A little sock question...

First, I should probably admit I'm entirely a self-taught knitter. I've never taken a knitting class nor been taught by anyone else. That isn't a problem for me, but tomorrow I'm teaching a sock class at a local LYS. I'm excited about it and not particularly nervous, but I have this one basic question...

When you knit socks, do you count your rows or do you simply go by measurements?

In other words, when you're knitting two socks separately (rather than 2 at a time), what do you do to ensure they're the same?

I always count rows, but it struck me (as I was knitting up another sample sock) that, keeping track of the number of rows is slower than simply knitting until it reaches a certain size. I'm probably too retentive to simply go by measurements and prefer to have an equal number of rows, but I was wondering about the rest of you....


Grace and Peace,


QueerJoe's picture

Usually, I'm making socks for myself or my partner, and we both take about the same size sock, so I just go by length of the work or by trying it on. For example, if I'm knitting a toe-up sock, I can tell exactly where to start the heel by pulling the sock onto my foot.

crmartin's picture

I concur with Queerjoe, counting the rows is too tedious for me. As far as making sure both socks match, I just hold the current one up to the completed one.

Here is a link to a great toe-up chart:



NonStopAndrew's picture

I always get out my trusty ruler, the one without notches in it, and measure away. Although the rows should be the same, you never know if your feet are different sizes or something.

Asplund's picture

I always prefer an equal number of rows - goes for sleeves and mittens too - to make sure they're identical. Personally, I think patterns make it easier to knit identical pairs - I measure and try the first one on while knitting it, and when I knit the second one I only have to look at the pattern of the first one (and some notes).

It doesn't have to be a complicated pattern. It could be a single cable twist or a stripe every 8 rows. That way I only have to count the twists or stripes: after x stripes it's time to start decreasing etc.


I do not count rows. I measure. Usually I do 2-at-a-time so the same size is not an issue.


PhilNmtl's picture

I am self taught as well....and quite honestly it has never occured to me to count rows. So, thinking about it for all of three seconds, I'm pretty sure that I woudn't be likely to count rows even if were the norm. Part of the joy of knitting socks is the simple repetitive rounds....almost like a mantra. Clicking as I go along would break the mood a little for me.
Have fun teaching the course...and make them all buy a decent tape measure.

I do what Asplund suggests: I put in a simple pattern so that I only have to count repeats of the pattern. That way I don't have to look for a ruler or a flat spot to carefully measure.

KnitteryNinja's picture

I make lots of socks and always count rows. I want my socks to be identical for the best fit.
Same thing for backs and fronts for sweaters, sleeves, etc. Just put a marker at the beginning and turn the row counter each time.

By having written directions with row counts for all parts of the sock, I can easily recreate it with other sock yarn of the same size.

Kerry's picture

I count rows only for the ribbing top, then measure the rest.

Aaronknits's picture

I do mine separately on DPNs and I count the rows. Not as I go, but as I get near to the length of the part I'm working on, I take a few moments to count up the rows and see how much farther I need to go.

BTW - nice t-shirt! I have one just like it!

I always count the rows. You want each sock to have the same number of rows. Then I measure the sock as well. The measurement is going to be what I go with. Example: If I did 64 rows on sock A for a total of 8 inches; then I shall do 64 rows for sock B as well.

Banjo Lee Jones

superi's picture

I agree counting rows is too tedious. Besides no one's going to know if one is a row or two longer. When doing toe up socks I usually will knit the leg in st st until when folding over it reaches the tip of the toe then do about 2 inches of ribbing.



madhatter7zero's picture

I just wanted to say I love your t-shirt. Can I have it? haha. I have never knitted a sock so sorry I can't answer your question. I always figured if I needed socks I'd go buy some.... but knowing me, if I did knit a sock I tend to think I would count the rows.