Challenge is relative

This morning I met up with local knitter friend Dilia, who is currently finishing her first pair of socks. I’ve done a few lessons with her and a friend over the last few months, since they wanted to build up some basic skills and look at doing some projects. Once they got into the building blocks of knit, purl, and even some simple cable twists, they said “how about socks? can you show us socks?” and my answer was of course, yes. Socks are great. More sock knitting can only be good.


I’m pretty sure there are knitters out there who would pale at the idea of taking on socks for their third project ever, but because I enjoy knitting challenges I am fully in favour of supporting it in others. And I think that in most cases with knitting, if you want the final product badly enough, you will learn the things you need to learn in order to complete it. So, I didn’t tell them until later that knitting in the round with DPNs, turning a heel, and learning two different decrease methods are not the usual early project steps for new knitters. Dude, you want to knit socks? Well heck, let’s knit some socks.


And lo and behold, Dilia now has her first complete sock and is half done the second one. (I do believe she is using Malabrigo Rios, so I give her full marks for yarn seelction). Here she’s using my Weekend Socks pattern, which if you’re looking for a relatively quick sock to practice on (or just a quick and warm pair of socks anyway), this one is available free and uses worsted weight wool. My own pair in Louet Gems worsted is a pair I tend to wear in place of slippers on cool days.


We then took a brief jaunt to Spun as well (I haven’t been in ages, despite their being more local to me than Toronto – the Toronto pull tends to be strong! – but their yarn selection continues to be pretty great) and she got herself set up with some fingering weight sock yarn and a pair of 2.75mm needles and is all ready to go for more knitting action. (I set her up with my Nice Ribbed Sock pattern as a stepping stone from the Weekend Socks – it’s also free and uses a ribbed pattern for a bit of interest and snug fit)

Anyhow, if there’s something you want to learn how to knit but have been putting it off, think of Dilia and how she knitted socks for her third project ever, and go ahead and knit that project, man. It’ll be so worth it.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!




  1. I fully support this too. A new project is both a good motivation and a good method for learning something new. And as I remind myself when I do such a thing: knitting, unlike many crafty pursuits, doesn’t wreck the materials as they are used up. If something doesn’t work, you can take it apart and try again with no loss whatsoever. So I say go boldly and fearlessly forth!

  2. I agree as well! At least yarn can be ripped out and re-used if you make a mistake; If only all crafts were like that! 😉


  3. craftsbythesea · ·

    Well done Dilia, I hope you had fun making them.

  4. Caitlyn · ·

    Congratulations to Dilia on her first pair of socks, and kudos to you for being such an encouraging and helpful teacher. Even through the Internet, Dilia feels like a kindred spirit: my first knitting project had cables, the second was socks, and the third and current is a sweater. I wanted the finished products, and it never occurred to me to declare something too hard to attempt, since you only learn by doing. To paraphrase comedian Stephen Wright: You can knit anything, if you’ve got the time.

  5. Congratulations Dilia! That’s very impressive!!!!

  6. Hee, hee socks were my second attempt at knitting. Finally after about six tries I finally got it.

  7. Anastasia · ·

    A friend of mine taught herself to knit (because of me, but with very little help from me) & for her first project made a pair of gloves. Gloves! They may not be very wearable, but she did say that she learned A LOT from the project.

    For my first pair of socks I blindly followed a pattern, knowing that they would not fit me, just to walk myself through the steps of making a pair of socks

  8. Well Im still figuring them out, but I love socks. Good on Dilaila!

  9. Glenna, thanks for an inspirational post. I didn’t think I could do the socks, but with your great instruction, your pattern that was clearly laid out, and some practice, I did it! FUN TIMES!

    Thanks to the commenters, too, for the encouragement and congrats. Knitting something that you want to wear/use makes so much sense to me now.

  10. Sarah JS · ·

    Dilia, congratulations on the socks! Way to go & may you sock it for oodles of years to come.
    Glenna – I’ve had great success with taking a teaspoon (or so) of raw LOCAL honey to combat seasonal pollen allergies. You want to find a source of honey that’s been collected nearby where you live. It has something to do with introducing the same pollens that make you sneeze (and your eyes itch, etc) in a way that your body can tolerate and adapt to. You could give it a try.
    And I wish I could take your class. My first attempt at knee socks is going slowly as I’m trying (once more) to get “just enough” at the calf gusset (toe up).

  11. Ha! Dilia, my second project were socks, too! Knitting them makes so much sense. I learned knitting from my grandmother (who’s happy to knit socks and scarves only) and became bored rather quickly halfway through my first scarf… Funny thing is that when I got to the heel, my grandmother was away on a trip and I couldn’t ask her how to do it – that was when I consulted some random web page to help me with my knitting for the first time. Have fun! 🙂

  12. Well done! I’m on my 91st project and have only tackled socks once. These weekend socks look like a great pattern and I think I will give them a go!

  13. There is something sweetly intense about a truly adventurous knitter 🙂

  14. Socks were my 3rd knitting project too! I knit a mess (to learn the basic knits and purls), then a scarf, then socks! It was the main reason I started to knit, I wanted to make socks. Kudos to your friends for being adventurous. 🙂

  15. That’s a great pair of first socks. Socks were maybe my third or fourth proper project (as in not just squares of garter and stockinette) after knitting a pair of fingerless gloves (knit flat), a baby cardigan and a caliometry. I figured I had to learn the skills at some point and I wanted to knit things that were useful whilst learning, no one died and I still have the socks. They were on DPNs and in sock yarn as well 😀 the worst that happens is having to rip out and start over, no big deal!

  16. Pretty, pretty socks. Yay for bold knitters! 😀 I think the very reason I feel less inhibited by trying new things with knitting is because you can indeed completely undo mistakes and re-work them. Easily. (Assuming, of course, that you didn’t use a crabby yarn.)

    I need to get on that sock thing. Maybe once I’ve finished one of two sweaters I’m working on. Three, if you count the Baby Surprise Jacket.

  17. Lovely first socks. I’m taking a lace shawl class as my first new knitterly thing this year.

  18. Holy smokes, that’s awesome! Love those socks, and love that they were up for a challenge.

  19. When I started knitting, I didn’t know that socks were scary. My friend was knitting socks and that’s why I wanted to learn. It was only afterwards that I discovered that people couldn’t believe socks were my first project (fingering weight with 2.5mm dpns). It’s amazing the things you can do when you don’t know that they are supposed to be hard 🙂

  20. Eve in GA · ·

    Way to go, Dilia! Enjoy your lovely socks!

    I started with socks–out of need. Living in Georgia (USA), wool socks are hard to come by. I had bought some around1999-2000, but by 2007, some had disappeared. With non-woolen socks, my feet perspire and knock us all out with the odor. Wool socks eliminate that problem. So, when I couldn’t find more, I told my husband to take me to the store for needles, yarn and a pattern—I’d make my own. Didn’t matter that I didn’t know how to knit. I was going to do it! LOL!! Thank goodness for online videos for the parts I couldn’t “get” from the written instructions.

    Sock-knitting is an ongoing thing for me now. I have 37 pairs of socks I’ve knitted for myself, 5 pairs for my husband, and about 14 other pairs have been gifted to friends and family. Socks don’t scare me—everything else does. LOL!! Well, I HAVE done a few scarves, quite a few preemie hats, and, this winter, a lovely lace cowl for a friend’s birthday.

    Now to get up the courage to try the sweaters I want to make. Eve in GA

  21. I’m currently knitting an afghan which, while the pattern is quite easy, is still a huge and long-term undertaking, and is a bit silly to start a merino blanket in April but hey! I’m doing it anyways because I WANT to knit an afghan NOW, that’s why 😀

  22. Knit socks early – that way nothing else will intimidate a new knitter. Well, one thing perhaps: Knitting a cardigan in the round and then having to cut through the steeks! That’s always a big step.

  23. christine m. east of toronto · ·

    hey glenna, thanks for the boost! we should all challenge ourselves and thanks for reminding this long time knitter of that fact!

  24. tiffany · ·

    Socks were my second knitting project. I work my socks on 2 circulars and from the cuff down. It was a challange but that was 2 years ago and Ive made quite a few pairs for family and friends. Socks are a wonderful project to learn something new and challenging. Good Luck to all that try to knit socks, you can do it!

  25. Thanks so much for this post, it has inspired me to start my first pair of socks! I’m a pretty confident knitter but have avoided socks because they seemed so daunting! My next cast on will for sure be the Weekend Socks:-)

  26. You can do it, Heather! The first pair of socks can be a bit tricky, but after that you’ll be sailing. 😉


  27. I learned fom my grandma how to knit and purl and then I knitted my first sock…. but then the second sock syndrome hit me…. 😉

  28. i just had to comment! I love your blog, and the tutorials. I have been a knitter for just a couple years, and have done just about anything that I see that I really like. my first project (a ribbed scarf) never made it past 5 inches. then it was hats for my kids, and next was a mini keychain sock! I had no idea socks were advanced, I just knew I wanted to try it and did not want to invest a lot of time or yarn into it if it turned out above my level. I made that little sock, and found out at the LYS that little is actually tougher than going big, and my first ‘real’ sock was a breeze to me. thanks to internet tutorials, YouTube, and the kindness of knitters no project has been too much, I’m going for lace now actually. so, thank you for all the work you do and the inspiration of your words. for a girl in a small town without relatives or a knitting group near by you are a lifeline!

  29. Yay for socks! When I got serious about knitting, socks were the main thing I wanted to learn. Whenever I think, “I need to get back to knitting more,” I almost always mean socks. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: