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Knit Socks Toe Up, Two at a Time and Never Experience Second Sock Syndrome Again!

Updated on November 28, 2012

I absolutely love to knit. Indeed, I have to say that I think it's probably my all-time favourite pastime. Knitting is something that relaxes me and allows me to produce a useful end-product that I enjoy using or giving to another person to use. Hand-knit items make excellent gifts and every year around Christmas time I find myself obsessing over finding the perfect pattern for each of the people on my gift list.

Inevitably, I wind up thinking about my list of Christmas recipients some time in September, and considering what I'm going to make some time in November. In other words, I'm always behind on my Christmas knitting. This is the biggest reason that I like to choose small projects, such as socks and mittens, for gift knitting; they knit up fast and make wonderful wintertime presents!


Why I Love Small Scale Knitting

Small-scale knitting is fast. Quick projects are more likely to be completed by scatterbrained crafters like me who tend to hop very quickly from one project to another, and are therefore a good choice for people who are disinclined to finish bigger projects before moving on to the next great pattern. Since I'm one of those people who loves to go from project to project to project, I prefer smaller-scale projects that allow me to quickly finish one thing and move on to the next.

I love to knit socks. I can't say that I'm especially good at it, mainly because I still struggle with ladders at the joints (where the two needles meet one another in circular knitting), but sock knitting is some of my favourite knitting. Not only do I absolutely love the wonderful cushy sock yarns (merino wool and silk are my favourites), but I enjoy the way that they knit up very quickly and the way that they feel on my feet when they're finished.

Beside that, there's an incredible sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a project. Socks, mittens, hats and scarves tend to be my favourite projects since they knit up fast, but nothing quite beats the sense of pride that I get when I finish a super-comfy pair of socks.


There are Different Ways to Knit Socks

There are several different methods that a person can use to knit socks. In the picture of the orange socks (above) you can see that there is a set of double-pointed bamboo needles being used to knit this pair of socks. One sock is finished, and the other sock is being knit from the toe up to the cuff.

Socks can be knitted on different types of needles.

Double Pointed Needles: Double pointed needles come in sets of either four or five. The work is placed on three or four of the needles in the set and the remaining needle becomes the working needle, working the stitches from one of the full needles onto the working needle. This is a bit tricky for beginners and at first it feels a bit like you're knitting with a porcupine. Tension can be a problem with this method, and improper tension can create "ladders" where two needles join one another. This is my preferred method of circular knitting, even if I'm not very good at it!

(Note that double pointed needles can be used to knit socks either one or two at a time, depending in part on the skill of the knitter. Double-knitting is an advanced skill.)

One Circular Needle: Socks can also be knit on circular needles. Instead of using one short needle, the knitter uses one very long circular needle in what is known as the "magic loop" method of knitting. This method is most commonly used by beginners who have trouble with ladders forming in their work when they work on a set of double-pointed needles.

(Socks can also be knit two at a time on a single circular needle, as the book I recommend on this page illustrates!)

Two Circular Needles: Socks can be knit, either one or two at a time, on two circular needles. I prefer this method for knitting two at a time from the cuff down (rather than knitting one at a time, since this method is so good for two socks at once). This is a more expensive method of knitting two socks at a time, however, as the knitter must purchase two of each size needles necessary to complete the project.

In addition to the needles, the socks can also be knit in two different ways: From the cuff down or from the toe up.

Cuff Down: Cuff-down sock knitting is recommended for beginners, since it is simpler through the heel turn, and the methods involved in cuff-down knitting are standard. I personally believe that anyone who is going to be knitting socks regularly should at least attempt to learn this method of sock knitting, since any type of double-knitting is going to require this method. (Attempting to double-knit toe up would result in knitting the toes of the two socks together, unless I'm mistaken).

Toe Up: Toe up sock knitting involves a more advanced cast-on, but otherwise is somewhat simpler, especially in that when socks are knit one at a time, this is the easiest way to guarantee that the two socks are the same size as one another! It is much easier to match socks to one another toe-up than it is to match them to one another cuff-down, but I find the gusset and heel to be a bit more complicated with this method than with cuff-down.

In combination with the above methods, socks can also be knitted either one at a time, or two at a time. This can be done on double pointed needles, one circular or two circulars, toe up or cuff-down (though as far as I'm aware, toe-up on double-pointed needles is impossible).


What is Second Sock Syndrome?

Imagine this: You've just finished a really great project. You love the way that it looks and the way that it feels. And... It's finished. And now, instead of moving on to the next project, you have to repeat the project that you just finished knitting.

This is second-sock syndrome. The sock that is pushed to the side and never worn because it lacks a mate due to the fact that its creator wants to move on to another project.

Second-Sock Syndrome can be eliminated by knitting two socks at the same time. Some methods of doing so are complicated (such as double-knitting on double-pointed needles) and others are relatively simple (such as knitting from the cuff down on two circular needles). You will find a lot of information about how to knit on two circular needles available on the Internet. But knitting from the toe up, two at a time, is something else entirely.

5 stars for Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks

Knitting Two Socks at a Time, Toe Up, on One Circular Needle

I don't purchase a lot of knitting books, since so much is available on the Internet. There is such a huge wealth of information online that it simply isn't necessary to put money into a book when I would prefer to put it toward high quality yarns to knit into my projects. Beyond a certain point, it only makes sense to find the patterns that I most like and either purchase them individually by looking them up on Ravelry or finding free patterns that are comparable, such as those that can be found on Knitty.

Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks is one of the very few knitting books that I own. I purchased it when I first became obsessed with knitting socks. I'd always struggled a bit with toe-up socks, because the increase for the foot never quite looked right for me, and by the time I reached the gusset, I was finished with the project and ready to move on to something else.

The patterns in this book, along with clear instructions, made my day! Not only have I been able to complete a pair of toe-up socks as a result of having purchased this book, but I absolutely love the way that they look, and I find the patterns to be incredible versatile! Once the techniques are learned, this can be used to apply to any toe-up sock pattern, including those that can be found for free on the Internet. The purchase of this book was a very intelligent purchase for this sock knitter.

I think you need this book in your inventory too. If you knit socks, you'll want to have this book!

Do you knit socks?

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Hand-Knit Socks Make Great Gifts

Christmas is right around the corner, and I'm sure that all my crafting friends are frantically trying to fill their last minute orders for handmade knit gifts. Socks make an especially good last minute gift because of the size of the project, and when you choose to knit them two at a time, you'll find that the project goes that much faster, allowing you to complete an entire project in time for your last minute gift orders. There are some very snuggly patterns in Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks that the people on your gift list are sure to love. Thicker socks make wonderful wintertime gifts, and there are some very nice thick-knit patterns in this book that you and your recipients are sure to love.

What's Your Favourite Sock Yarn?

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    • Everyday Miracles profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      4 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Do you knit? If so, check out the recommended book. The patterns are great and knitting on two circulars is easier than on dpns. You should be able to do it if you know the knit stitches!

    • TarrinLupo profile image

      Tarrin Lupo 

      4 years ago from Peterborough NH

      I love knitted socks, I really need to learn how to do this.

    • Everyday Miracles profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      6 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Once you learn, simple knits are nice for gifts because they are usually knit flat and don't take a lot of concentration. The socks from this hub obviously require more shaping than that.

      I'm looking forward to writing a hub that does a step-by-step on knitting a toy, but would you believe my project bag disappeared? I can't find it anywhere and I know where it was the other night. When I find it I'm going to start taking photos and doing a step-by-step to make up an article about the shaping of smaller scale knit toys. They're so much fun and work up so fast that they're a good choice for people who don't like huge projects!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      I admire the creativity and the patience of people who knit. I tried and quitted a long time ago, but every time I look at pictures, and now that I read your hub, I wish that I could --especially for Christmas gifts. Cheers to you!

    • socio-literature profile image


      6 years ago from Ireland

      Congrats Everyday Miracles for your creative nice article....Keep it up................Your fan....................GEORGE.....from Kerala....INDIA

    • Everyday Miracles profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      6 years ago from Indiana, USA

      Smaller projects aren't necessarily easier, but they are quicker, for those who have enough experience with knitting to be able to knit in the round. Most small projects involve a lot of shaping, so they can be a bit more tricky for beginners.

      Scarves make lovely practice pieces though. I have some great patterns that I can pass on (and which are free on the Internet) in another hub. I found that practicing cables on scarves was the easiest way for me to learn to do them and now can cable in the round too (:

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I have tried to knit more than once, I never knew about these smaller needles, are they easier? I would love to knit, especially as you say the smaller projects. I crochet but you just can't do as nice of things as with knitting. Thanks for the info. I will have to try this.

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe Payne 

      6 years ago from USA

      I am now following you on your blog as

    • faythef profile image

      Faythe Payne 

      6 years ago from USA

      I do love to knot socks and I do always have second sock syndrom..My next pair will be toe up

    • Everyday Miracles profile imageAUTHOR

      Becki Rizzuti 

      6 years ago from Indiana, USA

      I usually knit with Knitpicks yarn, mostly because the texture is wonderful and the price is very nice as well!


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