- Double Point Needles
- Magic Loop
- Small Circular Needles
- 3 flexible Double Point Needles
- 2 Circular Needles
- Two at a Time with Magic Loop
- Two at a Time with Two Circulars
If you’ve been following me this summer, you will know I joined in on #Summersockcamp2022 with The Crazy Sock Lady. It was a way to challenge myself personally to hand knit socks and get better at it. Sock knitting is a small, portable project for summer, And a great project for my hand dyed yarn! My LYS has been having a sock knitting meet up each Saturday. Several knitters there, most all are using different methods!
So, I started thinking about all the ways there are to hand knit socks. No one way is the best! Each knitter I’ve found must find which method works best for them. Some patterns also work better with a different method. Colorwork on Double Point Needles? No thank you!
I’m by no means an expert at any of these methods, but I’ll try to give the pros and cons I’ve found with each, as I’ve tried most in my search for what works best for me. The reviews are my own opinion on the different methods.
First and probably the most traditional, is using 4-5 double point needles. My first few pairs of socks and many pairs of mittens were done on DP needles. It is a great way to get started as the needles are inexpensive and many patterns are written for this method telling you to place yarn on needle 1, 2, 3… However, I found that I got “ladders, stretched out stitches where my needles met. I also struggled with getting my yarn caught on all the needle points. It is often suggested to move stitches from one needle to the other occasionally which will reduce the laddering. Really though, who has time for that? My review? 2
Tried it, got the t shirt, probably won’t go back.
The magic loop method is a popular one for socks, and other small circumference knitting. It uses a 40” circular needle. In essence you divide your stitches in half, with half being on the cable of the needle, and the other half on the needle holding the working stitches. You’ll fold the cable in half and knit the working stitch off with the other end of the needle. When you finish that half of stitches, slide those stitches down onto the cable, pull the cable through and reposition the second half of stitches onto the needle to continue working in the round. I got terrible ladders with this method. I’m sure there are some very good tricks to eliminate these. One of my good friends uses this method and her socks are beautiful. It was just too fiddly for me with repositioning the needles all the time and those ladders. 1
Frogged my project and started over.
Small circular needles– 9” circulars are quite popular, no constantly rearranging stitches which makes knitting faster. Place stitch markers where the pattern instructs dividing stitches onto separate needles and most patterns are easy to follow using this method. It’s also a great method for knitting colorwork project, as there are less needles to tangle with the multiple balls of yarn. I have used this method several times, though I found with 9’ circulars I’m knitting with the tips of my fingers and can’t knit for very long without fatigue. My work around was to knit with 9” needles or double points to do the cuff, then use my ChiaoGoo interchangeable shorties. I use a 2” needle end to hold my working stitches (my left hand) and a 3” for my right hand to knit the stitches onto. Attach these to a 5” cable and instead of a 9” circular I have a 10”, perfect for my medium size socks, and no super short needles to hold! 5
This is my go-to for colorwork socks.
Flexible Double Point Needles. This was my go-to for quite a while. I have several sets of Addi Flexi Flips in various sizes. I also think Hiyahiya make a flexible needle set, but I haven’t tried them. I like how easy the flexible needles are to hold in your hand. I usually bend the back needle in the palm of my hand while knitting, making it quite easy to keep things comfortable. This would be my choice of method if I needed a single sock knit and didn’t want to use a small circular. 4
Two circular needles. Best is 16” or 24”. I haven’t tried this myself, but another friend uses this method for her socks, and they turn out fabulous. Ladders are minimal to nonexistent between the needles. Just position half the stitches on each needle. Easy to keep track of the top of the sock and the bottom. A good intro method to TAAT with 2 circular needles. I won’t give a rating since this is a method I haven’t done.
Two Socks at a Time with Magic Loop. TAAT socks are my new favorite. No more second sock syndrome! I seriously struggle with SSS as I usually knit a sock in my monthly Hand dyed yarn colorway, hurry to get it done, they put it on display, only to have the second one unworked for months. TAAT solves this problem. I started my first TAAT socks using magic loop and really tried to make it work. I don’t think Magic Loop is for me. I really struggled with ladders and constantly rearranging the needles and yarn and pulling the cable through was too much extra motion. It just isn’t for me. 1
Two Socks at a Time with 2 Circular Needles. Keep the front stitches from each sock on the front needle, and the back of the socks on the back needle. I keep my yarn in DellaQ Snap Bags I got at my LYS Knit Ewe Together. I thread the end of each skein through the snaps to keep them separate. TAAT with 2 circulars is my current jam. I am flying through hand knit socks now. Two 24” Chiagoo circular needles. No ladders, no snagging on the cable join, I’m not tangling my yarn in the long cable like I did with Magic Loop. Two hand knit socks that will be finished at the same time. Win!
What is your favorite method for knitting socks? I’d love to hear and would LOVE to see pics when you finish a project using my hand dyed yarn. Be sure and tag me on FB and Insta @newgardenyarns.
Until next time, happy knitting,