The Discipline of Knitting Socks

The Discipline of Knitting Socks

The knitting of socks takes discipline. You can jump into it all willy-nilly without a care or a plan. I’ve done that. It doesn’t turn out well. I’m picky about how my hand knit socks fit on my fit. Actually I’m very picky. Among the 7 billion people who live on this planet, there are probably at least four who never notice when their socks slump down or sag in the toe or bind on the instep. I’m not one of them. And when I’m knitting socks for myself I want them to be just they way I like.

Getting socks just they way I like takes discipline. None of that wily-nilly stuff. None of that grabbing any old yarn and any old needles and letting the stitches fly. Save that attitude for when you make a scarf. For a nine year old boy. Who won’t notice anything besides its color.

In The Discipline of Knitting Socks there are a few steps to take before you actually start knitting socks.

Step 1) Get the right pattern.

skew sock pattern

Did I hear you say “hmmmm”? Yeah those are pretty interesting. There is some definite sock-itechture going on there.

This is Skew. Its a free pattern by Lana Holden. The whole sock is knit on the bias and that heel is something I simply have to try.

Step 2) Get the right yarn

hand dyed yarn

Did I hear you say “oooohhh”? Yeah its crazy beautiful hand dye that a friend of mine made. If she ever gets off her butt (she reads this blog, btw) and starts selling her stuff (and I’m taking this opportunity to nag her) then I’ll be sure and let you know.

Step 3) Get the right gauge.

knittign socks - make a gauge swatch

Did I hear you sigh? Typical! lol Gauge haters are everywhere.One time I was sitting at the class table with a knitter, who had just described her efforts to test-cook in advance every single dish that she planned to served to her family for Thanksgiving Dinner… tell me she couldn’t bother with knitting a little swatch before starting her sweater.

I don’t get it.

But gauge is key to getting a sock to fit right, so I swatch. If you are at all open to the idea of spending 30 teensy-weeny minutes to get the right gauge before launching on a week or more of knitting… be sure to knit that swatch in the way you have to knit the project. I’m making my socks in the round (obviously!) with magic loop. So my swatch has to be in the round, magic loop.

Step 4) Break the yarn into two balls.

knitting socks - split the yarn into two balls for two-at-a-time socks

I make socks two-at-a-time. Always. Its the only way I can get a pair done. For these socks I’m magic-looping so I’ll have both socks on one set of needles. But even when I make socks on double pointed needles, I make them two at a time. I have a sock going on one set of dpns and a second sock going on another. So the yarn has to be rewound into two half-balls and that’s okay because winding yarn is fun! 


Okay. Now I can get started actually knitting socks.

knitting socks - finally getting started!

It might seem like a lot of fuss and botheration but knitting socks is serious business. You’re with me on that, right? Right.


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"There is no failure. Only feedback." - Robert Allen

18 Comments on "The Discipline of Knitting Socks"

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Hi Jenn! I made these socks two at a time. BTW, you will need to separate them and knit each one separately through the heel part. Each of the socks twists a different direction, I couldn’t figure out how to do both heels at the same time without getting the yarrn all confused.

On the Trickery – I was the one done with the wrap a couple of weeks ago. I’ve since had it blocked. I don’t currently have a Ravelry project page, but I’m working on it so that I can share the finished project


Absolutely – I am a sock making newbie but really there is nothing better!


Those socks are to die for! I love socks almost as much as I love hats. Since I don’t currently knit I’ve been seriously contemplating trying to crochet a pair. Been studying some patterns. I know you are primarily a knitter, but have you ever crocheted a pair of socks? I have some sock yarn in my “inherited” stash I think I’ll play with before I make a serious investment.


Oh wow great pattern! I will be trying those socks. Thank you so very much for the link. I like the toe up construction and stitch markers are just a necessary evi with some crochet patterns. I’ll let you know they turn out. Too many irons in the fire ….not enough time lol.

Midnight Knitter

1. I am one of those “we don’t need no stinking swatch” people. I just change the needles or stitch count to get to what I know usually works. I figure if there is a big fail they will be gifts or bed socks.

2. If you make both socks at the same time how can you wear the first one while you knit the second?

3. I was a problem in school too. 🙂