To You Wannabe Sock Knitters

There have been a lot of questions about knitting socks.  Probably because that’s all I’ve been posting about lately.  I promise I’ll get back to quilting some day  . . some day when I have a home and a quilting room.

In the past, I’ve written several posts about knitting socks.  This one was written in January, 2010 and this one was written in September, 2010.  If you care to search the blog, I’m sure there are other posts.  No doubt I said this somewhere in those two posts but I’ll say it again . . I had not knitted since college when I decided to knit socks.  I had to find a group of elderly ladies who got together at the Methodist Church in Owensboro to show me how to even cast on.  As soon as I saw one do it, I remembered how.

Then I set about trying to figure out how to knit socks.  I learned using double pointed needles (DPNs).  I felt like I was all thumbs.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to rip that first pair of socks.  I would get down to the heel and mess up and have to start over.  I would get so frustrated — Vince begged me to just give up.  I wasn’t about to give up and I’m so glad I didn’t.

There are so many ways to knit socks – toe up, cuff down, on DPNs, two socks at a time on two circular needles, the Magic Loop method . . and probably more.  Maybe because I learned using DPNs but that’s my favorite method.  I like doing cuff down (starting at the top of the cuff and working towards the toe) but I don’t mind toe up (starting at the toe and working towards the cuff).  I’ve tried making two socks at once using two circular needles and the beauty of that is that when you’re done with one sock,  you don’t have to make yourself do that second sock – it’s done too!  But I don’t enjoy using that method.  For me, it requires more effort but many knitters love that method.  I tried the Magic Loop method and while I don’t dislike it, I like the DPNs better.

For the most part, I make plain Jane socks.  I don’t have to count at all.  I can set them down for a day, a week, a year . . and pick up right where I left off without having to figure out what row I did last or what row needs to be done next.  I can do them in the car, while talking with Vince, while waiting for an appointment . .

Lately patterned socks have caught my attention.  The Paraphernalia sock is so fun and so easy.  Even if you’ve never done cables, find a tutorial or video online and you’ll see how simple cables are.  The only thing I changed about the pattern was this:  The pattern calls for using 5 needles.  I’m more comfortable with 4, especially since my favorite needles are 7″ long.  The pattern tells you to have 12 stitches on Needle 1 and 25 stitches on Needle 2.  The chart is worked across the 25 stitches.  These 37 stitches make up the top of the sock (the part that’s across the top of your foot and in the front of your leg).  For the left sock, the 12 stitches are on the right side because the pattern is on the outer part of your leg.  The marker tells me that’s where I would be starting the other needle if I had these stitches on two needles, but yet I’m only having to use four needles.

And, of course, for the right sock, the 12 stitches which are not part of the chart are on the left side of the cabled section.

 And, one green sock is finished.  I darkened the photo a bit so the cables would show up.  LOVE this color!


  1. 1


    I too have stuck with one basic sock pattern, partly because I’m a basic kind of girl, and partly because I can pretty much make that sock from memory. I’m making my first pair of Paraphernalia socks in a red blendy yarn. I keep wishing I had a more solid colored yarn…so today a box came from the Loopy Ewe with yarn for six pairs…and four are Madelinetosh (yummy)! Woo-hoo!

  2. 2


    WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW! Gorgeous!

    I too prefer 4 DPNs and my basic sock but I’m pushing myself to try new things. 2 socks on 2 circs and now the Paraphernalia and cables. I’m staying away from Loopy Ewe. 😉

  3. 3


    I’m a magic loop, one at a time, plain jane pattern kind of gal. Though, I may have to try those cables….

    I don’t have much luck trying to stay away…wool or fabric. Oh well, so be it! But I have lots of pretty quilts and socks to show for it 🙂

  4. 4


    I love my DPN’s! Have tried the other methods, but go back to them; perhaps because I learned to use DPN’s many years ago so was comfortable with them and did my first socks on them?

    I do like simple lace patterns best. The one’s I’m working on now are just a 2 row repeat, but it makes a gorgeous pattern.

  5. 6

    Lynne in Hawaii says

    Now that is a Happy sock! It looks like the cables do show up better with the solid color. Looking good!

  6. 7

    quilterbee says


    Your sock is beautiful. I love the design of those cables. You have got to be the fastest knitter to get that sock done so quickly. It just takes me forever.

    How is Chad , feeling this evening?

  7. 8

    Mary D says

    Love your sock and the color is wonderful.
    I am a Magic Looper and prefer toe up 2 at a time. I like to do a sock with a little pattern to it – keeps me interested and I seem to knit faster (but not as fast as you).

  8. 9

    pdudgeon says

    these will have to be your St. Patrick’s Day socks.
    now if you make a pair in red you’ll have Christmas socks as well! very nicely done!

  9. 10

    Mary says

    I love the fact that when I’m done — both socks are finished and no counting or measuring to make sure they turn out the same size.

    I tend to use my basic sock pattern but like inserting a pattern for the leg and instep when I’m using solid yarn but anything with a pattern and I can’t talk and knit at the same time.

    I’m loving my scarf — it’s a nice change from knitting the socks and going quickly enough it might actually be done in time for fall but I’m still envious of the shawls. You must knit a lot faster than I do.

  10. 12

    Sandy says

    I really love the green color and it makes the cables show up well. Beautiful!

    I missed seeing your post yesterday. Your blog is the first thing I read in the morning and I was worried about you. I see you have been busy packing, quite understandable. (BTW, your house looks wonderful even with all the boxes.) I hope you find a new home soon, Judy.

  11. 14

    Elizabeth says

    Hi Judy, I learned how to knit socks on four or five needles. I tried the two at a time on the circular needles last year. I did a few pairs for my grandson and found I was messing around with the yarn getting twisted etc. Afterwards I made a pair of men’s socks on the four needles and have decided to go back to the two at a time style as it is so nice not to have to count the rows to have the matching socks. I guess knitters like using the method that gives them the least frustration. I love seeing all the different things you knit. You are so quick.

    Best wishes for your house hunting! Liz

  12. 15

    Karen says

    Judy, love the pattern and love the yarn. I’ve downloaded the pattern – I think that will be my next pair.

  13. 16

    Cindy C says

    It’s a good thing you have something to do to help keep you busy (other than packing). You will be so glad to have the socks when you get to Texas. I think you are going to be right at the edge of the Hill Country so you will want them in the mornings and the evenings to run around the house in as it may be a bit cool in the late fall and early spring. It has been about 20 years since I last knitted anything. I was learning at the local yarn shop and made a hat for my husband which due to “my” gauge turned out the fit Frankenstien, not him. One day I may pick it back up.

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    I read your posts about knitting socks for a while and I finally decided to take some classes at a local yarn shop to learn how to knit the right way and how to knit socks. I like knitting socks even though I have only finished 2.5 pairs! 🙂

    I have only used a plain jane pattern, but I am ready to branch out myself and try a patterned sock for my next one. I am working on my two at a time socks that I started in November with your knit a long and I just did the heel turn! Tonight, I might actually pick up the heel flap stitches and get busy! I can’t wait to finish these socks! 🙂

  15. 18

    SarahB says

    Let’s see, since the last time I wrote I have taken the sock off the DPNs and started over again 2 more times…. making it a total of 9 starts for my first sock. BUT I am doing great this time and so far no dropped stitches and I am about 3 inches down the body of the sock… next up, or down as the case may be, the heel! Still going….

  16. 19

    ruth anne shorter says

    Beautiful socks!!
    Your comments on socks, made me dig out my almost finished pair and I am not putting them away even if company comes!!! I am leaving them by my chair so I can finish them finally!! Thanks for encouragement!!