Originally Posted by wannabe
I am a little confused about double knitting. If it is to knit 2 socks at the same time, why not just put two seperate socks on the circular needles side by each. How is this double knitting thing fun? If I am correct in my understanding you are knitting two socks hanging off the needle on top of each other--is that right? Then how do you manage the yarn--2 seperate yarns yes?
Why use a circular to make socks at all?
You can knit a tube on straight needles using double knitting techniques. I'm sure it's possible to do some kind of heel that way.
How you manage 2 yarns is personal preference.
I like carrying them both in my left hand, the front yarn on my index finger and the back yarn on my middle finger, both wrapped around my pinky. Click this, scroll down and you can see a picture of how I manage the yarns for ribbing socks.
Some do that but carry them on the same finger and use something to separate the yarns.
Others knit Continental for one strand and English for the other.
2 Socks at once is only one thing you can do with double kitting.
With that type of double knitting you can also knit 2 sweater sleeves at once. Anything you need 2 copies of can be double knitted the way that 2 socks are done (technically you can do as many copy layers as you wanted).
If I did one sock at once I would never finish the second, and since I like DPNs I couldn't fit 2 socks side by side on them. If I did them side by side I'd be tempted to only work on one at a time.
Plus all those DPNs impress people enough, then you pull out the center sock and show them you're knitting 2 socks at the same time and they're in awe of your knitting greatness. (My niece said, "That's waaayyy too many needles." So I said, "Well look at this, it's also too many socks." She shook her head and said that my sister didn't pass that gene onto her.)
But that is just one thing you can do. You can also make double sided fabric.
It can be reversible where you used 2 colors of yarn and the one side is the mirror of the other side. That makes nice warm winter wear.
If you use more than 2 colors or you make a non-reversible color pattern your carries are hidden between the fabrics. (I have a hat in the planning stages that is red flames on one side and blue ice cubes on the reverse with the black backgrounds linking them together.)
If you only link the fabrics together around the edge you have a ready made pillow that just needs stuffed before you finish it.
There's a lot more you can do with all the varied double knitting techniques (and I didn't cover them all, because I don't understand them all).
Double knitting is fun for me because it's a challenge at first. It impresses people. It makes items that are double thick and have mirror imaged patterns and colors.