Liat’s Limitless Cast-On… for Two-at-a-Time ANYTHING

Liat's Limitless Cast-On GraphicYou’ve probably heard how wonderful it is to knit socks two-at-a-time.

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!

Bodhi with socks

Two-at-a-Time is twice as nice!

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!

Materials:

  • 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.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 1

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.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 2

Step 3: Push both sets of stitches onto the cable part of the circular needle.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 3

 

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..

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 4

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.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 5

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.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 6

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.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 7

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.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 8, Part 1

Begin working across the stitches from Ball A.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 8, Part 2

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.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 8, Part 3

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.

Liat's Limitless Cast-On Photo 9

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.

Related Articles:

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.

About Liat Gat

Liat is the founder and video knitting expert at KNITFreedom. If you liked this article, you'll love the tips you learn from her FREE video newsletter. Get it now by subscribing here.
This entry was posted in Cast-Ons, Magic Loop, Two at a Time. Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to Liat’s Limitless Cast-On… for Two-at-a-Time ANYTHING

  1. Renna says:

    You’ve done it again, Liat, cranked out another great teaching video! I’m sure I’ll likely have to refer to the video the first few times I do this, but don’t anticipate a problem. You’ve successfully removed the fear element that’s prevented me from attempting this. Thank you!

  2. liatmgat says:

    Thanks for commenting, Renna! Now you can make all of your mittens two-at-a-time, too!

  3. Anita says:

    Liat’s Limitless Cast-On is simply amazing! Your instructions are so clear and calm. You anticipate each problem and solve it before it happens…you’ll make every knitter a SUPERSTAR!

  4. Kemer says:

    At the end of watching your videos I always make the same comment,”I get it now” I may never use my DPNS again!

  5. Norma says:

    Hi Liat
    I watched the video Liat’s Limitless Cast-On for Two-at-a-Time ANYTHING! ….and I would really like to have that in a DVD …the question is… is that included in the LEARN TO KNIT SOCKS DVD? Or is that a different class? I was just wondering which is the right link to order that one :) I just started a my two at a time sleeves..by the way …thank you soooooo sooo much it was really helpful ! but I know myself and I am very likely to have to watch it again …LOL…so I’d like to have the cd :) for later usage :)

    Norma.

  6. JoLene says:

    Thanks so much for the video. I did my first pair of socks toe-down 2aat and now wanted to try cuff-down. I was struggling to figure out how to do the cast-on and the one method that I saw had you casting on both and”working from the center”, which I thought would lead to problems tracking. I really like your method and your video was great quality.

  7. Shelley says:

    Your tutorial is great! Thank you so much! I’ve tried it 3x time, and I keep running into the same problem. My stitches of the tube that was cast on in two separate parts end up twisted after I knit the first row. The only thing I can figure out is that it is something with my cast on. When you go to cast on the 2nd half of the stitches for the first tube with the yarn ends hanging off the back of the first half of the cast on stitches, the yarn end that is connected to the ball of yarn is closest to you – more in a position to wrap that end around your thumb. It’s the yarn end that is NOT connected to the ball of yarn that needs to go around the thumb. I find that in order for me to get the correct yarn end over my thumb to cast on the 2nd half of the stitches, the two ends end up twisting a bit. I’m thinking this might be why my stitches keep twisting as soon as I knit the first half of the first round. Does it matter which yarn end is around my thumb at this point? Help!!

  8. gloria says:

    hi i would like a basic glove pattern i can’t use dpns. the pattern calls for it i do know a little magic .i don’t know how to knit socks or anything but your nice basic hats i made about 6 using your pattern. what i would like to know if i can adopt this glove pattern and use magic loop i have been trying to do the pattern sense Nov. i’m done with dpns. i just viewed you 2 at a time. i don’t know where to start in learning ‘ Socks or what please help. i’m so down right now . your 2-at-a-time video is awsome.Thank You again!

  9. Dee says:

    I love this tutorial because it is not a video.
    I printed it out and will keep it by my side when I start my socks and mittens.
    Videos just do not help me at all. It has to be the written word.
    Thanks a million.

  10. Chris Marrangoni says:

    I would love to see a video knitting two socks at a time toe up.

  11. Marcia says:

    What size are your 47 inch circulars? I am looking to buy some but have to buy separate needles and cable. What size would be best for an all around needle?

  12. Sue Millar says:

    Can’t wait until after surgery and I can start knitting again. Have 3 projects in line, then will be doing two socks at a time! Love your videos and written instructions!!

  13. Jennifer says:

    I just had the crazy idea to cast on 2 at a time hats for my husband and son for Christmas. This would work for that to as long as my cable is long enough right?

  14. Sue Millar says:

    Surgery is over and I am back to knitting! Have one project done, another on the needles. Takes a little longer now, but strength is building back. Liat, do you have a video for seaming? Have a cowl/hat that needs seaming at the top.

  15. Sue Millar says:

    Thanks Liat. The project I need to seam is a cowl/hat combo with the cowl knittend in the round and the hat portion knitted flat. The seam would be on the bind off edge. I seamed it, but it doesn’t look right. Doing the mattress stitch on the bind off edges leaves a lip look.

  16. Sue Miller says:

    Liat, I looked at the three needle bindoff on your forum. it will be perfect for this project, so I will redo what I have done wrong, and use the three needle bind off. That will work perfectly!

  17. Pingback: Kool Aid spiral socks/ Spiralsokker | Wool Rocks

  18. MarySC says:

    Wow, what great clear directions! (I didn’t watch the video.) I am making teeny tiny sweaters used for gift card “packages” so have only 20 stitches for each sleeve. I was worried about using the wrong yarn strand but you’d really have to try hard to do that. I also had no problems with the yarn getting tangled even though I was working from both ends of a single skein – I just threaded the two strands through different handles of my knitting tote bag. I found I could carry both strands on the lower fingers of my left hand and then simply pull up the strand that I needed at the time onto my index/2nd finger (continental knitting style, obviously). Every once in a while I would have to untwist the stands, but only 8 rows or so.
    Thanks so much!

    • Liat Gat says:

      Hooray! I’m so glad the photo tutorial helped you understand how to do this cast-on. The little gift card packages sound sooo cute! I might have to copy your idea… :)

  19. Pingback: To på en gang / Two at the same time | Wool Rocks

  20. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I love the photo tutorial, it really helped me figure out how to do sleeves two at a time, which I thought I’d never be able to do.

  21. Pingback: Pin of the Week: Two-at-a-Time Cast On · Knitting | CraftGossip.com

  22. Louise says:

    This is a great video–very clear and easy to follow. The only thing I don’t get is why it’s okay to knit through the back loop. Won’t that make your stitches twisted?

    I suppose I should break out some yarn and needles and try!

    • Liat Gat says:

      Haha it’s because I had a bad habit of twisting my stitches when I do the long-tail cast-on! I have broken that habit now, but I wasn’t even aware of it when I made this video! Sorry about that :)

  23. Pingback: Knit Punk » WIP #2: Update on Lyndon’s Socks

  24. maria katsigianni says:

    very good video and instructions! thank you! what kind of yarn do you use for socks? wool,cotton?

  25. maria says:

    I did everything and is ok until now…I just finished the heel turn and picked up all the stitces,but now I don’t know what to Elli.which needle…which sock.maybe an extra needle? Any help please!

  26. Bonnie says:

    I have a binder full of mitten patterns but having just finished the magic loop mittens I have found the perfect pattern. Thank you so much for the pictures and the video. I have been knitting for over forty years and have learned so much from them, both shotcuts and improving my technique.

  27. Jeanny says:

    Well, it took me most of the way through the Packer game this afternoon, but I think I have successfully cast on and knit the first few rows of two-at-a-time mittens. I understood the whole process in theory, but I had a heck of a time figuring out how to tension and hold the yarn to cast on for the second half of Ball A. I watched your video over and over, even paused it so I could see. I finally got it!

    For thickheads like me, it would be great to have a really slow-motion replay of tensioning the yarn for the second part of Ball A and casting it on.

    Thanks, though. I think once I really get this, it will be great!

  28. Betty says:

    I am knitting a top down sweater and I need to pick up stitches that are on scrape yarn to make the sleeves. My question is since I do not need to cast on stitches, in what order and in what direction do I pick up the stitches. I hope this makes sense. Thanks, I really like your demonstrations and have enjoyed a couple of your classes

  29. Tilly says:

    I have been wanting to try the two at time socks for a while. I finally sat down today to teach myself. Yours is the fourth website I have come to, and, without question, it is the best tutorial around. The pictures and directions are crystal clear. I have not had to unravel anything since I started. It’s amazing the difference your technique makes. No stress or anxiety. I will be back to learn other stuff from you, for sure.

  30. Debbie says:

    I love all the videos, and this one helped a lot when I first learned 2 at a time. I thought I had to cast on 1 sock, then the second, and was always ending up with one sock going one way and the second the other way. BUT, why are you teaching people to do the slip knot for the first stitch? I learned to knit before I was 10, but my mother taught me to do long tail cast on just by stretching the yarn between thumb and forefinger and dipping the needle under the yarn for the first stitch. Is there something I don’t know about using the slip knot which will forever change my knitting?

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  32. Kim Hays says:

    Thank you for a great resource.!

  33. Sharon Dempsey says:

    Purchased the Knitting Superstar last week. I don’t think this video is for me.
    I purchased last year the 2 at a time sock video and with all the free videos on your website and youtube I don’t feel like I am getting my money’s worth. The 2 at a time sock video lesson I bought last year is a major part of the Superstar vide class.

    How do I get a refund for this class? I purchased through paypal.

    Thanks

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