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Sock knitting for the terrified, the leg (or Part 1)


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Don’t forget the two most important instructions.

Instruction no. 1 – Don’t panic!

Instruction no. 2 – Don’t forget instruction no. 1!

This is a free online interactive sock class. I’ll be pointing you in all the right directions, all you need to do is give it a go and ask questions as you get stuck (in fact it won’t work as an interactive class unless people DO comment and get involved with each other!) You can ask by leaving comments on the blog (you can do that anonymously if you want) or on the Facebook Page. Read the whole post through at least once before getting started as I tend to ramble when I’m explaining things!

The first thing to realise is that double pointed needles aren’t scary! Just the same as knitting on normal needles you are only ever knitting one stitch at a time, using the pointy ends of two needles. Nothing you haven’t done before! You can use a set of four or five double pointed needles (I tend to use sets of five as it means I can knit away without having to think about how many stitches I need when I get to the heel), ultimately it really doesn’t matter. I was planning on doing my own video but there are far too many out there which are much better than anything I could produce so instead I’ll be giving the links to the ones I like the best. So, let’s get started on those socks!

Cast on;

Grab two of your needles and cast on as normal. Use whichever cast on method you prefer. This sock is designed for an average female foot. Give it a go at the size I suggest, this is your practice sock so it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t fit (you can always frame it!). It’s to help you learn all the techniques you need to use to create hundreds of pairs of lovely, comfy hand knitted socks. Cast on 64 stitches. Keep an eye on what you’re doing, you might need to bunch them all up a bit to stop them falling off the other end of the needle. Once you’ve got all 64 on the needle you’re going to knit one row of 2×2 rib (that’s knit 2, purl 2, knit 2, purl 2 all the way across) just as if you were knitting on a normal pair of straight needles. Once you have one row done it’s easier to start knitting in the round.

These four videos will help you with what happens next;

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

The first few rows are the hardest and getting started is the most complicated part of knitting a sock. Don’t be discouraged if you have to try it a good few times before you get it. I used to start socks off in a quiet room while employing a lot of swear words. Now I can cast on for socks on a moving bus! It just takes a little practice and a little patience. If you have trouble, ask!

The cuff;

Watch a couple of the tutorials and then divide the stitches on to all but one of your needles. If you have five needles you’ll slip 16 onto one needle, 16 each onto the next two and have 16 left on the needle you first cast on to. Make sure all the stitches are lying flat and are not twisted around the needles and then follow the instructions on the video you like best to get started knitting in the round (I’ve racked my brains to come up with the best way to describe it in words, I think the moving pictures tell it better. If it doesn’t make sense, tell me and I’ll find some way to make it make sense! (If all else fails I can arrange a time to Skype you to go through it!)

As you start to knit your first few rounds, don’t forget that you’re knitting the cuff in 2×2 ribbing (knit 2, purl 2 all the way around). The ribbing helps the sock stay up. If you don’t get discouraged, and you keep knitting two stitches, then purling two stitches, you’ll end up with a lovely bit of tubular rib coming down from your needles. Keep going until this is about an inch long. Once you’ve done that the hardest part of knitting a sock is over.

The leg;

All you need to do now is keep going using the knit stitch only (no more purling until you get to the heel in the next lesson) until the whole piece measures about 5 inches from cast on to the needles. That’s right, it’s as easy as that. Just the knit stitch. Nothing fancy, no purling and most of all, no panicking!

While you’re working on your sock keep in contact. Let me (and the others working through the same tutorial) know how you’re getting along. Share your problems, frustrations and successes! We’ll tackle the heel when there are a few people ready for it. I don’t want to leave anyone behind!

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11 comments on “Sock knitting for the terrified, the leg (or Part 1)

  1. Gayle H
    January 16, 2013

    I’ve cast on, and have about 2″ done. Really excited about this. Thanks again for lending your time and expertise.

    • oxknit
      January 16, 2013

      Wow! 2″ done! That’s great. Have you knit in the round before?

      • Anonymous
        January 16, 2013

        Yes, I have – just finished my first ever pair of mitts. And I have done a few hats.

      • Gayle H
        January 17, 2013

        5″ done. Very surprised at how quickly this is going. Tell me again why I’ve suffered sock terror for so long? ;)

      • oxknit
        January 17, 2013

        Couldn’t tell you! I keep saying socks are easy! No one ever believes me until they try! I’m working on the heels section of the lesson as we speak. I should have it available fairly soon, it all depends if the nephew stays at school (he was on the edge of poorly this morning)

  2. Selena Tucker
    January 16, 2013

    I cast on tonight but yikes sock yarn is so thin! Had to get my glasses out just to see the individual stitches. Hoping ill have patience for it.

    • oxknit
      January 16, 2013

      It does seem a bit fiddly at first. Now that I’ve had a bit of practice I always have a pair of socks in my bag. I fish them out and work on them when I have a bit of down time, waiting for a bus, sitting at the doctors office, that sort of thing. That way I end up with a slowly growing pair that were made in time that would have otherwise been wasted. Once you get the hang of it you’ll find that you can even knit most of your sock without actually looking at it!

  3. melissa
    January 17, 2013

    5 inches done….still don’t like the dpns but am proud of my progress

  4. Melanie Young
    January 18, 2013

    I have now knitted the leg part and have done an extra inch so now measuring at six inches! I like my socks a little longer lol. Will now await further instructions and work on finishing other projects. Thanks again for this. Not looking forward to the next part :/

  5. Anonymous
    January 19, 2013

    Well, complete newby to dpns, but thanks to the great instructions I’ve just finished the rib. Thanks to Melanie Young for sharing the link with me as well. Got to go, some serious knitting to be done!

  6. Pingback: Socks for the terrified Part 2 (The heel) « OX KNIT

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