Basic Socks on a tiny circular needle: A sock miracle!

***New****
I’ve created a gorgeous printable PDF of these instructions along with an original design for Canadian Juliet socks!
Size: Ladies medium
Materials:
~300 yards fingerling weight sock yarn, pictured here is Opal sock yarn in colour 625, Winterbild
~US size 1 circular needle, 12 inch. The Addi Turbo 12 inch. Look how it’s constructed to work for knitting socks in the round. Angled needles on a very short flexible cord. Note the cord is only about 5 inches,  it’s 11.5 inches from tip to tip. You won’t find this in any interchangeable sets that I know of. You have to buy the needle separately.I have it in US 1, which works perfectly for standard sock yarn. See photo below.
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January 2017 update: Addi no longer makes this needle, I think they are repackaging and calling it an 8″ (CONFUSING).  ChiaGoo has an alternative. ChiaGoo calls it a 9 inch circular. Look for size 1 or 2.
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~set of three US size 1 double pointed needles
Gauge:
32 stitches and 40 rows = 4 inches square in St St
Cast on:
Using the 12inch circular needle, cast on 60 stitches, join in the round.
Cuff:
Work one inch of k1 p1 ribbing, or whatever cuff you love.
Body:
Work in stockinette stitch, or whatever stitch you love for about 7 inches. So easy!!! Just knit continuously in the round. No worries about laddering, no need to fiddle.
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Heel:
The heel is worked over 30 stitches, the other 30 just stay on your needle while you do this.
~ K15 stitches, turn.
~ purl across 30 stitches, turn
Row 1 ~ *slip 1, knit 1* repeat from * to * across 30 stitches
Row 2 ~ slip 1, purl across
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for 30 rows.
Turn the heel:
OMG! I love this part!!
~ knit across 17 stitches, ssk, knit 1, turn
~ slip 1, purl 5, p2tog, purl 1, turn
Row 1 ~ slip 1, knit to one stitch before gap, ssk, knit 1, turn
Row 2 ~ slip 1, purl to one stitch before gap, p2tog, purl 1, turn
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have worked all heel stitches, 18 stitches remain.
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Gusset:
OMG! I hate doing this row. Soldier through it!
1. Knit 9  stitches, place a marker to mark the Centre back as the beginning of the round, knit 9.
2. Take a breath and pick up the 15 long stitches along the side of the heel flap.
3. Pick up one extra stitch, by knitting an extra stitch in the row just below the heel flap. Place a marker.
4. Knit the 30 stitches of the instep. These are the 30 stitches that have been patiently waiting on you needle since before the heel.
5. Place another marker, pick up an extra stitch.
6. Take another breath, or maybe a sip of wine, and pick up the 15 long stitches along the other side of the heel flap.
7. You know are back in the round!
Gusset Decreases:
Row 1 – Knit to 2 stitches before second marker, k2tog, Slip marker. Knit to the next marker, slip marker, SSK, knit to beginning of round marker (which it the Centre of the heel).
Row 2 – knit  all stitches
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 60 stitches remain. TA DA!
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Foot:
Slip marker, Knit, removing the other two markers as you come to them. Continuing knitting until foot is two inches less than the desired total foot length.
Toe:
Now you have to abandon the beloved 12inch circular. Sorry. But I have worked out how to finish with 3 double points, not 5. You are about to set up on two double points, 30 stitches on each needle.
You should still have marker indicating the centre to the heel. Knit 15 with your circular as you have been doing.
Using one of your double point needles, knit 30 from the circular, onto the double point.
Using a second double point, knit 30 off the circular.
It will look like this:
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Row 1 ~ Using the third needle, knit 1, ssk, knit to 3 stitches from end of first needle, k2tog, knit one
Turn your work around, and knit now off the second needle,
Knit 1, ssk, knit to 3 stitches from end of second needle, k2tog, knit one.
When you move from one needle to the next, be sure to give the yarn a good tug to keep things tight, this is critical!
Row 2 ~ knit all stitches on first needle, turn work, knit all stitches on second needle
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 30 stitches remain.
Repeat Row 1 until 16 stitches remain.
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Cut yarn and graft toe with Kitchener stitch.
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95 thoughts on “Basic Socks on a tiny circular needle: A sock miracle!

  1. I must have looked at a dozen “knitting socks with a 12″ circular” websites before I found yours, Julie. Believe me, yours is by far the best! Wish I’d saved the time spent studying the others .I do recommend that novice sockers do a total 3-needle dpn version first, tho, just to learn the layout of the sock. Glad I did one sock that way and it taught me a great deal.

    • Hi! I’m so glad people are finding this. I learned first by knitting on straights. This is possible, there is a books and patterns. I’ve never done a sock on dpn’s yet, and I have made a dozen pairs. 🙂

  2. This looks too good to be true! Is there a down side to making socks this way? I’ve been using dpns for years and I always assumed there wouldn’t be a circular needle short enough to make a sock with.

    • I’ve heard some people say they don’t like the wee needle. Other than that, no downside at all. I’ve never knit a sock on dpn’s. I’ve done at least a dozen on my circular. I’ve taught socks to two brand new knitters using this circular, they both love it and have never tried dpns.

    • Hi Keli: I knit with standard sock yarn. I think that the needle I’m using… The Addi 12 inch is quite a bit smaller than what you are calling a 9 inch. The Addi needle is 12 inches from needle tip to needle tip, but also the tips are bent. The photos on my post show the needle.

      • It’s tight at first, especially depending on your cast on. Try a simple, loose knitted cast on, I find with that, it’s fine after one row. One time, I tried a crochet hook cast on, and it was way too tight.

      • My local knit shop, Beyond the Rainforest showed me a new Addi needle that just came out built for your purpose! They have one short needle and one regular cured available in a 10″ ad 12″. She we already sold out but have more coming in. As said you, Julie and my daring this with a few local knitters have “started a knitting revolution!” Cute.

  3. Thank you for this tutorial. I am heading to our little local knit shop (we have two!!!) to see in I can find the 12″ circular needle. I love knitting socks and look forward to trying this new method.I’ll let you know how it comes out.

  4. Got the needle at the little shop just a few doors down from my little shop. I’ve started a pair of socks and love not having to slide two circulars around. I also don’t miss the clicky dangling needles.. in short I am enjoying the “little guy” just fine. Thanks Julie.

  5. I have the exact needle, exact yarn, have knit numerous pairs of socks using magic loop, not sure why but I can’t seem to get enough yarn around to join!! Any suggestions? I luv the idea of the 12″ needle! Hoping to find out what I am missing or doing incorrectly!!??

    • I want to double check with you if it is the exact needle. It’s the Addi Turbo 12″, US 1. Here is a link:

      http://www.woobeeknitshop.net/Addi-Turbo-12-Circular-Needle-SIZE-25-mm-approx-US-1-105-12-1.htm

      I think the problem is that Addi packages (or some stores market) another one they call a 12″ circular, but it’s not the same, and it would not work. It’s this one:

      http://sewknit.ca/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=5341

      The one I use is 12″ from tip to tip. The cord is only about 4 inches, and the metal tips are bent. The product in the second link looks like a much longer needle, it’s not bent, and the cord is too long. If you compare the two links, you will see exactly what I mean.

      I had no idea they packaged two different needles as a 12 inch circular!! I suspect that you might have the second one. I’ve checked on the Skacel website directly, and don’t see the bent needle there at all. I do see one they call an 8″. However, the first link up there is the EXACT needle, I’ve bought 4 of them and seen them in many yarn stores.

      if you do have this exact needle, then all I can say is that the first row is always super tight, but after that it knits lovely.

    • Helen, for the first few rows you may find it a little tight but it does ease up perfectly and get stretchy after about six rows. Keep going.

  6. Hi — I’ve looked all over the internet to order this specific circular and can’t find it. I checked the Skacel website and even they don’t list it in their products. Did they stop making it?? I hope not. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

  7. Thank you, thank you! I did find the needle at Willowyarns.com, but the smallest they have is sz 3. I did tell her that the pattern calls for a sz 1. She was not aware they had smaller sizes.

      • Thanks, good idea! BTW, I did find it on amazon or ebay, I can’t remember which. I think it was amazon. I just kept scrolling and looking at everything. Found it, sz 1 and sz 2, ordered both. Just checked today and comments were, it should be delivered in 1-2 months. Egads!!! I should have been more careful and not so hasty. They are Chao Goo coming from China.
        Think I’ll wait the week, and go out and buy some sport weight yarn, so I’ll be ready. 🙂

  8. Hi, I can’t seem to find the needle you used..some of the links you shared I’m not seeing the bent needles..I did however find that Chiaogoo make a 12″ bent needle. going to give it a go! Just thought Id share 🙂

  9. Well, I finally have the needle. Have a so 2 from ChiaoGoo. It was a bit of a learning curve for me. I knit continental style and it has been difficult holding. At any rate, I’m not giving up yet. I’ve done the cuff an inch of stockinethe.

    Question: Can I use this pattern to knit ankle socks?

    • I’m so glad you finally located one. I was thinking about going shopping and see if I could dig one out for you. Yes, you can do ankle socks. Just knit less leg before you do the heel flap.

    • I buy them at Serenity Knits in Newmarket, ON. Unwind also has them. Try eBay. They are difficult to source now. Chiagoo aslo makes a 9inch circular that will work. See others comments below for many more sources.

  10. Hi, I had a long search for the Addi 12″ angular needles here in UK. I contacted Addi and they say they no longer make them!!

  11. Hi Julie, I have the regular 12 inch circular without the bent needles but my local yarn shop keeps the tiny 20 cm also not bent needles do you think that would work ?

  12. Hi Julie! I stumbled on this site through Pinterest. I normally use DPNs for socks, but I like to try out new methods when I can. I purchased a couple of the bent 12″ circulars from Chiagoo and I’m going to give it a try. Thanks for the tut!

  13. This looks so amazing – I can’t wait to try this! However, I have quite a narrow leg and foot, and usually use less stitches when knitting socks for myself. I’ve done about 4 pairs so far so am still a “sock newbie”. How would I adapt this pattern for a narrower sock? Not sure how to do divide up the stitches doing it this way – but would really love to convert to this method. Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. I found these needles on Amazon. Enter Addi 12″ 2.25 circular needles. Only one available today but I would expect you could see more after the holiday season. They are hard to find. Can’t wait to try them!

  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing a pattern for socks that speaks my language:). I’ve read so many and had given up even trying until I happened onto your blog and post. I tried both the Addi bent 12″ and the Chiagoo 9″ and decided on the 9″. Of course I had to have two so I wouldn’t be tempted (as much) to never finish the second sock! Just sending this so you know that people do read and appreciate posts out there in internet-land.

  16. I have a set of the Clover 9″ (23cm) no.2 (2.75mm); will these work?
    I am new to knitting socks and am glad to find your website.

    • Hi Betty! i don’t know that needle, so I can’t say. Will you give it a try and let me know? If you can join and do three rows, you’re good. Sometimes the first row is super tight.

  17. I should have added that it is a circular needle with the bent tips (bought @ Joannes).
    The cable is 5 inches; tips are bamboo (and metal).
    Thanks for the reply…I will let you know how it works.

  18. Hi Julie,
    I started the socks on the Clover 9″ no.2 circulars.
    No problem with the join ( not tight at all) or the following rows.
    I am still working on the sock and can see I need more practice on heels.
    I am determined to learn how to knit socks!
    Thank you again for the pattern.

  19. Thank you so much Julie- I have completed 1 sock on the tiny ChiaoGoo, but went to the double pointed needles when I was doing the heel. I am certainly going to try your pattern for the second sock! Other than that I think the pattern was almost the same. I purchased my ChiaoGoo’s at the Purple Sock in Coldwater, Ontario if anyone is having difficulty finding them, I”m glad Lynn would be more than happy to help. They are worth the investment!

  20. Hi Julie,
    May I adjust the Smitten Socks pattern, for a large size? I really like the pattern and want to make sure I can fit it when complete. My shoe size is a US 9 and my regular sock size is US 9-11. I would also like to know if this can be adjusted to fit a man’s foot.

    • Yes! For the ladies size 9, just follow the inatructions, but knit another inch or so before you start decreasing for the toe. For a man’s sock, you would need to cast on more stitches, that’s more math all the way through than I can manage in this reply. But let’s say you cost on 72 instead of 60. When you divide off for the heel, you would keep 36 on the needles and work those for the heel.

  21. Julie, thank you so much for this patteren, I was able to get several sizes of the addi’s 12″ at my LYS, think I took the last ones they had, I have the foot, and toe part to finish on one sock so far, so happy I found your site, and will be buying your pattern soon also.

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