How do I learn to knit socks? | How I went from zero to fancy socks in 6 months

Never in my wildest dreams would I think of myself as a sock knitter. I mean, what 20-something does? But here we are, six months and six pairs of socks later and I don't see myself slowing down any time soon.

At the very beginning of this year I decided I would focus on knitting as my hobby of choice. We've all got a bit more free time now, right? And what else would take away the unending dread of the news than learning a new skill that I can do while binging crime dramas! It's the best of both worlds! I decided to focus on knitting and gave myself the goal of knitting a pair of socks and a sweater by the end of 2020. We got to both in July. 

Instead of focusing on knitting in general, this post is going to focus on my sock journey. 

My biggest tips

Here is the big take away from this post: Start with chunky yarn and work your way down. 

Starting with larger needles and thicker yarn means way fewer stitches that are easier to see and much more obvious when you've lost one. If I didn't start with a thick sock, I probably wouldn't have continued because there is so much to learn! The moral of the story: Start big, work your way smaller. You'll save yourself frustration, and you'll know what things are supposed to look like when you graduate down to thinner yarns. 

Before You Choose Your First Sock Pattern

You need to decide if you're going to knit socks on double-pointed needles (the traditional way) or with the magic loop method. You can also knit socks on two sets of long circular needles (which I haven't tried because I don't want to buy two sets of the same circular needles when I can do it with one), or with teeny sock circulars. These last two probably aren't the best idea for your very first socks unless you're a more experienced knitter. 

My preferred (and only) method of knitting socks is with the magic loop method. I am intimidated by DPNs and I'm just not there yet. Magic loop? That's my jam. Here is an excellent tutorial that explains magic loop knitting

Your very first knit sock

This is really my second hot tip: choose a sock pattern that comes with a video tutorial. I'm sure there are plenty of thick bootie sock patterns you could choose from but I always find it helpful to go for the ones that have videos alongside. This means you can actually see someone who knows what they're doing do the thing before you have to. 

Both of these are great worsted weight sock patterns with videos I found super useful! I can't express enough how helpful it is to start with a thicker yarn before trying a fingering weight sock pattern. 

Your First Fingering Weight Socks

The vast majority of sock patterns you'll find are going to be knit with fingering weight yarn. Just look at any commercial pair of socks you have they're made of an even finer gauge than fingering weight yarn! The thinner the yarn, the thinner the sock. 

There are an unbelievable number of free or extremely inexpensive sock patterns available from knitwear designers. I bet if you look at your sock yarn provider's website they'll have a free pattern for socks. They're everywhere! However, there are a few go-to patterns that have great videos you can find on YouTube that can help you make it through your first pair of fine socks. 

Once you've got the gist of how to knit socks, you won't necessarily need a pattern. When I got into the groove of knitting socks and understanding what stitch count works for my feet, I was able to freestyle these cute grey socks with no specific pattern.  


Then, I wanted a challenge! So I helped test knit the Honeycomb Sock pattern for Rebecca Oliver. This was my first toe-up sock and my first charted pattern and I think they turned out great!

There is SO much to learn for knitting socks! They can be done in a wide variety of ways, right now I'm learning to knit two at a time, toe-up socks with the Fish Lips Kiss (FLK) heel. I highly recommend buying the FLK pattern, it's just $1 and it's basically a workbook for making sure your socks actually fit your feet!
I hope this helps you with your sock knitting journey! 

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