[Note: I wrote this up last year/summer of 2022, never quite finished it, and never published it as a result. I don’t know if I remember enough here to finish writing this up properly without knitting the socks again. I don’t want it languishing in my drafts and I’m not sure when I’ll feel inclined to write it up as a real pattern. So I’m just gonna publish it anyhow and I hope it helps someone else who wants to play with a fun technique!]
The folk at Knitted Wit had a fun summer bingo this year, and one of the squares was “I tried a new-to-me sock technique” so I decided to try knitting two at a time socks with the socks nested inside each other. One of the people in my old Saturday knitting group used to do this somewhat regularly and I was intrigued. I wasn’t up to knitting full sized socks just to try a technique, so I worked from the knitted mirror socks pattern and scaled it down to 24 stitch mini socks and took out all the colour changes.
Since I couldn’t find anyone else who’d done a tiny version of this, I’m writing up my notes in case you too want to try a new technique but don’t want to commit weeks of your life to doing it!
Tips before you start
Choosing yarns: make sure they look very different. Ideally you want high contrast and not a single speckle that matches. I used one speckle and one solid to help me differentiate and because I was using leftovers from previous projects. You might find it easier to just use two solids for the least stressful experience. It doesn’t matter in the finished project since the socks will be separated, but it’ll make the learning experience easier if you can tell your yarns apart even when you can only see a little stitch sticking out.
Choosing needles: you want sharp needles with long tapers at the tips because p2tog through the back loop is a pain on blunter tipped needles. I used chiaogoo size 1 because it’s what I have on hand that suits the fingering weight yarn I used. I think this pattern would have been frustrating if I’d tried to use my Knit Picks or Addi needles, even though the addis are my usual go-to for socks. I used a long circular and had a “top” and “bottom” needle. Two dpns (with a third working needle) would work just as well.
You’re going to be knitting top-down with the two socks nested, with the outer one inside out. This arrangement keeps the yarns to the correct side of the socks slightly more easily. If you’ve done double knitting before, it’ll feel pretty similar, you just have to be very careful about not crossing your yarns inside the tube.
CO 24 stitches in the round. Do 4 rounds of k1, p1 ribbing. (You could do this two at a time but it’s only 4 rows and this way you get to start on something easier.)
Get a second set of needles, do it again. (Cast on 24 stitches, do 4 rounds of k1 p1 ribbing)
Decide which is going to be sock A, the outside sock that you’re going to purl in reverse stockinette, and which will be sock B, the inside sock that you will knit in regular stockinette. If one of your yarns is a bit thicker than the other, you’ll want it to be sock A because the gauge is going to be slightly bigger and you might as well have the yarn help. This wouldn’t be as important on full sized socks, but it’s noticeable on such tiny ones. (Guess how I know…)
Arrange the two socks on one set of needles so that the stitches alternate. Sock A, sock B, A, B, A, B and so on. I put 24 stitches on one needle (12 of A, 12 of B) to be the top of foot, and the remaining 24 on a second needle to be the bottom of foot.
Move yarn A to the front and B to the back. I hold both yarns in my left hand, so I found it easier to keep A in front with my thumb while working B.
Leg Row: Purl A, Knit B 24 times being careful not to cross your yarns.
Knit for about one thumb width of stockinette/reverse stockinette, checking periodically to make sure your yarns haven’t crossed. My thumb is around 2cm or 3/4 of an inch if you prefer to use a ruler, but since this sock doesn’t have to fit anyone I’m sure your thumb will be good enough too. Or you can just eyeball it.
Go to whichever needle you’ve designated as the bottom and start the heel flap. This will be knit flat over only the bottom needle’s stitches.
Row 1: slip A, slip B, then [Purl A, Knit B] 11 times, turn work.
Row 2: slip B, slip A, then [Purl B, knit A] 11 times, turn work.
Repeat these rows 6 times, so you should have 6 slipped stitches up the side.
You’re going to be doing decreases now, which means you’ll have to rearrange the stitches so two A and two B yarns are next to each other.
Row 1: [purl A, knit B] 7 times, rearrange stitches for decreases, dec A (p2tog), dec B (ssk) turn.
Row 2: [purl B, knit A] 3 times, rearrange stitches dec B dec A turn.
Row 3: [purl A, knit B] …
Continue like this until dec is at end of each row 8? stitches per sock
Pick up 6 stitches along edge of flap, continue as before across sock, pick up 6 on other edge.
You likely will have a little hole at the heel, particularly on the outside socks that are stretched out a bit more. Rather than fussing over it, just plan to sew it closed at the end.
Foot Row (same as leg): Purl A, Knit B 24 times being careful not to cross your yarns.
Knit in stockinette/reverse stockinette until the foot looks long enough to you. I once again used my thumb to measure and made it about the same length as the leg section.
Now here’s the part with the awkward p2togtbl so that you can match the k2tog. If you find it hard, sharper needles will tend to help. Also, since no one’s going to wear these and likely no one will care if the decreases don’t match, you could also just do a p2tog and call it a day if you want. You can graft the last few stitches if you want but these are so tiny that running the end through the last few stitches and pulling tight works fine.