How to Knit Socks: Beginning the Sock

Instructions on how to knit socks perfectly

If you’re a novice knitter, or even a knitter with a lot of experience, learning how to knit socks can be an intimidating experience. For most people it’s those four needles that throw them off. They think it’s hard enough to knit with two needles — what will happen if you throw an extra set into the mix?

Fortunately, it’s actually pretty easy to learn how to knit socks once you get going. After a bit of practice, you won’t even notice the extra needles at all.

What You’ll Need

You will need a set of four thin, double-pointed needles. Depending on if you’re a loose or tight knitter, the size may vary some, but usually you’ll use 2.5 or 3 mm needles. You’ll also need some great sock yarn. I like the ones that are multicolored, making for a more interesting finished project. Finally, you’ll need a sense of adventure! You can use the pattern I describe in this article, or you could get check out any of the sock patterns featured here.

Step One: Getting Started

This sock fits an average woman’s foot. If you want it to fit a child or a man, simply decrease or increase the number of stitches you cast on. The best bet is to learn how to knit while making a trial pair of socks for yourself. That way, you can hide any mistakes. Besides, you want to enjoy the fruit of your labors.

Cast on 60 stitches on one needle. Now divide them so they’re on three needles by sliding 20 stiches on either side onto two more needles. You now have three needles, each with twenty stitches.

Step Two: Getting Around

What you want to do now is learn how to knit in the round. First, use a ribbing pattern (K1, P1) all the way across the sixty stitches, using the fourth needle as your working needle. Don’t worry when you come to the edge of one needle… keep right on knitting on the next, pulling the stitch nice and tight to keep from getting gaps.

When you come to the end of the row, it’s time to join the round. You can slip a marker onto the needle here if you like so you know where the round started, but if you’ve left a long enough tail casting on, you’ll probably be able to tell anyway.

Insert your needle into the first stitch of the row again. That will bend the needles into a triangle, which is exactly what you want. Knit the stitch, pulling it nice and tight. Rib across that first needle and your needles will join together in a triangle. Way to go! You’ve learned how to knit in the round.

Step Three: Forming the Sock

Knitting in the round can feel a bit awkward at first, but don’t worry. Once you find a comfortable way to hold the needles so you’re not jabbing yourself in the leg, you’ll catch onto it in no time.

Continue the sock using the following pattern:

–Rib twenty “rounds” (in the round we call it a round instead of a row) to form the cuff of the sock. These twenty rounds include the first two we just knit.

–Knit forty more rounds. You will now have sixty rounds in total.

The body of the sock is ready to go. Now, on to the bottom half! Head to the next post and learn about turning the heel and more.