My Favorite Needles for Knitting Socks

One thing a lot of knitters struggle with is picking the right needles for knitting socks. When you’re working with such a small circumference, things can get fiddly. When I first started knitting socks, I only knew double-pointed needles. I used them for hats, for sleeves, for socks, you name it. If it was small and circular, I went to my DPNs.


Eventually, I discovered circular needles for the hats and larger items, but at the time, nobody was making tiny circular needles for socks yet. I tried magic loop and two circulars, but neither of those methods ever really clicked for me.  Then, I saw somebody on the internet using a pair of teeny tiny circular needles to knit their socks. It felt like my world had been blown wide open.

How I Fell in Love with Small Circular Needles

With the small circular needles, I have to do less adjusting as I move around the circumference of the sock. Less time spent on rearranging stitches means more time spent knitting. Speed isn’t everything, but when you’re trying to keep up with a busy self-publication schedule, it’s nice to have a way to streamline the process a bit. It’s also easier to toss a sock in my purse and go if it’s on tiny circular needles compared to double-pointed needles.

One thing to be aware of: the tiny circular needles have very small tips. Some knitters have reported that these small circular needles make their hands feel cramped. This isn’t something I’ve experienced, but I also have small hands generally. For me, tiny needles were a little bit of an adjustment (I use the 9″ circular steel needles from ChiaoGoo), but once I got the hang of them, however, my hands felt just fine.

Why I Still Love Double-Pointed Needles

Tiny circular needles, however, have the same limitation that all circular needles have: the cable means you can’t totally close up the tube you’re working on. For closing toes, nothing beats my trusty double-pointed needles. I also like double-pointed needles for working on heels. That allows me to leave half the sock resting on the small circular needle and have a wider range of motion as my heel flap or short-row heel grows.

Do What Works For You

This system of two different needle types works great for me, but you might find you prefer a different style of sock knitting. Maybe you’re a Magic Looper who loves doing toe-up, two-at-a-time socks. It could be you love old-school DPNs. Perhaps you’ve mastered those new-fangled Flexiflips (I gotta try those out). Whatever your preferred sock-knitting style may be, it’s valid!

Curious to learn more about knitting or to dig deeper into needles for sock knitting? Click on through for tutorials, free patterns, technique tips, and more.

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