I’m on a mission to figure out how I prefer to knit socks. There are so many different methods for sock knitting: double-pointed needles, 9-inch needles, magic loop, two-at-a-time magic loop, two circulars, toe up, cuff down. Don’t even get me started on the different heel types. As a new sock knitter, it is quite overwhelming to choose which method to learn. Well, I definitely suffer from second sock syndrome, so I’ve decided to learn how to knit two socks at the same time! This is done with a variation of the magic loop method for small circumference knitting.
Second sock syndrome is when you lose interest in completing or even starting the second sock, once the first one is finished. Knitting up the first sock is all fun and games, but when it is done, it can be hard to find the motivation to knit the second sock. It’s just the exact same thing over again, and suddenly it seems much more appealing to begin a fresh project instead. There are many approaches to combat second sock syndrome. Check out these suggestions by Sheep Among Wolves. The idea of knitting both socks at once really speaks to me, and it comes with an added benefit – it is easy to ensure that you knit the pair of socks the exact same size.
I will be following the instructions from the book 2-at-a-time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. Since it’s my first attempt at the method, I am merely knitting up a pair of toddler socks with worsted weight yarn. That should knit up fast, and I can practise without worrying too much about wasting time if the result is less than perfect.
The tricky part with the two-at-a-time method is the beginning: Casting on, joining in the round, and knitting the first couple of rows. Melissa Morgan-Oakes book is excellent, but I also watched a bunch of YouTube videos. Here are my favourite two:
For this project, I am using Malabrigo Rios in the colour Reflecting Pool. It is a superwash merino wool, and it is lovely to work with. Thick and soft. And I love the selection of colours from Malabrigo. It is on the more expensive side, but for smaller projects, I like to indulge. I bought a skein at my local yarn shop, and I already knitted up a cute set of baby booties, with plenty of yarn to spare for a pair of toddler socks. LoveCrafts sells Malabrigo Rios for 14.80 for 33.5 oz (100 g).
For magic loop knitting you want a pair of circular needles with a super flexible cable. I will be using my ChiaoGoo Twist Red Lace interchangeables. The cable on these needles is impressive. It is a thin, multi-strand, steel cable with a nylon coating. It is soft and flexible and retains no memory, meaning you can twist and bend the cord without ruining it. For two at a time I will go with the 40-inch (100 cm) cable leaving plenty of room on both sides of the socks. The book suggests 3.5 mm needles on worsted weight yarn for a gauge of 6 stitches per inch. I got gauge with the 3.25 mm needles. This is a small needle size for worsted weight yarn, so it is not surprising the fabric is pretty dense. I am intrigued to see how that works for the finished sock.
So far, I have cast on and knitted up the ribbed cuff. It is going well. I’m finding it easy enough to keep track of the two socks on the needles. The trick seems to be to remember that the working yarn should always be on the back cable and not the needle you are knitting from. So, the next half of a sock to be knitted is the one closest to a needle tip without the working yarn attached to it.
I do seem to be having issues with ladders forming where the stitches are divided, but it is a little too early to tell how bad it is.
Update: okay, so I definitely had ladders, ha ha. I wrote a piece about conquering the ladders in magic loop knitting.