Knitting Two-at-a-Time

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As of this fall, I've been knitting steadily for three years. Looking back on those dish cloths I made in the early days, I can’t believe how far I've come. There are a few tips and techniques that have been immensely helpful and I'd like to share them in a future post but today I just want to talk about knitting two-at-a-time (also called knitting two-at-once.) Since there is a lot of sock talk around here and two-at-a-time is my preferred method, many people have asked me about it and I see a lot of comments on each other's blogs about it.

The reasons why I like two-at-a-time are because I don’t like having to knit the exact same thing twice in a row. And I make any modifications to a pattern, I can keep them even from one to the other. I just completed a pair of fingerless mittens and, for whatever reason, my tension was was off for the second one. If I had done them at the same time instead of a month or so apart, I wonder if I would have had that problem. Another reason is that when I'm done, I'm done and get the satisfaction of having two socks/sleeves/mittens completed right then and there!

This article here explains how to do this technique very well for cuff-down style patterns. And this one shows how to start toe-up socks two-at-a-time via Judy's Magic Cast On (scroll down to the photo that says "sock 1 and sock 2.")  While I enjoy knitting two-at-a-time, I don’t actually like casting on two-at-a-time. So often, I’ll cast on for just one sock/glove/sleeve, knit a handful of rows, put it on scrap yarn, cast on for the second, knit the same number of rows and then combine the two on one long circular to work two-at-a-time. This helps me avoid twisted stitches and wrestling with excessive yarn while trying to set up for working in the round. Also, not every pattern is suited for two-at-a-time knitting. (The reason I worked those fingerless mittens separately was because they required colorwork and I worried four strands of yarn would have become a tangled mess.) Not only do I cast on separately but I also tend to do the heels and other tricky parts separately as well (transferring one to scrap yarn) if working two-at-a-time is too confusing or simply won't work. If you'd like to try this technique, Knit Picks has a free tutorial that will walk you through knitting two-at-a-time socks.

Do you knit socks at the same time or separately?

(The first photo shows the sleeves of my Clairette Cardigan. The second project is the start of my Hermione's Everyday Socks.)