Today, I want to introduce a series on learning to make socks. Every Wednesday, I will introduce a new step in knitting a basic sock. You will be provided with pattern instructions to use when following the steps. At the end of the series, the steps will be compiled into a photo gallery with a brief description of each step, so you can have it as a reference.
One of the great things about learning to knit socks, is the small amount of yarn required, so you can splurge on the best yarn. I find having hand knit socks analogous to purchasing high quality bed sheets. Once you’ve had the best, you’ll never go back to mediocre.
Socks are traditionally knit using 4 or 5 double pointed needles (dpn’s). Recent advances in materials have developed other techniques to knit socks. These include using one or two circular needles, or one long circular needle and the magic loop. Socks are knit from the top (cuff/leg) down to the toe, or in reverse (toe up). Yarn choice for knitting socks is important, and is typically chosen for durability, warmth, absorbency, elasticity, and of course the beauty of color and tactile qualities. My favorite fiber choice is wool spun into a multi-colored yarn. The most frequently used yarn weight is “sock” or “fingering”, creating lightweight, dependable socks that fit in your shoes.
The basic sock in my series uses fingering weight yarn, a long straight needle for casting on, 4 double pointed needles as the knitting technique, and the top down method, starting from the top of the leg section. For this pattern, you will need approximately 350 metres of fingering weight yarn, and 2.50mm double pointed needles (my favorite are 15cm (6in) long metal dpn’s). I like short dpn’s for socks, as they are easier to manipulate. I also use a regular safety pin or safety pin style marker, for marking the beginning of rounds. Of course you need a tape measure and remember to wind your yarn into a ball, it it comes as a hank.
See you this Wednesday, April 15 for the first lesson!