Beginner sock knitting: Sockalong – needles

Today’s Sockalong post is all about the needles, but before we start I must say thank you so much for all your support – it’s great to know so many of you are going to get involved!  Can there ever be too many sock knitters in the world?  I don’t think so!

So, on Sunday we talked about the yarn and today we’re going to look at what we’re going to knit the yarn with.  I’m actually going do this sockalong on three different types of needles, although you only need to pick one!  The reason for this is that if you’ve looked around at sock knitting on the internet, you’ll have seen that some people use DPNs (double pointed needles), others use magic loop using a long circular needle and then there’s me with my short circular, and you might even (like I did at first) have wondered which one was the “right” one for socks.   The answer to that is, of course, that there is no “right” needle.  Like so much about knitting, it’s all about personal preference – however, if you’ve never knitted socks before, you might not know which one to choose to begin with and so I thought if we talked about all three it might help with that choice. I’m using my latest sock to demonstrate the needles – don’t worry, I haven’t started the sockalong without you!

Types of needles for sock knitting

My first few pairs of socks were knitted on DPNs because that’s what the pattern told me to do. When I first started knitting socks, I didn’t realise there was any other way of knitting them in the round as circular needle cables are long and I had so few stitches to fit around it.  You may have heard knitting with DPNs referred to as “wrestling the hedgehog” and that’s not a bad description – to go from two needles to four or five can be quite a challenge!  Having said that, once you get the hang of it, they produce a good sock and some people wouldn’t use anything else.  DPNs usually come in a set of five and in various sizes.  My DPNs are 20cm long and you can get them in longer and shorter lengths than that.  It’s entirely a matter of preference which length you go for.  Remember that the biggest number of stitches you’re going to have on your needles is the cast-on because of the way that I’m going to recommend you do it, so go for a size that you think will accommodate that and still feel comfortable in your hands.

Double pointed needles

I choose to knit on five needles; four to hold the stitches and one to work with.  Some people prefer to knit with four but until you try it out, you won’t know!

Example of knitting on double pointed needles

Next up – my favourite, the short circular.  Why do I like this needle so much?  There are a few reasons: firstly, it sped up my knitting no end and once I’d caught the sock bug and discovered there were so many fabulous sock patterns available, it meant that I could get on with them faster! Secondly, it’s only 30cm long including the tips and because it’s so small it makes a sock a brilliantly portable project.  There was no danger of me accidentally stabbing anybody with the points or losing a needle in transit.  Like many parents, I have spent a lot of time sitting outside after-school classes or at poolsides and I could have read a book to pass the time, but I found that once I was confident with what I was knitting, it was much easier to keep one eye on what was going on around me.  It’s hard to wave at a child swimming past when you’re trying to finish reading a paragraph, but you can easily take your hands off your knitting for a minute without losing where you’re up to!

Finally, and perhaps the reason that I like it best; it’s a talking point.  Three years ago my Dad had a malignant tumour removed (he’s been given the all clear now, thankfully!) and we spent a lot of time in various hospitals waiting to see consultants or for radiotherapy appointments.  My latest sock project went along with me everywhere and it always made me smile to see how people’s eyes were drawn to what my hands were doing.  I’ve had so many conversations with people who remembered how much they had liked to knit once and they really must get out their needles again and I hope that one or two of them did.  Any knitter will tell you that the rhythm of the needles calms the mind and gives you breathing space and if my socks helped someone to rediscover that, then that makes me happy.

Short circular needle

If you choose to use a short circular, you will still need DPNs.  I cast on with them as I find that trying to cast on with the short circular doesn’t work for me.  I think this may be the cast-on that I use as apparently other people don’t have any problems, but as this is my sockalong, I’ll be showing you what I do! 🙂

You’ll also need your DPNs for the heel and for the toes.  Our sock is going to be a top-down, heel flap and gusset sock because that’s the one I like to knit (you can check out the pattern here if you want to see it before we start).  The heel flap is knitted on two needles, going back and forth in knit and purl stitches, so I find it easiest to use my circular as a stitch holder and use the DPNs to do this.  You’ll also need to change to DPNs for the toes as you decrease too many stitches for them to sit comfortably on the circular.  Don’t worry, all will be revealed as we go along!

Example of knitting on short circular needles

If you’re interested in short circular needles, you might want to read this post as well – an update on the types of short circulars that are now available.


Finally, the long circular for using the magic loop method.  I never really liked this method very much until I made my Neat Ripple socks but now it’s my second choice after the short circular.  I use an 80cm circular needle and this makes manageable loops on either side of the knitting.  (For those who want to make two-at-a-time socks, you’ll need a bigger cable, say 100cm, but I’m not going talk about those during this sockalong.)  Some people find this method much easier because there’s more to hold onto than with the short circular.

Long circular needle for magic loop

It might look a bit confusing at first, but it’s really quite simple.  You start off with your stitches split across the two needle tips and a loop in your circular on the left hand side.  All you do for each row across is pull the back needle out far enough to knit the stitches on the front needle, thereby creating a loop on the right hand side.  When you get to the end of your row, you turn your work around and do exactly the same time again.  I like to mark the front of my sock with a safety pin (more attractive markers are available!) so that I always know where I’m up to.  Have a look on YouTube if you need an “in-action” demonstration!

Example of knitting using long circular needle for magic loop

When you get to the heel, there’s enough cable for you to leave your stitches on the cable whilst you work back and forth with the needle tips, and there’s no need to change to DPNs for the toes as you decrease the stitches; your loop just gets bigger.

Right, so having told you all about the needles, where do you get them from?  Pretty much the same answer as on the yarns post – try your LYS (local yarn shop) first and if they don’t stock them, you’ll find them online, both in specialist yarn stores and good old Amazon.  In contrast to the yarn post where I suggested that you might not want to buy the most expensive yarn for your first socks, I’m going to say here that it’s worth buying a good circular needle rather than the cheapest that you come across.  This is because the more expensive brands have better joins between the cable and the tips, and you want this to be a smooth as possible so that it doesn’t snag on your yarn.  Cheap needles are a false economy here as you’ll end up getting frustrated and (ahem) throwing your knitting across the room in disgust (not that I would ever do that, of course! :).

Image of join on circular needle

Oh yes, and a word about the size!  I knit on 2.5mm needles and I use 3.0mm for casting on so that my cuff isn’t too tight.  The 3.0mm needle is entirely optional; you could cast on over two needles or simply keep your stitches very loose.  Unless you know the tension that you knit to then you will need to check your gauge as it might make a difference to the needle you use, but don’t worry if you find this is the case; you can either exchange the needle you bought (most yarn suppliers should do this without a problem) or alter the number of stitches you are using to compensate, but we’ll talk about tension later.

You will find that you will need to buy fixed circulars; that is, ones that don’t have interchangeable tips (I think this is because the tip size is just too small to accommodate the thread connection between the tip and cable).  My needles are made by the German company Addi, and I use their circular needles in both 30cm and 80cm lengths.  KnitPro also make 80cm needles in their Nova and beautiful wooden Symphonie ranges, but their small circulars are 25cm rather than 30cm.

Before you buy a short circular, it’s worth considering what size of socks you will be making. If you are knitting for small feet, you may well cast on less than 60 stitches and you will find that they become a bit tight on a 30cm needle, so have a look at one of the shorter lengths.

You can find 30cm circulars made by HiyaHiya and ChiaoGoo and I’m sure that there are lots of other makes as well – you’ll just need to have a look around but the main thing is that your join is as smooth as it can be.  Hiya Hiya also make 23cm needles, and if you want to try really tiny circulars, Addi and Hiya Hiya make 20cm needles too.

As a final point, I’ve recently discovered that Addi 30cm circulars no longer have bent tips like mine does in the pictures but instead are straight.  Hiya Hiya are also straight, but ChiaoGoo are bent.  I had to buy a new Addi 30cm needle as I wore mine out and I’ve found that the straight tips are just as easy to knit with, so don’t worry about having to buy one exactly the same as in the pictures.

I’ve been asked quite a few times now about the difference between all the short circular lengths and whether it matters which one you knit with.  I would say that it doesn’t matter, it’s all down to personal preference.  You do have to hold the needles slightly differently to how you would hold straight needles, but I find that this actually leads to less strain on my hands.  If you’ve got a friendly yarn store close by which sells both, you could always ask if you could try them out before you buy, but whichever size you go for, rest assured that the pattern will still work and your sock will still be wonderful!   A word of warning though – don’t be tempted to buy a 40cm circular if you can’t find a smaller one – it’s just too it as a short circular and too small to use magic loop.

There’s been a lot of information in this post and I hope it’s helped you to make some decisions about the needles you’d like to knit with.  In terms of how many needles you need to buy, here’s a quick recap:

DPNs – you can knit a pair of socks with one set of five DPNs

Short circular – as well as the short circular you will also need a set of DPNs for the heel and toes.

Long circular – you can knit a pair of socks with one long circular needle.

Is that everything?  I think so, but as before, feel free to ask questions if you’d like to.  The next sockalong post is going to be about tension swatches and I’ll post it on Sunday so that you’ve got time to have a look around at yarns and needles before we move on.  Looking forward to it! 🙂

Don’t forget that f you’re interested in short circular needles, you might want to read this post as well – an update on the types of short circulars that are now available.


Basic 4ply Socks pattern copyright © 2014 Winwick Mum All rights reserved.
Sockalong tutorials copyright © 2015 Winwick Mum All rights reserved.


More Sockalong posts:

Sockalong – yarns

Sockalong – tension squares, casting on and stitch calculations

Sockalong – accessories and matching yarn

Sockalong – anatomy of a sock

Sockalong – Week 1 – Cast on, cuff and leg

Sockalong – Week 2 – Heel flap, heel turn and gusset

Sockalong – Week 3 – Foot, toe and grafting the toes

Sockalong Basic 4ply Socks pattern

Sockalong successes

Facebook Sockalong group for help, advice and encouragement


These Sockalong tutorials are free and will always remain so, but if you have enjoyed using them and would like to buy me a brew, it will be much appreciated! You can find the donation button on the sidebar on the left hand side.  Thank you! xx




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64 Responses

  1. Christina says:

    Thanks, that is a comprehensive post about choosing your needles. I am a dpn girl myself but I am intrigued by your short bendy circulars. I have tried to find them online but with no success. Any pointers? Maybe they even come in a wooden version, which is my favourite for any type of knitting needles. I won't join you in the knit-along because I am a bit tired of sock knitting at the moment, after my year of socks but I'll be interested to see how you make yours, it is always great to learn from someone as experienced as you. xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      If you just search for 30cm circular needles they should come up. Only the ChiaoGoo have bent tips, Addi and Hiya Hiya both have straight tips but they are shorter so I guess it's a matter of preference which one you go for. I haven't tried the straight-tip one yet so it'll be interesting to see what it's like. I had a look around this afternoon and found the needles on Amazon and Ebay as well as a more than a few online yarn stores. I'm very flattered by your kind comment – especially from one who has designed such lovely socks herself on her blog! xx

  2. Amy at love made my home says:

    Well I am still terrified – but so intrigued – by the knitting of socks, but a lot wiser about needles!! Someday…… xx

  3. Lilly's Mom says:

    Hello Christine, this is a wonderful article you wrote about needles. I have the book for knitting two socks at a time. I've had it for years – maybe I should dust if off and give it a try! My best to you,
    Pat xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thanks, Pat! Yes, why not give two at a time socks a try? It certainly does away with "second sock syndrome"! There's even a method where you knit one sock inside the other though I've never tried it, so be sure to let me know if you do! xx

  4. fionadp says:

    I only tried short circulars as I thought they would be easier to get on a plane and now I wouldn't use anything else – love 'em

  5. Campfire says:

    I use Hiya Hiya but am now unstuck on splitting for the heel. I have done one but forgotten how I did it. I bought some Addi but they don't seem to meet properly. I find it is better to knit the Continental way with hiya Hiya so your fingers don't leave the needles.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Can you leave your top of the foot stitches on the Hiya Hiya needle and knit the heel with DPNs? That's how I usually do it and it works quite well. If you can get to Black Sheep Wools for Yarn Shop Day on 2 May, you could bring it with you if you've not worked it out by then and I can see if I can help xx

  6. Good morning. What is the difference in the 30cm and the 23cm needles? Other than one is 12" and one is 9". I ordered the 30cm needles for the sock KAL in May and everyone keeps saying you mean you want the 23cm for socks. Which is best or do they both work about the same? TY

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hello Alicia! I think it's just a matter of preference – I've only ever used a 12" needle and it's worked very well for my socks up until now. I didn't even know that 9" needles existed when I bought my small circular; I saw the 12" one for sale at a yarn store and was told that it would "revolution-ise" my knitting (ha ha!) and as far as I'm concerned, it has done. I've never tried a 9" needle but have recently ordered one to give it a go, simply so that I can offer a comparison. As far as the finished item will be concerned, it really won't make any difference which size of needle you use; they're both short circulars and the process will be exactly the same. All that I would say which might explain why you’re being advised to go for the smaller length is that my original 12” Addi needle has bent tips, which curve comfortably around the sock. The newer versions of the needle have shorter straight tips and a longer cable, which perhaps some people might find more awkward so a shorter cable length might be more comfortable for them. If you've got a helpful yarn shop nearby which stocks both, they might let you try them out before you start so that you can see which you prefer, but I’ve always found 12” to be a good size for my socks. Hope that helps! xx

  7. I'm going with the 12" myself. I have 9" on hand but after looking at them I'm giving the 12" a go first. TY


    • Winwick Mum says:

      Great! Generally you find that your preferences develop over a couple of pairs of socks – I like to think this won't be the only pair you'll be making! xx

  8. Cheryl says:

    I messed up the first comment, so I hope this doesn't post twice. If I use 3.0mm dpns for the cast on and 2.5 circular for the foot, what size dpns do I need for the toe and heel?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      You only use the 3.0mm needles to cast on to help you keep your edge loose. You can use 2.5mm for everything else – you can cast on with 2.5mm as well as long as you're sure that you won't pull your stitches too tight xx

  9. Unknown says:

    Christine Dear, Greeting from Socks has been in my head for a while but i was not confident enough to go ahead, hopefully i will be able to knit a pair. I would very much love to have short circular needles like yours if somebody is willing to spare me one, i would be grateful as online shopping is not available in my country. with lots of loves, hugs, kisses

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hello, thanks for visiting! I'm sure if someone has a spare needle they will be in touch. Do you have something else you can use in the meantime? xx

  10. Kathryn at Crafternoon Treats says:

    Hi – me again. I'm confused already. I've looked at Woolwarehouse and Deramores but the smallest circular needles they have in stock are 40cm. No sign of any 30cm. I've googled 30cm circular needles and checked three sites and all the 2.5mm are out of stock!!! Have they all been bought up by people doing this sock-along??? Ha ha ha. But serious question – would I be OK with some 40cm ones?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I think there might have been a bit of a rush on 30cm needles as it's been a topic of conversation in the Winwick Mum Sockalong Facebook group today! I've never tried a 40cm needle; my first thoughts would be that it would be just a bit too big although you could try a small magic loop with it, and I have seen someone today using one without magic loop and she said it was fine for her. If you want to use magic loop then go for an 80cm needle as that will give you a nice big loop to work with. It's not essential to have a 30cm circular, it's just my needle of preference but you'll get perfectly good socks using DPNs or magic loop. Hope that helps! xx

  11. Angela says:

    Hi, Did I miss what length DPN to get? Thank you!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi! No, you didn't miss it – I didn't say! The ones that I use are 20cm but others like to use 15cm or even 25cm ones – it's entirely up to you which ones you choose. The biggest number of stitches that you'll have on is when you cast on, after that you'll be dividing the number of stitches by 4 if you're going to knit on DPNs. Hope that helps! xx

    • Angela says:

      Thank you!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I'm keen start learning how to knit socks, and am just gathering up my equipment! I just wondered, was there an update on the 12" & 9" short circular needle options? Which one have you personally found better, if you've managed to try both yet? Thank you so much for taking the time to produce all this information 🙂

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi! My favourite is still the 30cm (12") needle, I found that my hands cramped up with the 23cm (9") one and I didn't like it. Having said that, I've recently been using a 25cm needle (that's the KnitPro one) for a pair of socks for my daughter where I've cast on 52 stitches and I can use that one just fine. If you're going to be knitting lots of socks with a cast on of less than 60 stitches then I'd recommend looking at the smaller needle sizes as 30cm is slightly too big for those sized socks, but the ideal would be to try them out at a yarn store if you could as everyone's preference is different. Hope that helps! xx

  13. Lucy says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. I have just had someHiya Hiya 23 cm circulars delivered and have started on my first sock! It all feels really tiny and fiddly but I rekon I shall get used to it. Did you receive your 23 cm pins? And if so how did you get on with them?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi Lucy, I found the 23cm needle too small for me in the end (I may have used a 30cm for too long!), but I know that there are lots of people who swear by them (lots of them are in the Facebook group and there are regular conversations about this!), particularly those who prefer to knit using the Continental method. All short circulars feel tiny and fiddly in the beginning but it's worth sticking with it for a while longer as it will suddenly click 🙂 xx

  14. Sandy says:

    Recently, I ordered several Hiya-Hiya 12 inch (30 mm) circulars, size 2.5 and 2.75 mm, and all have had bent tips. Got them from Amazon US.

  15. Jessica says:

    Hi! I am a nervous and reluctant sock knitter–tried once on dpns and made it *almost* all the way through one sock but never finished. I love the idea of using a short circular, so I purchased a 30 cm one from ChiaoGoo. I've cast on my stitches (60 to start and then more in groups of 4), and my needle still seems way too large to accommodate that small number of stitches. I switched from sock yarn to a light DK yarn to see if that helped, and I still couldn't make my ends meet until I had cast on about 80 stitches, which seems way too large. Any suggestions?? Thanks so much for your help!!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Did you cast your stitches straight onto your short circular, Jessica? I can never get them to join up if I do that (I think it's the type of cast on that I use) which is why I always cast on with DPNs and do a couple of rows first. If you knit off your DPN onto the circular you shouldn't have a problem getting it to join into the round if you follow the instructions in the tutorial. It may seem a bit tight at first (it always is with the rib section) but as long as you have more than 60 stitches it will work xx

  16. Unknown says:

    Hi! Have you seen the new "Sock-wonder" circular needles by Addi? They are 25 cm long, and with tips of different lenght. I am really tempted to give them a go 🙂

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi Eliana, thanks for your message. Yes, I tried out a prototype of this needle but it didn't really suit my knitting style so I have stuck with my needles with tips of the same length. I do know that lots of people really like them, though, so do give them a go if you think you will! xx

  17. Unknown says:

    Hi, thanks for the wonderful tutorial.Do you block your socks ,mine looks like a very deflated balloon 🤔

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi! I'm glad you found the tutorial helpful! I don't block my socks very often unless they're a gift with a lace pattern – I'm not that keen on the way the blockers stretch the cuff. If the socks are for me, I just put them straight on my feet! 🙂 xx

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hello Christine, really happy I've found your sockalong page and I'm keen to try this project for myself. It'll be a first time away from straight needles and with circular needles/dpns (always ambitious me); as I'm looking to knit a pair of socks for myself, [a man who takes a size 11 shoe…] what length of circular needles should I be looking for buying please? Chas.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi Chas, it's entirely up to you whether you go for a short circular or a long circular – you can see the difference between the two in the tutorial. If you choose a short circular you can pick lengths from 20cm to 30cm (I use 25 or 30cm for my socks as my hands cramp up with the tiny needles) and 80cm is best for magic loop. If you're someone who knits with your needles resting across the top of your thumbs, you won't be able to use the short circulars as the sock will get too bulky to hold as it gets bigger. Really, it's all down to personal preference and I think that if you can find a yarn shop that will let you try them out it will make a big difference. It never hurts to know how to use all of the types of needles as they can be useful in different situations. I know this probably doesn't answer your question totally, but it really is down to your own choice! 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Christine, essentially I was thinking that my knitting a man size sock, it might not physically fit on a short circular or short length dpn's and didn't want to 'choose' anything too small!

      Speaking of which… 2.5mm needles that's a challenge right there!!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      You should be fine – I'm currently knitting my daughter's boyfriend a pair of socks with an 84 stitch cast on (he's UK size 14) and they fit onto my 30cm short circular needle. Yes, 2.5mm can be quite a challenge, but if you wanted to try a bigger yarn first there's a DK (8ply) pattern in the free patterns which you can use with the Sockalong tutorials, you just have to adjust your stitches to match the pattern rather than the tutorials 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Christine, back again with another Q.

      Three weeks in and I've completed the leg and moving on to the heel flap 🙂 having cast on 80 stitches and all looking good apart from some dodgy ribbing and maybe being a bit on the big side 🙁
      So. First row instructions given for HEEL FLAP say:

      K2 *Slip 1,Knit 1*

      Just to be sure are we slipping on the knit side and not purl?

      btw Wishing a Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Yes, you're right, you're only slipping the stitches on the knit side and purling back across all of the stitches. You can slip on the purl side as well if you want to but it makes for a very stiff heel flap and becomes quite difficult to knit too – some people do it (deliberately and by mistake) and it's not the end of the world if you do, but you'll find it all more flexible if you follow the pattern as it's written. It sounds like you're doing really well! 🙂 xx

  19. Anonymous says:

    Christine thank you for brilliant instructions,I now have a perfect heel turn and move onto gusset [slipping stitches] 🙂 but not sure if I need to knit across to be on l/h to begin! And I even got to try the sock on for first time 🙂

    So if I hold the top of the sock and let it hang with the back (outside) of the heel facing me… the yarn is currently on l/h side…

    Do I need to knit across on row to be where I should be… Y/N ?

    I know you say be on l/h side but depends which way you look!


    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi Chas, you hold your sock so that the outside (ribbed side) of your heel flap faces you and the top of the foot stitches are away from you so your yarn is in just the right place 🙂 xx

  20. Anonymous says:

    mmm Christine, thank you dearly, I'm hearing you but not sure if what I have now achieved quite matches the photo guidance…

    So after picking up (17 st) I had [for orientation purposes],if you were to imagine I was actually wearing the sock… a loaded DPN at the base of the turned heel, a DPN at my left ankle, loaded with the picked up stitches and finally a loaded circular across the top of my foot with the other half of the worked cast on stitches…

    Next I knitted all the newly-slipped-on stitches off the DPN onto my circular needle so now have the yarn at (again if I were wearing the sock) my bottom L/H and ready to join to the heel flap.

    i.e. at the opposite of where it needs to be for me to slip on stitches on the other side.

    So. Looks like I should now knit across the heel flap DPN to get all those stitches onto the circular needle and then have yarn in the right place to slip on stitches on t'other side and complete the circle. Have I gone wrong and will that method get me out of jail?

    btw so far no markers have been placed.

    Sorry to keep you busy replying but I'm in the dark tbh


  21. Anonymous says:

    Dear Christine,, I went away, thought about it and sussed it all out by starting this bit again. So sorry to trouble you!

    Love the challenge and accomplishment of getting through it, exactly why I jumped in at the deep end with the belated sockalong and so little skill. 🙂

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Excellent! It sounds like you're making great progress! xx

    • Anonymous says:

      Christine, 54 days in and the first sock is actually complete and even a great fit thanks in a big way to your guidance on the swatch! I've just made a small donation and signed up for the sockalong beginner FB group in case I need help with the other one so you might see an image there soon 🙂 Thanks so much for still looking after us to the sockalong Chas x

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Chas, that's so kind of you, thank you very much! I'm delighted that you have a sock and hope you've cast on for the second already – you'll find it much faster as you'll have done all your learning on the first sock, so it shouldn't be long until you're wearing your pair! xx

  22. Jenny Magee says:

    Hi Christine, im new to sock making and I’m just gathering my supplies to get started. I love your blog and look forward to giving it a go. Can you please advise what the MM is on the 30cm circular needles…. should I be purchasing 2.75mm or 2.25mm?? I’m getting 2 sets of DPN in sizes 20cm (2.5 mm and 3.00mm). Thanks so much.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi Jenny, I knit all of my socks on 2.5mm needles so that's the size I would choose – that gives me about 7 stitches per inch on 2.5mm needles but if you knit tighter or looser than that you'd need to consider 2.75 or 2.25 to get the same gauge. Socks are best when you get 7-8 stitches per inch on whatever needle will give you that 🙂 xx

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hi Christine, I learned to weave socks and I'm delighted, and buy your book, and I Know it helped me a lot. My query is, I want to try the short circulars, I think I will be more comfortable than the 5 needles. Do not know what to buy, the 23 CMS or 30 cms, I am hesitant, in Majorca where I live do not sell, so I have to order online, so I have no choice to try first. What do you advise me? Thanks a lot. Best regards.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi! My favourites are the 30cm needles or if I'm casting on for smaller socks with less than 60 stitches I use 25cm needles. I can't use the 20 or 23cm ones as the tips are much smaller and make my hands cramp up – but lots of other people love them! It's hard to advise you when it really is personal preference, but I would consider the way that you knit (how you hold your yarn and your needles) and whether the smallest tips would be OK in your hands. The 20 and 23cm needles have 5cm tips, the 25cm needles have 6cm tips and the 30cm needles have 7cm tips. Addi have a needle called a Sock Wonder with one tip at 5cm and the other at 7cm. I'm sorry I can't be more help than that, but even if you buy online the shop should have a returns policy if the needles don't suit you xx

  24. Linda Mcneely says:

    I got all excited about knitting socks and bought a bunch of sock yarn on sale then ordered the circs a 2.75 and tried knitting with it and it cramped my hands so bad I had to quite. after three days they still hurt. so I got a us 3 (3.25) and I can actually use this will it work for knitting socks? I am a tight knitter anyway. I have also ordered the flex tips but not found a good video yet on how to cast on to them. thanks for all of your info. you are so sweet to help with all this sock knitting.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Hi Linda, I'm sorry to hear that the circular needle didn't agree with you – it's good that there are a variety of needles that you can use for socks as not every one will suit each person. You can use a 3.25mm needle for socks, although I'd recommend thicker yarn than fingering (4ply) for that – you might want to try sport weight although do check your gauge. Have a look at this video, it might help with your Flex Tips.

    • Linda Mcneely says:

      I have one more question could you tell me the size in inches that you knit the cuff and the size in inches from the cuff to the beginning of the heel? thanks so much Linda

  25. Linda Mcneely says:

    thanks so much I have watched her video before but she goes so fast its hard to see what she is doing. I will experiment with them in the near future. right now I am knitting your sock pattern with the 3.25 mm and sock yarn it seems to be going well. can't wait to get past the cuff and the straight knitting. love your site!

    • Winwick Mum says:

      When you watch the video, there's a gear symbol at the bottom right hand corner and if you click that, you can adjust the speed of the video so it might be easier for you to see xx

  26. Unknown says:

    I can not figure what size around should my dpn should be

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Usually, socks with 4ply yarn are knitted with 2.5mm needles but you'll need to experiment with sizes if you know you are a tighter or looser knitter. The length of the DPNs are personal preference – I like longer ones (mine are 20cm) but others like the shorter ones – you can get 15cm and even 10cm ones xx

  27. Unknown says:

    Hi everyone just down loaded basic sock patt – sorry but to ask on thee turn heel section what does SSK, mean

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It means slip, slip, knit and it's a type of decrease. If you follow the Sockalong tutorials (click on the purple picture at the top right of this page) as you work through the pattern you'll see lots of photos that explain what to do when you get to that point, and you can find videos on my YouTube channel as well (different pattern but same process) which might help. Good luck with your socks! xx

  28. Gillian Meehan says:

    I hope this is a quick query for you to answer. I’m keen to have a go with socks and the help that you’ve given here is amazing, thank you. I found you via Attic24. My query is, I’ve never used any other type of needles other than the longest ones to stick under my arm so now I need to choose either circular or double pointed and I’m not sure which I’ll get along with best. I’m tempted to try a short circular pair but if I don’t like them and change to double pointed ones would my tension on the circular needles be the same on the double pointed ones?

    • winwickmum says:

      Hello! I’m really pleased you’re going to give sock knitting a go! If you decide to go for short circular needles then you’ll need a set of DPNs for the heel and toes so you could try them both out. Yes, to be perfectly honest, there is a good chance that your tension will change if you swap needles, but there’s also a good chance that your tension will change from one sock to another on your first pair anyway as you get used to knitting them in the round. If you’ve only ever knitted with a needle tucked under your arm then it will feel strange to go to tiny needles, and I’d recommend that you still tuck a needle under your arm just to let your brain think that you’re doing the “same old” thing – it sounds crazy but it really does help some people in the beginning as they get used to holding their needles in a different way! I don’t think that it ever hurts to try out all the needle types as there will be one that you prefer, but it’s quite handy to know how to use them all as some socks are easier to knit on different styles of needles. I don’t know if this has particularly answered your question, but I hope it might have helped a little! 🙂 xx

  29. Preece Geraldine says:

    Hi Christine, I have always knitted 60 stitches on 2.5mm which is perfect for me. I’ve recently printed off 2 easy free patterns from Ravelry with 2.25mm and 64 stitches. If I knit my 60 on 2.5 as usual how do you think it will turn out? I’m not a swatch person 🙃. I am often wondering as well how patterns affect size. I knitted your mosaic my favourite and it was a little tight – so my daughter was very happy to wear them. Love everything you write- such a wise talented lady 🧶

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