if you’re new to sock knitting you might be overwhelmed with the options avaialble to you – DPNs or circs, cuff-down or toe-up, flap or short row heel?
We won’t tell you which method to use – only you can make that choice. But we will give you some of the pros and cons of each method to help you make the right decision for yourself.
And if you’re still not sure, there’s no substiture for trying out several options to see what you like best.
|DPNs (double pointed needles)||If you love bamboo and other wooden needles, this method suits it best.|
More patterns are written for DPNs than other methods.
|More prone to laddering.|
Easier to lose a needle since one is often free.
|2 circulars||Many knitters find it easier to learn sock knitting on circs rather than DPNs.|
Cables make it easier to try on than DPNs.
Can work 2 socks at a time.
|Extra time sliding the cables when switching needles.|
Cables can more easily get tangled with the working yarn.
Some knitters prefer wood needles over metal.
|magic loop (1 circular)||All the benefits of magic loop but with one less circular needle to buy.|
Less cable to get tangled.
|Can work 2 socks at a time.|
Extra time sliding the cables when switching needles.
|cuff-down||Traditional method with superb pattern support.|
|At risk for knitting socks too long and running out of yarn.|
|toe-up||Easy to use up entire hank/ball of yarn without large leftovers.|
Not at risk for running out of yarn because you knit the leg too long.
|Toe-up cast-ons tend to be more fiddly.|
Often paired with a short row heel.
Some knitters feel this heel doesn’t fit them well.
Binding off loosely is a necessity.
|sideways||Great way to avoid pooling in a wildly variegated handpainted yarn.||Harder to fit. The foot stretches a lot lengthwise and not much around the circumference of the foot.|
|soild and slightly shaded||Great for most patterns.|
Good for lace, texture or cables.
|In a simple pattern you may get bored with the monotony.|
|dappled||Good for cables and texture.||Lace patterns are not as simple of a match.|
Dappled yarn may obscure lace patterns or the lace pattern may obscure the yarn’s subtle changes.
|handpainted||Gorgeous saturated color.|
Supporting independent businesses.
|May pool and flash.|
If pooling or flashing is a problem, try finding a pattern with slipped stitches or varying stitch counts.
Or, stripe the yarn with a coordinating colorway to break up the patterning.
|striped or patterned||Great for plain St st socks.|
Works well with chevron and wave patterns because the stripes accentuate the yarn color changes.
|Not a good match for heavy cables or lace.|
|flap||Most common handknitted heel.|
Most knitters feel this heel fits them well.
|Picking up sts can be a nuisance.|
|short row||Can be quicker to execute than a flap heel.||Not enough depth in the accommodate the heel circumference. Note: you can address this with a gusset.|
|afterthought||Keeps continuity of yarn patterning.|
Works very nicely with stripes because the stripes form circles around the heel.
|Hard to try on for size because the heel isn’t added until the end. Note: you can add the heel sooner if you want.|
Fits similar to a short row heel.
|wedge||Classic heel with 4 incs/decs per round.|
Can easily adjust rate of change to suit your foot.
|Many cuff-down wedge toes use Kitchener stitch and some knitters don’t like Kitchener stitch.Note: you can do a 3 needle bindoff or dec until a small amount of sts rem and thread yarn tail through all sts at once.|
|star||Design element looks like a spiral.||Decs/incs aren’t as frequent so it’s harder to adjust the length and shape of the toe.|
|short row||Fits similarly to the wedge toe.||In toe up, requires a provisional cast on.|
In cuff down, requires Kitchener stitch or three needle bindoff.