Whether you're knitting socks on four double pointed needles, five double pointed needles, a large circular, a tiny circular or two circulars, never believe what anyone tells you about knitting socks. Unless they live underneath your skin, their advice means nothing. Because, as far as I can tell, one's most favorite method for knitting socks may as well be a factor in their DNA and nothing else.
Now, I'm no expert and I never did go to a Sock Summit or read any book on knitting socks except for maybe two, but that's it. And I have never knit a pair of toe-up socks, so you may as well just click away right now, because, obviously, since I've never knit a pair of toe-ups, I have no idea about knitting socks.
Except for this: When I first started knitting, I'd go to my LYS and there would be a gal there who, at least every two weeks or so, would finish up a sock, weave in the ends, and throw it into the center of the table. With aplomb, she'd announce: "I'm done!"
And then someone (who wasn't a regular and not in-the-know) would say, "but don't you have to knit a second sock?"
"Oh no," she'd reply. "These are for my uncle, and he only has one foot."
So if you're like me and don't have one-footed relatives to knit for, and if you choose to knit socks, you will have to decide the best way to go about knitting a pair of socks. Some people do it the way most people do it: They cast on one sock at a time, and mostly on double point needles. They knit these sometimes slow and sometimes fast. Most--and I'm thinking it may be a bit of reach here, but not too much of a reach--don't finish a second sock right away when they do it this way. Why? Because, once one knits the first sock, the thrill is gone and casting on for that second sock is just too dire. Not rich enough. A trial. It's sort of like finishing up that perfect cup of coffee and not quite knowing if the second one will be as good. And then when you go get that second cup of coffee, sure enough, one sip, and you're done.
But this is just my opinion--the second cup of coffee opinion.
A Sock on Double Points
- can cause "ladders" if your tension isn't great
- double points can double as a weapon
- people think that double points are quicker than the alternative; they say that with circs they have to "adjust" too often, but my argument is that you have to adjust at least two times as much with double points
- some double points come in beautiful woods that are wonderful to work with
- you can only work one sock at one time (unless you're Houdini)
- My LYS owner has said that she prefers knitting a pair of socks on double points but mixes it up this way to keep things interesting: Work one cuff, place on hold. Work the second cuff (in the case of someone requiring two socks), place it on hold. Then work the ankle portion, place it on hold. Work the second ankle portion. Place it on hold...and so on...
A Sock on One Long Circular (Magic Loop)
- fiddly when casting on, but not a big deal, really
- it's a good idea to have a nice quality circular needle that has a flexible and thin cable
- unless you are adept at Magic Loop, it can be tedious (knit for 30 sts, do a flip, knit for 30 sts, do a flip. aye, aye, aye, aye)
- after a few rounds you will wonder why you're not doing two socks at at a time, what with all this flipping and do-hicking
- a circular needle can double as a weapon. . . or a tourniquet in a pinch, come to think of it.
One Sock on a Short Circular (like 8" long. Oy.)
- your hands will cramp up so badly that you will die
- . . . or when you do die, the last thought in your head will have something to do with these super-short circulars
- if your hands do not cramp up, then you can go to the LYS and brag about it . . . for years. They may even give you free yarn or a trip to Disneyland
- perfect for working socks underneath your desk at work because you need practically no arm movement to knit a stitch
- Buy Hiya Hiya needles if you're interested
- You can only knit one sock at a time (unless you are Houdini knitting socks for miniature rats)
- Not so good as weapons
Two Socks at one Time on Two Circulars
- this is my chosen method, but it isn't perfect
- requires investing in two same-sized needles, although having them at two different lengths is a plus
- you'll want to cast on one cuff, work a few rounds, place on hold, then do so with the second sock. Thread the two on the two needles to work in tandem. Then, work the heels and gussets separately, and then work again in tandem to the end.
- if you aren't careful, the two yarn balls can get tangled
- you will always have stripes that match
- the socks will be the same size
- second sock syndrome? Forget about it!
- must know and understand Magic Loop-ish knitting technique, although you're using two circular needles
- you can impress your friends (although dpn's are impressive on their own)
- when someone asks you why the needles you're using are connected, just tell them that they are that way so you won't lose one of them
- finished or not, there will always be two socks
Knitting One Sock Inside the Other (Two at a time)
- only for people who enjoy the idea of plucking their eyebrow hairs out. . . in entirety, and drawing them back on perfectly so they don't look surprised
- no, I'm kidding. This technique isn't for people who enjoy the pain of plucking their eyebrows out. More like it's only for people who like to take a lot of tests, hard tests, in high school, college and those IQ tests on Facebook that aren't so hard, but heck. If you're taking Facebook IQ tests, then you must be a glutton for punishment and might like this technique
- Not too much fun unless you enjoy taking tests and discussing quantum physics while under water
- Shoot. You could probably brag about these socks, but you won't be getting a trip to Disneyland from your LYS, that's for sure
If you want me to, I will cast on for socks and show you how I go about it. I can't teach you magic loop, but I can, at least, show you how the two-at-a-time-thing is done.