Okay, gonna take the plunge and try knitting some socks! I'm asking for input as to yarns, needles, patterns and heels techniques. Oh, and dpns, or magic loop?


Bill's picture

I recommend Ann Norling's basic top down sock pattern. It's widely available at yarn shops. Covers many different yarn sizes and gauges.
Very clearly written.
Double point needles.
Wool, not acrylic. (wool is more elastic and comfortable to wear and knit with)

Thunderhorse54's picture

Thank you sir! I will look into that pattern when I go to my LYS tomorrow.

AKQGuy's picture

I agree, go with a lovely cooshy wool for your socks. It's going to make it a more enjoyable process and a better sock in the end. I would also suggest that you use a lighter yarn to see your stitches clearly, or at least make sure there is contrast between your needles and the yarn. I personally think the Cascade Sock yarn is a wonderful option for your first socks and can be done on a slightly bigger needle (size 1 or 2) instead of choosing something like a Regia that I always seem to need to drop to a size 0 to get it as firm as I want.

As for patterns, Just go with something nice and basic to get the idea of what you're doing. The second set you can get fancy with. And needles and style? Whatever you're comfortable with. I like magic loop two at a time, but also love using my dpn's so whatever you have available. I would not suggest 2 at a time socks until you have a couple pairs under your belt.

Thunderhorse54's picture

Thank you for that response, I will take it all into consideration. I do agree tryin only one at a time for now.

Thunderhorse54's picture

Thank you for that response, I will take it all into consideration. I do agree tryin only one at a time for now.

SAPBrown's picture

I use dpn's. I have never tried the "Magic Loop" method. Any good online tutorials? (guess I'll browse U-tube)
I like Toe-Up. You can stop short if you run low on yarn. The 1x1 rib invisible bind off works well for me. Unfortunately toe-up patterns have less methods for turning the heel.
I agree will Bill, acrylic is a poor choice for socks. The one pair I made with it, now are mainly used as slippers. If worn with shoes, the limited air flow leads to sweaty feet (for me at least).

Thunderhorse54's picture

Thanks for the info. Never heard of that type of bind off. I'll have to research that. I like the idea of toe-up!

SAPBrown's picture

the only rib bind off I have found

bobinthebul's picture

For toe-ups my favorite is the Unusually Stretchy Bindoff, which you can see demonstrated by Cat Bordhi on YouTube. However if your socks are a little loose to begin with, it might end up being a bit *too* stretchy.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

As something of a sock fanatic, I agree with all the points made.

I also recommend a light colored yarn so you can see the stitches clearly and go with a simple heel and toe so you get comfortable knitting socks before trying toe up, other heels and toes, kitchenering, etc.

The way I teach basic socks is with larger needles and thick yarn [Size 7 and bulky] over 36 to 40 stitches, having the beginners knit a pair of house slipper socks as a way to get used to how all the parts come together. Especially the heel, gusset, and toe, since they are the trickiest parts. I use a German/Dutch Heel, coupled with a decrease toe [same as the top of a hat] as they are the simplest and easy to work. Also, DPNs and top down.

If you'd rather not do that, go with sport weight yarn and size 2 or 3 needles and work a pair that way. The main thing - as I said earlier - is to become comfortable with knitting socks before you try "toothpicks and string" [as a friend calls it]. Most of my "everyday" socks are knit in this way.

Whichever way you decide to go, the main thing is that you enjoy socks. Best of luck.

P.S. If you have any questions, you can always PM me and I'll do my best to help.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

bobinthebul's picture

My first sock was the Thuja, which is available for free here:

I think it's an ideal first sock - made with worsted wool and using 44 stitches it's not a huge time commitment. It's basic but has a nice seed rib which looks cool, and it's top-down, which I think is easier to start with. About the only tricky part for a beginning sock knitter is the turning of the heel (if you haven't done short rows before, don't get freaked when they tell you to turn your work when you haven't gotten to the end of the row yet!) :) It's also a bit easier to do that for the first time on worsted weight yarn, and when you're comfortable with it, then do a sock with a thinner sock yarn and needles. I can crank out a pair of these socks in 2 days or so, which (as he mentions on the pattern) is ideal for making gifts.

You can do it on either dpns or magic loop. I started on DPNs, then did magic loop, but I prefer DPNs because once you get used to them I think they're less fiddly. And when you decide to do toe-up, dpns are a lot easier on some of the heels.

And of course of you get stuck we're all happy to help!

CLABBERS's picture

Hi Terry,
I have also been researching socks and playing around with worsted weight yarn. I found Staci at to have a very really good set of tutorials. Her patters are $8 each and the video tutorials are free. I have used her tutorials with other free sock patterns and so far, so good. She doesn't reveal any stitch counts, but says to follow your pattern, or buy hers. Either way, she does a good job. I am making the man's sweater she offers and it is extremely well written. She also answers emails within 24 hours, so far. I recommend her videos. The patterns below are all for worsted weight and I agree with others that I like practicing with that weight than sock yarn.

Toe-up magic loop

Traditional top-down, DPN

I'm not fond of provisional cast-ons for the toe-up magic loop, but there are other ways to start socks that you may find on the Internet. Here is a link to a pattern that I am fumbling around with from Knit Freedom. She doesn't answer emails, but she has a forum on Ravelry and people there are helpful. There are live links in her pattern and she has excellent close-up video tutorials to help with stitches, Judy's Magic Cast on that is used to replace the provisional cast on, and the Invisible Ribbed Bind-Off.

Have fun!


I've become rather a sock addict since learning at a class. Although the glass was good for things like turning heals and picting up stitches for the gussetts. I am finding as I look into other patterns some simpler than what I was taught. I use the Kitchner stitch on my toes. However I still have issues with that.
I guess what I am saying is my instructor reminded me by saying "are you ok with that!" a simple term saying "its your sock go with what you like" I think same holds true in the type of pattern you want. I saw some really way out yarn at JoAnn's yesterday at a stop to get double points(I broke the one size) but they were chunky yarn. I thought WOW what kinda of sock would come from that!
I've a video of the "magic sock " with the circular needles(havent seen it yet) Also one on doing two socks at the same time(a good friend does that) I am simply amazed what is out there. SO HAVE FUN WHATEVER YOU DECIDE!

Thunderhorse54's picture

You're right, it's gotta be fun!

bobinthebul's picture

I've posted this before but I will again just because I think it's really well-explained:

I do use Judy's magic caston rather than hers, and I like the extra-stretchy bindoff. But otherwise it's a great basic toe-up sock for people who want to try it for the first time. Toe-ups are nice in that you can fit them as you work. I haven't tried making one "absentee" though there must be a basic formula for figuring that out based o foot size too.

Thunderhorse54's picture

Thank you sir! I will definitely chect that out!

knittingman's picture

Magic loop. Super wash fingering weight wool with nylon or silk. Pointy needles (addi turbo lace or knit picks) with a 32 or 40" cord. Good luck!!!

Thunderhorse54's picture

OOH, silk sound luxurious!!! And I love Addi Turbo needles. Thanks for the info.