A First Step in Sock Knitting

Note from the SpaceCadet:  My friend Amy (DPUTiger on Ravelry) is a knitting teacher, a quilter, and a newly-minted weaver.  And she’s been kind enough to write about her favourite way to start new sock knitters on their journey…

Socks seem to be part of the “Magical Mystery Tour” of knitting. Somehow, people get all freaked out with sock heels, short rows, gussets, kitchener stitch … the list goes on.

And with all these amazing hand-dyed yarns to choose from, why not add sock knitting to your repertoire?

I teach sock knitting at Bloomin’ Yarns, my LYS.  On Ravelry, I’d say one of the questions I see most often is how to get started with sock knitting. I have a prefab answer that I use over there, but you lucky folks get the expanded version with the why’s and wherefores behind my answer.

The number one thing that I recommend for a first sock is usually Fuzzy Feet. It’s a free pattern from the Winter, 2002 issue of Knitty.com. Why do I like it so much for a first sock?

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The first reason is that it calls for a worsted weight yarn. I believe that using fingering weight yarn and sock-sized needles is a skill all by itself. When you are used to using worsted weight yarns and needles in the neighborhood of a US 8, it’s a big change to go down to 8 sts/inch and a 2.5mm needle. And it’s better to learn one thing at a time, not two.

If you already do enjoy small needles and want to jump right in with that set-up, then you can go wind your next skein of SpaceCadet so you’re ready to roll with my next guest post.

So what else is so great about Fuzzy Feet?

They are knit with a worsted weight feltable wool (like Cascade 220) on US 10.5 needles, which makes them very quick to knit. I usually use a 16” circ, so I don’t even have to mess with a small-circumference technique like DPNs (double-pointed needles), two circular needles or Magic Loop. The construction is identical to a traditional top-down sock so you can learn the process with great big comfy needles. And the best part? It doesn’t matter in the least if you mess up, because when you’re done… you felt the slippers.

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Have you ever felted anything before? There is virtually no stitch definition left after the felting process so those wonky short rows to turn the heel? Those gusset stitches that you picked up that are a little loose and open? The kitchener stitch at the toe that isn’t quite perfect? Gone. All of it.

You wind up with a pair of comfortable, warm slippers. And you learned the mechanics of sock knitting! Even my uber-picky husband likes his Fuzzy Feet. He’s on pair #2, since he walked through his first pair by the end of Winter #3.

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So what’s the next step after you’ve finished your Fuzzy Feet? I’ll be back to talk about that next time!