When selecting yarn for sock knitting, it is important to consider the weight and fibre content of the yarn. The yarn should contain at least 20% nylon for a durable and long-lasting finished pair of socks. The other 80% can be wool, or any fibre you prefer. Fingering weight yarns are the most popular for knitting socks as they are lightweight and give a great fit. You will need at least 100g of sock yarn to complete an average sized pair of socks.
Once you have selected the yarn and the type of needles you want to knit with, as covered in Knitting Socks - Part 2 and Part 3, then start with a "plain vanilla" top-down sock pattern for your first pair of socks, like the one I offer for free in my two previous blog posts.
There are many different sock knitting techniques that can be used to create unique and beautiful socks. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Top-down socks: These socks are knit from the top down, starting with the cuff and ending with the toe. This method is popular because it allows the knitter to try the socks on as they are being knit to ensure a good fit. For anyone learning to knit socks, Tin Can Knits has a great visual tutorial for their basic sock pattern called Rye. https://blog.tincanknits.com/2013/10/03/socks/#cuff. Or for a collection of 32 hand-picked designer socks for the sock connoisseur, check out the book by Linda Kopp, called The Joy of Sox: 30+ must-knit designs.
- Toe-up socks: These socks are knit from the toe up, starting with the toe and ending with the cuff. For the sock knitting veterans that want to try a new technique or pattern, check out Wendy D. Johnson’s book Socks from the Toe Up. Since you start knitting the sock from the toe, there is no toe grafting for these toe ticklers.
Two-at-a-time socks: Finally, for those that want to avoid the frustration of the "Second-Sock Syndrome" try Melissa Morgan-Oakes book 2 at-a-Time Socks: The secret of knitting two at once on one circular needle for any sock pattern. This is a technique for knitting two socks at the same time on one long circular needle.
In addition, there are many ways to knit the heel of a sock. A few examples:
- Short-row heel: This is a method of shaping the heel of a sock using short rows. This technique creates a well-fitting heel without the need for a gusset and heel flap.
- Gusset and heel flap: This is a traditional method of shaping the heel of a sock. The gusset is created by increasing stitches on either side of the heel, and the heel flap is created by working back and forth on half of the stitches.
Each technique has its own unique benefits and challenges, and the best one for you will depend on your personal preferences and skill level.
As with any new skill, the more you practice, the better you will become. Start with a simple sock pattern and work your way up to more complex designs as you gain confidence and experience.
Regardless of the method you choose, the key to learning how to knit socks is to be patient, persistent, and have fun!
This is my last post about knitting socks, and I hope you enjoyed reading these 4-part series.
Happy Knitting ! Yvonne