DPNs vs two circular needles vs Magic Loop for socks

clneeley's picture

Yes, I've been bitten by the sock bug. I've been learning how to knit socks using DPNs but I noticed that there is usually a gap where the instep and gusset meet. So, I was wondering if using either two circular needles or the magic loop method would help minimize this problem. Thanks in advance.

Comments

Tom Hart's picture

Right at the beginning of

Right at the beginning of circular knitting I tried all the methods. DPN's, magic loop, and two circulars. I've ended up with magic loop. The only circulars I buy are 60-inch Addi Turbos. The thing I don't like about magic loop is that sometimes the loop gets in my way. But I'm more OK with that than I yam with dpn's getting in my way. The set-up I'd really like is magic loop with those new (very expensive, I think) circulars with the ball bearing in the join so that the cords lie down and don't curl up into your face. But I think those ball-bearing joins could also be a bit of an Achilles' heel. There's something to be said for "no moving parts"...

clneeley's picture

I've been using magic loop on

I've been using magic loop on my hats using Knit Picks Options circular needles. So far, I've been able to manage on a 32" cable but I do have a 40" cable for my next project. I'm thinking of ordering a set of their Harmony needles to try the Magic Loop on socks. DPN's are really too clunky for me to keep having to work around.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

The Harmony circulars work

The Harmony circulars work very nicely for Magic Loop. I bought some in the 2 sizes I most often use for socks, mainly for ease when traveling. My preferred dpns are antique and I'm scared of losing them. ETA - The KA bamboo circulars are also pretty nice. Their cable spins as well, making it easier to go with a shorter cable length; the one I use is 24 inches long.

bobinthebul's picture

Well, you certainly see that

Well, you certainly see that you aren't the only one that has had this problem! Seems like every time someone asks about it, another new (to me at least) solution comes up. I realized I'd done the "pick up two and knit together" solution once sort of inadvertently but never really thought about it again. Good reminder. Another person I've talked to crosses the last stitch of the gusset with the first stitch of the instep.
Also, sometimes if the hole isn't too big, it just disappears in the washing.

2 circs, dpns, magic loop - I started with dpns, then went to magic loop. It's okay as long as your cable is long enough. Too short and it does strain and pull against the knitting. But what I don't like about it is the fiddling at the end of each row. I tried 2 circs and had terrible problems with laddering; the unused needle hanging down there always seemed to pull the juncture apart. But it definitely works for others, I wonder why I couldn't get it working for me. So now I'm mostly a dpn person, and have figured out several tricks to keep laddering from happening. 1. Arrange stitches so that you never (or at least rarely) start with a purl on a new needle. 2. Give a bit of a tug on the first stitch and maybe even the second when starting a row. 3. Make sure the needle you are knitting off of goes above the following needle; this will make knitting off it (and keeping things tight) much easier.

As for speed - I knit continental; nowadays I almost never let go of the yarn when I move from needle to needle; I finish one, pull the empty needle out, rotate and move on. Fast! BUT - when I first started doing this, I did manage to mess up and grab the wrong needle in my haste...d'oh! You won't do that more than twice...;)

michaelpthompson's picture

On Sat, 2011-10-08 04:14

On Sat, 2011-10-08 04:14 bobinthebul wrote:

1. Arrange stitches so that you never (or at least rarely) start with a purl on a new needle. 2. Give a bit of a tug on the first stitch and maybe even the second when starting a row. 3. Make sure the needle you are knitting off of goes above the following needle; this will make knitting off it (and keeping things tight) much easier.

I guess I just instinctively did all the things Bob mentions, so I don't actually get a hole. I do stockinette at the gusset, but if I try one with ribbing, I'll keep up my practice of always starting with knit stitch on a new needle. Figuring out your stitch count ahead of time helps with that. No matter where I'm knitting, I always give a bit of a tug on the yarn when starting the second stitch on a needle, which tightens up the first one. And I also discovered it's a lot easier to keep the new needle above the old one. If it's below, the old one gets in the way.

clneeley's picture

Yes, I'm guilty of pulling

Yes, I'm guilty of pulling the wrong needle (I said a bit more than "d'oh"). Thanks for the tips!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

"grab the wrong needle in my

"grab the wrong needle in my haste...d'oh! You won't do that more than twice" -- Wanna bet? I won't...I still do it every so often. Usually that's a sign I've been marathon knitting too long and it's time to put away the knitting for the night. In my case, I don't have laddering but I still get a looser stitch that carries up the sock because my fingers automatically adjust the tension to match while knitting it. Not enough to make any major, noticeable difference...except to me. Drives me crazier. ;-)

clneeley's picture

Thanks for all the

Thanks for all the suggestions! Just about finished with this sock and will cast on another with the trusty ol' DPNs. I'll try out all the methods suggested for the gusset until I find one that works.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

That's the spirit. Lots of

That's the spirit. Lots of luck and best regards.

Thomasknits's picture

Also... simply the best post

Also... simply the best post I've ever seen about gusset and glove finger holes:

http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2009/04/crossing-stitches-one-way-to-avoid-hole.html

She shows you how to cross your stitches (like a 1 over 1 cable) to close a hole.

Thomasknits's picture

My preferred method: Knitting

My preferred method: Knitting them on 2 circulars. I haven't done two at a time, but I think I'm going to next time, because I have the hardest time being excited about the second of the pair.

What I really like about two circulars: At any given time it feels most like my normal knitting... The second circular just hangs out of my way (easily held along the back as I work.) I started liking magic loop, but I found that the cord in the back caused weird tensions on the needles... like I was fighting the needles sometimes just to move them around.

Also: I do most of my flat knitting, and large diameter circular knitting on 24 inch circulars. This way, eventually all I'll need to do is form an arsenal of two 24 inch circulars of each size, and I'll have almost anything I need.

kiwiknitter's picture

I first learned to knit

I first learned to knit because I wanted to make my own socks (argyle at that). I've done other projects but I always seem to have a pair of socks on the needles. I feel so connected with knitting history - all those knitters who made socks for the boys during the past wars - knitting into the night for them. I also feel connected to all the poor farmers who supplemented their meager incomes by knitting socks for sale. Just somehow, knitting socks connects me to history and to the earth and I like it. But, that's not what you're asking here...

I don't like using DPNs although I can manage them without laddering up the gaps. I've done socks with the single long circular (Magic Loop) and it works well enough. But, the method I first learned for sock making is the one I still use: 2 socks at the same time on 2 circulars. I have taught this method because I believe in it. No ladders, the socks are the same length and no "single sock syndrome". Admittedly, it is a bit fiddly at first, but once there is about 1" of knitting fabric on the needles, it goes very quickly. Best of all, at the end of the knitting, there are 2 socks completed.

Socks rock! I just received a tutorial video on doing intarsia in the round so now I can knit those argyle socks!

scottly's picture

Operative: "But, the method I

Operative: "But, the method I first learned for sock making is the one I still use". Exactly, I learned using two sets of DPNs, doing cuff, cuff - leg, leg - heel, heel and so on. I've never suffered from second sock syndrome, my socks are always exactly alike and lattering is rarely an issue and even if it is blocking always corrects it. When I tried the two sock on two circ method I felt like I was spending way more time untangleing yarn then I was knitting with it. But I'm not saying one method is better then another just that what ever you are most comfortable with is the best method for you. And it's usually the method you learned first.

scottly's picture

Let's see if this works: No

Let's see if this works:

No Gusset Holes!

Just click in the link.

Kerry's picture

Thanks Scott, that method of

Thanks Scott, that method of picking up 2 stitches and knitting through them looks much better than the picking up one stitch that I have used up till now. You're a champion!

scottly's picture

Hey, your welcome.

Hey, your welcome.

just looked at NO GUSSET

just looked at NO GUSSET HOLES---looks like a sure-fire solution---cant wait to cas ton a new sock!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Will have to make a note of

Will have to make a note of this and try it on the next pair...I'm already past the gussets on the current one.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

There is almost always a bit

There is almost always a bit of a gap there. Experience will help you overcome it as far as tension goes, but there's always the chance of some slack. Picking up an extra stitch is a good way to help but my advice is to do a little research and see what other knitters have done. That way you can experiment until you find whatever method[s] suit you best. My current method is to pick uo the running thread at the gap and treat it as a SSK or K2tog with the instep stitch next to it. [Depending on the side of the heel flap that has the gap...someyimes it's at the beginning, too.] ---ETA: My experience is that the gap is present regardless of dpns or circulars. One source said to put the instep sts on a thread to eliminate the tension that contributes to the gaps...all it did - in my case - was make it worse.

clneeley's picture

I think I'm just being too

I think I'm just being too much of a perfectionist concerning that little area.

No, you are not being too

No, you are not being too picky---you just dont want a big old hole in your sock. Just keep experimenting and SOMETIMES those little holes will sort of snuggle down and go away when you wash the sock.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

That is true...I'm often very

That is true...I'm often very perfectionist about all of my knitting, that's why I've experimented so much with the various techniques I've found.

knittingboom's picture

I have made dozen of socks

I have made dozen of socks and came across the same problemTne extra stitch method helps, also turning the stitch before and after the decrease and don't change needles at the decreasing/increasing points. I also found too many stitches on a needle especially when picking up stitches at the heel. I use instead of 4 DPNs 5. Good luck.

Could be a tensioning

Could be a tensioning problem. When picking up stitches along the heel flap, I often pick up an extra stitch at the end if the gap looks too big. There are probably 100 other answers and solutions to your question and the MWK group will happily tell them to you. Among all that, you will find a method that works for you---also, the more you knit socks, the better they get---Practice makes'em better.

clneeley's picture

I'm sure tension has a lot to

I'm sure tension has a lot to do with it. That is the only problem spot with this sock (so far). Thanks for the tip. I'll try to pick up an extra stitch the next time.