The Wandering Socks Knitalong Is Here!

By Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne
June 24, 2019

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  • Here we go, this will be my first ever sockThank you for this kickstarting KAL, so looking forward to the adventure

  • What I really want to know is what yarn has been used for the above socks that are pictured. I have bought so many sock yarns and been disappointed by how they knit up. It would help me pick out my yarn. After all, it looks like Ann will get them all done soon! She is unstoppable!

    • Hi Becky! It’s definitely the case that variegated yarns have an element of surprise. We’ll show socks as we make them, and you can see more at the Instagram hashtag #mdkwanderingsocks.

      In the photo above with the Field Guide, from left:
      Neighborhood Fiber Co Studio Sock in Banksy.
      Barnyard Knits Sock/Fingering in Amethyst.
      Barnyard Knits Sock/Fingering in Lemongrass Tea.
      Lichen and Lace 80/20 Sock in Teal Tide.
      Lichen and Lace 80/20 Sock in Citron.
      Barnyard Knits Sock/Fingering in Canyon.

      • You are the BEST! Thanks so much.

  • I finished winding my yarn a little while ago. Neighborhood Fiber Co. Fingering yarn in the color “Swoon”. Very pretty!

    My question is about size. The circumference of my (larger) foot brings me to an extra large — 10″ (I guess because of a bunion). However, my foot length brings me to between medium and large — 9.5″.What to do?

    • Sorry, foot Length brings me to between small and medium.

      • Hi Diane,

        I’d cast on for XL, and then knit the length for the foot to M or L (I’d go with M because of stretch).

        The cast on gives you the circumference you need. You can then always knit them to any length.

        This is the reasoning I’m going to use for socks for my long-footed children. One size for cast-on and then just knit to the length I want.

        It would aid precision, I think, to go with the toe-up version so that you can try it on as you go and get the perfect length, but I like cuff-down so much for the mindlessness at the start…

        • Thank you Kay. I will follow your recommendations using two circulars, cuff down.

          Just a thought, I remember reading in Cat’s book that the socks (knit cuff down) may be tried on as you go. I think using the two circulars makes that doable.

    • The first sock pattern I ever knitted recommended knitting the foot to 2 inches less than the length of your foot which has always given me a comfy foot without too much thinking. The thing to remember about socks is that you only need to agonize over the heel area and the toe area. You can knit the leg any length you’d like and the foot any length that fits. No knitting police, not even sock-knitting police! I have a sock OTN that I have to finish but then I’ll be jumping into the Wandering Socks KAL.

  • Honestly. Knitting socks is easier than trying to figure out how to navigate this site. How do you join the group? How do you post?

    • There is no formal joining of the knitalong. Knitters participate by posting a photo either to Instagram using the hashtag #MDKwanderingsocks, or to the Wandering Socks Knitalong topic in the Lounge. (Access the Lounge via the navigation button up top.) For the latter, you will need to have an account with Mason-Dixon Knitting, which is simple to set up. Let us know if you run into trouble, but it’s pretty straightforward.

      Here’s the link to the topic in the Lounge:

    • Getting ready to start my first pair of socks on Monday! I know it’s really about gauge but for the needle size fit says size 2 or 2.5mm. But my size 1.5 needles are 2.5mm and my size 2 needles are 2.75mm. Do you recommend going with the metric size?

  • e knitted socks since the summer my Mom died. Maybe this is the time to jump back in.

    • I am struck by your heartfelt words, and I know it’ll all work out

  • Quick question….. can the patterns be altered to accommodate a heel flap construction? I find the short row/afterthought heel to be too small for my high arch 🙁

    • Hi Jennifer, I’m not the world’s expert on socks (understatement alert!) but my understanding is that when you arrive at the heel, you can do any heel you like by just swapping in your favored technique for the one we use.

      The marvel of socks is that once you understand their architecture, you can play with the parts nearly without limit. We chose a streamlined approach so that new sock knitters would get the architecture into their heads and hands in an easy way, both from the cuff down and the toe up, and then be able to pick and choose variations if they wish.

  • Does the Field Guide also include details for making baby socks, children’s socks?

    • No baby socks in the Field Guide. Baby feet are a special case (due to their adorableness and rounded shapes) and there are loads of patterns out there for them, including many free ones.

      The Field Guide No. 11 patterns are sized S, M, L, and XL, with circumferences from 7-10 inches and foot lengths from 9 to 11 1/2 inches. They are gauged at 8 stitches to the inch and 12 rounds to the inch, so altering circumference in increments of 1 inch, or length in any increment you wish, is straightforward.

      The chart on page 38 is helpful to those who want to knit different sizes from those given. As mentioned above, my long-footed (adult) children require slight modification to the length of the XL.

  • Getting ready to start my first pair of socks on Monday! I know it’s really about gauge but for the needle size fit says size 2 or 2.5mm. But my size 1.5 needles are 2.5mm and my size 2 needles are 2.75mm. Do you recommend going with the metric size?

    • As I understand it, the metric sizes that correspond to US Size 2 vary depending on manufacturer. For a point of reference, I’m a loose knitter so I went down to US Size 1.

      My Susan Bates Knit Chek needle sizer says that US Size 1 is 2 1/4 mm and US Size 2 is 2 3/4 mm. Unless you are a super tight knitter I’d go with your US 1.5 (which I didn’t even know was a size!) or 2.5 mm needles.

      • Thank you!! I’ll be getting started soon!

  • Okokok…..I see all the excitement about socks!! It’s everywhere! It spilleth over into my lap and I must make a pair. I have some sock yarn already, but it’s sort of (yawn)(what was I thinking?). To encourage myself and calm my trepidation, I’m going to order some new yarn. ( Woohooo.thats the best part!). Yarn should be here within the week, and away we go! I’m counting on you folks to keep me going…. I Iove all your pictures!!
    Babs the Reluctant but Willing To Give Socks A Go…..☺