Stunt knitting: 2 socks at once

Knitting two (training) socks at once: one is pink, the other is blue

Knitting two (training) socks at once: one is pink, the other is blue

Last weekend, I took a class on knitting two socks at once, on the same set of needles, using the War & Peace method. Rarely have two forms of such obscure geekery been so satisfyingly indulged.  The first historical mention of this method is the following passage in Tolstoy’s masterpiece:

[..] a rapturously breathless cry of children’s voices filled the room. “Two, two!” they shouted. This meant two stockings, which by a secret process known only to herself Anna Makarovna used to knit at the same time on the same needles, and which, when they were ready, she always triumphantly drew, one out of the other, in the children’s presence.

They're done!

They’re done!

It was only a matter of time before Anna’s secret was out, and now we can all impress small children and curious onlookers with this somewhat astonishing knitting technique.  Very closely related to double knitting, this technique allows you to knit two socks simultaneously, inside one another.  (Alternatively, if you alternate colours, and thereby interweave your yarns, the two fabrics will become interwoven and you can create a fabric that has no wrong side, like this fantastic scarf by Andre Sue).

The big reveal: kissing socks!

The big reveal: kissing socks!

There are long three part youtube tutorials on this method that taxed my attention and ability to follow a video.  There is also a pretty comprehensive photo tutorial on knitty. However, I’d strongly recommend taking a class, if there’s one offered in your area.  These trainer socks, in worsted weight yarn, were achieved knitting every second stitch from one ball of yarn, and purling every other stitch from the other ball yarn.  The stockinette sections are relatively straighforward, but the inside out ribbing, titling increases and simultaneous gusset pick-ups are not for the faint of heart.  I’m not sure that this technique will save me any time, but it will definitely add a bit of interest to the task of knitting basic stockinette socks, and impress anyone who witnesses the big reveal.

Turns out my sloppy two in one worsted socks were a perfect fit for my son!

Turns out my sloppy two-in-one worsted socks are perfect slippers for my son!

Because I was learning, I knit my trainer socks in two very contrasting colours, and here you can see the pink sock materializing inside the blue one. Our instructor recommended knitting real socks this way in self-stripping yarn, but making sure the stripes do not align (that way you can see which sock is which).  I’m thinking of taking this a step further and knitting two sort of matching socks at once (for example, 1 pink sock with a blue heel and toe and 1 blue sock with a pink heel and toe). When I do conquer Anna Makarovna’s techinque, it’ll be using Kate Atherly’s pattern. Which all begs the question: Can I sustain it while watching this season of Game of Thrones?


12 thoughts on “Stunt knitting: 2 socks at once

  1. Kowareta

    That is bananas! Well done, I can certainly see it being a mystifying experience for creator and onlookers alike. I’ve been drooling over double knitting lately and really want to give it a try, but you’ve just cranked things to a whole new level, a level I might have to work my way up to, but can admire for now =P

    1. lisagono Post author

      Thanks… I’m not sure I’ll feel like I’ve got it, until I’m able to make a pair of real socks this way, but it certainly felt good pulling those apart!

  2. andresue

    That is very impressive! And, such great photos explaining the how it’s done! I’ve never heard of the technique before but I’m intrigued… however, I’m sure I’d eventually cross my yarns at least once and ruin the big reveal- especially if watching Game of Thrones! (Best show ever) 😀

    Awesome, awesome knitting!!


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