Knitting Two Socks at a Time

A couple of posts ago I wrote about the resurgence of old techniques such as tatting, and how some techniques seem to catch on for a while then die away again. I have another one to share with you that some may find very interesting.I’m sure you’ve heard of magic loop socks. These are knit on the a long circular needle. You knit one sock, and then the other on a second pass. So with this method, you ARE knitting two at a time, but still knitting them separately on one needle. So for every one row that you do, you still have to repeat the row a second time on the other sock.

The method I’m discussing is not the Magic Loop. This is a Double Knit method using double point needles and literally knitting one sock inside of the other at the same time. The Annie’s Catalog class “Magic Socks” teaches how to use the same method on a long circular needle in the magic loop style. However, I don’t own a good pair of circulars with a long enough and flexible enough cable. So for me, the dpns seemed like the best fit!

So what is this exactly?

Well, if you’ve ever tried double knitting, you’ve come half way to doing two socks at a time! Double knitting is a process that uses two strands of yarn on double pointed needles. The yarns are worked together and produce a thick, double-layered fabric that can also be used to show mirror images on either side. Here is a really good example on Ravelry by Heather Zoppetti that would make for excellent practice if you so desired.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss how we knit 2 socks without having them stuck together. The concept is pretty much that you are going to knit using 2 strands of yarn that are never crossed over each other. To do this, you have to knit one strand in the front by bringing the yarn to the back, then separating the yarns and bringing the front yarn to the front as if to purl, making the knit stitch in the back with the second yarn, then bringing the front yarn back again to make the next stitch. What you end up with is 2 separate socks, knit at the same time, with two yarns. Confusing?
I thought so at first, too. But I can’t confess to having only used one method. I also used the method by Kory Stamper in her article on Knitty to work out the kinks. I have included a bunch of notes in my Ravelry project for the changes that I made and why. But I DID succeed in making 4 socks. The images below only show one pair, because my daughter scarfed up the other ones and I can’t find them right now. Kids…

As I was knitting these socks, I thought to myself, “Self, I bet we could knit just about anything tubular using this method.” So self and I decided that we would try it! We knit 2 slouchy button hats (also a great Ravelry pattern!) using 2 different colors. Since I also knit hats for charity, I was ecstatic with the thought that I could knit one for personal use (see daughter below? She took the orange one and then other daughter has successfully taken the brown one) and give one away. While that idea only works if you don’t have daughters that like hats, it is an excellent one. This same technique can also be used for knitting two sleeves, two boot cuffs, two pot holders…you get the picture. They don’t have to be tubular either, as in the case of the pot holders.

I would not suggest using this technique for cabling, unless you have the patience of Job. Knitting two stitches together involves moving stitches around on the needles. It can be a bit tedious. I’ll probably try it one day. Just to do it. And say I did.

Since there are a couple of tutorials on the socks that I mentioned in this post, I will be posting a tutorial Friday on making the hats. I’ll be using a baby hat pattern and worsted weight yarn for a speedier finish than the dk and sock weights I used previously. The tutorials will be in 2-3 sections, depending on what I can cover. So stay tuned, and check back for more!


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