Books and magazines that explain how to do it are flying off the shelves, and sock knitters everywhere are finally finishing both socks at once. It is the ultimate cure for second-sock syndrome.
But even if you never intend to knit socks, learning how to knit two tubes at a time can improve your knitting experience dramatically.
Why? Because when you can knit both mittens, gloves, arm warmers, legwarmers, or sweater-sleeves at the same time, both pieces of your project will look the same, and you’ll actually finish faster than if you made the pieces individually.
Knitting two-at-a-time is faster because you skip all the counting, thinking, and measuring on the second item – a big time-saver on projects like shaped sweater-sleeves. The pieces come out identical, without any extra thinking on your part!
You also go faster because it’s more motivating to see your entire project moving to completion on your needles. In my experience, it takes only about 50% longer to make two sleeves at a time than it does to make one.
The best part is, with two-at-a-time, when you’re done, you’re done. No more thinking, “Now all I have to do is do it all over again…”
You’ll bind off and put the pair of mittens directly on your hands or into a gift box, and skip happily to the yarn store to start a new project – which, now that you know two-at-a-time, might even be a pair of socks!
If you are comfortable with knitting in the round on Magic Loop, you can start your next Magic Loop project two-at-a-time: all you need to learn is a special way of casting on.
You’ll also have more success using a longer circular needle than you would normally use for Magic Loop, since you’ll have twice as many stitches. I like a 47-inch-long circular needle.
Follow along with the video below, or use the photos to guide you step-by-step. If you are excited about learning to knit two-at-a-time, check out my Two-at-a-Time Socks Video Knitting Class!
- One 47-inch-long circular needle
- Yarn separated into two balls of equal size
Here’s a photo tutorial illustrating the same concept – use whichever you find most helpful. There’s also a tip on keeping your yarn from tangling at the end.
Step 1: Using a long-tail cast-on and one of the balls of yarn (let’s call it Ball A – shown here in red) and leaving enough tail for all the stitches your pattern calls for, onto one end of the circular needle, cast on HALF the stitches required.
Step 2: Push the stitches from Ball A away from the tip of the needle. Using yarn from Ball B (shown here in yellow), onto the same needle tip, cast on ALL the stitches called for in the pattern.
Step 3: Push both sets of stitches onto the cable part of the circular needle.
Step 4: At the midpoint of the stitches from Ball B (the larger set of stitches), bend the cable and pull a large loop of cable out, as shown in the photo below. Pull the loop until the stitches reach the needle tips..
Step 5: Arrange the stitches as in the photo below, with the stitches from Ball A pushed onto the needle-tip. Notice how the yarn is coming off the wrong end of the stitches? That’s on purpose.
Step 6: Holding the needle-tips together at the base and in your right hand as shown in the photo below, cast on the remaining stitches from Ball A onto the empty needle tip. Make sure the needle-tips are together at the base so that you don’t get a stretched-out piece of yarn between the needles.
Step 7: Turn both needle-tips towards the right (“ready position”) and make sure all the bumps from the cast-on row are facing in, like the teeth of an alligator. This prevents you from creating any twists in the round.
Step 8: With the working yarn (Ball A) draped over the back needle-tip, pull the back needle-tip out and to the right, and then point it back towards the left needle-tip, just as you would for Magic Loop.
Begin working across the stitches from Ball A.
When you finish working the stitches from Ball A, drop that yarn and pick up the yarn from Ball B. Knit across the next set of stitches using the yarn from Ball B.
Step 9: Return to ready position. Repeat Step 8, only this time you’ll first knit the stitches from Ball B, and finish with the stitches from Ball A.
You’re on your way! Repeat steps 8-9, shaping your pieces according to your pattern. Make sure to keep your balls of yarn in separate bags or containers on either side of you, so they don’t get tangled.
Another trick to keeping your yarn from tangling is to hold the working yarn from one ball of yarn to the front of your work, while the other working yarn stays to the back.
If you haven’t already bought it, I highly recommend:
Mastering Magic Loop Socks Video E-Book
What did you think about this two-at-a-time cast-on? Share or Leave a comment below.