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My name is Jen Arnall-Culliford and I am a hard-core sock knitter. When I’m out and about, pretty much anywhere, you’d be very unlucky to find me without a sock in progress somewhere on my person.

Why is there always space in my handbag for a sock project? Because they are just so flipping satisfying, and straightforward to work on—even when you only have a couple of minutes to spare.

I’m here to bring you a series of Little Lessons on sock knitting. These are short video tutorials to share my top tips for finessing your socks . . .

Casting On

I tend to use double-pointed needles (DPNs) to knit socks. At first, this can be a bit like wrestling a hedgehog! My video tutorial on the long-tail cast on for DPNs will absolutely steer you to victory over the spikes. The trick is to cast on all of your stitches to the one needle, before redistributing them.

Weaving in Ends

Weaving in ends is one of those things that can really make or break how a finished project looks. There are endless ways to deal with ends in your knitting, but this is the method I prefer for tucking them out of sight in ribbing. Perfect for the cuff of a sock.

Two Techniques for Avoiding Ladders

Having sailed through the cuff and woven in your cast-on end, then you will be knitting round and round through the leg of your sock. This is one of the best bits! A needle of stitches here, a few rounds there, you can dip in and out as you please.

The question I get asked most frequently in relation to sock knitting is how to avoid those pesky ladders appearing when you switch from one needle to the next. Happily it’s an easy fix, and I have not one, but two tricks up my sleeve to magic away any looseness in those stitches.

It’s all about the tug! Arranging your needles so that they are nice and snug, and then giving the second stitch a tug helps to ensure that your stitches stay nice and consistent, even when you change needles.

If that doesn’t cure your ladders, then moving your stitches will do the trick. Our second avoiding ladders video tutorial will show you how:

I hope that those short videos will get you inspired to start your sock knitting adventures. I have lots more sock knitting video tutorials over on my website here. And more tutorials covering magic loop sock knitting are in the works!

In the meantime, why not pick up a skein of sock yarn and cast on?

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About The Author

We think Jen Arnall-Culliford is flat-out brilliant. Jen is one of the knitting world’s superb technical editors and teachers, and the star of the tutorial videos.

Cheerful. Cool headed. Supersmart. To take lessons from Jen ups our knitting game, every time.


  • I love love love sock knitting, and wear and/or gift them with wild abandon! Thank you for tips! Love the colors, too!

  • Perfect timing! Just what I needed!

  • I’m passing this along for my lil blog pals to come and checkout. Just leaving the new MDK name and to look up the topic

  • Jen, I have learned so much from your tutorials! Thank you for making me a better knitter. Now, could you do a little tutorial on that “magic” cast on for knitting toe up socks?

  • Thanks or these tips. I too love knitting socks (it’s the reason I learned) and I’ve just learned to live with the ladders when they happen

  • I love these tips! I am now working my way through the socks in Field Guide #11: Wanderlust. I am working on my second pair of toe-up socks, trying to perfect my techniques. I would love to hear tips for avoiding the dreaded hole at the corner of the heel.

    • Ah, Jen’s videos had popped up on my YouTube feed. I found the ladders one very helpful. And was so thankful to see them! I’ve seen other videos that reference Charlene Schurch’s method as referenced in Sensational Socks for fixing those holes.

    • Long time sock knitter here. I used to have the same problem, so here is the fix that works for me – after picking up the stitches for the gusset, when knitting your FIRST round, knit into the back of the first stitch on each needle in that round. It twists the stitch which sorts out any looseness.Hope this helps!

    • That is a good question, and I am happy to seek help from our experts on it, but I noticed that for me, several pairs of socks in, it just sort of stopped happening. I don’t know what I am doing differently, besides kind of glaring at it while I worked that part. I feel like maybe it needs to know who’s boss or something, like a terrier who gives up when cornered, not that I have experience of that.

  • Thanks for the weaving in ends tip. So many of my socks have the ends coming out with each wash. Hopefully this will cure it!

  • I’ve never had trouble with ladders, and I think it may be because I usually knit socks using 5 needles instead of 4.

  • Thanks so much for the casting on video. I had avoided knitting socks with dps because I couldn’t deal with all of the dangling needles shown in other videos. I sat right down, cast on, and around and around I am going.

  • I’m a veteran sock knitter, but bookmarking this none-the-less. Handy tips for easily overcoming the issues that nag all sock knitters. Thanks for the post!

  • Thank you for you videos. I am about to attempt my first sock. I’m not sure how to start so many choices for needles, for up for down. Yarn is pretty straight forward. I have watched Utube videos. There is no yarn shop in our town.

  • DPNs all the way! I am constantly being informed by the well intentioned how much happier and satisfied I’d be with magic loop as if they were doing me a favor. Nope. Quite familiar with that technique and much prefer my sticks, thank you

  • Thank you so much for your clear concise teaching! I have learned so many new things from you.

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