Show & Tell: Getting Started with 2-at-a-Time Socks

There is no new spinning to show you and as several people have asked how to start two (toe-up) socks at a time on a single circular needle, I thought it would be a good opportunity for a 'knitting show & tell' today instead. If you're here to add your spinning link, please do so below - I'll be back with more spinning next week.

Beginner's guide to two-at-a-time socks - Crafts from the Cwtch blog

I first tried "2-at-a-time" for our sock knitalong in February, and since then I have made various pairs of socks and "multi-puffs" this way, preventing 'second sock syndrome' and ensuring socks match without having to count rows. If you'd like to give it a go, but have the impression it's complicated, please grab some yarn and needles and give it a try with these step-by-step instructions. Click on the small images if you want to see full size pictures.

You will need:
- a toe-up sock pattern of choice
- a long circular needle in the correct size, I prefer 100cm but 80cm is fine too 
- two balls of yarn, I always wind mine into centre-pull balls so they don't roll about and get tangled together. If the yarn is self-striping or patterned, and you want the socks to match perfectly, then you will need to ensure the balls are wound in such a way that the same part of the pattern can be used to cast on each sock, and that the pattern is going in the same direction.

Using one of the balls of yarn, and Judy's Magic Cast On, cast on the correct number of stitches for one sock, then push those stitches to the back of the needles and use the second ball of yarn to cast on the second sock....

Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks   Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks

You will now have cast on two socks with two different balls of yarn...

Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks

Whenever using multiple balls of yarn there is a risk that they could become tangled. To prevent this, I secure the balls separately (for example in a bag with poppers which can be used to guide the yarn) so that the working yarn is kept apart, and they are less likely to tangle. I also alternate the way that the work is turned (clockwise after the first side, which puts a twist in the two yarns, and anti-clockwise after the second side, to untwist them). With the yarn balls separated, it's time to start knitting the first side (the top) of the first sock...

Knitting show & tell: casting on 2 at a time toe up socks   Knitting show and tell

There is no need to think about the second sock whilst doing this, except to ensure that the correct ball of yarn is being used, so keep it to the back of the needles (or on the cable if your needles are short). Using a long cable ensures there is a big loop at either side, and plenty of room to manoeuvre and work. This type of circular knitting is the "magic loop" method.

Knitting show and tell

After knitting the first side of sock one (above), switch yarn and knit the first side of sock two.

Knitting show and tell

Turn the work clockwise, ensure that the purl 'bumps' are to the top, and then readjust the needles so that the long cable is on the back needle and the stitches on the front needle, to knit across sock two (NB for the first row, remember to knit into the back of the stitch when using JMCO, to prevent twisted stitches). When sock two is done, change yarns to knit along the second side of sock one.

Knitting show and tell   Knitting show and tell

You have now completed one 'round' and should turn the work anti-clockwise to continue knitting. If you forget to alternate the turns clockwise and anti-clockwise, don't worry, it should be easy enough to get rid of the resulting twists if your yarns are separated.

It may seem a lot to remember when broken down into each stage like this, but once you give it a try, you'll see that it's surprisingly easy (and logical) to do, and in my opinion it's much less fuss than using two circulars or DPNs. If you give it a try, let me know how you get on! 


  1. Oh boy that looks a bit fiddly, more so for toe up rather than cuff down. I'll have to read further up on this.

  2. Oh thank you for the tutorial. Two at a time is something I've not done before and keep meaning to try, it looks scary but I'd imagine like most things once you start and get going is relatively easy ! You make it easy and straight forward sounding and I'm going to give this a go !

    1. It is easy once you work it all out. Can't wait to hear houw you get on :D

  3. Right. I'm going to try that ...
    I've got spinning of sorts - so I've linked it up ;)

    1. Love the spinning/felting! Will look forward to seeing your two-at-a-time socks! x

  4. I prefer cuff-down socks but what a great, detailed tutorial!

    1. Toe up socks have two major benefits: 1- You can always try them on and know that you are starting at the same spot where you never know where on your leg the cuff will be unless you have a magic marker line on your leg. 2- You can cast on with 2 needles side by side and do away with the seam that needs to be sewn up. Toe Up Socks rule!

  5. Thanks for the clear instructions. Whenever I've tried before I've become hopelessly tangled but I'm inspired to give it another go.

  6. This is a fantastic way of knitting socks. They both end up identical in length and there's no second sock syndrome.

    I first learned this method a couple of years ago from watching Liat Gat on YouTube.

  7. Sarah, may I ask how you use Mr. Linky? After you get the code, do you just paste it into your post?

  8. I love this tutorial and am really grateful that you posted it. It was worth having to drag out the laptop when the site wouldn't work on my iPad. On the iPad, the site just jumps to the top and won't let you read the great information after the first photo.


The blog is on an extended break (you can read about it in the latest post) - due to the high volume of spam, commenting will be closed for all posts at the end of 2017. Thank you!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.


The free patterns and tutorials on this site are provided for unlimited personal use. You may print a copy of a pattern or keep a digital copy for personal use only. Please feel free to share links to the relevant posts but do not reproduce or sell any of these patterns (either digitally or in print). If you would like to use any of my images, please get in touch!

Yarn sellers: Please do not print patterns/tutorials to distribute with yarn sales, as this is an infringement of copyright.

Latest Instagrams

© Crafts from the Cwtch. Design by Fearne.