The art of sock knitting has gone in and out of favour for decades. Once a popular skill to learn at primary school, not many schoolchildren are taught to knit now.


While there may be no urgent need today to send socks to soldiers, hand-knitted socks still make a lovely gift for a new baby, relative, friend or as a treat for oneself!

Whatever your reason for making socks, these days practicality is key. Time is precious, so it’s important not to waste it knitting something that won’t last, or worse – can’t be used at all! More often than not, it comes down to the choice of yarn, so choose yours wisely using our expert tips. Read on to learn more.

silk yarns

1. Hand-knitted socks need to be hard-wearing so delicate fibres such as silk, cashmere and bamboo are best avoided. They won’t last long and you will soon find holes are starting to appear.

2. Keep your toes cosy by picking a strong fibre blend sock yarn for the winter months. Alpaca, wool or mohair blends will create a snug warmth. You also have to consider aftercare.

3. Socks don’t have to be worn for very long before they need washing and modern living is all about convenience. Constant hand-washing would be very cumbersome, so up the level of washability – and wear – by selecting a wool-mix sock yarn that contains a small amount of man-made fibre (nylon is best).

washing machine

4. When making your choice of yarn, check the care advice lablel carefully. You need to note washing instructions for yourself and, if you’re gifting the finished article to a non-knitter, they may not realise how beautiful hand-knits need to be treated.

5. A pretty handwritten cardboard label with care advice looks lovely and will give your recipient all the relevant information on how to care for their new gift.

Multicoloured yarn

6. Lastly, consider your colours! Pale shades will show dirt quickly so a deep, rich shade is preferable. Self-striping yarns (see picture, above) are great fun and will automatically generate stripes in your knitting as you go, hassle-free!