Hand Knitted Sock Tip: Use Three Circular Needles

hand knitted socks

So as soon as I finished off my hand knitted sock show-down last month, I quickly went out and bought new yarn and started another pair. I'm back in the saddle!

This sock pattern happens to be from the same book Knitting on the Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter by Nancy Bush and is called "Dalarna." And even though I was drooling over a lot of different sock yarns, I ended up selecting this multi-colored blue and green hand dyed yarn from Lorna's Laces.

I wanted to share a cool tip for hand knitting socks that makes these projects a whole lot more easier to complete. Instead of using 5 double pointed needles, I use 3 pair of circular needles. Two of these circular needles hold each side of the sock (each holds 1/2 of the stitches). I use the third circular needle to knit new stitches.

Why is this so neat? Well, when I'm working on very tiny double point needles in the round, things feel a bit rigid. I'm also more apt to slip some stitches accidentally off the end of my needle. Being able to push half of my work to the flexible middle area of circular needle lets my knitting feel more loose and stitches don't accidentally slip off the end.

When you are casting on, turning the heel, and finishing the toe you may need to switch back to using 5 double pointed needles, but for the majority of the sock, which is kind of like a miniature sweater, you can knit on 3 circular needles.

If you have a complicated pattern or need to know where a certain number of stitches ends, I use stitch markers to indicate parts of the pattern where I switch a design.  

My last bit of advice is to make sure that if you do purchase circular needles for your sock pattern, you have enough length in between the two tips but not too much. The needles in the picture above for knitting my socks are bamboo size 1 and 16" length.

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