Looking For A Good Sock Book

Hey Guys,
I just wanted to find out about a good sock book learn from. I'm thinking about knitting socks and I feel a little intimidated. I don't know much about them at all. What are some good yarns to use? Do you prefer knitting one at a time or two at a time? Do you like Dpn's or using two circular's? I have tried using Dpn's but not real good at it. Thanks so much for your time and I appreciate any or all your help.



Thor's picture

Things I have learned about knitting socks thus far...

(1) You can knit socks with any yarn. I have knit myself thick woolen socks using a cushy bulky wool for cold Winter nights in this old farmhouse... and used the commercially available thinner sock yarn. If you want a sock fabric that will last (after knitting all those stitches) you should get a yarn with a lot of twist in it. Some people call this "energy", others call it "boing". Currently, I am sold on Blue Moon Fiber Arts "Socks That Rock" yarn. It comes in a lightweight, medium, and heavy weight versions. It can be purchased online from http://www.bluemoonfiberarts.com/newmoon/ This is the company that runs the "Rockin Sock Club" and is spear-heading the Sock Summit 2009 to be held in Portland, OR this coming August.

(2) There are so many ways to knit socks!! On Wednesday, 04/01/09, KnitKnotEat posted "Sock Survey" on MenWhoKnit and the varied responses were fascinating. Everyone seems to have a technique they are either good at or at least most comfortable with. Me, I am still in the process of "trying them all" to see what I like the best. I have done DPNs and both one and two at a time using two circulars. It really depends on the project. I haven't tried "magic loop" yet but I have a couple friends that love doing socks that way.

(3) There has recently been an explosion of sock knitting books put out on the market. A search on Amazon.com will reveal that. Some books focus on technique and others on patterns. It depends upon what you want! Personally, I like a solid technique book that has a smattering of patterns with it. This way I focus on learning what I need to do. Since I have a Size 13 foot, patterns always need to be sized up in order to fit me so there is always the fiddling with the numbers/guage that needs to be done. I am currently going through Cat Bordhi's "New Pathways For Sock Knitters" and knitting up the "lessons" almost as if it was a workbook. She teaches techniques as well as new sock structures and then gives patterns to illustrate both. The book then goes into "Master" numbers for each style of sock knitting she is putting forward so that you can adapt the pattern to different size feet. Thus far, I am loving this book. It is taking a bit of faith, though, as some of Cat's techniques are outside what I have come to know as "the right way" (but there are SO MANY ways!!) and so far she hasn't let me down.

(4) Really, it's only yarn! Jump in there!! Knit some socks. If they look funny - laugh! If they don't fit you - give them away. If they are a "disaster" - rip them out and cast on again! Eventually, you will work it out and the comfort of experience will guide you.

teejtc's picture


Let me make a suggestion, and then ignore it completely if it doesn't make any sense... :-)

My suggestion? Don't buy a sock book. Instead, pick up "The Knitting (Man)ual" by Kristin Spurkland (ISBN: 978-1-58008-845-9).

There are a two sock patterns in it: "Classic Socks" (which are classy, use sock yarn and sz. 1 needles), and "Hiking Socks" (which are hefty, use worsted weight and size 7 needles). I've made the Hiking Socks - they're a good pattern - simply but comfortable, and you can use any worsted weight yarn. A number of people on this board have made the Classic Sock. I don't do Sz. 1 needles (I prefer 3 for socks) so haven't gone there.

I make the suggestion because there are other great patterns in the book (gloves, mittens, hats, sweaters, and - among my favorite - a wonderful cabled scarf) and I've found all of them to be usable and easy to follow. If you pick up a book like that, it'll introduce you to socks but if you find them annoying you still have a great resource for other things.

Anyhow, just an idea....

Grace and Peace,

jwhassjr's picture

The Yarn Harlot's book "Knitting Rules" has a great chapter about socks. She gives a "recipe" for a basic stocking stitch sock, which you can use to make many different variations.

I just received Cookie A's new book "Sock Inovation" in the mail today. I've glanced through it and there are many unique stitch variations. She give's several alternatives for heels and toes, as well as tips on designing your own socks. I think it will be a great resource. Also take a look for Cookie A patterns on Ravelry. She has a lot of unique and free downloads to give you an idea of her design philosophy.

I also like Cat Bordhi's sock books. She has a great one for knitting on two circulars if you would rather pass on DPNs, but I have to say that sock knitting is about the only time I truly enjoy using DPNs: they can be fussy at first, but it's a skill that can be honed with practice.

Good luck on your search. I would love to hear about any resources you find that aren't mentioned on this entry.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Hey, Dennis - The comments all contain good points. Check with your local library for books on knitting and/or sock knitting. You'll get the chance to look and see what may work best for you. I forgot about the hiking socks mentioned but use bulky yarn and #7s to teach socks to people. I also recommend Holiday socks as a good way to experiment with finding the style you like. Big enough to really work out the mechanics, great gifts for people you care about, and not so frustrating if you have to rip. I do basic 5 needle socks, top down but let myself have fun putting patterns and different heel and toe techniques into each pair. Have fun with them and, as Thor said, "...it's only yarn!" - Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

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

Old John's picture


I am a beginning knitter and my first project was a pair of socks. I decided to buy the Ann Budd book "Getting Started Knitting Socks" since it seemed fitting for my beginner level. I did the usual and let the library provide all the first pass purchasing, and then did my personal investment after I found a book at my level.

I used metal DPNs for the first pair, and have two sets of bamboo for the second pair, and I really like the feel of the bamboo better. I am doing both socks at once and doing a logical chunk on the first sock, and then doing the same on the second.

Best advice for a sock beginner that I have is to plan on doing a sock to learn the techniques before starting a pair. I actually knitted one sock twice before I was comfortable enough to dive in on a pair. I looked at 10 or more books, and still had a few questions I needed to ask to get it all figured out the first time. There seems not to be a strong tradition of written work for old guys sitting home alone who need detailed explanations about the subtleties of socks. The Ann Budd book does sizes by stitches per inch, so you can take whatever needles and yarn you have and do a test square and dive right in according to how many stitches the combination works up for you.

Wearing your first pair of socks you made yourself is empowering. As they say, "Try it, you'll like it".


Buzzboy's picture

Thanks Guys for all your great comments. I will try to relax and have fun.


Kilted Knitter's picture

Just bought myself this book on sock knitting...Knitting Socks by Ann Budd....Haven't knit any out of the book yet but I thought the patterns and the reading of the book were very good and easy to understand. Just food for thought....enjoy, once you start you will never go back....have fun!

SKHolt's picture

I really like the Twisted Sisters Socks Workbook. It has patterns, talks about dyeing and spinning. It is fun and colorful.

I learned to make them with the after thought heel. I want to learn to make real socks....but it scares me!

Tallguy's picture

Socks are quite simple to knit, really. There is nothing new to learn.. if you know how to knit already. It may be of a smaller size, but if you've knit a baby sweater, this is much the same. It's all very basic, very interesting to do -- you just get into the rhythm of it, and it's time to change to something else. And before you know it, it's done! Using a self-patterning yarn makes it more interesting (don't do a stitch pattern with those).

I suggest you just do it, and don't think about it, don't read ahead, don't be intimidated. I knit my first pair of socks as a newbie because I didn't know better, just followed the directions, and it's the one of my best socks. I did them with very fine yarn (at 11 st/inch) because that's what I had. When you don't know anything, you're not afraid of anything.

If you run into any trouble, just holler, and one of us will come running!

scottly's picture

I agree with jumping in and doing it. It only takes one pair and then you're a pro. Socks are really very easy. My first pair was guaged way wrong and they turned out to be like a size 20 (US). Seriously, they might have fit Shaquille O'Neal, after that never another problem.

mrossnyc's picture

I learned using Priscilla Gibson Robert's "Simple Socks: Plain and Fancy". She uses a simple measuring system to set your gauge based on whatever yarn you are using. She also includes other designs and explains how to fit them to her system.

You might want to start with a worsted weight yarn first, so there aren't as many stitches to deal with. I've also used Trekker XXL skeins for socks and knit them on #3 and #2's.

I also do one sock at a time and use DPN's.

Good luck!