How to Knit a Neck Sock

neck sockI used size nine circular knitting needles.  Pattern must be a multiple of 4.  I would recommend a medium to heavy yarn, pick what you like.  To get the correct number of stitches make a test square one inch wide and count the number of stitches, multiply by the size of your head (or a little less as the scarf stretches.)  The first couple rows may be very tight, depending on your needle length, but it should loosen up as you get a couple rows on.

Pattern:

  • Knit 2, Purl 2 for 2 1/2 inches
  • Knit for 9 inches (or more)
  • Knit 2, Purl 2 for 4 inches

This gives a nice springy neck sock that you can pull over your face or scrunch down on your neck.

Ha! James let me take a picture of him!  This scarf works very well for guys as it is totally non-fussy.  Guys like things that require no thinking or adjusting.

Update #1  After a few months of wearing: James has requested that follow up neck socks be a bit longer in the middle section so he can double them up for additional wind protection.

Update #2: There have been several great questions asked.  Check out the comments for more information.

My thanks to tipnut.com for featuring this post, go visit them if you have a moment.  It’s a cool site!

If you don’t feel like knitting one for yourself and are interested in having me make this for you, I do accept orders.  Please visit the Shop portion of my site for details.

If you are looking for another great beginner knitting project, check out How to Knit a Basket Weave Stitch.  Or if you have ever tackled a project that was too big for you fear not, we all do.  I have have managed to turn what should have been the simplest blanket ever into a real doozie. Feel free to head over here and laugh at me for a while.

Ooooohhhh, just made the cutest crochet baby gift.  I now present little ducky.ducky

helmetliner_photoIf you have the time and talent, please consider a second project.  The folks over at CitzenSAM need helmet liners and scarves (among other things).  Please see their website for a full pattern and details as their instructions are very detailed and you do need to follow directions carefully to participate.

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26 Comments on “How to Knit a Neck Sock”

  1. Stephanie says:

    James really does look like a ninja in the last picture. But that is awesome… I think I will make one for Mark, he complains that his nose gets cold working outdoors, but he hates how scarves fall off all the time. Here is the big question, girly soft yarn, or ninja colored yarn?

  2. Robert says:

    OK, so I don’t Knit and you don’t have one of those Cool Neck/Ninja scarves for sale, so how does one go about bribing you in to making me one!? Hope all’s well with you guys! :)

  3. Nikki Wright says:

    Robert,
    All is well, thanks! Stop by any store and grab a medium to thick yarn and mail it to me and I will make you some fun stuff until the yarn is gone and then I will mail it all back. It will be your Christmas gift. I am a little broke right now and can’t buy anything new…and I don’t think you want a pink necksock. That is about all the free yarn I have left that doesn’t have a project started.

  4. JoAnn says:

    How much yarn is required? Does the 9″ measurement reflect the request for length by James?

    I’ve never used circular needles. Do you mark the beginning and just knit in circles, changing pattern at marker?

    Thank you

    JoAnn

  5. Nikki Wright says:

    I actually used less than one full skein of yarn, I think it was just some cheap Red Heart I bought at Walmart and had sitting around for a year or two. I am making more of these and my husband has asked for the middle section to be longer so he can double it up to protect his neck from the wind. The first time I made it I just held it up next to his head and nine inches looked about right for full coverage over his ears with no neck peeking out at the bottom if he had to look down or turn his head. (Very scientific measuring process, I know.) My next one will most likely use a whole skein.

    I made the pattern simple enough that I wouldn’t have to bother with marking the beginning of the row. That would bother some of my knitting friends but it doesn’t bother me at all. I could tell where the first row ended by where I had a tail from casting on. I just switched over to a new stitch when I had reached the desired length and was above the tail, no fuss. I would only recommend that you take your time with the first row and go very slowly connecting it initially (Starting your second row.) This is a point where you need to make sure you don’t have a twist in the cast on row. If you do, your scarf will make a never ending figure eight. Awesome to look at, not much fun to wear. It is not hard but it does require a little bit of attention.

    Thanks for the questions :)

  6. Nikki Wright says:

    I am moving this comment over from my “Contact me page” for others to see

    “I love the neck sock. I have two grown sons and husband, and I’d like to make them for them as well as myself!
    I learned to knit this year and only know how to do the knit stitch. I have been making those fuzzy eyelash yarn scarves where I just knit every row, about 12 stitches wide, and I use huge wooden needles, maybe size 22 or something. Can’t remember right now. I’m so new at this knitting that I don’t know what a medium black yarn is.
    I’ve seen worsted weight, sport weight, baby yarn, etc. Is there a specific name or brand or number of ply you could tell me, so I can find it? Thanks so much for the directions. Hope I can soon figure out how to purl. Haven’t tried it. Need to find a site with directions for that, I guess!”

    Reply:
    I would recommend (if you can drag them to the store) you have the guys pick out a yarn that they think feels nice. People tend to get picky about what sits right up against their neck. The first time I attempted this I thought I would get creative and make a super soft scarf out a thick fuzzy beige acrylic. The girl in me said wow this will be nice, so soft! After wearing it for three years James informed me the fuzz got in his mouth and goatee. He picked this yarn, simple 4 ply Walmart something…most likely Red Heart. I would say, for this project the needle should be smaller than a 22, 9 works well for me for most yarns.

    Here is a good link for learning how to purl.

    Last thought, the number of initial stitches may change depending on the type of yarn you use on the needle size. As long as you have a multiple of four you will be fine. You might need to make a test square to figure out how many stitches are in an inch and then just multiply by the size of your head (it will stretch a bit so don’t make it too loose).

  7. Joanne says:

    I’m a knit novice and this the first time using round needles. I bought size 9, 16 inch long needles but find that they are still too long for the 40 required for this project. I’ve tried to loosen my tension so my stiches aren’t too tight, but that doesn’t help either. Am I missing something here? Thanks for your time. Joanne

  8. Nikki Wright says:

    Humm, I know the first couple rows that I do are pretty tight, I would say even a bit difficult. Starting is the hardest part for me as well. But once I make it past the first couple rows everything loosens up nicely. Once you have made your test square and know how many stitches you need per inch for your specific yarn and needles. (40 is what worked for the yarn I was using, it might be different for you.) I would recommend putting on the fewest stitches that you can to stay near that number and stretching the cast on row as far as possible to make it to the second row, as I said it should loosen up for you as you get some more rows on there.

    Once you have a couple rows knitted try lightly slipping it over your head to see if the additional stitches make it too big.

    If you do find it is too big I can think of two things to fix that. Knitting this on flat needles and closing it with a seam, I don’t think that would hurt the finished project too much. Or putting a drawstring in your finished product.
    There are these really neat needles that one of my friend’s is in love with. I don’t own a pair but I am envious of them, they are nice and short.

  9. Darlene says:

    If the needle is too short, use “Magic Loop”. It’s a really easy way to knit small pieces on large circular needles. As in I’m making the fingers of my daughter’s fingerless gloves – 14 stitches – on size 5, 47″ Addi’s turbo lace needles. No typo. Yes,47 inches long with 14 stitches on it, done in the round.

    Google “magic loop” videos and see how it’s done. See if you store will let you exchange the needles for a longer one – 28-32″ would probably work.

  10. Nikki Wright says:

    Thanks for that suggestion! I thought about including “Magic Loop” in my recent reply. Several of my friends use this technique. (Life and Times of a Crazed Knitter never uses straight needles for anything anymore and might be able to answer more detailed info than I can about working in the round.) The only reason I did not mention this is I have never done it personally so could not answer questions if someone needed additional help, but as you say there is A LOT of information out there if you Google it.

  11. Shariub says:

    Thanks for the pattern! I have experimented a little with your idea :)I just started making my second sock. I am using Patons shetland chunky tweeds bulky weight (5) (the charcoal color is cool)! 1 sock takes a skein and a half or so- more than what you used but about the same amt, this comes in smaller skeins- 108 yards ea. I am following your stitches advice by multiples of 4 but the size at 40 was too small. I made mine 68 stitches with size 10 needles( Clover bamboo circulars http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.jsp?CATID=cat2871&PRODID=prd2750 ). I know this width sounds huge but the neck isn’t flopping around. I basically used the same length dimensions other than that. The larger width allows me to comfortably pull the sock up to use it as an impromptu hat (I live in Michigan so something to keep the snow out of your ears is a nice thing).
    Many thanks for getting me to knit these up- they are very cool! Shari

  12. Nikki Wright says:

    Very Cool! Thanks for letting me know how it worked for you. When I first posted this I never thought anyone would ever look at it. I mostly wanted a way not to forget how I made something successfully. I think now I must cast on pretty loosely because other folks had to go up in stitches as well, but it seems to be working out just fine. I think that number of stitches sounds completely reasonable.
    I am so glad this inspired people to knit something. (From some of the emails I got this was even a first project for folks, neat.)
    Thanks to everyone who has read this post and given the pattern a try. Happy New Year!

  13. michelle says:

    great site :) im a knitting newbie and would love to make this for hubby, ive never used circular needles before so am going to try and do it on straight needles, what size do you think i would need?many thanks

  14. […] second pattern I found is this neck sock, courtesy of the Tales from a Tiny Apartment blog. Once again, surprisingly, I have the right size […]

  15. […] I’m working on the neck sock, courtesy of the Tales from a Tiny Apartment blog, in matching yarn to go with my new mittens! I […]

  16. This is a great pattern. I was looking for it on Ravelry.com to see if I could add it to my favorites, but I don’t see it. Do you mind if I add it there?

  17. Julie says:

    How do you get the sock to connect? Do you sew it together? or is it with round needles?

  18. Nikki Wright says:

    You could do either, depending on what you are comfortable knitting on, straight or round needles.

    I knit on round needles and connect it right at the beginning.

  19. EllySun says:

    This is a beaut of a little project! I used to knit a lot, but only like to do little quickies now, and this is going to be a hit around here because although we’re on the coast, some years we do get lots of snow and ice — and most people don’t expect it. So they’ll be glad for a neck sock :) I’ve never heard of such a thing, lol, but it’s so sensible!

    Might I suggest that when you say “a skein” you give us more information, such as ounces, or length? I have all kinds of leftover balls of yarn and this would be a great way to use them up, but I might not have enough of some, y’know? You did such a great job that I think & hope you’ll be giving more tips, so thought I’d make that suggestion.

    Thanks so much for inspiring me. I just love this idea!
    Elly

  20. oldnbroken says:

    If you always have a hard time with the first row or two b/c it’s too tight, then cast on with needles two sizes larger and work 1st row with them. Second roww knit onto the smaller needles. You can cast off thusly as well so it is no too tight.
    I also use a larger crochet hook when doing a foundation chain. I have no tension problems but that makes my chaining much nicer anyway. Hope that helps.

  21. Nikki says:

    Thanks! Those are great tips.

  22. chris says:

    Hi,

    I love this idea and think it would be perfect for my boyfriend. I went out yesterday and bought some super nice chunky yarn and went to town. I’m on the fourth row and realized I cast on far too many stiches. Is it possible to decrease my stiches by k2tog or something so i don’t have to start from scratch? I want to keep the rib pattern overall and when I tried looking around online I could only find ways to decrease with ribbing at the end of a project (ie the top of a hat). I really hate casting on and would much rather do a couple rows of decrease …. help! Thanks!!

  23. Nikki says:

    So sorry, but I’ve only ever had the opposite problem. I usually don’t cast enough…I don’t know how to fix that without making the scarf look funny. I know it’s a pain, but I would say recasting with less stitches is going to make a much nicer finished product.

  24. linda pulley says:

    Hi…I have been making neck socks (I call them just plain neck warmers, but neck sock is a lot neater name) and people do really like them to be longer so they can pull up over the nose.

    I love circular needles because I hate finishing and they are so handy. You either don’t lose one or you lose them both at the same time. I have noticed that the best tips come from being lazy and trying to save time.

    Anyhow, a couple of tips for neck socks…or any time one uses the circulars… I have had problems keeping my stitches from twisting no matter how hard I look. I just knit back and forth for the first two or three rows before I join, and the piece has enough shape that you would have to want to twist them for it to go bad. It is no trouble to seam two/three rows. ((Remember if you switch from back forth (rows) to a circular join (rounds) that you adjust your stitching accordingly. e.g. for stockingette you knit one row and purl one row; if doing rounds just keep knitting, and knitting and knitting.))

    The second tip is just another reason for not joining until the 3rd row. By that time the piece has started to stretch just enough that you don’t have to be superwoman to get the stitches to meet if the no of stitches to length of circular needle is dicey.

    My other tip is that if you should go to the trouble to knit the thing to the end, and for some reason it is looser than you wish, just get some of the stretchy nylon thread from the jewelry making section of Michaels, or Hobby Lobby, or any craft shop and weave it aroung the top and bottom of the neck sock (in the middle too if it is that much too big)and it will cling just fine. You can measure the thread you need by winding the thread around the person’s neck without stretching, cut it and attach to neck sock.(You will have to stretch it to accommodate the entire neck sock width). When you are done it should snap to the right width, stretch as it is pulled on, then snap back to the right width. Voila! You will be called genius. This nylon thread comes in many thicknesses and the thicker it is, the harder it is to pull, so just use some common sense about what you choose.

    Remember what EZ said “You are the boss of your knitting, not the other way around” so even if a ‘fix’ seems silly or too easy, don’t shy away. It is YOUR knitting and nobody else ever has to know. Hope these help.

  25. Donna says:

    Great looking neck warmer! How many stitches did you cast on for James’ neck warmer?

  26. Brenda says:

    I love this pattern and I’vee made several already. Lately, I’ve been using whatever stitch pattern from a hat in place of the stockinette portion. This way it makes a set. It’s new but still the same. Thank you for this pattern.


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