A reader asked a very good question: Why do you knit your socks top down?
Sock Knitting Options:
There area a couple of different ways in which socks can be knit.
Toe Up or Cuff Down:
Socks can be knit top down or toe up. These options don’t really need an explanation but for the non-knitter who doesn’t want to think that much . . top down is where you start with the cuff, knit the length of the leg, then knit the heel, then knit the foot. Toe up is where you knit the toe, then the heel, then the leg/cuff.
With most sock knitting patterns, it is fairly easy to turn them around and knit toe up, even if the pattern is written for top down, and vice versa.
Sock knitters will tell you there are advantages to knitting socks one way or the other. What I hear most:
- Knitting toe up, you can knit the leg as long as you want, or as long as your yarn lasts;
- Knitting toe up, you can try on the sock once the foot is done so you know exactly when to start making the heel.
- I recommend that you at least knit one pair of socks each way – toe up and top down.
- Once you’re experienced, you know how long you like to knit the legs of your sock. I like 7″ and it doesn’t matter how much yarn I have, I’m not knitting a lot more than 7″ legs.
- Also, once you’ve knitted a few pairs of socks, you know how long you like to knit your foot.
- When you’re confident about the length of the leg, and the length of the foot, you’re able to knit toe up or top down with perfect results.
As far as knitting socks, it doesn’t matter to me if I’m knitting top down or toe up. Most often, especially if not using a pattern, I’ll knit top down because I can knit plain vanilla socks without looking at a pattern. If knitting toe up, I haven’t knitted quite enough of those that I can do it without looking at the heel part of the pattern.
Methods of Knitting Socks:
n, Socks can be knit using the following methods:
- Double point needles – Three or four double point needles are used and you’re in effect, knitting in the round.
- One sock at a time on a circular needle – Self-explanatory – one sock on one circular needle – basically using Magic Loop.
- Two socks at a time on two circular needles – This method involves knitting parts of one sock on one needle and parts of one sick on a second needle. Usually the fronts are on one needle and the backs on the second needle. It is recommended to use needles that are easy to differentiate (one metal, one wood, or one brown wood and one light wood).
- Two socks at a time on one long circular needle – Again, self-explanatory.
Again, there are knitters who love and knitters who detest each methods. When using double points, I was always dropping a needle and not being able to find it. Once we were in the car and I was knitting and twice Vince had to pull over so I could look under the seat for my needle. He said “You are going to have to stop knitting in the car!” That’s when I learned a different method of knitting. Also, when using double points, It’s so easy to pull a needle out accidentally and either cause dropped stitches or panic!
With either double points or one sock at a time on circular needles, you’re knitting one sock at a time. You can have two socks going at once but it is a bit different from knitting two at a time. Some of us suffer from second sock syndrome, meaning we finish the first sock and have a hard time getting back to the second sock. The advantage always to using circular needles is that it would be really hard to drop a needle.
Two socks on two circular needles was totally frustrating for me. There are four needle tips and two balls of yarn and before I ever finished a pair, I took them off and put them on double points and finished the socks that way.
Two socks on one long circular needle – my method of choice! When one sock is finished, both socks are finished! When you figured out what to do on Row 7 (or 8 or any row), you’re doing it on both socks, one after the other so you don’t have to figure it out when you get to the second sock if using a different method. Both socks stay together so you don’t lose one sock while working on the other. In my opinion, it’s just the easiest, most efficient way to knit socks.