Magic Loop is by far my favorite way to knit a sock. I’ve knit countless pairs of socks on magic loop and for me it is definitely the easiest, least fussy way to knit a sock. I don’t have to worry about dropping stitches off the end of the needle and there is no extra needle to lose track of.
I decided to combine the magic loop post with the 2 circs post because functionally I feel they are pretty much the same. With magic loop cast on your sock stitches then split them in half by folding the cable between the center stitches. When you have two circulars instead of folding the cable in half between the center stitches you cast half of your sock stitches on one needle and half on the second needle.
Before I get into the pros and cons of this method I have to mention that I don’t really see the utility of two circular needles outside of two at a time socks. When you’re only knitting one sock there is plenty of room on the needle for magic loop. For me adding the second needle when I am only knitting one sock just turns my project into a knotted mess. However, I can see the need for the extra space that two circs provide when knitting socks two at a time.
1) One Needle to Rule them All
I swear there are probably a hundred different size dpns lost in my couch right now, which is part of the reason why I love knitting socks with magic loop. Because magic loop only uses one long circular needle there is no extra needle to keep track of since your one and only needle is always attached to your project.
2) Work is Easy to Manipulate
When I knit socks using 9″ circs I find it really hard to move the stitches around. It seems like there just is’t enough cable to get the job done. With magic loop there is plenty of cable for maneuvering your knitting. I use a 40″ circ most of the time and I never feel pressed for space, even with two socks on one circ.
3) Easy on the Joints
I find that magic loop knitting is easier on my fingers and wrists that 9″ circs or dpns. But everyone is different you may find that the exact opposite is true for you.
4) Your Stitches are safe
One of my biggest complaints with 9″ circulars and dpns is that my stitches slide of the ends of the needles. I’m not an overly lose knitter either I just seem to have bad luck when it comes to keeping stitches on my needles.
5) There are Limited Pattern Breaks
With magic or two circs you sock stitches are split in half so there are only two pattern breaks. Since the patterns on sock are often organized so that the sole stitches are independent from the instep stitches this pattern break is pretty low fuss. However when you knit socks with dpns you can wind up with some really strange pattern breaks.
*I really tried to come up with a good list of cons for this sock knitting method but it is my favorite and I am a little biased.
When I put my magic loop socks in my bag the needle’s cable usually gets tangled with my yarn. Normally it’s not a big deal and it takes a couple seconds to fix but if you really hate tangles this might not be the method for you.
Because your stitches are split in half you do end up with some laddering. I don’t really mind this because they block out. If you don’t block you socks and you feel like laddering is public enemy number one you should probably knit your socks on 9″ circs.