I have never knit just one sock at a time. Even the very first pair of socks I knit, with the yarn that Mama gave me as a graduation present from college, were two at a time. Always. Sometimes I have to do interesting things past turning the heel if I have a pattern that wraps around the entire sock, but I have always done two socks at a time.
But what about four?
I started thinking about it after making Herself a pair of ankle socks, and then realizing was enough leftover yarn to make a second pair of ankle socks. So I did. But they were not identical to the first pair. I didn’t count rows for either pair, and they stretched differently, or the tension was different, or something. Bah.
But four . . . . all at the same time . . . . .
I had some sock yarn from a project that didn’t work out after all. I always take the outer end of a ball of yarn and the inner end and wind a center-pull ball with two ends coming from the middle. This leaves me with the center of the ball of yarn on the outside. But I cut that center piece. Leaving me with four ends of yarn. So I rolled a center-pull ball of yarn with FOUR ends in the middle. And cast on four socks on the same needles at the same time.
The set-up was a little complicated. I was trying to keep the four pieces straight, and find all four ends and cast them on, and not lose any of the short ends. But it all worked. And it was still the same basic idea as two at a time!
So I started knitting. And this bit was somewhat harder than just two socks at a time. Knit across sock 1. Switch yarn, knit sock 2. Switch yarn, knit sock 3. Switch yarn, knit sock 4. FINALLY, turn work and go back the other way. It was hard to keep all four yarns straight, and each ‘row’ took so much longer! But if I was going to knit four socks, it wasn’t really any longer.
Almost to cast off.
And cast off, with the leftover yarn.
I measured that pretty good, actually. I didn’t cut it perfectly in half, as I learned when my two midpoints were not even, but still, there really wasn’t much left when I was all done.
And finally, here are the socks for Herself.
Four of them. All exactly identical.