Sock Knitting Tips & Tricks
Looking for some good tips and tricks for knitting the best pair of socks ever? Check out some of the best tips we have below.
1. Knit the foot on smaller needles
- The foot portion of the sock shows the most wear, so it's best to go down a needle size when knitting the foot. Making it slightly denser helps it wear better and longer. And don't worry, doing down just one needle size won't make your socks too tight.
- Cable/lace and other complex patterns can be uncomfortable on the top of the foot when you're wearing shoes. We suggest you switch to a smooth stockinette stitch instead and save the pattern for the leg section. It's the part that shows anyways.
- It seems counterintuitive, but the tighter the socks, especially in the cuff area, the more they'll slip down your leg. If your knitting top-down socks, make sure to cast on loosely--try casting on over a larger needle or two needles if you tend to cash on tightly. If your knitting toe-up socks bind off extra loosely. Many bind-offs are innately inelastic, so choose wisely. The sewn-bind-off is a good one to use on toe-up socks. Your cuff might look wavy because of the loose cast-on or bind-off, but when you put it on, it will fit beautifully.
- How tight should the rest of your knitted socks be? Socks fit best when they are snug around your foot. Designers call this negative ease and it just means that the finished sock measurements should be slightly smaller than your actual foot measurements. How much smaller is up to you, but a good rule of thumb is to knit your socks 5-10% smaller than your foot.
- Second sock syndrome is a bummer, and you can avoid it completely by thinking of a pair as one project, not two. The best way to avoid a lonely single sock is to knit them both at the same time. Choose a long circular needle, at least 47 inches, and search Youtube for a tutorial. You'll be so glad you did.
- If you're not confident yet using sock-weight yarn, get started with heavier yarn and then graduate to sock yarn for your next project. When you don't need to worry about the yarn, you can focus more on the techniques. Keep in mind however, that if you knit socks with worsted weight yarn or heavier, you might end up with something closer to a slipper or bootie than a traditional under-your-shoes-sock. Which works because if gives you something to curl up in for the rest of your knitting.
- You want to choose a yarn with a good amount of elasticity so that your socks don't end up all droppy in some places. 100% cotton yarn isn't necessarily appropriate for socks because they may bag and lose their shape when worn. Wool yarns and those with a bit of nylon in them are always a good choice. If you don't want to hand wash your socks--and who does?-- make sure you look for a superwash wool.
- Gauge swatches aren't something you can really skip when knitting socks (sorry). Checking your gauge is important for making sure your finished socks actually fit your feet. Use the gauge swatch as an opportunity to practice with sock yarn and smaller needles as well. Since socks are knit in the round, make sure your swatch is also knit in the round too. If you choose to skip this step, be prepared to rip out your work if the gauge isn't right.
- If you're uneasy about choosing a pattern, yarn and needles, make life simple and buy a sock knitting kit! Our Uneek Sock Kit comes with 2 pre-wound 50 gram cakes and 3 patterns, enough to make a perfectly balanced pair of socks. All you need to buy separately is your own set of double-pointed or circular needles--and you might already have those.