Socks on Circs – What’s the Big Deal?

22 May

Socks knitted on circular needles two at once – it’s always sounded like a great idea, but I never got around to testing it until today. I’ve always been a devout supporter of double-pointed needles and I never actually have real trouble making something twice. But still… so many people swear by this technique, and I want to learn new stuff, so why not give it a go.

So this weekend I was out of town and didn’t have any projects with me except one sweater sleeve which hasn’t progressed even past the ribbing in two months… That may paint a picture of just how thrilled I was to knit it. I really wanted to get that done, but nah… My heart wasn’t in it. Before the train ride back home I broke down and got some fingering weight yarn and a 2,5 mm 80 cm circular needle, and began knitting.

As anyone might expect, I hated it at first. While I knitted I began compiling a list of pros and cons to the technique compared to knitting with double-pointed needles. The further I got (especially after I got past casting on and making the increases for two toe-up socks) the more I started to like it. Lots of the cons I could come up with are undoubtedly things which I’ll get past if I keep practicing.

The cons I do consider may be actual downsides to this technique include the need to move the stitches on the cables. The needle I’m using (from Prym)  may be part of the problem as the join between needle and cable is far from smooth. Also I haven’t quite figured out how tight I need to make the stitches on the edges of the two sides of the sock, and if they’ve been too tight, that makes it more difficult to move the stitches. But in the end it’s impossible to know which takes up more time – all the tiny movements I make every time I change needles when knitting with dpn’s or the longer times it takes to move the stitches this way but only once every row.

I definitely enjoyed not worrying about needles dropping out or getting lost – although I’ve never lost a dpn while it was attached to a project, and rarely drop needles. Admittedly, in a train or a bus (or a lecture) it’s pretty annoying when it does happen.

Casting on separately and then moving the two socks on the same needle also seemed to take up too much of my pweshious knitting time… But in reality, it didn’t take any longer than doing the same with dpn’s would’ve done. Besides, once  I was past that point, I realized I really wouldn’t need to do that again with this pair of socks, and that was a happy thought.

I got that same feeling again when I tried one sock on (much easier to do that with the sock on the cable as opposed to on the hard dpn’s by the way) and realized I had already knitted almost enough to begin the heel – twice. Awesome.

My stitches were a little uneven especially in the beginning and I got some ladders on the edges, but it started to get better before the train reached my station. At first my yarn got tangled a lot but that got better too as I learned how to control it.

I guess I’ll have to keep on knitting to know what I really think of this way of going about this sock-making business, but it’s looking promising right now. I’ll never give up dpn’s! But it’s always good to have more options available.

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2 Responses to “Socks on Circs – What’s the Big Deal?”

  1. woolandchocolate May 23, 2011 at 03:13 #

    I am a huge fan of that method! Otherwise, I would never get the second sock finished. 🙂 Plus, I usually take patterns as mere suggestions and not really law, so it is good if I do one row on this one/one row on that one. They are more likely to end up being a matching pair.

    Love the colors of that yarn, by the way. Gorgeous.

    • bamboo#1 May 24, 2011 at 12:42 #

      Thanks! 🙂 I’m not a huge friend of pink, but somehow this colorway pleases the eye.

      That’s a good point about this method, I hadn’t thought of that! I usually make at least some changes in patterns, too, and then have to rip back a lot… It’s looking more and more likely that this method beats dpn’s.

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