Mini-Circular Sock Knitting Tutorial

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Note: this page is going to be updated with new pictures and clearer instructions in the summer of 2019.

When I mentioned that I use mini-circular needles for knitting my socks, a few of you here on the blog and on Instagram had some questions for me.  I snapped a few pictures as I worked on my socks so that you can see what I do, the method to my madness for knitting socks this way.

Why mini-circulars?
In a word: ease.  In another word?  Practicality. 

I live with many small children, including a toddler who is often in my lap.  Fiddling around with magic loop or double-pointed needles just isn’t going to work with chubby little hands eager to grab them.

So, what is a sock loving knitter to do?

For me, mini circular needles have been the answer.

The Method to my Madness

I simply cast on the appropriate number of stitches (I’m a big fan of Susan B. Anderson’s simple sock tutorial) using mini-circular needles, mine are 9 inch circulars, and then I work on the small circulars until I get to the heel flap.

Once I get to the heel flap I work the stitches for the heel only back and forth using dpn’s (double-pointed needles).

Then, I pick up stitches for the gusset and slide the whole she-bang onto the mini-circular, this time adding stitch markers to indicate where the dpn’s would be normally.

(“Normal” being those of you who are probably not knitting with a sleeping baby or wiggling toddler in your lap).

After a quick double-check to make sure my count is right, I knit as usual, following the sock pattern as written until I get to the tippy toes, where I switch back to dpn’s.

That’s it.

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Easy, peasy and a lot less fiddly for this mama.
I get to knit socks, the kids get to cuddle.

Everyone is happy.

Also?  Hooray!  First finished object of 2013!

I purchased my 9 inch circulars needles from Amazon (<— note this is an affiliate link), but I bet if you ask at your local yarn store they can hook you right up!

18 Comments

  1. I'm guessing this would work for toe up as well? Thanks for the tips…I am not a fan of dpns so this might get me to making my first ever pair of socks. I have so much sock yarn I've picked up because i think it would make great socks! Jenn-Regina SK

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  2. I just found this while skipping around on your site, and have to say thank you! I had no idea mini-circulars existed. This may be the answer to my DPN angst (I *can* knit with them, I just don't like to because I always feel like I'm struggling to get my hands around them properly).

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  3. I had almost given up on my 9\” circle. because the heel flap/gusset was extremely difficult for me to knit because I have giant, sausage hands and/or fingers. Never once did dpn's come to mind. So I (as well as my chitlins and their dad! Lol) would like to thank you, from the bottom of my WIP/yarn basket (and heart Lol)!

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  4. I love the idea of the mini circular needles for socks, but I find it really hard on my hands. I'll try again. You've inspired me. I always have a sock on the go and if I could knit them faster, that would be a bonus. Penny – Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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  5. It's great to see that you're a small circular convert – I got hooked on them quite a few years ago and have even worn one out as I've used it so often! I've been running a Sockalong on my blog to help beginner sock knitters to knit their first pair of socks and have been showing them the small circular method as well as DPNs and magic loop. There's been some amazement there too as so many people have never heard of them – even in yarn shops where some people are being told that it's not even possible to knit socks on circular needles! We live in progressive times, eh?! Love your socks, they're great colours. (PS, my Sockalong is running at http://www.winwickmum.blogspot.com if you'd like to take a look!) xx

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  6. I'm actually trying out CC Almon (Java Purl Designs) vanilla toe up socks pattern right now. You cast on with double points and then switch to the 9 inch circulars, which CC calls \”zoom zoom needles\” since they go so fast :-)So far, so good!PS – I believe the pattern is a freebie if you sign up for her newsletter

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  7. Oh My Gosh!!! My loving Mother just gave me a pair of these mini circular needles in my Easter basket!! Im all the time saying how hard it is to knit my socks with my crazy 2 year old son throwing himself at me. Im so afraid he will get stabbed by one of the double points. Soooo……my wonderful Mom got me some of these and Im dying to try them out. So glad I saw this on Pinterest!!

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  8. I love knitting socks on the 9 inch circs, too. I find that there is less fiddling — no extra length of cord to pull or other needles in the way. I even do my heels on them and only pull out the dpns for the toes. When I do cuff down I find it easier to cast on to a straight needle ( sometimes a size larger than what I will knit with) and take advantage of anothe stitch count as I transfer them onto the circs.

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  9. Love every thing! But I would like it very much if you could just show the actual cast on and with some actual knitting. Got all my needles and yarn ready to go but can't get started. Also how about a tube sock pattern.

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  10. Yes, the 9\” circs is the game changer for me when it comes to sock knitting, too. I'm not sure I'd be able to at this point in my life successfully knit a sock, unless I waited to do it until after all the kids were in bed … or there weren't any babies or toddlers at my house, ha ha. For now, as a parent to young kids who loves to knit socks, this is what works best and so it's what I love.

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