Knitting in the Round – Two at a time on one circular needle

I have come to really enjoy and appreciate knitting on circular needles.  Specifically, knitting on circular needles where I used to use dpns.  I have to admit that it took me a while, mostly because I love knitting with dpns.  But it just makes so much sense to do both mittens, both socks, or both sleeves at the same time. Knitting two at a time on one circular needle ensures that your increases are in the same place and so the finished pieces look exactly the same.  Well, maybe not ensures, maybe “makes it more likely” is a better way to put it!

WARNING: If you don’t know how to knit magic loop then don’t read this. Seriously. Don’t. It will freak you out to the point where you might possibly break out in hives.  Check out this post first: Knitting in the Round Using a Circular Needle.

WARNING TWO: If you do know how to knit magic loop, be warned, this is a long post. Not difficult, but long.  If you want to wait and come back later when you have more time I don’t mind. It’ll be here. 🙂

What type of cast on you use is not all that important for this lesson.  It doesn’t matter if you use a cable cast on, or a long tail cast on, or any other kind.  What I am going to show you is how to accomplish the cast on for two mittens, two socks, or two sleeves onto one circular needle, at the same time, with a minimum of fuss.

Keep in mind that the first couple of rows of anything is always a bit fiddly, and can be annoying.  Casting on for TWO items on one circular makes the first few rows doubly fiddly.  But really, it’s not hard, you just have to keep your wits about you.

 Disclaimer: OK, let me be honest. I don’t ever find knitting hard.  It is sometimes tedious, sometimes annoying, and frequently frustration; but never actually DIFFICULT.  This may be the way I am personally wired, and you may find that you are wired differently.  I often find when I teach that if someone continuously tells themselves (either out loud or in their heads) “I can’t do this” then they, in fact, can’t.  If however they relax, keep an open mind, and honestly give it a try 99 times out of 100 they find that they can do it.  Just because you have never done this before does not mean you will never do it, it just means you haven’t done it yet. Everything is trickier the first time you do it.

The first thing is to pick a needle.  There is no point in trying to accomplish this if you don’t have the right tool.  So here is my personal checklist for the perfect needle:

  • 32″ or longer
  • very smooth joins between the needle and the cable
  • sharply pointed needles (not rounded)
  • a flexible cable (so probably no cable needles made before the 80’s)

I strongly recommend that you practice this once (or possibly up to 3 times) on scrap yarn before you begin a real project.  First, because it’s just easier to learn when you aren’t creating something REAL, and second, because if you find you need to do it two or three times to get it right you won’t be wearing holes in the yarn for a REAL project. All you need to practice is a 32 inch circular needle and two balls of scrap yarn (same or different colors).

To show you how to do this I am going to pretend that I am casting on for children’s mittens.  Let’s say I need to cast on a total of 20 stitches in a worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles. (You would want to get all this from the real pattern you are using, when you do it for real. This is just for practice. There are no mitten patterns that ask you to cast on only 20 sts in worsted weight on size 8 needles for any kids, anywhere. Just saying.)

Part ONE:

To begin the cast on for Mitten One I will cast on half the stitches I need for the mitten. (For practice then, cast on 10 sts)  Mitten One is purple.  See how I have labeled the two ends of the circular needle A and B? Keep watching so you can see where they are…

Knitting two at a time on one circular needle

Part TWO:

Move the stitches you just cast on further down the needle.  We don’t need them for now, so just move them down away from the point and ignore them.  Then taking the ball of yarn for Mitten Two (Mitten Two is green) cast on the total number of stitches (in our practice that will be 20).  When you are done it should look something like this.

Knitting two at a time on one circular needle


You will notice that the second mitten (green) was cast on the same needle (A) as the first mitten (purple).  That means that the purple yarn is stuck in the middle where you can’t get to it, right? Don’t worry, have faith.  Keep going, you are doing it right.


Move the stitches for Mitten TWO along until they are all on the cable.  Then divide the stitches into two equal groups (in our case two groups if 10 sts) and pull the cable up through the middle of those groups. It will look like this.

Knitting two at a time on one circular needle

This creates a division now, between Needle A and Needle B.  You will want to keep this loop, just like you do in regular magic loop knitting.

Now, position your needle so that both points are facing in the same direction.  You will have Mitten Two (green) on the left (half on the A part of the needle and half on the B part of the needle) half of Mitten One (purple) on the B part of the needle. Like this:

Knitting two at a time on one circular needle



Now you need to cast on the second half of Mitten One (purple) onto the same needle (A).  How you do this depends on what type of cast on your are using.

  • If you use long tail then just create a new stitch.  Do it just like you always do, but instead of trying to put it next to the last one you cast on (which you can’t cause it’s in the middle of the cable, and nowhere near a point) just put the newly cast on stitch on the same needle you have been using to cast on all along (A).
  • If you chose to use a cable cast on (like in the pictures) then use needle B (Or an extra needle, as I do in the picture because I find it less awkward) and knit through the last stitch cast on for Mitten One (purple) and slip the new stitch onto the cast on needle (A)
  • When using another cast on, just do what you always do, but put the newly cast on stitch onto the end of the needle that you have been using to cast on (A).

Knitting two at a time on one circular needle

This will feel VERY awkward because you will not be using the yarn at the END of a needle, but way in the middle.  Don’t worry that you might be doing it wrong. Trust me, it IS awkward.   But it’s not impossible and you will get better at it with practice.  I have been doing it this way for so long I had to sit down and figure out HOW I did it, it has become second nature now.

This is what the first cast on stitch of the second half of Mitten One (purple) looks like once you have put it on A.

Knitting two at a time on one circular needleSee how loose it is?  You can’t help that, don’t worry about it, just cast on the second stitch.  Then before you tighten up the second stitch tighten the first one, then the second one, and the second one will hold the first one.  (See my warnings below about second stitch tightening…)  If you let the first stitch on the second half of Mitten One (purple) stay lose it will leave a gap. Not the end of the world, but something to avoid if you can. Don’t tighten it up if it’s on the cable though, cause then you will make it so small you can’t knit with it!

When you have completed your cast on for the second half of Mitten One (purple) the needle should look like this:

Knitting two at a time on one circular needle

You will notice that there is a gap between the first half and the second half of Mitten Two (green),  there is also a gap in the same relative position on Mitten One (purple). This is not bad, it’s correct.  You have finished casting on. Now you take a deep breath, and you begin to work your first round.

**Using the yarn that you were just using on the second half of Mitten One (purple), work the first half of Mitten One (being careful not to twist your stitches).  When you finish the first half (10 sts in this case) just drop that yarn.  Pick up the yarn from the other mitten and work the first half of Mitten two.  Then rearrange your needles (just like you always do when you knit using magic loop on a circular needle) and using the same yarn (green), work the second half of Mitten Two.  Then drop that yarn, and pick up the yarn from Mitten One (purple), and work the second half of mitten One.  You have just completed your first round.

Now go back to the ** and do it again. And again.

This is what my practice looked like after three or four rounds.

Knitting two at a time on one circular needle

If you are looking this all over and saying to yourself “WOW, the potential to tangle up my yarn is HUGE here.” You are not far wrong.  What happens is the you knit across the first half of both items, then you turn your work. Of course you turn you work, that’s how you get to the next stitches that need to be knit!  Then you work the second half of the two items, and you turn your work….again!  What you might not notice at first is that you are constantly turning your work in the same direction, so you “barber-pole” the two yarns. (That’s a spinning term, but I think you see what I mean.)

The solution is deceptively simple.  Turn your work clockwise, then counter clockwise, and your yarn won’t twist around itself.  Of course, with just two balls of yarn it’s really not that big a deal because you can always unwind it.  BUT my advice is to start a habit of being mindful, so you don’t have to unwind.  One simple way to do this is when you knit sit with one ball on either side of yourself while you knit.  Then if they start to wind themselves around each other it’s obvious.  If you are knitting two socks from the same ball (one from the inside and one from the outside of the same ball) it can get annoying if you haven’t already developed the habit of watchfulness and alternating your turn directions.

Still not clear? Maybe these can help. First, the names of each of the pieces of our practice.

Knitting two at a time on one circular needle


And second, the order in which you work the pieces:


  • Don’t forget to drop your yarn.  If you knit across the first half of Mitten Two (green) with the yarn from Mitten One (purple) you are going to have to undo it, which will make you sad. In the practice the two balls are different colors, in real life they will be the same, so keep your eye on it until you have developed habits.
  • When you drop your yarn always drop it in BACK of your work.  If you drop it in FRONT of your work (as if to purl) when you get to the other side of the needle and pick it up again you will find that you create a yarn over.  Again, not the end of the world, just something you might want to avoid as it will create a bit of a gap.
  • When you work the first row (the first row after the cast on row) remember to be sensible about your stitches and not make a mobius.  It doesn’t matter if there is one sock or two socks on your needles, if you twist the cast on it still won’t work!!! Be careful!
  • Make sure that you pull your joins taut (meaning the joins between the two halves of the same item).  The best way to do that is to make sure you pull the yarn taut in the SECOND stitch, not the first.  If you yank on the first stitch it will never stay taut.  If you pull slightly to make the first stitch taut as you create the second stitch it will hold. The second stitch holds the first stitch in place. WHENEVER you pull your yarn taut, be careful that you are not making the stitch smaller than they should be.  if you pull the yarn so taut that the last stitch on the other needle gets smaller (because it is on the cable, not the needle) then when you come around to that stitch it will steal yarn from the stitches on either side and EVERY stitch will be too tight.  Keep thinking TAUT not TIGHT.
  • Are you confident that you know which direction you should be knitting in when you pick up your knitting? If not, then this might not be a skill you are ready for.  Think about which direction you should be going in before you start.  It’s easy to get confused when this is a new skill.

OK, that’s it.  My last recommendation is that if you don’t get it the first time, go get a cup of tea. Relax, enjoy your tea. Then come back and try again.  It’s awkward at first, but once you get it you will LOVE it.  It’s magic.

Thanks Julie for the question!!  Anyone else have some lovely knitting questions? Let me know!


  1. I have made one sock with magic loop. Didn’t come out too well as I’m still a new knitter. I’m trying your method with mittens two at a time. I noticed that it didn’t fully join to work in the round until round 2 of knitting. Is this a mistake?

    • If you follow the directions I give for knitting in the round two at a time using magic loop you first cast on the stitches, then as you work the first round of actual knitting the loop is closed. So that is the second time you go around the stitches, but the first round of actual knitting (the first being casting on). In fact, in this method you CAN’T knit the first round without closing the loop, because the yarn is attached to the last stitch you cast on, so the next stitch you work should be the FIRST stitch you cast on, on the “other needle” (meaning the other side of the circular needle) so you kind of HAVE to close the loop. That being said, it is possible to go backwards and work a row without closing the loop of stitches. Of course, if you keep doing that then the loop never closes. In any case, however you did it, if the loop of stitches didn’t close until the second round I wouldn’t see that as a problem. Some people find this method too complicated and cast on flat, then move them to magic loop. My mother often works one row of her socks flat, then joins them in magic loop on the second round ON PURPOSE. She find that if she has a whole row of knitting to handle, rather than just a cast on row, it helps her to make sure the loop doesn’t get twisted when she joins. However you do it, if it works in the end: you did it right! Happy Knitting!

  2. Thank you for the tutorial. I have knit socks ML TAAT for years, but always toe up. This time I wanted to do mittens starting at the cuff and had to really work to get it, but your instructions were very clear. I think next time, I’ll do one and then the other before uniting them. In practice, that’s the way I do socks, too. But this is useful to know.

  3. Colette Wismer says:

    I have knit socks using the Magic Loop for years but wanted to try this technique for a very long time. For me, its always easy to get the first sock knit but then making the second one is pure drudgery. I am so hopeful that I can make this work! Thank you so much.

  4. Thank you for the tutorial, which was clear and I did understand it. However theory and practise are 2 very different animals. I will try again once I’ve untangled myself. 🙂

    • Some people can handle a certain amount of tangle, and others just can’t stand it at all. It’s a personal thing. I can handle a bit of tangle – as long as it’s just TWO yarns. If it gets to the point where the tangle starts to impede my knitting then I let the knitting drop and twist out of the tangle. No need to mess with it, it’s not really tangled, the two yarns are just twisted around each other. My Mum, on the other hand, can not abide twist. So she most often will knit from two balls (rather than the outside and the inside of ball) and keep one ball on either side of herself, and regulate how she turns her knitting at the end of each side, so that she avoids adding twist. I personally like to wind my yarn in to a ball with two yarns. I take the outside end, and the inside end and wind them together. Then I knit two mitts, or two socks, or two sleeves from ONE ball BOTH from the inside…I find this works best for me. Everyone has their own best way…Good luck with your tangles!!

  5. Hi — is it doable to cast on separately, knit for a while separately and *then* put the sleeves (in my case) on the needle to work at the same time? My sleeves have some color work at the wrist and I have no desire to manage 6 balls of yarn at once! Thanks!

  6. thegenealogist says:

    Thank you very much for these instructions! I knew there was a way to knit two sleeves at once, and suspected it could be done on a single needle, but it took your instructions to explain it clearly. I hadn’t tackled magic loop knitting before but, taking my time, reading carefully, with your help I found it fairly easy. I am knitting an Icelandic sweater with a pattern around the cuff, so to make it simpler I knitted the sleeves separately until I was past the pattern, then loaded both the sleeves onto the single circular needle, as per your photos. It works a dream, and now that I have the hang of it I am sure that next time I’ll be able to knit it all this way from the cast on. Thank you again!

    • I am so glad it helped! I love Icelandic sweaters – I remember knitting my first one on four needles!! I guess I just dated myself!! Magic loop is really awesome, but it does take some getting used to – now that you have some practice think of the joy – two mittens, two socks, two sleeves – done at the same time! If you do a sweater from the top down you can STILL do your sleeves two at a time!! Once I did a baby sweater THREE at a time (sleeve, body, sleeve) but the yarn tangle was more than with two, but I just pinned the body closed a the bottom and used it as a “carried” for the body yarn when I wasn’t using it! Problem solved! Although I have never done that with an adult sweater, not sure why it wouldn’t work though! It just has to do with being mindful of where the yarn crosses! Thanks so much for using my page!! XXX

  7. Christine says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial! I especially like that it is ‘not’ a video and you use pictures – thank you!!! I do have a question though, as the pattern I am working on (fingerless gloves) instructs me to ‘cast on using the knitted cast on method’ and ‘knit a row before joining the round’. I have tried using Liat’s Limitless Cast On Method, but my tails don’t line up correctly in order to join the round, after ‘knitting the row’. Help

    • Christine, Liat’s method and mine are the same. The instructions you are referencing “cast on using the knitted cast on method and knit a row before joining the round” are not compatible with the way our instructions go. Just cast on the way we have described (Liat and I) then knit one round then continue with the fingerless glove pattern’s instructions. They are telling you to cast on all the stiches, for each glove, then knit them, THEN begin working in the round. That is fine if you are doing them one at a time and don’t wish to use magic loop, but it’s unnecessary if you cast on we we have shown you. Good luck!!

  8. Your explanation is so clear that I can knit it in my head. Can’t knit right now because I it’s 2AM and I don’t have 32″ needles. The biggest hurdle is I have never knitted magic loop.
    So would you suggest. I try that first or dive straight into this ? I have been known to pick difficult projects without much prior knowledge. Tatting a complicated place mat in my teenage years was one of them, but at my age my brain does not quite work the same way.

    • That’s a really good question! this post was basically to address the problem that most students had casting on – I kept seeing people casting them on separately and then working them onto the same needle, when it’s much easier to start them together – as I demonstrate here. I wrote about the basic skills needed to work in magic loop here: Knitting in the Round Using a Circular Needle and a great video here: Knitting in the Round. I don’t think that magic loop is all that difficult, to be honest. What is a bit tricky is building the habits of your hands in maintaining the loops, and easily transitioning the needle around as you need it. I suggest you go for it! It might be easier to start with one…but there are plenty of video’s out there to show you how people do it and it won’t take you long to get a rhythm going! Good luck!!

  9. Hello! Thank you so much for this! I knit my first pair of socks using magic loop method, but I’d heard hushed whispers that there was a way to stave off second sock syndrome, and here it is! Having a good working knowledge of knitting and magic loop probably helped, but your post was really helpful and informative and thank you for the tip about turning clockwise and then anti-clockwise to avoid barber pole. I’ve just finish casting on two socks from one ball of yarn on circular needles set, and I’m really excited to see how I progress. Thank you ever so much, and take care.

    • I am so glad this helped! I LOVE this method, it just makes life so much easier! Good luck – I would love to see how it turns out!!

      • Hiya, SO I’m still knitting my socks, gotten past the cuffs, which was a bit fiddly i guess because for some reason they kept turning on the cable, so one cuff would be pointing up and one would be pointing down, haha. Anyhow past that fiddly stage and knitting the main leg bits, and things are going smoothly so far. I don’t know how to post pictures here? but I will be showing my sock progress on my instagram if you’d like to see my tag is 🙂 Take care!

  10. This was super helpful, thank you!

  11. Thanks for your post and excellent explanation. I needed this as I wanted to follow a pattern for two socks together. I have managed a practice run quite well. Just one thing, the numbering on your last photo ( just before the WARNING) does not follow the arrows. Arrows are correct according to the written instructions but the 3 and the 4 are wrong way round.

    • Cath! Thank you so much for pointing out the error! I have fixed it! This post has been live almost three years and you are the first person to tell me about that! Thanks so much!! And glad it helped!!!!

  12. What length would you recommend, is 32″ best? I haven’t tried two-at-a-time socks yet, but I have a feeling I would be a Second Sock Syndrome kinda gal, lol. I’ve started one sock on a 32″ cable, but it feels claustrophobic to me…

    • Laura, I agree, when I am choosing a needle to knit socks on I generally opt for a 40 inch because I prefer to have room to stretch things out. I have found though that many people feel 40 inches to be TOO long. They say the longer loops at the ends to be unruly. The best way to find out is to try it on both and see what you think. It also depends, in my world, on what type of fiber I am using. If I am knitting two sleeves in the round on one needle and the yarn is silky, then I am more comfortable with a 24 inch when I start them and then move to a 36 as the sleeves get bigger…it’s all about what works best for you! I recommend 36 inch OR LONGER, but if a 24 inch works best for you I would go for it! The whole thing is to be comfortable. It also depends on the needle itself – don’t forget that! Do you want pointy ends or rounder ends? Do you prefer metal or wood? Is the join between the cable and the needle smooth enough to not make you want to poke your eyes out with said needle? All of these are vitally important questions in addition to the length of the needle. You need to find what works best for you and what is most comfortable. In this day and age a great needle from Chaigoo for less than $10 so it won’t break the bank to get a few different lengths to decide what works best in your world! Happy knitting!!

  13. Grammy in the Round says:

    Thank you!..Knitting a sweater for my grandson, I had modified an old pattern to knit in the round, as consistent tension is not my forte. It’s good enough for a garment, but can be a bit patchy with multiple pieces. I could have done the sleeves with a seam, but that seemed silly. I knew that people knit two socks at the same time, so there had to be a way. Found your page… But I had never used the magic loop method before either. Getting to the third row was rough (and took me three tries, and I don’t know how, because now that I have it down, I can’t do it wrong. It did help me to put a knot in the end of the tail on sleeve 1. Not sure if it really helps, or just gave me confidence when the whole thing was just an amorphous tangle. GREAT instructions!!

    • Spinfoolish says:

      So glad the instructions helped! It’s funny how when something is new you just can’t seem to get it right, but once you practice for a bit and you GET IT, it seems totally easy!! LOL! I am trying to get to that “Oh, this is so easy” part with weaving! Right now, it’s HARD! Hope your grandson enjoys his sweater! Thanks for writing!

  14. Spinfoolish, very grateful for your written instructions with photos. They are first rate. We have slow internet so Youtube tutorials are not practical. It was the casting on that I needed. Yoga socks, here I come!

    • Spinfoolish says:

      So glad that you found it useful! I am not a big fan of Youtube myself, I prefer stills so I can go at my own pace without having to stop and start all the time. Have fun with your yoga socks!!!!

  15. Thanks for this, I’ve been trying to work out how to knit 2 at a time. I’ll give it a try on my next pair of mittens. 🙂

  16. Don’t know if you are still watching this thread, but I do have a question on Magic Loop. I keep losing the loop no matter how long my needles are, so I switched to 2 at a time on 2 needles. I found that if I used two different needles (I use 2 different patterns of Knit Picks wooden needles) I can tell which one I should be using – usually. So how do I keep the loop and not have to count stitches each row.

    • Spinfoolish says:

      Judi, I find that with some projects I too lose the loop at the end. Generally I find that if I use a longer needle that solves the problem, but when I can’t get a longer needle I put a VERY LARGE stitch marker in the loop. Then I can relax and know where it is without having to count stitches. The only problem with this method is that when I get to the loop sometimes the stitch marker falls out if I am not paying attention (I talk to much!!) so the other solution is to just guess. There are no knitting police, so no one is going to fault you if you are off a few stitches. Obviously if you are decreasing or increasing you need to know where, so using a stitch marker would make sense. But if you are just working a pattern around and around then just bat on, I say! When you get to an important junction you can count if you wish, I generally use a stitch marker, but use what makes you comfortable. Some people get CRAY-CRAY if they don’t have exactly numbers every time. I am a bit more relaxed – You have to find YOUR mellow!! Hope that helps!!

  17. I would like to know when doing top down socks on one circular needle, how to do gusset stitches. I know how to do the heel flap and work the short heel stitches from there I am lost… Help please

    • Spinfoolish says:

      Jackie: When I do socks (top down) on a magic loop I keep all the stitches for the instep (the top of the foot) on one “side” of the circular needle, and I have the heel and gusset stitches on the other “side”. When I finish turning the heel on the end of the heel flap (on the RIGHT side) I pick up the stitches along the side of the heel flap*, work the stitches of the instep, then (on the same side as the heel and other gusset stitches, I pick up the stitches along the second side of the heel flap. Then I continue to go around as normal, decreasing every two rows for the gusset as usual. This seems awkward at first because you have a lot more stitches on one side of the magic loop than you do on the other, but you get used to it and before you know it you have decreased to the correct number of stitches and can complete the foot as normal. *If you want to put in a marker to show the end/beginning of a round, this is where I would put it. If you can “read” your knitting and can see if you are on a resting round or a decrease round it isn’t really necessary, but I like to be able to see at a glance so I usually use one anyway! I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more help.

  18. So, I read the great instructions & I did it!! I’m knitting along just great..then I realize there’s a hole waaay back, near the heel. I want to fix it.. I thought that being a first time sock knitter I would ‘tink’ back all that waaay because taking off all those live stitches..well, shivers! So I’m looking at it & I don’t think it’s possible when you have 2 socks on the needle. Am I right? This seemed so easy for a little while 🙁

    • Spinfoolish says:

      Joan, There are two ways to fix a hole any hole: one way is to undo all the way back to the hole. This can be complicated with two socks on one circular, I would put the sock that doesn’t have a problem on another needle or on stitch holders while you work with the one that has the problem, then put them both on together again when you are ready to move forward. There is a lot of taking off and putting on again, so there is always the potential to drop a stitch, so it might seem kind of scary, but if you go slow and relax you will be fine. Most problems with this type of fix are USER ERROR cause you get all freaked out and stop thinking! 🙂 The other way to fix a small hole (or a stitch you dropped 40 rows ago, or a split stitch, etc) is to just mark the error with a safety pin, forget about it and carry on. Then when you sock is finished go back with a piece of yarn and darn the hole closed. This is MUCH simpler in my opinion and if you darn the whole closed correctly no one will ever be able to see it. ONE MORE thing I would like to add, mistakes don’t happen by chance, 10 rows after you finish the stitch – they happen as you knit, and are there, waiting to be discovered. The problem that I see with many knitters (beginner and not-so-beginner) is that they aren’t mindful. What I mean by that is get in the habit of looking at the row before as you knit. You don’t have to stop and admire your work every three stitches, but just get in the habit of glancing down the work as you go along, be MINDFUL of what happened the row before, then you will catch errors immediately and it’s much easier to fix them that way. Everyone makes errors, and sometimes the ONLY way to fix a particular error is to undo your work back to that point, but the majority of errors can be fixed easily and cleanly if you catch them within two rows, so train yourself to be aware of what went on before in your work. I hope that helps! Good luck, and enjoy your socks, they are so much fun to knit!!!

  19. Christine says:

    This is a beautifully organised explanation. Super clear! I’m off to cast on right this minute 😀 Thank you for taking the time to share this.

  20. I am feeling very foolish, but I can’t find the second end in the middle of my ball of yarn to even start, I now have a birds nest inside the ball, argh! What should I do, please?

    • Spinfoolish says:

      Finding the middle of a ball of yarn that has been commercially skeined is sometimes a bit tricky. It takes some practice. I was always taught to just dive in there and scoop out the very MIDDLE as if I was scooping out the innards of turkey at Thanksgiving. Usually when you do that you pull out much more than you need and most people think that creates a big mess. It doesn’t bother me, I usually wind the excess into a small center pull ball and stuff it back inside the skein and move on. Maybe I should do a post about that!

  21. I have used the magic loop in the past but not for socks.

    I have been knitting two socks at a time on two circulars for a number of years, and also teach a class using this method. I look forward to trying it on one circular. I find your explation and photos very easy to understand.

    If this works for me I will change my teaching method. For beginners, handling two needle tips would be better than deciding which of the four to use when knitting with two circulars.


  22. awesome thank you. i’m going to give this a try with some Twined Knit mittens. i’m not sure if the twined knit technique would be a problem with the 2-at-a-time approach, but i’ll be giving it a shot.

  23. Sophia Cullen Quigley says:

    I am planning on knitting two sleeves together for the first time. I am using a tubular cast on that I have only just learnt.
    Would it be possible to cast on both sleeves separately then using a stitch holder divided the stitches for the first sleeve onto the cable just before I joined the loops?

    • Spinfoolish says:

      Absolutely!! I just started an Icelandic sweater that I am designing. I cast on for one sleeve, did the cuff and the design, and when I knew I had it right I cast on for the second, then when they were even I put them together on one long circular and kept going! You can do whatever works for you, Sophia!! As long as you get what you want in the end, how you got there is totally up to you!!!

      • Sophia Cullen Quigley says:

        Cool thank you! Looking forward to trying the technique!
        Thanks for the brilliant write up to! Makes it very clear to understand!

    • Sdeniear says:

      Great idea then you can get past the tricky cast on and first few rows before getting into learning this.

  24. How do you join to work in the round? This is all about the cast on but I’m confused as to join in the round.

    • Spinfoolish says:

      To join your work, when working in the round take the yarn from the end (the last stitch you cast on) and use it to work the beginning (the first stitch you cast on). It’s a bit awkward, but it works. The only really big thing you have to make sure you do right is to avoid a Möbius. ( One really easy way to do that if you are a new knitter is to cast on the number of stitches you need and work them flat for two or three rows, THEN move them into a circle and join them. (this makes the point of this post about casting on two at a time kind of moot, but once you get the knitting in the round part under control you can come back here and try this again.) By having a a bit of weight to the work then it’s easier to make sure that you haven’t twisted anything. Good luck!

  25. MAGICAL!!! It really works!
    Actually, I don’t how I made it….but I made it. And at the first attempt!
    Thanks so much for your tutorial. I hate knitting sleeves, above all the second one 🙂
    Now I started the two sleeves together and I can’t believe it! So decerase/increase rows will be absolutely the same in both sleeves.
    Thanks sooo much!

  26. Thank you for a coherent explanation. I’m looking forward to trying this technique. I haven’t been knitting very long, but I love knitting in the round with both DPNs and magic loop.

    • Spinfoolish says:

      I used to do all my socks and sleeves with DPNs but I am totally addicted to magic loop now! So glad you found me coherent!! I sure do strive for that!! Thank you!!

  27. Thank you so much for doing this tutorial….going home to practice before starting the sleeves to the sweater I’m currently making for my daughter for Christmas. I’m sure this will make things so much easier…once I get the hang of it 🙂

  28. Thank you SO MUCH for this tutorial. No idea when you have posted this, but I found it yesterday and with your clear instructions managed to successfully knit (well, start knitting, let’s be honest here) the legs to a baby’s pants. You can give yourself extra credit as I personally have never attempted any magic loop technique, let alone knitting two things at once! The beginning took some work, and I practiced a couple rows first before casting on the real thing, but after it gets going it makes perfect sense and even with my scattered-brainedness there is no way to get confused.

    Loving it!

    • Spinfoolish says:

      I am so glad it worked for you! I love writing tutorials like this because so many people are intimidated by things that really aren’t that hard!! And what a difference it makes to your enjoyment of knitting when you have all the different skills in place!! Thanks so much for letting me know how much you enjoyed this!


  1. […] popular method called the Magic Loop uses one long circular needle.  Casting on for this method can be rather tricky or, in my case, impossible.  I did not a few years ago, and I did not again […]

  2. […] how-to guide have no fear, I did figure it out and there is a good tutorial on the Internet from Spinfoolish. […]

  3. […] same size and match and which can be worn by the same person.  I suppose I will have to learn the technique where both socks are knit at once if I am to have any chance at […]

  4. […] to cast on two-at-a-time -jimmy beans wool knitting in the round, two at a time on one circular needle -spinfoolish casting on for two gloves or socks on one circular needle -heidi bears two at a time […]

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