Whether you’re a seasoned knitter or brand new to the craft, knitting socks can seem like a daunting task—all those teenie tiny stitches, right? But free sock knitting pattern for beginners is perfect for knitters looking to try their hand at sock-making because they’re made with worsted weight yarn! So you can know in no time if sock knitting is for you!
With the right pattern and guidance, knitting socks can be a fulfilling project that yields cozy, handmade accessories. With step-by-step instructions and helpful tips, you’ll have your own pair of warm and comfy socks in no time!
Sock Knitting For Beginners
Sock knitting may seem intimidating at first, because of the million tiny stitches and something about the heel… Not sure how or why, but turning it is terrifying… or so the legend goes.
But handmade socks are nothing to be afraid of.
Learning to turn a heel or close a toe is a great way to expand your knitting skills and create a fabulously cozy sock you’ll want to wear all the time.
This free sock knitting pattern is designed with beginners in mind, providing clear instructions and helpful tips to guide you through each step of the process. With a little practice, you’ll be tackling fingering weight socks in no time.
Choosing the Right Yarn for Sock Knitting
When it comes to knitting socks, choosing the right yarn can make all the difference in the final product. Typically, sock yarn is a blend of wool and nylon for durability.
Wool provides warmth and breathability—and most crucially, elasticity—while nylon adds strength and resistance to wear and tear.
Be wary of fully cotton yarn for sock knitting. Cotton is inelastic, so getting your socks to stay up and fit will will be more difficult—though this can be somewhat counteracted with a pattern that provides elasticity through ribbing or other knit/purl combinations. Cotton also retains water for a longer time than wool, leaving you with potentially sweaty feeling feet.
Similarly, fully acrylic yarns should be used for socks with caution. Acrylic loses its elasticity quickly, leaving you with floppy socks. And acrylic yarn has NO breathability… imagine wrapping 5 grocery bags around each foot and then wearing them all day. No thanks! Instead save the acrylic for other awesome accessories like hats and scarves.
By selecting the right kind of sock yarn, you’ll be sure to create comfortable, long-lasting socks that can withstand daily use.
Worsted Weight Socks: A Gateway Sock Knitting Pattern for Beginners
I have to admit something. Up until a few months ago, I hated knitting socks.
I’d only knit one pair—also a free sock knitting pattern for beginners—but it was not a good experience. These vanilla socks took foreeeeeevvvvvveeeeerrrrr (because I was bored out of my mind) and when I finally finished, they didn’t fit… in any direction.
So 3 years passed and I did not knit another sock. I didn’t want to. I didn’t get it.
But everyone around me did.
I don’t know if it was FOMO or that as a designer I want to design what people what to knit, but last year, I figured I should give socks another try.
But I was not dealing with that little fingering weight stuff again. No way. So I learned a whole lot more about socks, and designed the Desert Sage Socks: a quick and easy worsted weight sock knitting pattern.
It wasn’t a bad experience. But I was still dubious about legit fingering weight socks.
I waited almost another year. And then Knit Picks sent me so reeeeeally pretty yarn. And it finally convinced me.
I started knitting socks in January, and now at the beginning of March, I’m halfway through my fifth pair.
So consider this free sock knitting pattern for beginners a gateway drug. Try only if you’re willing to get hooked. (You’re going to love it!)
Details for the Free Sock Knitting Pattern for Beginners
Finished Circumference: 7 (8, 9)”/18 (20, 23) cm Toe-to-Heel Base Length: 9”/23 cm, fully customizable
The free pattern below is for the 7”/18 cm circumference only. Sign up to get a copy of the premium pattern for all 3 sizes + notes, photos, & a beautiful design.
165 (190, 215) yds/150 (175, 195) m total in a sturdy worsted weight yarn
110 (125, 145) yds/100 (115, 130) m – MC
55 (65, 70) yds/50 (60, 65) m – CC
Recommended Yarn for this Beginner-Friendly Free Sock Knitting Pattern
Knit Picks High Desert Worsted Weight (100% USA Grown Shank Wool) 217 yds/ 198 m, 100g – 1 in Dusk (MC) and 1 in Lupine (CC)
Needles & Notions
US 6/4.50 mm – Magic Loop or preferred method of small circumference knitting (or needles needed to obtain gauge!)
Stitch markers, tapestry needle
22.5 sts & 36 rnds = 4”/10 cm, stockinette in the round, after blocking
Techniques to Enjoy In This Free Sock Knit Pattern
Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off
Knitting in the round
Glossary for the Free Sock Knitting Pattern for Beginners
BO – bind off
CC – contrast color
CO – cast on
k – knit
k2tog – knit 2 sts together
MC – main color
M1L – make one left – Insert the left needle from front to back into the horizontal bar between your last worked stitch and the next stitch to be worked. Knit the back leg of the loop (which twists the bar to the left)
M1R – make one right – Insert the left needle from back to front into the horizontal bar between your last worked stitch and the next stitch to be worked. Knit the front leg of the loop (which twists the bar to the right)
p – purl
rep – repeat
Sl – slip stitch purlwise
ssk – one at a time, slip the next 2 sts knitwise; return the sts to the lefthand needles, and knit them together through the back loops
Special Techniques for Beginner Knit Sock Patterns
Judy’s Magic Cast On
This CO is worked over two needles side-by-side to create a seamless beginning to the toe. Check out the written, photo, & video tutorial! It’s method number 4 in the Ultimate Guide To Provisional Cast On: 4 Easy Methods on nurtureknitwear.com
Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off
This is a great cuff BO because the extra YO while binding off provides a lot of stretch without providing a ton of flare. Watch the BO in action in Bloomingknitter’s YouTube video: Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off – Tutorial – Knitting Blooms.
Wrap & Turn – w&t
This is a quick and easy way to create short rows. Check out the written, photo, & video tutorial How to Wrap and Turn in Knitting on nurtureknitwear.com (available Monday).
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Desert Sage Socks: The Free Knitting Pattern For Beginners
Using CC, CO 20 sts (10 sts on each needle) using Judy’s Magic Cast On.
Round 1: * K1, M1R, k across needle to last st, M1L, k1, rep from * on second needle – 24 sts.
Round 2: K around.
Repeat Rounds One & Two 5 more times – 44 sts (22 sts on each needle).
Round 1: K across first needle; k1, M1R, k across second needle to last st, M1L, k1 – 46 sts (22 sts on the first needle, 24 st on the second needle).
Round 2: K around.
To shorten the free sock knit pattern: Remove up to 1”/2.5 cm of length in the first 12 rounds. If further shortening is needed, you can omit one or more repeats of Rounds 13-17.
Round 1: Using MC, k around.
Rounds 2-12: * P2, k2, rep from * to last two sts on first needle, p2; k across second needle.
Round 13: Using CC, k around.
Round 14: Repeat Round 2.
Rounds 15: Using MC, k around.
Rounds 16-17: Repeat Round 2.
Repeat Rounds 13-17 three more times, and Rounds 13-15 one additional time. Cut CC.
To lengthen: Repeat Round 1 once, then repeat Round 2 until 3.25”/8 cm less than desired length.
Round 1: * P2, k2, rep from * to last two sts on first needle, p2; k1, M1R, k to last st on the second needle, M1L, k1 – 48 (54, 60) sts.
Round 2: * P2, k2, rep from * to last two sts on first needle, p2; k across.
Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 eight more times – 64 sts (22 sts on first needle, 42 sts on second needle).
Set Up 1 (Partial Round): Using MC, * p2, k2, rep from * to last two sts on first needle, p2; drop but do not cut MC using CC, sl 4, k25, w&t.
Set Up 2: P16, w&t.
Short Row 1: K to 1 st before previous w&t st, w&t.
Short Row 2: P to 1 st before previous w&t st, w&t.
Repeat Short Rows 1 & 2 six more times (4 sts at the top after the last w&t).
In this section, you’ll be decreasing 1 MC st on each short row (the MC st will be slanted behind the CC st). At the end of all short rows, you will have decreased all the sts that were added in the gusset section.
Short Row 1: K to the last w&t st, ssk – 41 sts on second needle.
Short Row 2: P to the last w&t st, p2tog – 40 sts on second needle.
Short Row 3: K to 1 st before the previous ssk, ssk – 39 sts on second needle.
Short Row 4: P to 1 st before the previous p2tog, p2tog – 38 sts on second needle.
Repeat Short Rows 3 & 4 seven more times – 24 sts on second needle (46 sts total). Cut CC.
Slip the 4 MC sts of the row on the right needle back to the left. Pick up MC to finish the partial round from Turn Heel. K across second needle.
Rounds 1-3: * P2, k2, rep from * to last two sts on first needle, p2; k across second needle.
For shorties (as pictured), skip to Cuff. All other sizes, repeat Round 1 until 1”/2.5 cm less than desired length. Cut MC.
Round 1: K around.
Round 2: * P2, k2, rep from * around.
For shorties, repeat Round 2 two more times. All other sizes of the free sock knit pattern, repeat Round 2 for 1”/2.5 cm.
BO all sts using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off or preferred stretchy BO method.
Finishing the Free Sock Knitting Pattern for Beginners
Weave in ends and wet block to measurements.
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What’s Next in Your Sock Knitting Journey?
Congratulations, you have successfully completed your first pair of knitted socks using this free sock knitting pattern for beginners! You are amazing!
But did you know that there’s a world of different sock styles out there? Each one will get you a slightly different fit and create a different knitting experience. So keep practicing, learning, and exploring different techniques and styles to discover what works best for you!
If you’re considering taking your sock knitting to the next level, then join me this summer for a Summer of Socks Knit A Long (more details coming soon)! This would be the perfect time to try your hand at fingering weight socks because you can get answers in real time from an awesome group of knitters who are working on the same pattern!
Join my email list below to get a free PDF of all sizes of the Desert Sage Sock knitting pattern and stay up to date on all Summer of Socks info!