February 13, 2009

One Pair, One Needle

In a forum on Ravelry we were chatting about knitting two socks at the same time, magic looping the needle. One woman asked - one loop or two? for the life of me, I cannot figure out how you would do this with only one loop - so I told her I would take photos of how I do it. Works the same with toe up or cuff down socks. You have half of each sock on one side of the cable - dividing the sock for top of foot and bottom of the foot. Usually, these both have the same amount of stitches. For this pair of socks, I am using a 47" Addi Turbo Lace needle, the cable is red. I have used a knit picks circular as small as 32" before, but it's tight. When I start knitting, I always put a stitch marker on the first sock. Just one - and it doesn't matter where, it's just there so that if I should put my socks down in the middle of a round, I know which way I was headed. If you click on the photo, you can make it bigger and see the details. In the first photo, I'm at the begging of a round and not ready to knit. Both needle tips are together at the right of the work (as you look at the photo). In order to knit, I'm going to pull the needle from the bottom of the socks out enough to move it around and get it into position to knit. In this photo, I have stopped knitting halfway through the first sock. You can see there are loops on both the left and the right of the socks. The loop on the left keeps the stitches of that sock from coming together. Here I've finished the top of the foot portion on both socks, but haven't pulled the needles around to be ready to work back. It does seem like there is a bunch of pushing and pulling of needles around but no more than the fumbling that I was doing with 3 double pointed needles holding my sock and a working needle. Plus when I'm transporting socks on a long circular needle - the worst that has happened to me is that the loop keeping one sock in two halves get pulled all the way in. That's super easy to fix! Much easier than picking up dropped stitches because they've fallen off a double pointed needle. These knee socks are a future gift. They were started on the 31st of January, but then because I didn't take into account how much the 'fabric' would shrink when stretched around a leg and how horrible it would look stretched. So I riiiiiped them out and cast on again adding an additional 8 stitches. This time, rather than measuring when the fabric was flat, I measured when it was on my leg. For me, the benefits of knitting both at the same time are huge. First - these socks are long and I know I would never knit the second if they were knit one at a time. So, when I finish I am done! Second, any changes made to a pattern are done to both socks at the same time. Third, it takes me about a week of singular focus to make a single sock. Amazingly enough - it doesn't take me much longer than that to make a pair.


  1. That's how mine would look moving through the process too...

    And look at you go on the knee socks!

  2. Gotta study this one. I've always wondered about Magic Loop. I have used 2 circ's for socks and hats but not Magic Loop.
    Hope you feel more like smiling today

  3. Huh! See one loop at the beginning of the round, and then two part way through! Yeah, I know, I was totally over-thinking it! But thanks for the pictures, they did help!
    I wouldn't be making a second one of those socks either I thinkif they weren't done at the same time!

  4. I actually learned to knit when I was a young teenager from a friend's mother, but the more complicated stuff baffled me....haven't picked up needles in at least 35 years. My oldest daughter bought a book and taught herself to knit scarves and hats, but that's not as impressive as socks!

  5. I always make both sleeves of a garment at the same time, but I've never used two circulars. I hate knitting on four double points, so I'm going to try the circs. I can't make any sense of the magic loop method. I need it shown to me in person. I'm heading to a yarn shop next week for a demonstration. There are a lot of things I'd like to knit but have put off because of the double points.

  6. Srsly. Knee socks. I know you love that child.

    Keep spreading the magic-loop knowledge. Eventually, people will stop looking at us like we're crazy.

    Or maybe not.

  7. Never done 2 at a time yet, but when I use magic loop that's how it works for me too.

    I am curious what was ment by one loop or two.

  8. Nice! The two at a time on the magic loop is too fiddly for me right now...I will get there I'm sure.

    Sweet looking socks you have there.

  9. I really need to try two at a time. I'm just nervous about tangling up my yarn.

  10. I'm a relatively new knitter who was intrigued by making socks - Thanks Cami! Since I didn't really know what I was doing, and lived too far away for direct instructions, I used youtube instead. Thank you Judy Becket and her magic cast on!
    I start each sock on double points for the toe increases, then transfer them to one long circular needle. Until there is a bit of fabric, I use a plastic pin to hold them together, and the loop of the needle divides the front from the back of the second needle. Then, when it's time for the heel, I switch to the double points. For the tops, circular. As a novice, this is the best way for me. I can try them on as I go. I can make them as long as I want without fear of running out of yarn for the foot. And, when they are done, they are done. It is a little fidgetey at times, but with time a rhythmn develops.

    Love your blog!!


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