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The Joy of Socks — Menage a Deux

Bells was quite impressed with me when I mentioned I was going to try Magic Loop socks two at a time. Magic Loop for those of you who don’t know (or care) is when you use one circular needle to knit a tube, rather than the usual four or five double point needles that knitting a circle usually requires. You just cast them all on one circular needle, find the mid-point, draw out half the loop that connects your needles, join in the round, then off you go (It took so long to explain it, you’ll just have to trust me that it’s a lot easier done than said).

Never having done Magic Loop socks one at a time, I was a bit nervous, but could see how the whole thing should shake out in my head and figured it couldn’t be that hard to transfer that mental image ¬†onto a 47′ circular knitting needle. Haha and HA! to that one. I wound up buggering the cast on beyond all belief and had to use a second set of needles to reorient everything the way I knew it should be. Here’s a shot that illustrates the big picture.
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And here’s one that shows off my drop dead gorgeous Koigu yarn. I could eat this stuff, it’s so enticing.

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Essentially, you’re casting on the first half of two socks on one side of the circle and the other half on the other side. Then it’s a fairly simple matter of knitting in the round, working through the front half of both socks then the back of each — careful not to forget to switch yarn balls in between. Did I mention you’re knitting each sock from a separate ball of yarn? No? Well, that my friends is wherein lies the rub.

It isn’t the Magic Loop. It isn’t knitting two socks at once. Nope, what is currently driving me to drink is the two dueling balls of yarn dangling from one needle. I didn’t have the trouble I expected — where I accidentally knit from the wrong ball. It was just the simple act of keeping them untwisted from each other. I’m a hair’s breadth away from transferring one of them onto another set of needles and finishing them off one at a time. But I’m trying to hang tough.

The whole point of knitting socks two at a time is to have two identical finished objects of the same length, gauge, tension — you name it. All the stuff that’s important when knitting a pair of anything. The last two pairs of socks I’ve knit (those would be the only two pairs of socks I’ve knit) have had subtle differences between the two. Subtle but Totally. Infuriating. Differences. If I can just tough it out, I hope this little experiment will prove to be fruitful.

Cross your fingers and throw a few words of support my way whenever you think about it. Thanks for dropping by The Drunch. It’s always great to see you.

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6 Responses

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  1. Julie says

    Hi Jodi,

    I’m not sure how well this works with knitting in the round, but I’ve found that keeping my inactive balls to my right and my active one to the left helps with this problem. I’ve also been told that (but haven’t tried) putting the balls in separate plastic bags with rubber bands loosely around the top makes it easier to control them.

    Julie

  2. Bells says

    i’m exhausted just thinking about it and i’ve got a few sock knitting tricks up my sleeve. Good luck my friend!

  3. jodi says

    Julie — I think that would help a lot. That and remembering not to just keep turning my work round and round, but back and forth so everything stays put. Thanks for the tip!!

  4. Tracey Carsto says

    One thing that helped me keep my yarn from tangling was to put both balls of yarn in a one gallon ziploc bag with the center of the bag zipped up, and each ball in a corner of the bag. Then whenever I turned my work, I turned the bag. HTH. :)

  5. jodi says

    Tracey, that’s a great idea. One of those, “Duh…Why didn’t I think of that?” tips. I’m off to bag those pesky sock balls right now! :)

  6. Kate says

    I will watch with interest – I recently received a copy of a book on knitting two-at-a-time toe-up, but haven’t yet been game to try it ;)



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