Sock Knitting: Starting, Finishing and the Second Sock

rib fantastic sock sarah e whiteIt’s been so fun seeing all your responses to the sock knitting question! I wanted to respond to some general categories of responses and provide some resources that might help.

First off: I know socks seem scary. I was afraid of socks for a long time. I thought there was no way what was happening when you turn a heel could possibly be right. So the first rule of sock knitting is: trust the pattern. Anyone who’s been knitting socks long enough to be writing patterns for them knows that the heel turn works. No matter how crazy it sounds on paper or looks on your needles, persist and you’ll feel like a magician at the end.

Over at About I have a really simple learn to knit a sock pattern, worked in medium weight yarn on big needles, which will help you see what’s happening a little better and give you confidence in the skills you need before you start on a smaller gauge sock (also check out my article all about heel turning if you’re still scared).

Another part of the sock that can be daunting is the finishing. That’s because so many socks call for the use of Kitchener stitch (also known as grafting), which admittedly is a little complicated the first few times. It just happens that I saw on Pinterest this morning a link to a video by the lovely and talented Susan B. Anderson doing a demo of the Kitchener stitch that I think will be really helpful for those who might be having trouble with it. And if you really just can’t stand the thought of grafting, you can cinch the toe like you would the top of a hat. It won’t be as pretty or as comfortable, but it does get the job done.

One more common remark in the comments was people who have knit one sock (or multiple one socks! Thanks, Andi, for sharing that you’ve knit 11 socks but only three pairs.) and never knit the second. I have this problem, too, especially when I’m knitting a design for a pattern. I just want to get it out in the world and don’t want to take the time to knit the second sock right away. Which, admittedly, is probably a bad idea, because I could use the second sock to check my work. But still.

My absolute favorite knit sock ever that I’ve made has been a single for probably almost two years. It’s the Rib Fantastic Sock, pictured above. I love the undulating rib and eyelet pattern, and the yarn, which has a touch of cashmere. This should be my Olympic project, but I don’t really have time for it. Maybe it will be the first thing I make when my book knitting is done!

Anyway, I’m not sure I have a cure for second sock syndrome, other than just making yourself start. If you cast on for the second sock immediately after finishing the first, maybe you’ll continue working on it. Or play the enforcer and don’t allow yourself to start any other new projects before you get that second sock finished.

Has anyone successfully beaten second sock syndrome? Spill it!


  1. says

    I avoid second sock syndrome by knitting both socks at once! It’s pretty easy if you use the two-circulars or magic loop method to knit in the round. The only time I knit one sock is when I’m trying a new technique, and some of those experiments aren’t quite wearable anyway.

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