementioned dog can't rest his wet face on it after taking a drink from his bowl, especially if that dog has a big, shaggy  beard"

Lesson learned. I keep my ball of yarn in a plastic bag, by my side, where it can't be raided by an opportunistic hound while I'm concentrating on my knitting! Dog has now learnt that the the best place to be while I knit is on the floor keeping my feet warm! Yarn staying in the bag though, seriously restricting opportunities for doggy temptation!!!

Happy Knitting,

'WB'