Melissa Morgan-Oakes is a master of two-at-a-time sock knitting. She first shared how to work two socks at once on one long circular needle in her book 2-at-a-Time Socks; with Toe-up 2-at-a-Time Socks: Two at Once on One Circular Needle, she explores how to knit to socks at the same time with one needle starting with the toes.
Along with a lengthy a detailed description of how the technique works (and a pair of sample socks to try it on) are 15 patterns sized for kids, women and men for those who want to delve further into the technique.
Learning the Ropes
The first part of Toe-up 2-at-a-Time Socks consists of an introduction to the yarns, needles and other necessities of two-at-a-time sock knitting, as well as thoughts on casting on, binding off and making your socks truly custom-fit.
The second chapter, a whopping 25 pages, is devoted to step-by-step instructions for knitting a small sample pair of socks (to fit a young child). The tutorial explains Judy's Magic Cast on for toe-up socks, as well as how to get two socks on the needle and how to get started knitting. For ease of understanding and knitting, the sample socks are knit in two different colors.
The sample sock is a simple Stockinette sock with a bit of ribbing at the top, perfect for getting the techniques down without having to focus on a pattern. Once you've worked this pair you'll have a good grounding in all the techniques you need to finish any of the other socks in the book. And because the book is spiral bound with a hard cover, you can easily work with the book lying open so you can see all the pictures and instructions to help you on your way.
In addition to the learning socks, Toe-up 2-at-a-Time Socks has 15 other patterns, all of which are offered in two sizes. Sometimes the sizes are for a child and a woman, sometimes an average and a large woman, sometimes a woman and a man.
Like the sample pattern, the other patterns are quite detailed, taking up at least five pages for instructions. That's a good thing, because the text and charts are large, and again the binding makes it easy to keep the book open to whatever page you need.
There are a few relatively easy socks here, such as Kid Stuff, sized for small kids and grownups, which is mostly Stockinette with a bit of ribbing. The April toddler socks are plain but for a band of colorwork across the cuff. And though The Keep uses a chart to work its geometric pattern, it's made up of just knits and purls.
Of course there are more complicated patterns as well, and some of my favorites naturally fall into that category. I like Tuscany, which has a twisted, slip stitch pattern on the leg; Seagrass, a kid- and mom-sized pattern with a textured stitch up the foot and leg; the fun, tweedy adult-sized Graphic, featuring cables traveling over ribs; and the pretty Raindrops, with a leg pattern of eyelets and knit stitch columns reminiscent of rain trickling down a window.
Each pattern includes one full-color photograph; in some cases readers ill wish there were more to get a closer look at a detail, but for the most part it's not a problem.
People who enjoy knitting toe-up socks but would like to learn how to get a pair finished even faster are sure to enjoy this book. The technique is interesting and the patterns are fun (and it's nice that they fit a variety of feet).
Likewise, fans of two-at-a-time sock knitting, whether with one or two needles, likely will be intrigued to see that they can work such socks in a way different from the customary cuff-down method.
Knitters who haven't tried the toe-up technique before may feel more comfortable learning the basics by knitting one sock at a time, but once you understand how a sock knit this way goes together there's no reason you can't start knitting toe-up socks two at a time right away.
Publication date: April 2010