Knitting by Blind Faith

How to Knit Two Toe-Up Socks on the Magic Loop
Sunday, October 19, 2008, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Knitting,Patterns Tips and Tutorials

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s baby shower. Judah and Lindy were also there. Judah presented the mom to be with a beautiful hand knit rolled brim hat. I knit her baby socks, miniatures of the pair I made for myself last week. Unfortunately, the camera ate the pictures we took before giving them away. :(

I knit the baby socks at the same time. The phenomenon still hasn’t grown on me. It feels incredibly fiddly and slow. On the other hand, it’s nice not having to count rounds, except within the pattern repeats, and having them both finished at the same time is a plus. So, the jury is still out on this one. This probably won’t be the last pair I knit at the same time.

Although I’m not in love with knitting two socks at the same time, I know a lot of knitters are curious to try it. There are a number of excellent tutorials out there, including Silver’s Sock Class and Elizabeth Allen’s top-down version. I will add my basic toe-up tutorial to the list.

This tutorial assumes you are fairly comfortable knitting socks, and that you know how to knit using the Magic Loop technique. If not, check out some of these tutorials:’s Magic Loop Video
How to Knit Small Circumferences w/ One Long Circular Needle
Knit Picks Magic Loop Tutorial

To start, place the ball of yarn for sock B on your left and the ball of yarn for sock A on your right. Keeping the balls of yarn far apart will make it easier to spot tangles quickly. I also have a method for keeping my strands of yarn from twisting around each other, which I will discuss later in the Tips section.

Make a slip not in each strand of yarn near the tail. You do not need a long tail to cast on.

Using the Turkish cast-on, cast on sock B as follows:

1. Hold the tips of the needles, one on top of the other, in your left hand. The tips of the needles should be parallel and pointing to the right.

2. Slide the slip knot for sock B over the bottom needle tip and onto the cable. Pull out the bottom needle tip to the right, so that the top needle tip is lying parallel to the cable.

3. To cast on, take the yarn in your right hand and wrap it under the cable and over the needle from back to front. When the yarn is hanging in front of the needle and the cable, one wrap is complete. Remember to hold the yarn tail out of the way by bracing it against the cable with the fingers of your left hand as you cast on. Continue to cast on until you have the desired number of stitches on the needle. Each wrap counts for two stitches. If you wanted to start with 16 stitches, you would wrap the yarn around the cable and the needle 8 times.

4. Once you have the desired number of wraps, bring the yarn under the cable and behind the work. Anchor the cast-on by weaving the working yarn through the fingers of your left hand and holding it in place up where the fingers meet the palm of the hand. This will keep it out of the way while you cast on and begin to knit sock A.

5. Slip the slip knot you made with the yarn for sock A over the bottom needle tip and onto the cable. Then, cast on for sock A as you cast on for sock B above, bringing the yarn under the cable and behind the work after the final wrap. You now have two sets of loops wrapped around the needle and the cable.

You will now begin to knit the socks:

1. Slide the stitches for sock A and sock B onto the tip of the top needle. This is Needle 1. Continue to hold the working yarn for sock B out of the way with your left hand, and begin to knit sock A’s stitches in the usual way. If you are a Continental knitter who normally weaves your working yarn through the fingers of your left hand, keep sock A’s yarn close to your fingertips as you knit the first half of sock A.

2. Once you complete the first half of sock A, drop the yarn and knit the first half of sock B with its working yarn.

3. Turn your work, and slide the unworked stitches for sock B and sock A onto the tip of the needle. Continue knitting the second half of sock B. Before you begin, you will slide the slip knot off the needle and undo it. Bring the tail to the right of, and then behind, the working yarn and anchor it in place with your left hand as you begin to knit the second half of the round. Otherwise, you will lose the first stitch.

4. Once you have completed sock B, drop its working yarn and pick up the working yarn for sock A. Pull out the slip knot and complete the round as you did with sock B.

5. Turn your work to begin the next round, starting with sock A. Work the toe in stockinette stitch by alternating one increase round followed by a plain knit round. On increase rounds, you will increase four stitches per sock, one at the beginning of the first half of each sock, one at the end of the first half of each sock, one at the beginning of the second half of each sock, and one at the end of the second half of each sock. I always make increases one stitch in from the edge. I prefer to use an M1R on the right edge and an m1L on the left edge (as the socks face you), but you can also use a KFB (knit in the front and the back of the same stitch) or your favorite increase.

6. Continue shaping the toe until it is as wide as you want it, being careful not to knit the tail into your work. Eventually, the toe will form a pocket as you knit, and the needles will cease to be top and bottom and will become front and back.

7. Keep the sole stitches in stockinette and use your favorite pattern on the instep. I make Needle 1 my sole stitches and Needle 2 my instep stitches.

8. Knit until the foot measures about 2 inches less than the desired length, then knit your favorite short row heel. I prefer Priscilla Wild’s short row technique.

9. If necessary, pick up an extra stitch between the sole and the instep on each side of the sock to close up any holes. Decrease this stitch on the next round with a K2tog on the left side of the sole (as it faces you) and an SSK on the right side of the sole (as it faces you).

10. Continue to keep the back of the leg in stockinette stitch until it reaches the ankle, or however long you want. It’s your sock, after all. Then, incorporate the instep pattern into the back of the leg.

11. Knit the leg and the cuff as long as desired, then bind off using EZ’s sewn bindoff. Kristin has a great tutorial for doing this on two socks at once.

12. Weave in ends.


1. To keep your yarn from tangling as you knit, do the following:

1. Knit the first half of sock A. Bring sock A’s working yarn around the loop in the cable that was formed when you began to knit with the righthand needle and drop it in front of the work.

2. Pick up the working yarn for sock B and knit the first half of sock B.

3. Keeping sock B’s working yarn on top, rotate your work COUNTERCLOCKWISE and continue knitting the second half of sock B.

4. Bring sock B’s working yarn around the lefthand loop in the cable and lay it from back to front over the tip of the righthand needle. Then, drop the yarn and let it hang in front of the work. This will keep the yarn from being wrapped around the cable, which would cause an accidental yarn over.

5. Sock A’s working yarn should now be hanging behind the work, ready to knit. Knit the second half of sock A.

6. Keeping sock A’s working yarn on top, rotate your work CLOCKWISE and begin the next round by knitting the first half of sock A.

Repeat the above steps as you knit, and your yarn should stay untangled.

2. You may find it helpful to put a marker on sock A to quickly distinguish it from sock B and also mark the beginning of the round.

3. As you knit, keep the socks close together and keep part of the sock in waiting on the needle shaft, if possible. This will help prevent the sock in waiting from sliding to the end of the cable as you knit. I also hold the socks close together by bracing them with my fingertips.

4. Prevent ladders and antiladders by giving the yarn a gentle tug after you insert the needle into the first stitch of the sock. Pull the yarn snug, but not tight, then knit the first stitch as usual and at your normal tension.

Good luck, and happy knitting!

1 Comment so far
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Nice posts. I hope you are still knitting. Keep posting

Comment by Dee

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