sock needles

Be prepared

Toe-up socks, two at a time on magic loop. Heaven.

Toe-up socks, two at a time on magic loop. Heaven.

Sit a group of sock knitters down in a room and I can spend ages marveling at our different techniques and materials. Basically we are all producing a circular tube of knitted fabric but very rarely are two knitters working the same way. Some are devoted DPNs fans (either using 4 or 5 needles), some love the tiny 30cm circular needles. Then we have magic loop devotees and those who prefer using two small circular needles. Of all the techniques I have tried the latter is the only one that I really can't embrace. For the others each has their time and place as far as I'm concerned.

An on-the-go essential. Stripy sock on a tiny 30cm circular (Hiya Hiya)

An on-the-go essential. Stripy sock on a tiny 30cm circular (Hiya Hiya)

My go to favourite is a toe up sock on an 80cm magic loop needle. But there are times when a small circular needle is very handy. I do a lot of knitting at my kids sporting events and in that situation I often just need to be able to drop my knitting to attend to a particular crisis or applaud as necessary. For these times magic loop can be a bit too fiddly and more times than I care to remember, a piece of sporting kit has caught on a loop and merrily removed half the cable from my stitches. A small circular needle has much less potential for accidents and as long as you remember to push the sticthes down on the needle a bit you are usually safe from accidental unravelling.

As I do a lot of travel knitting DPNs are probably my least favourite way to work socks - simply because of the potential for loss. More times than I care to admit I have managed to lose a DPN down the side of a train seat, or I have searched my knitting bag in vain. Knowing full well that I put 4 DPNs in there, only to find that, inexplicably 1 has disappeared en route.

Whatever your preferred technique it is always good to know how to employ an alternative method should the need arise - if only to confuse the non-knitting 'Muggles'.

Weapons of choice - my favourite sock needles

My favourites: Hiya Hiya sharp interchangeables

My favourites: Hiya Hiya sharp interchangeables

Last week I gave you a sneaky peek into my sock yarn stash. This week I thought I would share with you some of my favourite needles
Hands down favourites are my Hiya Hiya Sharps Interchangable sock set (from The Little Grey Girl). Lethally sharp, with a seamless join between cable and needle and a brilliantly flexible cable makes magic loop knitting a real pleasure. Many of my designs feature twisted stitches or small cables and a really sharp set of needle tips vastly increases speed and accuracy with these.

Malala Socks by Louise Tilbrook Designs - pointy tips really help with the cables.

Malala Socks by Louise Tilbrook Designs - pointy tips really help with the cables.

 

From the same Hiya Hiya range I also love my tiny 30cm circular needle. If I am knitting plain vanilla self-stripe socks these are my needles of choice. Compact, portable and with the same super pointy tips, these are great for having in your emergency sock knitting bag. Being a mother of boys I spend a lot of time standing by sports pitches and the small circulars are ideal for this. I've lost cost of the times that a rugby boot stud has snagged my magic loop cable (serves me right for having a huge catch-all mummy bag I guess). A tiny circular needle is much safer.

Other favourites include my KnitPro Zings. I love that these are colour coded. The number of times I have grabbed a 2.25mm needle thinking it was a 2.5mm and only realised when the resulting sock is too small! With the colour coding this makes this particular error far less likely (although, believe me I am still capable of it on a bad day). The tips are pretty sharp and smooth and the cable, although a bit less flexible than the Hiya Hiyas is perfectly good for most types of circular knitting.