Tips for knitting socks

Have you heard the news? Berroco’s ever popular yarn line Vintage is now available as a sock yarn! It comes in a wide range of bright fun colors – go check them out here!

To celebrate, we prepared a pattern book with a great sock-knitting how-to section, and 10 fun sock patterns to try.

In this post we’ve collected some tips and video tutorials that may be helpful for knitting socks, or anything else worked in the round with a short circumference.

Double-Pointed Needles

This is the tried-and-true classic method. Just cast on, divide the stitches onto 3 or 4 needles, and you’re good to go.

Look out for “ladders” that can form in the column of stitches between needles. If you notice a bit of a gap there, just tension the first stitch on each needle a bit little tighter.

Magic Loop

I took a poll around the Berroco office, and this method was voted most popular among our little team. All you need is one longer circular needle – a 32-inch works well! After casting on, divide the stitches in half and pull the needle out in between the stitches. Then simply work in the round, sliding the cable at the end of each section.

Two Circular Needles

The idea is the same as for magic loop, but each half of the stitches sits on a separate circular needle. Use a 16 to 24-inch needle for this method. When you turn after working half the stitches, make sure to pick up the tip of the other needle. Otherwise, all the stitches end up on the same needle, and will need to be separated all over again. Pro tip: Some clever knitters use different needles, or mark the tip of their needles to keep them straight.

9-inch circular needle

These tiny needles are cute! You can keep knitting continuously in the round, with no need to stop to readjust the stitches. There is also no need to worry about ladders or uneven stitches in between the needles. But the tips on these needles are very short, and they may not be comfortable for all knitters. Still, don’t be afraid to give them a try – we know some knitters who really love them. And maybe they will have you knitting socks (and sleeves) at record speeds! When knitting socks on short circulars you will still need to switch to one of the other methods as you decrease the number of stitches for the toe.

A note on materials:

Steel is most common for sock needles, which are usually very thin. Wooden needles may not be strong enough (they might bend or break), but again, if wooden needles are your preference, give them a try, maybe they will work great for you!

Two at a Time

Have you ever seen someone working on two socks on the same needle? Here’s how to do it: Divide the sock yarn into two equal balls (you can use your kitchen scale for this if you want to be exact). You will cast on for both socks on the same circular needle, but work each from a separate ball of yarn. A 40-inch circular needle is long enough to comfortably fit both socks with the magic loop method, or use the two circulars method with 24-inch needles. Two at a time is a great method for those who otherwise suffer from “second sock syndrome”.

If you find your yarn keeps getting tangled, just separate the two socks. You can always work each sock on a separate needle while trying to keep even progress.

How many of these methods have you tried? Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

3 thoughts on “Tips for knitting socks

  1. I made my first pair on the shortest wooden 5-set needles. After trying all types needles and method, I am back to the first set. I have used the same ribbed pattern for 30 years through hand problems and a stroke.

  2. I’ve knit socks on single, double, 2 circulars, and a tiny circular (yuck) needles. My favorite is 2 circulars. I’ve knit 2 mittens at a time (one inside the other) but not 2 socks.

  3. You didn’t mention one sock inside the other – I’m curious about that one but not ready to try it yet! I like two socks on either one or two circs. when it’s important (or difficult) to have identical socks. You don’t have to measure and re-measure when knitting sock 2. But I still am very fond of dpns. I find them the most flexible method. I was working with a circular needle on socks with just a few cables recently and came to a point where one stitch had to cross over… the stitch on the other side! I had to hold the one stitch on scrap yarn and slip every stitch of the other sock without knitting to get to that other stitch to do the cross over. Then slip a bunch of stitches later to catch the second sock up!

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