Knitting Two Socks at a Time on Double Pointed Needles

I bumped into my friend Bob in the Skyways of downtown St. Paul the other day. He is a knitter, and after discussing naughty puppies and naughty horses, he brought up second sock syndrome.  I explained to him my approach to avoiding second sock syndrome, using double-pointed needles:



You may think it an attempt to trick you, but really, it is so simple.  Two sets of sock needles, wind the yarn into two balls.  Work one cuff, then the other, one leg, then the other, etc. etc.

I have tried to do the two socks on one long circular.  This pair started out that way, to help  a knitting student who wanted to learn the technique.  Seriously, to me it is one big pain in the rear. Fussy, tangled, and more trouble than it is worth.  To me.  I have many friends who prefer that approach and I hope they continue to be happy with it.  When a student asks “Is it really better?” I tell them they’ll have to try it and see.  I prefer working socks on double pointed needles, and two sets helps me to avoid Second Sock Syndrome.

Another ‘time saver’ that I don’t find saves me any time is cabling without a cable needle.  Perhaps that conversation is better left for another day.

On the topic of Wise and Foolish Virgins, Stashdragon left me a link to an article on Norwegian Tapestries that includes a photo of the original. Don’t just look at the photos, though, it is really an interesting bit of writing, including the tale of a weaver who argued with the carpenter building her loom.  She ended up being burnt as a witch.


17 responses to “Knitting Two Socks at a Time on Double Pointed Needles

  1. Naughty me – I only looked at the pictures but they were good.

    I too prefer DPNs for sock knitting, but rarely suffer from SSS, and also mostly use a cable needle for cabling. For a cable involving 5 or more stitches total, it’s a complete waste of time for me to not use the cable needle.

  2. My way of dealing with SSS is to put the socks aside for months before I start the second one! 😉 Actually, I just picked up a second sock which has a slightly complicated cable, and I’m having trouble remembering how I did it without a cable needle. (My problem with cable needles is that I tend to lose them!) I know I was very proud of myself for figuring out how to do it without a cable needle, but I didn’t make any notes!

    • I never owned a cable needle for the longest time, I just used a DPN. Then I started working in a yarn shop and discovered the little wooden ones, which I love.

  3. I’m a fan of two circulars. Knitting two socks at a time on the long circular thing exceeds my personal acceptable level of knitting fiddliness.

  4. Couldn’t agree more about cabling! And though, as you know, I don’t generally knit socks, I can see I’d like your approach … it’s the two socks on one needle folk who really worry me!

  5. AS with most suggestions you’ve given me over the years we’ve been friends, this one is both good and straightforward and makes sense, and makes me say DUH! Best of all I suspect it will work for me. Excellent psychologically. Now I regret the skein of sock yarn I saw yesterday and did not purchase.

  6. Why in the world would anyone worry about people who knit two socks at a time on one circular needle? Unless the pattern is complicated and mirrored, this is my preferred method. I don’t find it particularly fiddly. DPNs didn’t work for me (kept falling out–but I started with metal, being ignorant), and once I figured out magic loop, toe-up construction, I was hooked. I more or less taught myself the two at a time strategy, and I really like it!

    When people ask me which is better, I always say it’s a matter of personal preference and they should try both.

    I know that if I did two at a time on two sets of DPNs I would totally lose my place! 🙂

    • I agree that whichever you prefer is best – I was kidding really, as I have some friends who are hard core two at a time evangelists, and keep telling me I will be happier – variety is the spice of life!

  7. I’m not sure how many sets of sock needles I have, but I’m sure I could have several pairs going at a time, even though I never have two socks on one circ….I use DPNs and two circs.

    (I never suffer from SSS either)

  8. I tried the two-at-a-time on a long circ; too fiddly for me, too. My solution to SSS is to cast on for the second sock IMMEDIATELY after finishing the first.

    Whatever works for anyone is their best method 🙂

  9. Just wanted to let you know that my two at a time socks method is exactly the same as yours — two sets of double-pointed needles. No fiddling with the cables and extra lengths, no notes as to what I did tweak the pattern. And when I am finished, both socks are f inished!! What is there not to love?! And to each their own, but I am very happy with my double-pointed needles… Glad to hear someone else promoting this method.

    • Great minds think alike! Or lazy knitters think alike. I just hate anything fiddly. That’s why I won’t do intarsia or entrelac. Or purl 3 thru the back loop. The list goes on, I am lazy!

  10. Cabling without a cable needle is definitely easier with certain kinds of wool — obviously the non-slippery kind! — but for the most part it’s far too stressful for me.

    I love how the figures in the “Adoration of the Magi” tapestries all look gently surprised.

  11. I have been knitting socks this way for years!!!!
    I tried circulars but still love my DP’s better.
    And I’m always so glad that when I’m finished I have two done instead of having to cast on a second sock.

    • I’m with you. I just bought some new fangled DPNs that are carbon with metal tips. I’m always trying new ones, but end up back with bamboo. I sold my signatures, I just didn’t care for them.

  12. I never thought of knitting two pair of socks on DPneedles, but I will certainly try that It sounds like fun. Thanks Barbara

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