I wonder if the reason some people avoid knitting two socks at one time is because getting started seems difficult or confusing. "How do you cast on for two socks at once?" is a question I hear over and over, and guess what? I don't know how to cast on for two socks at once, and to be honest, I don't really want to know. There's already too much stuff floating around in my brain and the fewer facts, moves and tricks in there to confuse me, the better.
I'm sure there are tons of super hero knitters who can cast on for two at once without even looking, but when I finally decided that I couldn't allow the so-called Second Sock Syndrome to enter my home ever again and that the only solution was to work two at one time, I skipped right over the fancy casting-on part and took the practical and no-nonsense approach, instead.
The first step? I cast on for one sock onto two circulars, (one half of the stitches are on one needle and the other half are on the other) and work the cuff, in the round, for about four rounds. Then, I simply get two double point needles or a couple skewers and transfer the stitches on over. Then, I cast on for the other sock onto the two circulars and work the second cuff, in the round, for the same number of rounds.
The second step I take is to carefully transfer the first cuff back onto the two circulars, being sure that the working yarn is on the back needles, as shown, so both socks are ready to go, and in the same starting place.
I begin working the cuff, two socks at a time, in tandem. (See my last post for resources on working in the round using two circulars.) Working two at a time is easy, but you have to pay attention. You work the first half of one cuff, drop its yarn, and then scoot the second cuff toward your left needle tip and pick up the next ball of yarn and work the front part of the second cuff.
Carefully, turn the needles clockwise so that the working balls of yarn are again on the back needle (see pic above) and repeat the process. When this side is complete, turn the whole shebang counter-clockwise so you don't twist the yarn. Repeat. Continue working the cuffs, side by side, until you are ready to work the heels.
Tips for keeping the two balls of yarn from twisting:
- keep one ball of yarn on your right side and one ball of yarn on your left
- do not turn the work in the same direction each "row," instead turn back and forth
- when it isn't convenient to have balls of yarn on either side of you, place one ball of yarn in your project bag on your lap, and place the other ball of yarn outside of it, also on your lap
- OR, put the yarn balls in two separate ziploc bags inside your project bag and keep all bags slightly open on your lap
Tips for keeping needles separate*
- use two different lengths of circulars
- use two different types of circulars, i.e., one bamboo, one metal or plastic
- use two different colors of circular needles
- each time you begin knitting a new "row" tug on the left-hand needle to make sure that you feel the "tug" on the other side. If not, you may have picked up the wrong needle.
*If you prefer to use the magic loop method, and understand how to do it, by all means, use just one long needle instead of two!
Next Post: Knitting Two Socks at a Time: Making the Heels the No-Fuss Way
EDITED TO ADD: Here is a pic of what it would look like if you are working with two socks on Magic Loop. Note, the needles shown are a bit too short for comfortable "Magic Loop." (I think they're about 20")