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Archive for August 2nd, 2007

Ta da! These are my finished summer socks, and although the pattern is simple I’m proud of my progress because I taught myself a new technique, two socks at once on a long circular needle.

I know there are full tutorials out there that let you work on the single circ from tip to toe, but because the simple manipulation of the needles made me feel so clumsy, I decided to keep it simple and start the toe, as usual, on four double-pointed needles and then switch to the circs.  Here’s my best attempt to explain the mechanics of what I did: working two-at-once socks on one long circular needle. You can see from the photos I’m a right-handed continental knitter, and in the photos below I’m working on one 60 inch circular Addi Turbo.  The socks are worked in the now-discontinued Knit Picks Parade, a self-striping yarn that has long runs of color that are particularly useful for this demonstration.  To get started, knit your toe or cuff as you normally would on dpns.

I worked this sixteen stitch sock as an example to demonstrate how to transfer the stitches from the dpns to the circular needle.

Flip the sock over and look at the yarn — figure out which stitches you’d knit next if you were going to work around on dpns.  Then either slip those stitches to the circular needle, or, if you’re feeling brave, simply pull out the dpn and pick up the stitches with the cable needle.  When you’re done, it should look like this picture.

Now do the same thing with the stitches on the next dpn, moving the stitches onto the circular needle so that you have half of the stitches on the circ and half remaining on the dpns, as shown. 

Next the tricky part!  Pull the circular needle through your work so that the stitches pass over the length of cable and come to rest on the other cable needle tip.

With the circular needle tip you were working with at first, repeat the process of slipping stitches from the dpns to the cable needle.  The first half of the sock-stitches you slipped will rest on the other circular needle tip, and a long length of cable will dangle between the two halves.

Finally, when you’re done, it will look like this.  To work two socks at the same time, just slip the stitches from the second set of dpns to the cable needles.  The key is to orient the working yarn the same way on both socks, so that if, as show, the yarn comes out from the top right corner of the needles on one sock, it should come out from the top right corner on the other sock.

Now we’re ready for step two — actually working both socks on a single long circular needle.  Once the socks are situated on the needle, they’ll look something like this, with both needle tips sticking out of the same side of one sock, and with a large loop sticking out at the other end. Both yarn tails are sticking out of the top right corner of the needles.  In this example, the self-striping yarn helps to illustrate what’s going on. The working yarn I’m going to begin knitting with is the purple yarn. You can see the grey-colored yarn in the photo as well — LEAVE THIS YARN ALONE! Just ignore the grey yarn as you begin working with the purple yarn.

First pick up the purple “working” yarn and hold it as if to knit. Pull the needle with the “live” stitches away from the knitting, to give yourself some slack. Then, using that same needle, begin knitting. (**I’ll refer back to this image as the starting point for knitting another round.)

As you knit across the row, your knitting will look like this (right). In this example, I’m working the purple yarn so stitches that were grey a row below become purple. Note, also, that the sock I’m not working on and the ball of yarn for that sock are sitting untouched off to my left. Finish working across the row, being careful that a loop of cable remains behind the working needle, as shown.

When you’re finished working across the row with the purple yarn, your socks should look like this. In this photo (left), I’ve dropped the purple working yarn and I’ve picked up the grey yarn as my “working” yarn to begin a row on the other sock. Notice how much cable loop is sticking out of end of the row I just finished working with purple yarn.

Now, to work the next row, I simply pick up the grey yarn and continue knitting across, working with the same needle in my right hand, but now working with grey instead of purple yarn. When I’ve reached the end of the row, my socks look like this. Notice that there is still a loop of cable at the end of the purple-yarn sock. When I finish the row, because of the loop of cable, I have the most recently knit stitches near the tip of the working, right-hand needle, and a long length of cable trailing behind the tip of my left-hand needle, as shown.

In order to knit the next row properly, I now have to adjust the cable position. Basically I want to pull out some slack for the “working” right-hand needle and take up some slack from the left-hand needle. My best suggestion is to grip the cable for the left-hand needle behind both socks, as shown, and pull from left to right.

When you’ve pulled the slack from the left-hand needle, your socks will look something like this, with both needles pointing out, and a huge loop of cable sticking out the back of the purple-yarn sock. In order to knit the next row, with the grey yarn, I have to pull out some slack for the “working” right-hand needle.

Now the needles are positioned so that the next row is ready to be worked. Refer back to the **starred** starting point to walk yourself through the next rows. From here on out, you simply follow the steps and keep knitting around, in this case, by picking up the grey working yarn. That’s it — and after a few rounds my fingers started to “get it” and feel a whole lot less clumsy.

Once you’ve got the basic idea, keep knitting around until you’re done and then enjoy your socks!

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