So, when people knit two socks at once, it's usually with the Magic Loop technique or with two long circular needles. However, there's a certain elegant aesthetic that comes with knitting socks on double-pointed needles that you don't get when there are mad wires flying everywhere. But all is not lost! You can have the best of both worlds when you learn how to do double knitting!
I've mentioned a couple of times that Knitty article which deals with knitting two socks at once, one inside the other, on double-pointed needles, and also the pattern from Knitting Traditions Magazine which explained a similar technique. Well, I thought it was about high time I tried this interesting and intriguing sock-knitting method.
I started off with this deliciously colourful, yet wonderfully cheap, acrylic/polyester yarn (called Gala Mixed Fibre from Mary Maxim). It was so on sale that it would have been crazy to pass it up... something like $1.50 a ball. At that price, I was pretty sure it would be super crappy, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. A teensy bit on the scratchy side, and really pilly when it rubs against things, but the colours are super fun.
I used the cast-on method from the Knitty article, and knit the ribbings on the needles together. I then continued in the manner of the Knitting Traditions article by purling the outside sock and knitting the inside sock. I'm not sure if this is the best method, since I knit much looser than I purl, but the socks ended up being roughly the same size, and it was easier to keep track of the different threads this way. I didn't hold one yarn in each hand as recommended by both articles, but instead had them over my left index finger, and though the separate threads twisted together a bit, it didn't bother me too much. The only time I mixed up the front sock thread and the back sock thread was when I was knitting the ribbing.
Even after four pairs of socks, I've never knit a heel flap, and this time was no different. The Knitty article indicated that short row heels were the easiest to do in double-knit socks, and so I stuck with that. I'm fairly happy with the result... and I only screwed up one wrap and turn when knitting at a dark and drunken party. The stitches ended up being a little loose, and the same happened for the toe decrease, but that worked itself out after washing.
And so, I ended up with these crazy striped, super fun-looking socks! They feel a little funny on my feet, I think because of the fibre, but I'm sure they'll soften up as I wear them more. They're definitely socks I would wear regularly, and they fit nicely. This was an interesting experiment, and I'm happy that I got something wearable in the end... I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I'm pretty sure that I would do socks like this again. Now, if only I could figure out a way to double-knit socks toe-up!