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 Encouragement for socks please!!

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
reteng Posted - 03/09/2009 : 10:05:45 AM
I am a veteran quilter but new knitter. I have enjoyed knitting simple scarves and really want to learn to knit socks. I purchased three sock knitting books and am starting with the Schurch class sock on DPNs. After much ripping and restarting, I completed the ribbing and the heel flap. Once I finished the heel turn I discovered I had one extra stitch leftover. Not being experienced enough to problem-solve where I went wrong, I ripped out a huge chunk yet again. As I look ahead to the directions for the gusset, I feel overwhelmed by the techniques I don't know. My husband has watched me knit and rip, knit and rip, and wonders why I don't just give up and buy socks. I guess I'd like to know if my experience is a common one or if most new sock knitters just fly through the directions with no trouble. Is there hope for me?
20   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
jmh Posted - 03/14/2009 : 07:17:51 AM
Here's a link to the easiest sock you'll ever knit. They are knit toe up.

However, I do not use the lifted increase, I use Make 1.

I used this pattern for my 4th pair of socks and it is the first one I had no trouble with.

Good luck! Posted - 03/13/2009 : 11:42:00 AM
Keep telling yourself, "It's a sock. It's going to be on a foot. Way down near the floor." Small problems, like an extra stitch or one too few can be compensated for in the next row.

You will be the only person who will ever know your sock isn't exactly the same as the one in the pattern.

And, the one in the pattern is perhaps a stitch or two different than the one the designer first knit. (I speak from experience.)

Socks were knit long before we started printing patterns. The original pattern was probably "cast on some stitches, knit around until it's long enough. Set aside about half the stitches for the top of the foot. Make a heel flap by knitting back and forth on half the stitches. Turn the heel. Pick up stitches along the heel flap. Go back to knitting in the round by continuing across the set aside stitches. Decrease the extra stitches until you have as many as you started with. Make the foot long enough. Knit a toe."

The only time that a sock has to be ripped out, IMHO, is when the gauge is really off -- so that the sock would be too big and the fabric too loose for any foot you know.

I think a lot of the patterns make this process seem much more complicated and scary than it needs to be. Socks are wonderful -- small and portable, flexible in sizing, warm, comfortable -- and fun.
tantan Posted - 03/13/2009 : 08:53:13 AM
I am so impressed with all the great advice on knitting socks. I didn't see anything about the problem I encountered. I knitted my first pair slowly but they went along without problems until they were finished, I had cast on too tightly and couldn't get them on my feet. I have sinced learned ways to cast on loosely. I still have to master getting the right gauge to get the size I want. Thanks everyone who is so helpful.
knittingrunner Posted - 03/12/2009 : 7:08:08 PM
First, welcome to the KR sock forums!
There is a ton of good advice here, just in response to your query!

FWIW, I took my heel turning advice from about 3 sources:
The pattern on knitting plain and simple,
Clara's sock tutorial on this website,
and from

Additionally I had insights from The Knitting Lounge in Richmond, VA as well as Wonderful Things in Great Barrington, MA.

Suffice to say; it took me 3 socks to create my first pair. Socks @ 2 and 3 made the cut,but sock one didn't.
Wishing you all the best in your knitting endeavours....Ev

Naps can always be improved by adding a cat.
Beverly0316 Posted - 03/12/2009 : 1:54:42 PM
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Socks! Hang in there! Socks are cheap, fun, & portable. And it blows people's minds that you're "making a SOCK!!!" ("See, they don't always come three pair to a plastic bag.")

The heel/gusset is definitely the most complicated part. Read all the instructions thoroughly with the firm understanding that you'll still go "HUH???" on that part until you actually do it. The first time, or actually couple of times, I just couldn't visualize the whole "heel/gusset concept". Just work through it row by row (using a row counter) & watch it unfold as it happens. (After I was experienced & confident with heels, I tried toe-up socks. Once again, I was totally mystified by that new kind of heel until I did it, and to my surprise, it actually did make a heel.)

BTW, excellent advice from Suzann about the "Lifeline". It's something to remember for any part of any project about which you feel uncertain. Just knowing you have a Lifeline in place lets you relax and face the tricky bits with more confidence. If it stills goes wrong, rip that sucker back & try it again.

Just remember -- though you can't "quilt it out", you can always call it a "design option".

Beverly from Texas

Veni, Vidi, Socchi -- I came, I saw, I knit a sock!
noallatin Posted - 03/12/2009 : 1:24:31 PM
I went to a sock class with two colleagues, both experienced knitters. My first class sock, after a knitting hiatus of 20 years was frogged and fixed so many times that it wasn't funny. One of my colleagues called me a perfectionist; I didn't think I was one, I just wanted to do it right. That same colleague pointed me out to my son as an ideal learner--someone who was willing to try again to make it right. Sometimes it takes awhile. Keep trying. I'm on my 8th pair. Posted - 03/12/2009 : 12:10:57 PM
Of course there is hope for you! Socks don't make sense at first. I remember my first sock. Reading the directions and trying to visualize how it worked, and coming up blank and confused. It just doesn't seem like it should work!

By the time you've done a few heels, it begins to make sense, and afterward you wonder how you were ever that confused.

It's OK to fumble--it's happened to all of us. That means you're outside of your comfort zone; learning happens outside the comfort zone. So if you're uncomfortable, you're learning!

Stick with it, and pretty soon you'll be one of those who flies through the directions with no trouble.
JudyCat Posted - 03/12/2009 : 11:39:11 AM
Oh my gosh! I took a class (3 sessions). I did great until it came
to the heel. So I talked a friend into taking the class and I took
it a second time. She decided she needed another class so I took it
a third time. The third time was a charm.

Hang in there!!! I know you could buy a pr. of socks cheaper but
it is a great feeling to wear a pair you've knitted. I now have
a basket of just sock yarn. Plus I've knitted socks for the grand-
boys. I'm now working on a pair that has the stars and stripes

Good Luck.
Sticks and String Posted - 03/12/2009 : 11:36:41 AM
There is nothing more luxurious for feets than a pair of handknit socks. I've knit more than I can count and always have a pair or two on the needles. My best advice about knitting socks generally goes like this:

Back in the day, 5 year old children knit socks for their entire family, It was both their job and the way they learned to knit. Learning to knit is easier than learning to read and write. If 5 year olds can knit socks, anyone can. You learned to read and write, you can learn to knit socks.

That being said...I agree with the post above...knitting socks may not turn out to be your "drug of choice" and that's ok but learning to do it will only benefit the rest of your knitting. :) Do enjoy the process and be proud of your first pair of socks when you finish them!

Jo Posted - 03/12/2009 : 11:10:21 AM
Keep on trying. Everytime you rip, you learn something. I really believe we learn more by figuring out our mistakes and getting past them than by doing something right the first time. Once you figure out the heel turn & gussets you'll realize it's kinda magical how it works out & even amazing that someone a zillion years ago figured out how to do it. Keep on going--you can do it and don't listen to your husband. Socks are a wonderful thing, a portable project, many variations from really easy designs to really complicated patterns. And your foot just goes aaaahhhh when you put on a sock, warm and cozy that fits your foot just right!
tat2edcat Posted - 03/12/2009 : 10:08:57 AM
As everyone has said, frogging back is a way of knitting life. But you can enjoy your knitting or let it drive you crazy. I have knitted for more than 30 years and have finished more socks than I can count. Very seldom does it work out just right, and I don't care. I do love it when it does. But the socks look the same, wear like iron and give me many hours of pleasure along the way. Granted, if you are doing a very intricate pattern or lace you may have to un-knit if you have that "extra stitch." If you are a very new knitter you may want to back up just a little and become a little more familiar with the techniques used by knitting parts of the sock, (ie. heel, gusset, toe) on worsted weight yarn so it may be seen better. Just have patience. You didn't develop that tiny quilting stitch the first time you sat at a frame. It comes with practice and is so worth it!
iamknittycat Posted - 03/12/2009 : 08:17:21 AM
I say the most important thing is to enjoy! Maybe socks aren't going to be your "drug of choice" - that's OK - sooooo many items waiting to be knitted. Do what makes you relaxed and happy!
dms-r1951 Posted - 03/12/2009 : 07:35:13 AM
I had such a hard time with my first pair of socks. Though I kept reading and rereading the instructions, I thought I must be nuts because I couldn't seem to follow them. Then I decided to just carefully follow them one single instruction at a time. Voila!! Success!! Even though there are some patterns (and I have knit many, many different things) you really, really need to read to get the whole picture, for me just following the sock pattern faithfully gave me my first pair of socks. . . though I did have some ripping out to so, probably because I wanted to understand the whole pattern at once, and it was hard for me to just follow the individual parts. Since then, I have made many, many pairs of socks. I haven't even kept count, and I have used a wide variety of yarns. Love those socks!!!

ruthmel1 Posted - 03/12/2009 : 06:26:55 AM
As everyone else has said you're not alone. I ripped my socks back at first several times. I couldnt get used to DPNs at all as they were like fighting with an octopus!! I used a very small addi circ. 12" I think. once I'd got used to how a sock was constructed I went back to DPN's
as for extra stitches I have them all the time. dont worry just decrease in the next round as someone else said. unless you're knitting with a very specific pattern an extra stittch wont affect the fit of the sock.
I'm lazy I do admit and I think the poor sock will be hidden by a shoe anyway!!

keep on plugging away. its very addictive

Black Cat Fibres
find me on Ravelry as Cinders
knitonepurltoo Posted - 03/12/2009 : 06:24:39 AM
You've gotten a lot of great advice; I'd only add that I found the concepts behind the 56-stitch, 56-row sock pattern really helpful: Also, and I cannot stress this enough - you have to keep going, even if the sock looks wonky. Completing a sock will help you see how all the parts fit together, and a stitch or two here or there won't matter a bit in the end. Have fun - socks are totally worth the trouble!

Knit One, Purl Too: A Knitlog
sashers Posted - 03/12/2009 : 04:51:52 AM
There used to be this absolutely wonderful site called Socks 101 at I've never really had to rip back on any pairs of socks because I followed her photos. The page is down but I emailed her asking about it...maybe they'll fix it.
Woodstocker Posted - 03/12/2009 : 03:58:31 AM
My first attempt to knit socks involved so much ripping out I wore out the yarn! I was using a sock yarn with #2 needles. My LYS suggested the Yankee Knitter sock pattern that offered different weights of yarn including worsted weight. Success! With fewer stiches and big yarn I only had to rip out twice before I finished my first pair.

schnitzle Posted - 03/11/2009 : 9:11:14 PM
Starting to get the feeling you're not alone? ;)

My first pair of socks were "Fuzzy Feet" from
They're knit on big needles (10 1/2) and with worsted weight yarn
so it's really easy to see what you're doing. Also when I had
to rip back to fix things it was very fast to get back to
where I started. The pattern it's self is very basic.
The biggest bonus? They're felted down from humongous to slipper
size in the washer! Pretty much any small booboos like purling instead of knitting, or a k2tog to fix an extra stitch disappear!
I thought it was really a great first project.

Keep at it! Like others have said, if you have the patience and
mind to do quilting, you can definitely make socks!!

Knit happens!
YarnGoddess Posted - 03/10/2009 : 10:32:41 AM
I started with "Helen's Favorite Socks", a pattern from Fiber Trends. It gave line by line, and turn by turn directions which made it easier for me to see exactly where I was going and what I'd already done. I went back to that pattern many times during my first dozen or so pairs of socks. I use Magic Loop for making socks, cos I just can't get my head around dpns. You're not alone in your frustration, we've all been there. Keep at it, you'll get it.

Zipper & Diva

A sense of humor can help you tolerate the unpleasant, cope with the unexpected, overlook the unattractive and smile through the unbearable.

To learn more about healthy nutrition for your cat, go here: and here:
reteng Posted - 03/10/2009 : 10:27:35 AM
Wow! You have all been so generous with your encouragement! I will definitely keep going and know I am not alone in my repeated ripping sessions. As I start these socks over, at least I am heartened by what I have already learned the hard way! Hopefully the cuff, heel flap, and turn will go more smoothly this time around. A number of you mentioned that I probably was too worried about a small error or an extra stitch. With quilting, I know which mistakes are little ones (can be "fudged" ) and which are major ones (must be ripped out.) As a first-time sock knitter, I have this to learn. I assumed one stitch too many in the heel turn would cause a big problem further on. Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice.

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