Table of Contents
Knitting with Two Circular Needles
Is this book for you? 2
Falling in love 2
Knitting with two circulars: getting started 3
Casting on and joining 3
Around and around 3
Translating a traditional pattern to the two circular method 6
Simple S o c k in Three S i z e s (easy) 7
Indoor Felted Boots (easy) 10
Fleetfoot (easy) 12
Gardeners S o c k (easy) 15
Night-Blooming Jasmine (intermediate) 18
Columbine Peak (intermediate) 20
Two Alert Cats (intermediate) 22
Cable-Top: with the Turned Toe© (intermediate) 25
Alpine Meadow (intermediate) 27
Bavarian Twisted S t i t c h (intermediate) 31
Leaf and Tendril: with the Turned Toe© (advanced) 35
Special Tips and Techniques: the How, Why, and Wherefore 40
Sources for Yarns, Needles, and Other Goodies 42
My Favorite Knitting Technique References 42
Treasured Traditional S o c k Collections 43
Interested in additional patterns and techniques? 43
About the author 43
Abbreviations and Explanations 44
It takes a village to write a book
My beloved daughter Jenny has always been an inspiration to me. In her infancy, her feet were so tiny they slid down the bathroom sink’s sudsy drain, and now she leaps hurdles and dashes around a track wearing the Fleetfoot socks you’ll find in this book. A culinary artist, she is also an artist of life itself, faithfully and thoughtfully weaving the unique and profound tapestry of her individual nature. It’s an honor to be present in her life. From the very start of this book’s journey, Jenny’s insistence that it become a “real book” encouraged me to leap the hurdles along the way. Thank you.
This book might not exist were it not for my kind mother, who somehow gathered and regathered the patience to lovingly and methodically teach a very stubborn and determined child to knit and sew. From the memorable day she taught me, a six year old, to tie a knot in the end of sewing thread as I sat on the white rocking horse in our temporary home in Merzhausen, Germany, to the help she still offers me in thinking about textile design and function, I thank her for persevering for all those years, in so many ways.
Anne Sheridan is a dear friend whose artist’s eye and heart gracefully captured images of my socks on film, and who created a cover that makes me feel like I’m breathing fresh spring air every time I look at it. Ingrid and Hans Skacel’s interest, support, and good advice helped me more wisely navigate the uncharted seas of putting this book together. The members of my textile guild continually inspire me and their suggestions and insights have been invaluable. Candy Hoeschen and Judy Brandt were especially helpful. The Thursday afternoons of knitting and wise friendship with my teaching colleague, Kim Norton, nourished the book’s growth spurts and both of us. Eckhart Toiles gentle presence kindled stillness in me, which has allowed this book to emerge in peace.
I thank all those knitters of centuries past, who figured out how to pull loops through loops and hold them on sticks. More recent knitters, especially Barbara Walker, Joyce Williams, Meg Swansen, and Elizabeth Zimmerman, have inspired me to open my eyes and think and dream of new ways of pulling loops through loops on sticks into a sock shape. A special thank you to Meg and her bright spirit for responding to my phone call by generously sharing her enthusiasm and “everything she knows” about doing a book. And last but certainly not least, I cherish and admire my many middle school knitting students for their inventiveness and vital interest in an age-old art. Three students, Emily Bayuk-Johnson, Caitlin Ness, and Kati English, stand out for their creativity, ability to learn almost anything, perseverance in diving into new territory, and the many new knitters they have taught themselves.
Knitting with Two Circular Needles
Is this book for you?
I hope so. If you can knit and purl, you can use this book to knit socks faster and more gracefully, using the magic of two circular needles. You’ll find four patterns easy enough for a beginner, six for intermediate knitters, and one for the advanced knitter. The socks appear in relative order of difficulty.
I assume you have basic knitting skills, and own at least one good knitting reference book (see appendix for recommendations) to look up the details of certain techniques beyond the scope of this book, like invisible cast-on, grafting instructions, and I-cord.
So, if you love learning new skills, delight in knitting architecture, love to knit socks, or just have cold feet, I welcome you to the world that lies within these pages.
Falling in love
I’ve written this book because I fell in love all over again with knitting socks, this time on two circular needles. When I say circular needles, I’m not referring to the old kind that you soaked in boiling water in hopes that the cable would unspring itself. As you probably know, the warm bath never quite defeated the cable’s urge to coil, and knitting became an isometric exercise. You’ll burn fewer calories knitting with the best newer circular needles, whose pliant, slinky cables are already tame.
Knitting socks on two sleek circulars is like taking an express train, while knitting socks on the traditional four or five double-pointeds is more like taking a milk-run train that stops at every little village along the way. While knitting a pair of socks on two circulars, you will pause for about three hundred fewer intersections than when using a traditional, double-pointed needle method. I would gladly use double-pointed needles for a historical knitting experience, but not otherwise.