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Sock Knitting Tips

Make the Sock Knitting Experience a Little Easier

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Finished sock.

A finished sock is a thing of beauty.

(c) Sarah E. White, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The following are tips from readers about sock knitting and how to make your sock knitting experience a little easier. If you have your own sock knitting tips, tricks or patterns that you would like to share, submit them through this form.

Choosing Yarn

Misty says that choosing a tightly spun yarn and knitting at a tighter gauge than you normally would are two good ways to get long-wearing socks. Your socks shouldn't be able to stand up on their own, but you do want to get a nice, dense fabric so the socks will wear well.

Forum user 4Got2Stop adds that washable wool blends are a great choice for socks, and that acrylic socks can get really warm and itchy.

Picking a Method

Many knitters have a preferred method of knitting socks, whether on double-pointed needles, one circular needle or two circular needles. A popular tip is using the Magic Loop method, which requires one long circular needle.

But reader Babci says it's important to keep an open mind when knitting socks and to try all the different methods before deciding which one is your favorite.

Casting On

The German twisted cast on, sometimes known as the Old Norwegian cast on, is a popular choice for sock knitting because it is stretchy. But J. Miles says the tubular cast on is her favorite:

The tubular cast-on is my favorite way to make beautiful, stretchy sock cuffs in 1x1 ribbing. The following instructions reflect my preference for dpns but it works with the magic loop and two-circular methods as well.

In addition to your regular sock yarn and needles, you'll need some smooth waste yarn and needles 1-2 sizes smaller than the ones called for in the pattern.

Using the smaller needles and waste yarn and using your favorite provisional method, cast on half the number of stitches called for in the pattern. (If the total number of stitches in the pattern is an odd number, subtract one before calculating the half, and make an increase after finishing the ribbing.)

Switch to the regular sock yarn, join in the round and knit three rounds as follows:

Round 1: (Knit 1, YO) repeating the part in parentheses. You should now have the total number of stitches called for in the pattern.

Round 2: (Knit 1, bring yarn to front, slip 1 purlwise, yarn back)repeating the part in parentheses. You should be knitting the stitches you knitted in the last round and slipping the YOs.

Round 3: (slip 1 purlwise with yarn in back, bring yarn to front, purl 1, yarn back)repeating the part in parentheses. You should be slipping the stitches you knitted in the last round and purling the stitches you slipped.

Now you can continue knitting regular k1 p1. After a few rounds you can remove the waste yarn.

Don't forget to switch to the larger needles when you finish the ribbing and are ready to work the rest of the cuff!

She also suggests casting on to a regular needle and knitting the first row or two before joining in the round for people who are having trouble with twisted stitches. You'll have a tiny bit to seam when you're done, but getting the stitches straight will be a lot easier.

Construction Methods

4Got2Stop says she likes to make socks from the toe up and always makes both socks at the same time so she doesn't have to worry about running out of yarn.

She also recommends trying to knit the toe and the heel with a contrasting color to jazz up even a simple sock pattern.

A Matter of Trust

This is a tip from me, as well as from just about any other sock knitter out there: trust the pattern. It will seem like the pattern is telling you crazy things that will never possibly make something that fits your body, but if you can just follow along, at the end you'll have a sock or two, and that's the best thing ever.

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