Knitting in Round Poll

I am curious. A friend asked me if I would show her how to do The Magic Loop. She wants to show her daughter in law, a new enthusiastic knitter who wants to try socks, and couldnt figure it out. I will do so, of course, but am curious. It seems to me (old fashioned?) that a new sock knitter perhaps should begin learning with dpns, to learn the basic sock construction first and then move on to double circs or magic loops. Maybe it doesnt matter at all. But I am interested in your reactions. Also which method do you favour? dps, 2cics or Magic Loop? and then, within that, who favours toe up socks and who likes top down? Does one work better than the other depending on type of sock? Also, anyone do the two socks at the same time on 2 circs or Magic loop? Lots of questions here I know, but really curious as to what most of you do/like when it coms to circular knitting, especially socks. I realise there will most likely be no consensus at all here, but would enjoy hearing your experiences and practices.


crmartin's picture

My first and only sock was started using 4 dp's, I then switched to one circular using the magic loop method. I don't like the awkwardness of the four needles and I can go much faster with the circular. My next sock project will be toe up on one circular.



ManMadeKnits's picture

I hear a LOT of people raving about two circ knitting.


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Stephen450's picture

I want to learn socks and the owner of my LYS said I should start on DPNs. After I learn the basics, then I can experiment with different methods and see which I like best.

TomH's picture

Love magic loop but it took me quite a while to figure it out and master it. However, for me, it was well worth the learning curve. When learning the technique, don't do some of the same mistakes I did at the beginning. I was trying to learn using too short a needle, too small a size of needle, and too fine a yarn. I'd recommend learning using no smaller than a #8 or #9 US needle that is no shorter than 32" and a yarn no finer than worsted weight. Hope that all makes sense.

Here's the video I used to teach me the magic loop method:
Magic Loop Knitting Video

Hang in there!

ronhuber's picture

I have been knitting socks since I was 8 with 4 or 5 dpn's. Any other method is slow for me.

purlyman's picture

I've only used DPNs, but just sitting here, I pulled out some yarn, a long circular needle, the video link TomH sent us and gave it a shot. I think I could see the Magic Loop being an option. However, it might be a good idea to do a sock or two with DPNs first... I can't say much as I'm very much a beginner when it comes to socks. It was fun to try to Magic Loop... it does work. The long cable can get sort of tangled up though.


teejtc's picture

I know it's all preference. I unquestionably prefer DPNs... and one set of DPNs is less expensive than 2 circs! I would recommend getting longer DPNs though. Sometimes they sell these little 4 inchers for socks - ick! Get good 6 or 8 inch ones. Then they'll never have to worry about stitches falling off. The one drawback is that it seems easier to break a DPN -- and that's REALLY frustrating when you're in the middle of a project. :-)

Grace and Peace,

albert's picture

Maybe I'm the only one out here, but I still prefer using three dpns for small diameter round knitting. The stitches are evenly divided on two needles which are held parallel to each other, and are worked with the third needle.

MMario's picture

Ditto; and if I am increasing in size, I go to a triangle of needles next, THEN I start with two circs or magic loop. I don't like the magiv loop until I have enough stitches to cover the working tips at least.

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I started out on DPNs which is a good way to learn sock construction, but I immediately went on to learn two socks at a time on two circular needles. I'm grateful for the latter technique because it gets me past the "I'm done with one sock and have to start all over with another one" phenomenon. Now when I'm done with one, I'm done with the pair. (If I had an amputee friend to whom I could give one sock, that might be a different story, but I don't, so I always need two socks and I don't always have the patience to start over with the 2nd sock.) Cuff down or toe up? Most of my socks have been done cuff down, but I'm learning toe up and I do like the feature of "try on as you go." Another advantage to toe up is you don't have to do kichener stitch on the toe, but that's never been a problem for me.

Either way you do socks, they're a great little project and quite portable!


QueerJoe's picture

I've knit socks on 3 DPN's, 4 DPN's, 5 DPN's, one circular, and two circular (and also on a Legare antique sock knitting machine). The needles have been plastic, wood and metal.

The concept of circular knitting was what fascinated me enough to start to knit, and I'm glad I had to the chance to try all of them.

Overall, I prefer working on 5 wooden double pointed needles for socks, and I prefer 5 to 7 inches in length.

Having just tried the KnitPicks cable needles for my current lace project, I may have to withhold my final judgment about preference until I try the magic loop with KnitPicks and two circulars with KnitPicks.

PaxKnitter's picture

I'm just learning socks and have started with Magic Loop. I tend to be able to grasp concepts in the abstract so learning the basics doesn't always require that I do things "by the book". Maybe because I am new to knitting, I'm more interested and willing to try new approaches. I've gotten lots of patronizing advise from some long time knitters (none from anyone here; everyone here is always supportive) that I should do dpns or two circular needles. One rather bossy person told me point blank that I should ignore the new fangled idea of knitting two socks at once. My personal opinion is that you should do what works for you. If someone needs to go through the basic steps, then please do so. I'll fully support them in that. I guess what I'm saying is everyone is different, and not everyone is best served by a regimented, cookie-cutter approach. That's my two bits.


MasonM's picture

I used ML for a while but have now started using the two circs method which I like even better.


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PaxKnitter's picture

I'll probably do some on 2 circs if nothing else for the experience. Looking at some of the patterns that I've found interesting, there are points that look like they would be easier with two circs. Not sure if I will ever try dpns, but I don't like to say never.


Kerry's picture

I've tried dpns from the top and the toe, and prefer them from the top. And I agree with teejtc that the smaller dpns are uncomfortable to use.

I use both the 2 circs method and magic loop and have a slight
preference for the 2 circs.

As far as learning first on dpns, let me pose an analogous question:

Should one learn to type on a manual typewriter first before learning
to use a computer?

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RareSteek's picture

I did. But then I am an old fart. A standard Underwood, not even electric. lol.


BuduR's picture

I have tried learning to knit in the round on dpn's, tried 3, 4, and 5 and just couldn't get it. I had pretty much given up on being able to knit socks or anything else small in the round when you men shamed me into trying again, this time I used 2 circs and I think I'm doing great. I will eventually go back to trying on dpn's just because I hate it when I can't figure something out. But I'm really glad I tried a new method. Using two is alot less complicated for me, and much more comfortable.

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scenter's picture

I have tried all three: DPN, 2-circ, and ML.
My preference is for 2-circs.
The DPNS sometimes give me ladders if I don't do the 'camelback' tug (which I sometimes forget to do). The magic loop has the action of pulling the cable through your all your stitches half at a time so you don't loose the 'magic' part of the loop, which is just an extra fiddley step I don't feel is needed. Hence the two circulars. Two circs, which for me doesn't give ladders, and has a single pull of a cable to get in position for the next half round, seems the 'fittest' for the job.

Bill's picture

I much prefer the DPN's.
...and I use both short and longer ones...depends where I am on the sock....

BuduR's picture

One other reason I like 2 circs, if I have to put it down or haul it around with me, all I do is slide the stitches to the middles and no worries of any falling off, especially important when you're like me and severely retarded when it comes to picking up dropped stitches.

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kiwiknitter's picture

I use 2 circs for anything that won't fit onto a 24" needle: socks, sleeves, collars, cuffs, etc. I have no objection to the ML method but vastly prefer 2 circs. DPN's give me ladders, no matter what I do; I never get them with 2 circs. When I learned to knit socks, I learned 2 socks on 2 circs at the same time and I can't imagine doing them any other way. I've never suffered from the 1 sock syndrome.

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Tallguy's picture

You know, this is an on-going debate, and I don't think we will ever settle on a "correct" answer.

As others have said, it all depends on what works for YOU. The main point is that you work one stitch at a time, with two pointy sticks. I don't really care what those points are connected to, whether they are joined or separate, or made of wood or plastic or glass, whether long or short. If you know what you are doing (how to work that stitch), then you can use anything you want or have handy, as long as you get what you needed to get.

It’s true that there are some tools and methods that are somewhat easier to use than others in any given situation; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want. The final judge is the outcome, the result, the finished product. Do YOU like it? Does it work? Is it suited for its purpose? If not, then find out what needs to be changed to get what you need. End of discussion.

It’s just that easy!
(PS: you know, this applies to a lot of other things that men do! It's not the size, or cost, of the tool, but whether you know how to use it that counts. Right?)