1. When you stay with your friend for the weekend, admire her collection of handknit socks, and mention several times how nice it must be to wear them.
2. Enthusiastically visit the LYS where your friend works, even though you yourself have tried knitting and given it up as a bad idea.
3. Accept your friend's offer of a pair of socks, and when you pick out some yarn for them, choose one of her secret favorite colorways.
4. Receive the completed socks a couple months later with many expressions of thanks, and a very sweet post on Facebook.
These are the socks I made for my friend, who executed the above steps perfectly. Like many knitters, I'm happy to make gifts, but socks are reserved for a special few - immediate family, significant others, and very worthy friends.
The pattern I used is Katniss Socks by Rose Hiver, which is free on Ravelry. I know that the braided cable barely shows up in my photo because of the colorway (Citrus Mix, on Cascade Heritage), but I couldn't resist. In person, I think it gives a nice tactile quality to otherwise simple socks, and makes them a little more special. Also, although my friend is not, to my knowledge, a Hunger Games fan, I enjoyed using a fiery-looking yarn in a pattern named after Katniss. So of course, I named them Socks On Fire.