Daily Archives: March 20, 2007

How-To: Two-at-once Toe-up Socks

I have become quite addicted to the “stats” page here on WordPress. Can’t get enough of it. Am thrilled when views in a day surpass 10, and wonder what I’m doing wrong when they’re less than 5. Am amused by which links people follow. And am intrigued by the searches people use to find me here.

According to my beloved stats page, many of you out there are looking for more information on how to knit two socks at the same time. And who could blame you?

Nothing is worst than the dreaded “Second Sock Syndrome” which afflicts so many knitters: the horror, the lethargy, the love-turned-to hate for a favoured sock pattern or yarn, all brought on by one mateless sock and a pile of empty dpns lying despondently before oneself!

The remedy for this cruel affliction? Two-at-once socks on the Magic Loop!

As it turns out I have just begun a new pair (oh, the joy of beginning a complete pair!) of Elfine’s Socks (pdf link), in beautiful Fleece Artist “Sea Wool”. Now unfortunately I am still camera-less* so I can’t show you what I’m doing. But I can point you in the right direction.

1) Find your sock pattern. I’d reccommend Elfine’s Socks (link above); WiseNeedle has a Simple Toe-up Pattern, as does this website; Elann’s “Sock it to me” Toe-up Chevron Socks was the first toe-up pattern I tried; and Widdershins looks very promising with a re-enforced gusset heel. Almost any pattern will do, though**: you just pass over the numbered-needle directions, and work the stitches divided over two needles, as even as possible.

2) Stitches over only two needles, you say? That’s right, with the Magic Loop method you’re only ever knitting with two points, and only ever on the “front” or the “back” (sole or instep, when it comes to socks). Check out here or here for instructions on how the Magic Loop works its magic.

3) Prepare your yarn! If you’ve got two balls of the same, great; if not, divide your large skien of sock yarn into two balls, one for each sock. Then stick your two balls of yarn into a ziplock bag (this keeps them clean, and cozy together!). I suppose you could just knit from both ends of a large ball, but I suspect that woud have you travelling swiftly down the road to tangles and frustration.

4) Cast-on for one sock with ball of yarn #1, and then cast on for the second sock using ball #2. Knitty has a “Figure 8” cast-on method tutorial which includes two-at-once socks (though it never seems that complicated when I’m doing it, so don’t get discouraged). Now I know some people hate the “figure 8”: that’s ok! Just remember the principals of Magic Loop when you’re casting on, and make sure that each sock has it’s frontside stitches on one half of your loop and the backside stitches on the other.

5) Knit your socks! As you make each round, you will be:
– knitting the first half of sock #1
– knitting the first half of sock #2
– turning you Magic Loop (adjusting the needles)
– knitting the second half of sock #2
– knitting the second half of sock #1

6) Yes, the heel is a bit of a sticky wicket. Follow the directions of your pattern carefully, and if you think it would be easier on your brain, you can always sub in a dpn. For short-row heels, you work the entire heel of sock #1, then the entire heel of sock #2.

7) Another advantage of toe-up socks is thatyou can try them on as you knit! This is especially nice for knitting the leg: you can go as high as you need to, or if you love taller socks you can pretty-much just knit until you’re out of yarn.

Enjoy! Knitting socks in this manner may seem like you’re making slower progress than more traditional methods, but remember: when you’re done, you’re done! No more Second Sock Syndrome.

If none of this made any sense to you whatsoever, try downloading this pdf: Two Socks on the Magic Loop.

*But we’re working on it. A usb cord has been aquired, and savings for non-crappy camera are underway.
**You can even use a cuff-down pattern! But then you don’t get to use a cool cast-on, like the “figure 8”.



Filed under how-to, knitting