How to Knit Socks

Looking for an ideal guide on how to knit socks? Easy-to-follow guides can help you acquire the sock knitting skill fast if you are a beginner. Start by getting the required materials and follow the instructions to help you make an exceptional pair of socks.

Below is how to knit socks for beginners. 

How To Knit a Pair of Socks for Beginners with Double Pointed Needles (DPN)

Using DPN has been the traditional way to make socks since it is a time-proven technique that can fit any gender and shoe size. This guide helps you learn how to knit socks easily with a straightforward pattern. You may also check this video to get started.

What materials do you need to knit these socks?

    • 2.50mm double-pointed needles (6 to 8 inches long)
    • 100 – 150 grams of sock yarn that is suitable for a 2.50 mm needle.
    • Measuring tape
    • Tapestry needle and scissors
    • A 2.0mm crochet hook (this is optional)
    • Optional-needle stoppers and stitch markers

If you decide to mix colors, you will need a 100-gram skein and two 50 grams skeins. It is essential you avoid blending brands for uniformity and texture. Below is how to knit socks for beginners step by step.

    1. Casting On Stitches (How To Start Knitting Socks)

How to knit socks
Image source: Dummies

To start knitting socks, you need to figure out the number of stitches you should cast on. You can find out this by knitting a swatch and doing calculations to confirm whether your gauge has the right measurement.

Step 1. Cast on 30 stitches and then knit 30 rows using stockinette stitch throughout with the double pointed needles. Complete this step by binding your work. 

Step 2. Wash and block the completed swatch.

Step 3. Count the number of stitches required to cover 5 cm 

Step 4. Measure the widest part of your feet, usually the heel or ankle.

Step 5. Do the calculations

    • Take the width you’ve measured and divide it by the number of stitches.
    • Take the resulting factor and multiply it with your foot’s circumference.
    • Subtract 15% to account for the stitches’ negative ease.
    • Round the result to the nearest number divisible by 4. 

The answer you get in step 5 is the number of stitches you need to cast on for your pair of socks. This method is easy for beginners, unlike following patterns which demand perfection that can be frustrating due to multiple unraveling.

      2. Knitting the Cuff

Step by step cast on stitches
Image source: Nimble Needles

Now that you have figured out the number of stitches you should cast on, grab your double-pointed needles to start knitting the cuffs. Below is a step by step guide on how to knit the cuff

Step 1. Cast on the number of stitches you need and one extra using the long tail cast on technique. Distribute the casted stitches to four needles. You can learn how to cast on knitting this technique.

Step 2. Slip the first stitch on the first needle to your last needle to join in the round. Pass the stitch next to the one you’ve slipped over it. Complete this step by slipping the remaining stitch to the first needle.

Step 3. Knit in a 2×2 rib for around 2 inches. Follow the instructions: k2,p2 throughout all the rows and stitches.

The first few rounds may be a bit unsettled, but that happens to all knitters. So, hang on after a few rounds; it will stabilize.

      3. Knitting the Leg

How to knit socks for beginners
Image source: The Knitting Squirrel

After you complete knitting the cuff and are satisfied with it, you need to start knitting the leg. While intermediate and advanced knitters prefer using complex patterns, it is good to stick to stockinette stitch as a beginner. 

You will avoid much straining and mistakes that may lead to unraveling and knitting the socks again. How do you knit socks’ legs?

Step 1. Knit through all the rows.

After knitting around 30 rows, try to fit the garment to see if it’s comfortable. If not, you can unravel and adjust the number of stitches you cast on. 

Step 2. Remember the measurement for the widest part of your leg. You need to use this; take the tape measure and place it around the cuff. You should go up to that spot where you have that circumference.

How can you knit socks that fit narrow ankles? When knitting socks for a narrow ankled person, the normal method may give you short socks. You can solve this by casting on many stitches and decreasing them while going down until you have the original count. 

      4. The Sock Heel

How to knit socks easy
Image source: Marly Bird

The heel comprises the heel flap, the heel, and the gusset. Here is how to knit this part of the socks

      • Heel Flap

Take the number of stitches you cast on and round them to the nearest number divisible by four. The figure you get is the number of stitches you should knit the heel flap across. This part is knit flat.

Step 1. When knitting on the right side, repeat the pattern; SL1, k1

Step 2. When knitting on the wrong side, repeat this pattern; SL1, p1.

The heel flap needs to match the distance between the sole and the ankle knuckle. Use your tape measure to confirm it’s matching this length.

Step 3. Turning the Heel

      • Knit to the center of the heel, then continue with the slip stitch pattern (*Sl1,k1*)
      • Row 1: k1, SSK, k1 don’t finish this row; turn around.
      • Row 2: SL1, p3, p2tog, p1, then turn around.

Step 4. Follow this pattern: Right side SL1, knit until the stitch behind the gap, SSK, k1, and turn around.

Step 5. Follow this pattern on the right side: SL1, purl until the last stitch next to the gap, p2tog, p1 and turn around.

      • Pick Stitches for the Gusset

Picking up stitches seems challenging, and most beginners shy away from it. The opposite is true since it’s straightforward. Here is how you can execute this step 

Step 1. Knit across the heel

Step 2. Pick up the stitches from the other side of your heel flap, one stitch through each slipped stitch on edge.

Step 3. Pick an extra stitch from the gap and place a stitch marker.

After step 3, confirm whether you picked up equal stitches on both sides.

Step 4. Knit across the left stitches and join in the round. If you are not familiar with this technique, you can learn how to join knitting in the round.

Step 5. Place a stitch marker, then pick up one stitch from the gap using your crochet hook.

Complete this process by knitting across the heel.

      • Knitting the Gusset

Knitting socks tutorial
Image source: Hands Occupied

Knitting the gusset focuses on reducing the number of stitches to the original number. Here is how to execute this step

Round 1

      • SSK
      • Knit across all the stitches except the last two.
      • K2tog
      • Slip your marker and complete the knitting round.

Round 2

      • Knit

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 steps until you achieve the original number of stitches. Most novice knitters will have holes left on this part; you can avoid this by shuffling the SSK and k2tog around instead of knitting them in the first or last stitches.

      5. Knitting the Leg

After you complete knitting the gusset, continue in the stockinette stitch. In this part, you don’t have to decrease or use any other technique. When learning how to knit long socks, you only need to make a few adjustments to the length of the different parts you will be knitting. You can try them on amid knitting to ensure they fit well.

      6. Knitting the Toes

Sock knitting for beginners
Image source: Modern Daily Knitting

Round 1: Knit

Round 2: Knit

Round 3: Knit

Round 4: KI, SSK, knit until three stitches to the end of the second needle, k2tog, k2, SSK, knit until three stitches to the end of the fourth needle, k2tog, k1.

Round 5: Knit

Repeat rounds four and five until you have half the number of stitches. Then decrease in each round until you halve the stitches again.  

      7. Finish Knitting the Socks

After you are left with 16 or 20 stitches, you can complete knitting the socks using the Kitchener stitch. When you get to the last stitch, ensure you secure it, then weave in the ends to leave your socks neat and intact.

Knitting abbreviation

Meaning

SL

Slip a stitch

K

Knit

P

Purl

SSK

Slip, slip, knit

tog

Tog means the stitches should be knit together, for instance, p2tog.

Socks Knitting Patterns

While most beginners will prefer learning how to knit a scarf or shawl because they think they are easy, socks can be fun to make. Here are some patterns you may want to explore to improve your knitting skills

    1. Rye Light Socks Pattern

Rye light socks knitting pattern
Image source: Noble Knits

This pattern has a simple collection; it makes knitting socks easy and comes with a step-by-step tutorial. The knitting is in the round from top-down and utilizes the Kitchener stitch to complete the socks. You will need fingering weight yarn for this pattern.

      2. Rose City Rollers Pattern

Rose city rollers sock knitting patterns
Image source: Noble Knits

Searching for roll-up socks that are ideal for summer? This pattern offers you easy up-down knitting and a traditional heel flap and turn. You also get three size options; you don’t have to worry about getting another pattern for your kid.

If you are a beginner learning how to start knitting, this will be great for you. Advanced knitters can also have the fun and quick experience that comes with it. You can add popping colors to the socks to make them stunning for a summer outfit!

      3. McArgley Pattern

How do you knit socks
Image source: Love Crafts

This pattern offers you a blend of bright and bland colors giving you glowing socks. While the pattern seems to need more work, it is worth every effort. 

The good thing is that the guide is free, and you can download it anywhere anytime to start knitting. All you need is your needles and a 4ply yarn. You can explore similar patterns like the Socks Hella.

      4. Red Heart Sweetheart Stockings

Red heart sweetheart stockings
Image source: Yarnspirations

The Red Heart Sweetheart Stockings pattern gives you a gorgeous pair of socks. They are long enough to keep you warm all the way, regardless of the season. You can make this for a loved one, and they will love it.

They incorporate sweetheart motifs which make the statement of love and care. If you are an intermediate knitter, this pattern will be a great project to try out. You can download it for free to begin knitting. Explore more of these patterns here.

      5. Cabin Sock Knitting Pattern

Cabin sock knitting pattern
Image source: Pinterest

This pattern is beginner-friendly and works up fast. The socks are warm and cozy; you don’t have to worry about cold seasons anymore. They also have an oversize look that can complement different outfits. You can try knitting more of these patterns to advance your knitting skills.

      6. Baby and Me Sock

Baby and me socks
Image source: All Free Knitting

The Baby and Me Socks pattern is versatile and allows you to knit socks for yourself and your bundle of joy. Such a great idea to match your winter socks! This guide uses bulky yarn to make warm socks and works up quickly. 

It is also easy to follow, so it’s friendly for beginners. You can also learn how to knit a hat that blends with your baby’s socks. 

Knitting patterns help you make stunning versions of a garment. You can always start with the straightforward as you progress to those that require advanced techniques. Check out more socks and slippers patterns.

Knitting pattern

Skill level

Rye light socks pattern

Beginner

Baby and Me socks

Beginner

Cabin sock knitting pattern

Beginner

Red Heart Sweetheart stockings

Intermediate and advanced

McArgley

Advanced

Rose City Rollers

Beginner and intermediate

Pro Tips for Socks Knitting

How to knit socks instructions
Image source: Pinterest

    • Yarn Quality

If you want to knit a pair of durable socks, you need a yarn that matches this garment’s level of wear and tear. You can purchase highly twisted yarn reinforced with nylon instead of merino which wears out faster. Don’t forget to confirm whether it’s suitable for your skin.

    • Begin with Simple Patterns

Like any other knitted garment, socks can be challenging to knit if you choose a complex pattern that supersedes your skill level. That does not mean you cannot explore advanced patterns later, but you have to start with simple ones to avoid straining. 

For instance, you can choose patterns that incorporate one or two stitches like stockinette, then try multiple techniques when you are well versed. 

    • Knit with Different Needles

The best way to knit socks is to try out different needles. Are you good with DNP? If yes, then you can use the magic loop or straight needles. It will help you learn what works best for you; whether you are doing it as a hobby or business, you can have fun with your needles.

    • Labels

Labels play a significant role in your business if you are starting up or own a knitting shop. Woven labels make your work appear more professional and sell your brand. Also, anytime a client buys a knitted garment from you and relishes its quality and service, they are more likely to look for the same label that represents your brand.

Care labels can help you advise your clients on washing the knitted garment to avoid wear and tear or damage. It also shows that you care about your clients and the community. You can advance your business with labels!

Conclusion

Learning how to knit socks can be fun; you get to try different patterns and learn new skills. While most novice knitters view it as difficult, doing it proves them wrong. After making the first pair, you will yearn to knit more of them. 

You only need a straightforward pattern and utilizing the tips to become a pro in this. Have you started making your first pair?

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