This is a good place to start if you’re looking for ideas on what you might need to get started with your sock knitting adventures!
Fancy knitting teeny tiny socks of your own? Find the free pattern here!
If you need to buy needles, yarn and accessories to get started with the Sockalong, I would always recommend going to your local yarn shop first so that you can actually see what it is that you’re buying. You can find information on yarn and needles in the Sockalong tutorials.
However, this isn’t always possible so here are a selection of items from Amazon to at least get your online shopping started – you may choose to buy elsewhere in the end, but at least you can see here what I would recommend that you look for.
Short circular needles
My preference is for a 30cm short circular but some people prefer smaller sizes even smaller than that, and of course there’s still the choice between wood and metal needles. You can buy circular needles that are suitable for socks from 20-30cm. If you’re going to be knitting a lot of socks that are less than a 60 stitch cast on, you might want to consider a needle smaller than 30cm as you will find it easier to knit.
Double pointed needles (DPNs)
If you’re knitting your socks on DPNs then you will obviously need a set of these, but you will also need them if you are using a short circular is it is easier to knit certain sections of the sock. DPNs come in a variety of lengths and the length you choose is down to personal preference. My DPNs are 20cm long because that’s the length that feels most comfortable in my hand, but you can get 25cm lengths and also shorter ones down to 10cm needles. Again, they’re available in both wood and metal, in various colours and even shapes!
New to the market are the Addi CrasyTrio needles – a cross between DPNs and circular needles which suit some people extremely well because they are more flexible. They’re called FlexiFlips in the United States.
Long circular needles
I use an 80cm circular needle for magic loop; if you ever want to try two at a time socks then the ideal size is 100cm. Circular needles of the size required for knitting socks only come as fixed circulars, unfortunately, so if you have an interchangeable set you will still need to buy the whole tip plus cable combination. (2021 update: Hiya Hiya now produce an interchangeable circular sock knitting set)
You’ll need these if you’re going to try out the Easy Cable Socks pattern. There are different types of cable needle but they all do the same job – holding the stitches to the front or back of your work as you knit other stitches first. It’s entirely up to you which sort of cable needle you go for.
These are really useful for marking the start and end of your round. They don’t have to be anything exotic, even a knotted piece of yarn will work, but these are some examples.
A piece of paper and a pen works very well, but I like to use a counter like this – because I’m less likely to lose it!
Other accessories that you will need are scissors and a tape measure. You will probably have these around the house already!
Whether you block your socks or not is entirely up to you. Blocking is the process of soaking and stretching a knitted item so that it shows off the stitches to their best potential. I don’t usually bother as most of my socks get put on straight away and blocking will only last until the socks are washed, but I have to admit that blocked socks do look lovely and very professional if you’re giving them as a gift. You can buy blockers in various sizes to suit the sizes you are knitting, and in both wood and plastic.
Finally, if you’re going to be buying skeins of sock yarn, you will need to wind them into balls before you can use them. These last two items fall into the “nice to have” category rather than the “essential” category but I thought I’d show them to you anyway! You drape your skein over the swift and then use the ball winder to wind the yarn into a ball without any risk of knots or tangles.
And to finish …