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How to Learn to Knit Socks and Sweaters, Even When It’s Scary

learn to knit socks and sweaters

Is “learn to knit socks and sweaters” on your knitting bucket? Here’s a plethora of tutorials that are bound to help!

Reader Nancy shared her knitting bucket list item:  “I need to learn to knit socks and sweaters with sleeves.”

I’m pretty sure Nancy isn’t alone! Once upon a time, I was just like Nancy. Socks looked to me like a crazy challenge I’d never be able to master.

You have to knit them in the round. I didn’t know how to do that. And how did you get the knitting to change direction and go the other way? That didn’t seem like a skill I could master.

And if socks seemed impossible, sweaters just seemed, well… insane. Or at least a way to become so.


To be sure, socks and sweaters can be two of the most challenging types of garments for even the most seasoned knitter. They do require skills that take time and practice to learn, such as circular knitting, seaming, picking up stitches, short rows, and so on.

Since this challenge is mostly about learning how to knit certain types of projects, the collections I am offering today are mostly tutorials, with a few patterns thrown in. Ready to learn to knit socks and sweaters? Let’s jump in!

(Links marked with an asterisk * are affiliate links. For more information, please see my Disclosure Policy.

Learning to Knit Socks

Knitting for Charity has published several articles in the past about how to knit socks. I’ve listed these below, and then added a few more helpful reads regarding sock knitting.

Instructions and Tips: Having Trouble Knitting Socks? Try These Knitting Instructions and Tips
Knitting instructions and tips to help you learn the art of sock knitting

More Tips for Sock Knitting: Overcome Your Fear of Knitting Socks
Take up knitting socks as a challenge

How to Knit Socks: Beginning the Sock
Instructions on how to knit socks perfectly
Turning the Heel of the Sock
Finishing the Sock

Silver’s Sock Class: If you need a bit more help with sock knitting – maybe with some helpful photos? – I can’t recommend Silver’s Sock Class highly enough. It’s one of the online tutorials that helped me learn sock knitting.

One of the best things about Silver’s class is that you don’t need sock yarn. If you have it, though, you can use it. Instructions come for sock yarn, DK or sport weight yarn, or worsted weight yarn. Use whatever you have!

Learn to Knit Socks: This is a collection of 6 videos from Lion Brand that demonstrates all the tricky parts of knitting a sock, including casting on and knitting the cuff, working the heel flap, turning the heel, picking up and knitting the gussets, decreasing for the toe, and closing the toe with Kitchener stitch.

If photos aren’t quite enough for you to visualize a new skill, this guide should help!

*My First Socks: This online Craftsy class is not free, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensive sock knitting class. Not only will you learn good, solid knitting technique, but you’ll also find out how to prevent common sock knitting errors. You’ll also learn how to fix them!

Fuzzy Feet: If you want to try knitting a sock for the first time, you could try one of two things. One, you could knit a tiny sock meant for babies or toddlers; or two, you could try knitting a huge sock that is meant to be felted.

The latter is the idea behind this pattern. Felting makes mistakes disappear! That makes it a great option for the nervous knitter. And when you’re finished, you’ll have a pair of warm, wonderful slippers!

Baby Socks: And here’s your pattern for the first option! This baby sock pattern is a wonderful way to practice all the basics of sock knitting, with the cutest result possible.

Learning to Knit Sweaters

Knitting for Charity has published many collections filled with free knitting patterns for sweaters, but no tutorials – until now!

The following are some terrific tutorials, tips, and simple, basic patterns for knitting sweaters.

How to Knit a Sweater: Would you believe that knitting instructor Cheryl Brunette has put together an entire website devoted strictly to teaching folks how to knit sweaters? That’s exactly what she has here.

On this page you’ll find a step-by-step video workshop showing you how to knit a child’s sweater. Child-sized projects are a great way to learn, as their smaller size makes them both less intimidating and quicker to finish.

Once you’ve tackled the child’s sweater, Cheryl’s website offers other sweater-knitting workshops so that you can knit a sweater for yourself!

How to Knit a Sweater: Skills, Tips, and Great Patterns to Try: What I like about this article is that it explains the knitting skills you’ll need to successfully knit a sweater. And with each skill, you’ll find a link to another helpful article so that you can learn and master that skill.

After this, you’ll find a collection of sweater patterns for beginners. Then you’ll find a few more tips on gauge and finishing (including links to help you with each)

*Sweater Knitting Basics & Beyond: This Craftsy class is, like its socks counterpart, comprehensive and perfect for a nervous knitter. The instructor will take you step by step through the process, starting with the gauge swatch and ending with seaming and finishing. You can even ask the instructor for help when you get stuck.

This is a terrific way to work your way through your very first cardigan!

A Basic Knitted Sweater: If you don’t feel quite the need for a full-blown tutorial, but you’d just like a good, basic, easy first-timer’s sweater, try out this very simple pattern that comes in every size from extra small to extra-extra large.

These tutorials, tips, and patterns will, I hope, make you ready to try to conquer sock and sweater knitting — even if you find the idea intimidating. You can do it!

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