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I'm new to sock knitting (and knitting really) and have "frozen" on my first sock at the heel. So I've set it aside for a few months and worked on other projects while I've debated starting over or taking a leap and finishing it. I'm not happy with the size and some ladders. . . It might just be a practice sock that no one will ever where.

What I'm wondering is how does everyone feel about circulars verses double pointed? I've got a few small ladders from the DPN and I'm sure I can improve with practice but I was wondering if circulars resolve that problem, and if so, what "cons" do they have.

Another question: Do you find it easier to go from the top down, or toe up?

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Replies to This Discussion

I wasn't able to master DPNs and didn't even try socks until I was introduced to the concept of socks on circular needles. I highly recommend a circular needles sock method. I use two circs, but magic loop sounds like a good choice as well.

As for top-down or toe-up...I don't have enough toe-up experience to speak authoritatively. The only pair of toe-ups I tried had very district ears on either side of the toe, which annoyed me. I ripped them out and went top-down instead. Perhaps if I was using a better toe-up pattern...
I'm "old" at knitting but new at socks. I like dpns because I never get lost. (I love my Harmony dpns, by the way. Love.) A few times when I've tried two socks on two circulars, I've accidentally picked up the wrong end of the wrong needle. Then I literally CANNOT figure out what to do to get all the needles pointed the right direction again and I end up having to do major ripping out. Very frustrating.

However, the main advantage of the circulars and knitting two socks at a time is that they come out exactly the same size. Too often I have two socks that are slightly different in length or some other small difference. No one notices but me, but pleasing me is the reason I knit, right?

Also, here's the deal about heels: Just Do It. The first few heels you have to follow the instructions, sometimes one stitch at a time. They don't make sense until you've done a dozen or so. Then suddenly, they do.

So far, for me, the most important part about socks is the yarn. If you knit them on yarn that doesn't have enough stretch to stay tight on the foot, they just get bigger and bigger each hour you wear them and they're really uncomfortable.
Another vote for learning on DPNs Top Down -- and I love the Yarn Harlot Basic Sock pattern, too.

Once you have made a couple socks on DPNs the architecture of the socks will be something that you feel going forward regardless of the needles or pattern. Regardless of the type of heel that you do, it will always fall in the middle of the tube that is the sock . . . there will always be one closed end whether you cast on there or Kitchener stitch it closed . . . there will always be an open end to put your foot in and you will find out whether it is easier for you bind off or cast on loosely enough to keep the pattern looking good and the opening wide enough for a foot. It's kind of like learning to drive a stick shift car even though you you'll almost always be in an automatic -- once you can do it you will always understand the car better. (you'll also be able to rent cars in small towns in Europe, too, because they tend to have clutches . . .)

I use whatever needles I have available now -- two circulars or a Magic Loop (a circular that is 40" or so long) or DPNs. It is handy to know how to use the tools.
I had the same problem with Toe up socks until I used the Turkish cast on. I found it on you tube and it has improved my sock toes. Give it another try!
You are probably going to find as many opinions as you do knitters. Me, well, I'm a top down, double pointed sock knitter. I attempted the circulars because the thought of doing two socks at once appealed to me, unfortunately I was not as comfortable with it as I am with dpns. But, thanks to a wonderful article on I am now able to do two socks on my dpns.

Take the leap and finish the sock you started. Use it as a learning tool and wear them with pride!
I love DPs and don't use anything else for socks; I always use 5- 2 for instep, and 2 for heel, and 1 to work with. The ladders will go away with practice, and don't worry about the loose space between rounds at first, that will tighten up as you knit more rounds and also with practice. I think DPs make heels easier.
I personally prefer top-down.
I don't like circs in general unless I have to; I hate the way the stitches catch right where the cable meets the needle ends. Plus I am just terribly old-fashioned. annekat
I learned on double pointed and tried both methods, must say I like the toe-up method because it elements any sew and when the socks are finished all I have to do is weave in the remaining yarn. At the moment I am trying two at a time on two circular needles and must say I prefer circular needles because I can make both socks at the same time and that means when I finish knitting both my socks are complete and I don't have to make another sock. Hope this helps.
I don't have a reply to your question but I have a question of my own to add to the discussion...What is the best sock pattern for a beginner. I have been putting off making socks because I am not sure which is the best pattern to use for my first sock. Thanks Connie for the heads up on the sock yarn. What is the best yarn to use for socks FYI: I am a seasoned knitter and I have used dpn to make gloves.
Hi Gingerbean,

The best is a plain simple sock pattern - the clearest (to me anyway) is the sock recipe from Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules. Many people use larger yarn for their first socks to see it better - we have a free pattern that uses worsted weight & might be a great introduction to sock knitting.

Like sock styles, the best yarn for socks is subjective. Most agree that a fingering weight blend of wool & nylon is the best for durability & comfort - Stroll is a good example of that.

I hope that helps!
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I have done both, but I would never go back to DPN. I find the circulars so much easier, and it's not that hard to convert patterns written for DPNs to circulars.
Wow, Alexandria, there's not much left to say. The most important advise has already been given:

•You need to experiment and find which technique best suits you;
•Ladders will go away with practice. Just be sure to snug up. It doesn't matter if you are doing DPNs or circs. Just remember like any great skill, it takes practice, practice practice. So every time you send something to the frog pond, you weren't wasting your time, you were practicing and Peggy Stuart will tell us we are maximizing our knitting enjoyment with the same yarn without additional cost.
•Circs make better travel knitting. Personally I prefer Magic Loop over 2 circs.
•For your first few pairs, do one at a time. To do two at once, you will probably prefer using circs. After you get the hang of whichever circ method you choose, then progress to 2 at a time.

I use both DPNs and magic loop. I like both methods.

There are lots of videos on YouTube for different methods of doing 2 socks on circs — although I only found one video with 2 on magic loop. It's not informative but funny to watch.

Go here for knitty's tutorial on 2 socks at once on DPNs.
Personally I like to do my socks toe up because I hate the Kitchener stitch. My toes looked awful when I got done. So I switched to doing the toe up socks. I like to use both DPNs and circs. Right now I am drowning in socks as I am giving them away to everyone for Christmas this year. Since I want the socks to match I am doing them on one circ two at a time. I would recomend not changing needles between socks (personal experience talking) it changes the gauge a bit. Also if you are doing two at once your emotions are the same at any given point in the sock and thus you don't have the differences in tention. Just be warned if you take your toe up socks out in public and you haven't turned the heel yet, they may be taken for a bra or bikini set. I have had at least 5 people ask me if I was making a bikini. TOO funny!!!


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