No More Excuses: Cast On a Pair of Handspun Socks

I’ve made dozens of pairs of handknitted socks, and I live by the motto, “Always have a pair on the needles.” But I have a confession: I’ve never knit a pair of handspun socks.

Elizabeth Prose Dec 4, 2023 - 2 min read

No More Excuses: Cast On a Pair of Handspun Socks Primary Image

Combining Columbia with a cabled-yarn construction yields a wonderfully round, supple yarn—perfect for knitting the plump cables in these Double-Cable Socks for Spinners by Kate Larson. Photo by George Boe

National Sock Day? Yeah, it’s a thing! Observed each December 4th in the United States, this day seems like a fitting time to revisit a few tips for spinning yarn for socks! —Editors

How hard could it be to spin for an adult-size pair of handspun socks? I’ve given handspun socks a lot of thought, but when it comes to casting on, I begin overthinking the whole project. Knitting with my precious handspun yarn has me skimming magazines, sock-knitting books, and Ravelry for a plan to use every inch of yarn.

The time has come to get over my handspun-sock hang-up and cast on.

Debbie Held’s favorite fiber for her handspun, handknitted socks is Targhee. Photos by Debbie Held

Debbie Held planted the seed for spinning and knitting socks when she wrote about how she favors Targhee fiber for handspun, handknitted socks. And when I read Devin Helmen’s adaptation of their great aunt’s method for knitting socks in the Winter 2018 issue of Spin Off, I knew I could spin for a great pair of socks. Devin prefers to spin a tightly plied two-ply yarn on a low-whorl spindle for sock yarn.

Devin plied the yarn for their handspun socks with a 45-degree twist angle for better wear. Photos by George Boe.

Debbie Held offers a few more tips that she learned while knitting socks using her handspun—a fractally-divided, traditional 3-ply, suspended-spindle-spun Corriedale.

Don’t hoard your handspun—now’s a perfect time to put it to use by knitting up a pair of socks. Find lots of sock inspiration here. Happy spinning!

Elizabeth Prose is a former associate editor of Spin Off.

Originally published February 27, 2018; updated December 4, 2023.