what I learned from knitting my first pair of socks

by | Mar 18, 2021 | Artistic Endeavors, Yarn Crafts | 24 comments

Just a quick note before I get into knitting socks today.  There are more details at the bottom of this post and answers to FAQs if you’re planning to shop the art/art supplies sale this evening.

I’ll start off by declaring that I’m totally in love with knitting.  I like to crochet, but I really love knitting.  They are so similar, so I’m not sure why I prefer knitting over crochet, but I am really enjoying it and I’m excited about getting better.  I have dreams of making all sorts of fun things to wear, but I have so much to learn before I’m ready to put the time and money into garments larger than socks, hats, and mittens.  I’ll get there, though.

 Since I successfully finished knitting my first pair of socks, I thought I would share what I learned.

knitting socks | project bag | miss mustard seed

I dove right in and decided to work on double-pointed needles.  While many people told me they prefer circular needles, it seemed like getting comfortable on DPNs would be a good skill to learn.  Now that I’ve made a pair and I’m halfway through another, I can say that I am very comfortable working on DPNs, so I wouldn’t shy away from any projects that utilized them.

I knew I needed to find a simple pattern that also had a video tutorial, so I could SEE the pattern in action.  When I’m just reading it, it doesn’t always click for me.  TA least as a beginner.  I’m starting to understand the patterns better.  I followed THIS video tutorial, which was easy to follow and I think a great place to start working on DPNs and making socks.  (She also has tutorials for making socks on circular needles if you prefer going that route.)

knitting socks for beginners | miss mustard seed

My first tip would be – just make the socks.  I did unravel my first sock about eight times as I was learning how to do the ribbing, but once I really got going, I wasn’t going to stop unless I made a catastrophic knitting error.  I made mistakes and you can see where my rows are uneven and stitches are snagged or skipped, but none of these issues would prevent these from functioning as socks!

I just kept going, knowing that this pair was practice.  If they fit on my feet and resembled socks, that was a win.  And both of those boxes were checked when I finished.

knitting socks for beginners | miss mustard seed

(The slouchy socks and rolled-up jeans are a pretty proper 80s look.)

They looked like they would be tiny baby socks when I first started, but when I switched to a knit stitch, the fabric flattened out and I could see that these were going to be big and slouchy.  Once I was finished, I realized I had used 2.75mm needles instead of 2.25 needles!

knitting vanilla socks for beginners | miss mustard seed

So, I’m making another pair with the right-sized needles and they are looking like they’ll fit much better.  Since I don’t have enough blue yarn left to make a pair of socks, I decided to mix a couple of colors.  I actually wish I had done this on the first pair because it makes it easier to see my rows.  I can already tell that my knitting is getting neater and more consistent.

knitting socks | miss mustard seed

Initially, I was worried that the metal DPNs would just slip out as I was working, but they don’t.  I never had that happen once.  I did accidentally pull out a needle, thinking it was my working needle!  I would tell Jeff and the boys to stop everything and hold their breath as I tried to thread the needle through the loose loops.  AHHHH!  I did it again!  Hold your breath, everyone!  Are you holding your breath?!?

I haven’t done that as I’ve been working on the second pair, because I’m a little wiser from the experience.

knitting socks | project bag | miss mustard seed

I have a fun little stash of sock yarn, so I’m planning on making socks through the summer since they are small and light.  Once we get back into fall, I have a few mitten, hat, and scarf patterns I’d like to make.

knitting socks | project bag | miss mustard seed

If you’re interested, THIS is the wool-blend sock yarn I’m using for knitting these socks.  (They have the blue/gray, but I’m not seeing the mustard in stock.)  I have a few other brands to try, though, so I don’t have a favorite to declare, yet.  This particular one is soft and washes well, but it pills like crazy if you try to put it in the dryer, so these are definitely machine-wash/air-dry socks with this yarn.

I upgraded to THESE DPNs and they are much nicer than the cheaper ones I purchased at Michael’s.  Those bent when I was working on tighter stitches, which was probably “operator error” more than anything else.

The project bags are from Dunn by Designs Etsy shop.

If you’re interested, you can find other knitting-related posts here…

Organizing the Studio | Sorting the Yarn

Helpful Resources for Knitting Beginners

The original art and used art supplies sale is this evening at 7:00 pm CST.  If you’re an international shopper, just remember that we’re on daylight savings time.

The sale will be held on this website.  You can get to the shop HERE or get there through the nav bar at the top.  It’s under “shop” and “shop artwork.”  Here’s a graphic showing exactly where it is…

If you’d like to speed things up at checkout, you can create an account ahead of time.  You can create an account or log in by clicking HERE or navigating through the far right side of the navbar.

For the paintings, shipping is set up for orders to Europe, UK, and Canada.  We’re working on getting a shipping zone set up for Australia/NZ as well.  Technically, if you’re not in the US, you can place an order for one of the used art supply listings.  I am discouraging that, because I think the shipping costs could outweigh the savings, but if you are willing to pay additional shipping charges (perhaps it’s for something you can’t get in your country), then just place the order and we’ll work it out!

I also wanted to give a head’s up that items in your cart are not reserved.  You must complete the checkout to secure the purchase.  For that reason, I would suggest you buy the thing you want most and then browse around for more after that first purchase is complete.  Since there is free US shipping on all of the listings, it will not cost you any more to have more than one transaction.  (If you’re an international buyer, I will refund any additional shipping charges.)  I will combine any multiple orders and ship them together.

And, lastly, if you do have a painting “swiped” from your cart, just send me an e-mail with a screenshot of the painting(s) you wanted.  (marian@missmustardseed.com)  I can create a similar work for you if you’d like to make a commission request.   I do have a bit of a backlog, though, so it will take me a while to get to it.  I know it can be so disappointing to miss out on a one-of-a-kind piece that speaks to you, so I want to try to accommodate customers.  I will also be listing some of the larger works on Society6 for those who want to order prints.  You can find my shop HERE.


  1. L L BROWN

    Have you seen the self patterning random coloured sock yarn, I love using it, it makes wonderful patterns.

  2. Cheryl

    Nice first job on the socks. When you are super comfortable doing them you might want to look into doing two socks at a time on two circular needles. The fun part of that is when you are done both socks are done!
    Knitting is an awesome craft.

  3. Sharon

    So happy for you. My first attempt at knitting was a dog sweater with a cable stitch down the middle. Thought I would never ever get that thing done. I have knitted baby booties, but that is now the extend of my knitting!! I have a hard time keeping track of stitches, my brain just doesn’t like it; so I decided to stick with painting which doesn’t require me to keep tract of stitches. lol You are so talented; keep it up.

  4. Addie

    I’d say you nailed it pretty darn quick!!!
    I am a crocheter. I tried knitting and it hurt my arm and shoulder…but I can crochet for hours on end!! Interesting you say you prefer knitting over crochet. It seems harder to learn to me.
    Good luck on your projects…..do you ever sleep?

  5. Margaret

    In my before-days knitting I made socks All The Time. I am ashamed to admit that there are a couple of UFOs from those days that I think I will frog and start over. One pair I had tried on bamboo needles after years of using the same set of DPNs, and got terminally frustrated; even though they were the same size needles I got a different gauge, and they didn’t fit. I’m going to go back to my Old Reliables when I start socks again, although I may try Flexi-Flips, which are DPNs with a silicone bit in the middle so it’s a bit less like trying to knit on a porcupine.
    Since starting again in the fall, I’ve made a large blanket, several ear bands, a hat, and a pair of fingerless mitts. I also made a pair of mittens and another ear band that I frogged, since the mittens had too many mistakes and the ear band looked amateurish. The lesson I learned from the mittens, which would also apply to socks, is: don’t make the second till you’re happy with the first. Just keep ripping.
    As my friend Susan likes to say, if you keep frogging you can use the same wool over and over. Saves money.

  6. Margaret Langenberg

    I used to knit so much I had permanent calluses on both fingertips. I learned to knit from someone who sold patterns to knitting magazines as a free class. I think I will take it up once again as it is a soothing hobby to work on. I found out years after my Grandma died that she could knit but never taught any of her daughters how to knit only crochet. I asked my one aunt why that was. She said it was her job as the oldest daughter to knit the argyle socks for everyone to last the entire winter. It was a family of 8, so I imagine it was a lot of socks on the circular needles. I never could pick up crochet though.

  7. Katie

    So is the sale at 7 pm Central Standard Time (CST) or Central Daylight Time (CDT)? We just had the time change back to daylight savings, so ????

  8. jphillips8410

    Well for the art sale I had two things in my cart and went immediately to check out and within the 1 second I went to check out they were unavailable I could see them in my cart. I preregistered. Got all my “ducks in a row” and lost the opportunity. . Not exactly sure how this could happen but between last time and this I’m done. I’ll just have to admire from afar

  9. aharreld26

    Hello! I am a middle schooler who loves all types of art and I have wanted to pick up knitting or crochet. Which would you recommend starting with? You said that you liked knitting more then crocheting but do you think that it is easier? I was also wondering what all you kept in the knitting journal that was in the picture above. Your blog always gives me so much inspiration. Thank you!

    • Margaret

      I’ll chime in here, even though I’m not Marian. If you want to make things to wear (sweaters, socks, mittens) knitting will be more useful for you. Hats and scarves. as well as throw blankets, can be either knitted or crocheted.
      I really prefer knitting, even for the hats and blankets, since I prefer the way the fabric feels and drapes, and I find the motion more relaxing, and I enjoy designing colorwork.
      Or you could just learn both!

      • aharreld26

        That is super helpful. Thank you so much!

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, thank you so much! Good for you for nurturing your creative soul and trying new types of art. I don’t think one is necessarily easier than the other, but crochet is definitely more forgiving and I think you can make projects as a beginner sooner. You can have some snags and uneven rows and it’ll still be passable. I did a lot of unraveling when I first started knitting! There are some tutorials on my blog for crochet dishcloths that are great for beginners and might be a good place to start. I think it’s fun when you have something to show for your work and time right away.

      As far as the knitting journal, I tape in a piece of the yarn and write the information that’s on the band – what size needles/hooks to use, the material, how to wash it, etc. I’ll even write down notes about where I bought it, why I bought it, etc. I also write down patterns and other crochet/knitting notes. It’s a fun way to keep a record of what you buy, make, and create. If you start keeping one, you’ll treasure looking back at it one day. 🙂

      • aharreld26

        Thank you so much for replying! I cannot wait to get started!

  10. csmith

    Hello Marian…I added two items to my “cart” during the art sale, but did not see where I could check out and pay for them….did I miss something? So disappointed I missed getting the items…wasn’t sure if I would be invoiced by email or how it worked.

  11. Anita Sams

    I just knew you would love knitting! Knit fabric has a finer grain than crochet and makes warmer wearable items like socks, mittens, etc. The negative thing about using circular needles for socks mittens, etc. is that when done, you have to finish with a seam. DP needles make the garments seamless…..Funny story, years ago, while my husband and I were dating, I knit a lovely pair of wool, argyle socks for him. He wore them once, then his mother washed them in hot water, and threw them into the dryer…. Heartbreaking!!!;-)

  12. Teresa

    I recently knitted my first pair of socks. I couldn’t decide whether to use circular needles or dpns so I worked one of each and worked on them at the same time so I’d finish a pair. They matched! I would recommend this approach. I think I may prefer dpns, but I’m more confident with both methods now.

  13. B Folk

    My grandmother could knit, crochet, darn, and tat (and sew). She taught me how to knit when I was a child, but I never really took the time to make anything other than practice bits, so I have totally forgotten. If I ever get time (in my 80’s, maybe) I will try again:)
    The photo of your newly-knitted socks on your feet is just too cute!

  14. Jo

    I love your pattern. Is there a place to print out the directions? Also, if you get the multicolored yarn, it makes very interesting patterns. Just one thing – make sure you note exactly where on the skein you start your first sock so you can start the second in the same place. Otherwise they won’t match. Not important to everyone, but I want mine to match.

    • Marian Parsons

      Great tip! You can find the printed instructions for the sock pattern in the description of the video tutorial I linked to. She sells it on Etsy or Ravelry for $2.00.

      • Jo

        Perfect! Thanks.

  15. Margot

    Your socks look great! I love them! I picked up knitting socks while waiting in the pick-up line for my kids to get out of middle school. It was a great little project for the car. The one thing I would do differently is to knit my socks a little smaller as mine were more difficult to slip into shoes than readymade socks. And for me, I like Clover’s bamboo dpn’s as the yarn doesn’t slip off quite so easily – one circumstance where that is an advantage. Otherwise I’ve become a fan of ChiaoGoo needles – a price performer for me.

    Keep up the good work and enjoy!

  16. Anita

    Is one skein of yarn enough for a pair of socks?

    • Marian Parsons

      I needed about 1 1/4 of a 50g ball for each of these socks.

  17. Bonnie

    Socks are a wonderful way in a small project to learn a lot. On the subject of double pointed needles, if your yarn is slippery, get a set of wood ones. I only use wood because I find metal will just fall out. if you use a lot of light colors, dark needles will show up your stitches better and vice versa with dark colors and light needles. You eyes will thank you. You can try a long circular. I have some from knit picks that I really like and they are very reasonable. The cords are nice and flexible which is essential. I do all my socks on a long circular using the magic loop method. Two needle points opposed to 8 needle points. You are able to try your socks on with toe up. I have made a lot of socks and am a sock knitting nut.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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