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Emily Explains: Knitting Two Pieces at the Same Time

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My housemates have a nickname for me. They call me a “yarnie.” It’s true… I want to knit all of the time. It takes a lot of strength to try and not knit. I can’t relax without some yarn and needles in hand. I’ll admit it, I am a yarn addict. I have a new favorite yarn each week (currently daydreaming about the Clover Honey shade of Blackstone Tweed)! There are not enough hours in the day for all of the knitting that I want to do, especially when I am constantly knitting and unknitting to make my projects to make them just right. I know that I am not alone in this knitting struggle.

Recently, I saw someone knitting two sleeves of their sweater at the same time. What a genius technique! You would be making the same shaping on each piece as you do the mirroring rows together.

For those of you who have not tried or seen this technique yet, here is how it works. I hope you are as excited about it as I was!

I’ll demonstrate working with flat pieces.

Cast on number of stitches with one ball of yarn…

Then cast on same number of stitches with second yarn…

1

Knit using correct corresponding ball of yarn with knitted piece…

just don’t get them mixed up : )

 

2

Knit the one side while the other is just resting on your needles…

3

Continue knitting, working in your stitch pattern row by row… 

This technique helps keep your stitch count and pieces even  : ) 

4

This technique is simple yet efficient.  It could be great for sleeves, fronts of cardigans, or other pieces that involve the same increasing or stitch pattern. Try it out on your next piece and let me know how it turns out!

Happy Knitting!

Emily

48 Comments Post a comment
  1. Harlee Cole #

    Genius! I sure could of saved some time doing this for a complicated lace sleeves. Will this technique work knit in the round as well? Hummm! I will, however try this when I am knitting some cozy leg warmers, or boot toppers for fall/winter.
    Thanks Emily!!!

    August 20, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      Thanks! This technique does work knit in the round. It’s fairly advanced and definitely depends on the type of project. I haven’t even tried it myself!

      August 20, 2013
    • Allison Watkinson #

      Try magic loop knitting for knitting two at a time in the round. I love it and no more only one sock or one mitten syndrome!

      August 23, 2013
      • emilyoneil #

        I have been getting so many suggestions for that technique! I will have to try it!
        My cure for one sock/one mitten syndrome is to make each sock or mitten different so I have fun with each piece… I end up with some quirky projects …

        August 23, 2013
  2. jen. #

    Thanks for the post. Sometimes we see this stuff and wonder if it is worth trying. I guess the only drawback is that you could wind up with needing long needles to hold two pieces.

    August 20, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      It’s all about what is comfortable for you. A nice solution to needing two long needles is to use circular needles : )

      August 20, 2013
  3. Yup! I do 2 at a time socks too!

    August 21, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      That’s awesome! I definitely will have to try that next : )

      August 21, 2013
  4. justthreadtwiddling #

    I’ve been knitting for 50 years and love when younger knitters rediscover some of my old tricks. Two sleeves or fronts at once is one my grandmother taught me. It works very well in the round much like two socks at once.

    August 21, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      I love discovering new tricks of knitting. There is always something fresh and exciting to learn

      August 21, 2013
  5. Sidna #

    How do you remember which way you’re going with 2 pieces on a circular needle? I think one piece could get a lot longer than the other!

    August 22, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      Hi Sidna! That’s a great question. I wasn’t sure myself so I asked Martha ( she provides wonderful knitting/pattern support! ) and she had a great tip. Place a marker on your needle, between the two pieces. When you’ve finished one piece, and come to a marker, you know you need to knit the second piece. If there is no marker, you know you have knitted both pieces and can turn your work for the next row.

      August 22, 2013
  6. Dsynr #

    I’ve been doing this since the kiddles were little shavers.
    I learned very quickly to put something that COULD NOT BE MISSED between the 2 sleeves. My fav was an old skeleton key that locked the bathroom.
    Without it,the kiddles couldn’t lock themselves [or each other] in the bathroom!

    August 23, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      Haha that’s a great trick. Catching two birds with one seed : )

      August 23, 2013
  7. Dsynr #

    I also learned to cast on ONE sleeve with the first row of the other. That way, I could work the shaping as instructed for both. An extra row at the armhole corrected the # of rows. Worked for years!

    August 23, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      What a great tip!
      I’ll have to try it sometime : )

      August 23, 2013
  8. Karen #

    My mother-in-law, who was of Italian, descent taught me how to continental knit when I was in my 20′s, in the 1960′s, and always knit her 2 sleeves and fronts of sweaters at the same time. I still do this today. It’s a great way to make sure everything is even.

    August 23, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      I love this technique for that reason too!

      August 23, 2013
  9. Nanababyhats #

    after reading all these wonderful ideas, I’d love to see a video…especially when you have to “reverse” the shaping. as a fairly new GARMENT knitter, I always have trouble with this concept. Any suggestions as to resources?

    August 23, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      So glad you liked the comments and posts, we’ll definitely keep all of these great suggestions in mind for future videos. Typically we only cover techniques featured in our patterns. But if you ever have a specific question you can always contact Martha our wonderful pattern support! patternsupport@berroco.com

      August 23, 2013
  10. Darnise #

    Just last night I was told by a fellow knitter to do my fingerless gloves this way LOVE IT!

    August 23, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      I love it too! I definitely want to knit my next cardigan fronts this way : )

      August 23, 2013
  11. Marie Connelly #

    I knit 2-at-a-time socks often and have found that if I put one color marker in the first stitch of the first row of the first sock, and then a different color in the first stitch of the first row of the second sock, I not only can see which sock I’m on (although I always try to stop when ending a round if I have to put my work down for awhile), it’s very easy to see which direction I’m going, what side I’m on, and to count my rows. For counting rows, I also strategically place markers at every 10 or 20 rows (depending on the length of the piece being worked); and for counting stitches, I place markers at every 10 or 20 stitches depending on the width. The markers on each piece match the very first markers I place on the first row. If there are other things to remember, I place markers of a totally different color, this time both pieces have the same color to remind me of that point where I start e.g. a decrease or increase, etc… I also write down in my notebook, what each marker stands for. This might seem like overkill to many, but I’m a single parent, playing both the woman’s and man’s role in the household so, there are many things to attend to and therefore many interruptions. This system really helps me to stay on top of my knitting.

    August 23, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      I think its great! I’m terrible at remembering to put in markers but always carry a little notebook with each of my knitting projects.
      Happy Knitting Marie!

      August 23, 2013
      • Marie Connelly #

        I hear you! It was a real struggle to remember putting in my markers at first, but after undoing a piece 17 times, I was determined to make an effort to remember. Literally had to force myself to do so, even if I had done only a few rows/stitches. Now it’s second nature to me. So, instead of wasting time undoing and redoing so much, that time is spent in real knitting time.

        August 23, 2013
      • emilyoneil #

        Man… This is good motivation for me to start putting in markers! I’m always unraveling…

        August 23, 2013
  12. I am knitting for 74 or 75 years, lost track and always have knitted bouth sleves together and also the two fronts. I am surprised that so many of my fellow knitters did not konow about, start doing it you will save a lot of time.
    By the way, I am 82 years old.

    Best of luck

    September 3, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      Aww thats great! Yeah I am so excited to start knitting pieces at the same time

      September 3, 2013
  13. Phyllis #

    I used to knit both sleeves or both fronts together. Then I discovered that if I knit the fronts connected to the back at the same time it eliminated all the sewing together. It has to be a cardigan to do this.

    Another sweet trick I picked up somewhere a few years ago is to knit both buttonhole edges into the edges of the fronts by using a garter stitch for these 5-6 stitches. When you come to the place to make a buttonhole, make it on both sides. When you sew buttons, it will close up the holes on that side. If it’s a unisex sweater, the buttons can be reversed later for a child of the opposite sex and the buttonholes are already correctly in place.

    September 8, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      Love the button hole trick!

      September 9, 2013
  14. I do this all the time with sleeves and with fronts (cardigans, v-neck cardigans). Just have to make sure you are careful in reversing the shaping (especially v-neck cardigans). In fact while I was knitting and waiting for my friend at the doctor’s, another patient noticed what I was doing and she was so fascinated; stopped what she was doing and came over and asked me why I had two knitted pieces on one needle. I told her and she was quite amazed. She had been knitting for a while and never thought of it. I felt pretty good that I teach someone something new in knitting.

    September 13, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      Great job! It’s always good to share with one another our knitting tricks : )

      September 13, 2013
    • ScarletDove #

      Rhoda, I have been knitting for 50 years and never knew about knitting 2 pieces at a time, although it makes so much sense. And since I knit mostly on circular needles, this will be so nice for many projects, sweaters to leggings and I can use more of my long circulars. Now you have taught me, someone who has been knitting for some time, so thank you for your ideas and techniques, I really appreciate.

      October 11, 2013
      • emilyoneil #

        : )

        October 11, 2013
  15. Jeanne Cozad #

    I knit this way all the time. yes it works when you are knitting in the round too. I especially like to knit two socks at the same time. You are finished and they are the same size.

    September 22, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      I can’t wait to try it with socks!

      September 27, 2013
  16. ScarletDove #

    I have knitted for decades and never used the 2 piece knitting techniques. After reading all these terrific comments and idea, I will definitely be using this technique, it is really a smart method for many reasons. Thanks so much everyone………………..

    October 11, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      That is one of my favorite things about knitting, there is always more to discover and learn.
      Happy Knitting!

      October 11, 2013
  17. Kerry #

    I have been knitting this way for a long time. Especially when knitting mittens, a few other items, and socks on circular needles. I not only get my 2 items looking similar, but don’t get distracted and not get back to the “second mitten”.

    October 18, 2013
  18. Kate #

    I’ve been using this technique for years. Sweater fronts are always the same length, sleeves the same fullness and length, so the finished garment is easier to put together and fits much better. I have even used it on a diagonal knit sweater with great success. Be patient, it is really easy.

    October 24, 2013
  19. Hildie #

    I have been knitting for over 50 years and knew about knitting two pieces at the same time, especially sleeves and cardigan fronts. It saves a lot of time plus if you should by chance run low on the yarn, you can add another colour and it will be the same on both pieces instead of having one all the same and one so different !

    November 1, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      I recently finished a sweater where one of the sleeves needed a new ball of yarn and the shade was a little bit different. I still love it but I am definitely taking your suggestion!

      November 1, 2013
  20. Margot #

    When I was first learning to knit, the mother of an acquaintance suggested this to me. My mother saw me doing it and said “What a stupid thing to do, now you have two balls of yarn getting all tangled up.” Since I was in high school at the time when she said this to me, and being that she was my MOTHER, of course I adopted the technique on the spot as the only way I would ever do things. It’s now 25 years later and I’m still doing it this way and my mother still thinks it’s dumb. Her head almost pops OFF when she sees me knitting socks.

    As stated by a previous commented, the really BEST thing though is that when you finish one, you’re done. I do the same thing with socks or mittens, knitting the cuff on one then the other, then back and forth until both are done practically at the same time. No Second Sock Syndrome for me!

    November 15, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      : )
      Such a great story. Something I’m sure we all can relate to at one time in our lives.
      Thank you for sharing!
      Happy Knitting!

      November 15, 2013
  21. odile from Paris (France) #

    I do this all the time and I always begin with the sleeves, begining them from the top, this way you have less and less stitches on the needle (I work on circular needles. The body is alwas on one piece (in the round or open, this is the best way NOT to have too much to sew at the very end.

    November 25, 2013
    • emilyoneil #

      That is great!

      November 25, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Three Day Weekend (AKA knitting time!) | The Knitter Nerd
  2. KAL – Buttonholes and Sleeves | Sage Yarn

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