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January 21, 2010



I think you'll find your pace will pick up as you gain more experience. It's slow and tricky to knit with four needles, there's no getting around it. I was at a yarn shop recently when the clerk, another customer, and I were discussing how some people hate knitting two of anything. The clerk said to the other customer, "Then you must hate knitting socks." The lady replied, "Oh, I was married to a one-legged man once. That was perfect." We just about died laughing. I've heard of knitting socks on two circular needles but have never dared try it. Don't give up!

Judi Kennedy

I agree with Jean. I learned the continental method from my m/in-law several years ago and it's much faster. However, I learned it before arthur got to my fingers. One technique is to set a goal of 10-20 rows a night/day/period of time. If you keep to it, you'll find you want to beat it and in no time the socks will be done. I don't do it with socks anymore, but when I have a project that seems to be boring me, that's what I do. Good Luck.


If you are using DPNs, try using a circular. I've found using circulars and knitting toe-up goes faster for me. Comfortable needles will make all the difference in the world. My favorite for socks are Knit Picks Harmony wood needles, 32". The cables are flexible enough that I'm not fighting them constantly, and the points are sharp enough that I don't have a problem grabbing the stitches.


I'm going to second the suggestion of using circulars, either two circulars or magic loop. Once you master it, you'll find that your grip will relax, making it easier to knit with arthritis. I can't give you any hints on learning to knit continental, as I've been knitting that way for almost 50 years, and don't remember how I did it. But I will say that if you can deal with the "death grip" and relax your hands, knitting is great gentle exercise for dealing with the stiffness associated with arthritis.

Andrea (@shutterbitch)

I knit socks on circulars (2 pair) and that's the only way I can do it without hurting my hands. The cables allow two of the needles to dangle out of your way so there's more flexibility to the whole project. I dislike double points for that reason alone.

As for continental knitting, try this website:

There are videos for the continental style as well as the 'throw' method, so you can pick what to watch for your comfort level. Good luck!


I'd work on technique more than speed - the speed will come. Also there is a product you can get in fabric stores (Joann Fabrics) or some drug stores (Walgreens, CVS, etc) called Hand Eze - it's a hand support that feels very good - use them myself if I need them when doing any kind of work and they also have a wrist support on them. Very comforting and they do help. I don't have arthritis but sometimes my hands are sore from overwork (typing all day, or other things)

Also I heard or read on line somewhere that they are making smaller size circular needles - smaller cable length size - I believe 8 or 9 inch for socks and mittens in the small needle sizes that you would use for socks.


Don't worry about speed. It'll come. Just make a point of doing a little bit every day that you can.

I'll also second what others have said: if you're using DPNs, try two circs or magic loop. You may find it more comfortable, or otherwise easier or better. (If you're using one small circ, you'll still need to use DPNs, a longer circ, or a second circ to close the toe.)


I know a lot of people find Magic Loop to be really quick, but I'm a Hard-Core DPN girl, and I can still knock out a pair of socks in 2 days with them. I think the big thing is working on your technique... as you get more and more comfortable with your knitting, you will get faster at it. Try and imagine that each time you knit a stitch, your muscle memory continues to build and improve. Knitting fast is fun - but remember that Knitting itself is fun, so fast or not - Enjoy the Ride ;)


I'm there with you - admire all the gorgeous socks others display and wonder how they do it. I'm glad you asked the question, I think I'm going to have to learn to master the circular needle method. I would encourage you to relish every moment you carve out for knitting - it's about the fun and relaxation, not a race. Additionally, those who are blessed to be gifted with a pair of your socks surely appreciate the treasure they truly are. Let's keep it F-U-N!!!


The way I much prefer to do two socks at a time, is with 2 skeins of yarn OR with yarn from the outside and inside of a single ball. I knit my socks this way, keeping them within a few inches of each other so they're finished about the same time.

Also, I would say "mix it up". Switch back and forth between socks and projects knit with larger needles.

Finally, keep your socks handy because you can put a few rows on while waiting in line, waiting for water to boil, etc. You'll end up making progress, but not thinking so much about how long it takes.


Sometimes when you are first starting it
can be a little hard. Try buying some DK
weight yarn instead of fingering yarn and
use bigger needles and get the hand band
the other blogger was talking about.


I find that circular needles don't hurt my hands as much so I can knit for a longer period of time. I do knit 2 socks at a time using the magic loop method. It was difficult to wrap my head around it at first so I tried it. I haven't knit one sock at a time since.


I agree with changing needles, I tried a small circular needle and after shooting pains in my wrists and struggling to do half an inch in a few hours I changed back to my DPNs and I go like the wind.

I only know how to knit with the throw method, and it's just time that helps with speed. Also try having a few projects on the go, a thicker yarn project, and the socks. There are days when I don't fancy sock knitting and always have something to turn to.

Just knit with and how you are most comfortable and the enjoyment and speed, and contentment from just wrapping yarn round bits of sticks will come.


Like others have said speed comes. I have tried cuff down and also toeup.What I do is use magic loop as a toeup. I also have several projects going at a given time so when one gets to me I have something else I can work on. I also am thinking that some yarns and socks fly through my hands while others are just slow. My favorite is the striping yarns and have gotten a pair done in 18 days. The striping yarns I do stockinette. I say enjoy it and as you get working it will be all good.


I use DPN's and enjoy the rhythm of the movement. I am not very speedy tho'. The best advice I ever read about knitting socks is to work on two at the same time. I will knit the rib on sock one and then go to sock two and knit the rib. On to the leg - finish the leg portion on the first sock and then the second. Heel on one and then the second and so on... when you are done you have a pair and you don't spend all your time saying what did I do on sock one because it is fresh in your mind. You do need two sets of needles but trust me - you can never have too many needles!!!


My strategy is similar to Renee (above). I keep 2 socks on the go at the same time except I make sure at least one of them is in the "mindless" section of straight knitting so that it can easily be transported without pattern book. I knit the leg on one, then cast on the 2nd sock. When I have peace and quiet, I do the heel work on 1, but have the 2nd leg to take with me. By the time that leg is finished, I am on the straight part of the foot on the other.It's a system that works for me. I am really enjoying reading all the suggestions from other knitters.

Amanda Cathleen

Keep knitting! The more you knit the faster you'll be at it. I'm a thrower but faster than most continental knitters. I believe its because I don't drop the needle or the yarn when making a stitch. So if you can figure out how to hold the yarn so its comfortable for you and your not dropping it.
I knit my socks on dpns, I've tried magic loop and 2 circs but when I'm turning the heel all the extra stitches puts a lot of stress on my wrists. Really I could knit the leg of the sock on circs, switch to dpns for the hell and go back to circs. But I've found my way to balance the dpns in my hand so they work well for me.
I do like to knit sock patterns that have an interesting pattern, and tell myself I can't stop till I've finished one repeat!

Virginia S Accurso

I knit a backwards right handed and throw my yarn as well. Don't worry about the speed as it will come. I've tried to learn the continental style but haven't figured out how to do it yet. I love knitting socks with DPN's and only just recently learned how to knit socks on circular needles from the toe up. I always have 1 pair of socks on DPN's and 1 pair on circular needles now. I also knit on other projects to help keep my arthritc hands from getting stiff. I also use the hand ez to help and believe me it really helps. So all these ladies are giving you lots of great information. Keep on knitting and enjoy the process.

Babette Hindle

Does any one have a copy of the jaywalker sock pattern they could send to me, I have misplace mine and would love to cast on a pair. Thank you, Babette


Thanks to all of you for your suggestions.
They were all very helpful and will put many of them to use.

"Slow Knitter in Salina"

Rosemary Martin

After knitting with dpn for years, Itook the plung and started knitting socks with two circular needles. Now can adapt any pattern to that method and love it. Everything goes much faster and I no longer spend time looking fot the dropped needle under the sofa or under the coffee table or in the cracks of the sofa or, you get it.

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