So you want to knit socks? To start off on the right foot, you need the right stuff. You won’t need many tools in order to knit socks and they need not be expensive, but you will want to choose carefully to avoid frustration down the line.
The most important and the only really necessary tool for sock knitters? No surprise there: knitting needles! Knitting needles are available in a variety of materials. Which material you choose is part personal preference and part practicality. Are you a new knitter or new to knitting socks? Try using wooden needles, as they have a bit of grab to them and will cling to your stitches. If you are using a particularly slippery yarn, such as some silk blends, a wooden needle will be less likely to slip out of your stitches as you work.
As you gain experience and want to speed up your knitting, you can switch to faster, metal needles, which, because of their smooth surface, allow stitches to slide off the tips quickly and smoothly. If you are using a yarn with some texture, you might want to sue metal instead of wood needles because the yarn won’t cling to the smooth surface of the metal needles. If you have a tendency to snap wooden needles, try using metal needles. You’ll be hard-pressed to break those. Do metal needles seem too cold? Try needles that warm up with your body heat, such as wood or plastic. There’s no rule that says you have to use the same needles for every sock you knit. Knit with the needles that work best for the yarn you are using.
Although needles should be your number one concern, there are other tools you can use to make your sock knitting life easier.
You general will not need a stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round when knitting socks, because the beginning of the round will be at a junction between needles. Stitch markers can be useful nevertheless. If your sock pattern has pattern repeats or is complicated, use stitch markers to set out each design element of the pattern. In a pinch, use circles cut from a plastic drinking straw or tie yarn of a contrasting color into a loop on your needle.
These can be used to shape your socks after washing. To block or not to block? That is the question. Truthfully, when I wash my socks, I do not block them because I figure that they block out nicely on the actual foot. But if you keep a photographic record of your sock knitting like I do, sock blockers are a great way to display your sock masterpieces.