Monday, November 25, 2013

Chunking your Socks

Do you have a problem completing the second sock? Do you dislike doing socks two at a time?

When I first started knitting socks, like many of you, I had second sock syndrome. I just couldn't see myself starting a whole new object once the first sock was complete. When I thought about the technique of knitting two socks at a time, it seemed tedious. Completion of any portion of the sock would take twice as long. I wouldn't see progress.

So I came up with an idea (or re-vented the idea) that solves both problems. I knit two socks at a time, but in chunks. What is a chunk? Its any portion of the sock you want to complete. Typically, I chunk my socks as follows: Cuff, leg, heel flap & turn, gusset, foot, and toe. I start the first sock and complete the first chunk, in my case the cuff. I then move on to the second sock. I knit the cuff, completing the first chunk and then move on to the leg. I complete the leg and then move back to the first sock. I complete the leg of the first sock and then move on to heel flap and turn. I move back to the second sock, well you get the idea. The method works equally well for toe up and top down socks.

Other Chunking Ideas:

  • Chunk on a chart repeat. If your sock repeats the same chart multiple times, you can chunk on the repeat.
  • Chunk based on charts. If your sock has multiple charts, the chart can be a logical chunk.
  • Chunk based on a specific number of rows.
  • Just do what works for you and the pattern.

    To knit socks in this manner, you will need two sets of needles. If you use magic loop, you will need one needle for each sock or two needles. If you knit on two circulars, like I do, you will need two sets of two needles or four needles. If you knit on double points, you will need two sets of double points.

    Adapting Chunking to Get a Good Fit

    Sometimes I find that the sock I'm knitting may be trickier to fit. This is typically true of stranded socks or of highly cabled designs. In this case, I adjust my chunking strategy to create larger chunks based on where I perceive a potentially questionable fit. In this case my goal is to not have to rip out two socks -- I want to minimize having to back out work (Hey! who doesn't!).

    Freeing Myself from Second Sock Syndrome

    What I have found is that using this technique has mostly freed me from second sock syndrome. Once I started completing pairs of socks, the goal of completing any pair of socks became easier. Of course your mileage may vary.

    Prairie Willow can be found on Ravelry at noliegirl. Prairie Willow is an avid knitter and jewelry designer. My jewelry can be found at Prairie Willow Jewelry


    1. I don't have the problem of second sock syndrome. I'm only halfway done when the first one is completed and the second one always knits up faster.

    2. While I have mostly freed myself from second sock syndrome, I find that this method still gives me the flexibility of getting a good fit on the first sock and being able to easily repeat it on the second sock. Of course, I do take copious notes to insure that the second sock is the same as the first!