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