helliciouspatterns :: toeupsocks
easy to intermediate
What you should know:
right- and left-slanted increases; knitting in the round; knitting on either two circulars in the round or on double-pointed needles
What you'll learn:
basic sock construction; how to short-row
I've made many pairs of socks since I've been knitting, and I used to do them calf-down on double-pointed needles. Then I learned to do them on two circulars. Then on a trip I decided I wanted to learn how to do socks toe-up so that I wouldn't have to measure -- just cast-on and try-on. Once I learned it, I swore I'd never make socks any other way again. It's so easy!
Here's a basic pattern for toe-up socks -- all you need to make sure they fit is an available foot from the wearer. I've cobbled this together from experience in trying to figure out how to make socks with as little effort in measuring as possible. These instructions are fairly general and should work for either double-pointed needles or two circulars, but they are written as if you're working them on two circulars.
Cast-On and Toe Shaping
Cast on 8 or 10 stitches in a figure eight cast-on. To do this, hold the needles (one needle from each of your two circs, if you're doing it that way) one on top of the other. Starting from under the bottom needle, bring the yarn up and between the two needles, over the top one, between the needles, under the bottom one, and repeat until you have 8 or 10 loops on each needle, ending with the yarn having just come under the bottom one and between the needles.
Beginning knitting your first round by knitting the first stitch on the top needle and continuing around until you reach it again. If you're knitting on two circulars, the toe will form with one needle forming the top of the sock and one needle forming the bottom of the sock. If you're using double-points, you probably have the top and bottom spread out onto two needles each -- if so, you'll need to remember that for the rest of these directions and alter as necessary.
Next row: Knit 1, M1 left-slanted, knit to last stitch on needle (other side of toe), M1 right-slanted, knit 1, knit 1 on second needle, M1 left-slanted, knit to last stitch on needle, M1 right-slanted, knit 1.
Next row: Knit around.
Repeat these two rows, increasing as directed every other row. Keep trying the sock on the wearer until it seems wide enough -- you want a little bit of snugness, so the toe should just be almost as wide as the ball of the foot, but not as wide.
Knit around until the foot is long enough to touch the leg.
Shaping the Heel
The heel is shaped with short rows until about 15-20% of the stitches are left unshort-rowed. If you've never short-rowed before, follow these directions and you'll learn how.
Ending the last row at the beginning of a new round, turn the work and then work the heel as follows on one needle, back and forth:
Row 1 (WS): Purl to last stitch; slip stitch as if to purl and then wrap stitch (move yarn from front to back, slip stitch back to left needle, move yarn to the front of the work). Turn the work.
Row 2: Knit to last stitch; slip stitch as if to purl and then wrap stitch (move yarn from back to front, slip stitch back to left needle, move yarn to the back of the work). Turn the work.
Repeat these two rows, wrapping the last stitch before the previously wrapped ones -- you're forming a triangle with some fullness to it. Repeat this until you have about 15-20% of the stitches on the needle unworked.
Begin to "long-row" the heel as follows:
Row 1 (RS):Work to first wrapped stitch; knit the stitch and its wrap together as one (scooping up the wrap from the front of the stitch). Wrap the next stitch again as before (this helps to keep gaps small). Turn the work.
Row 2: Purl to first wrapped stitch; purl the stitch and its wrap together as one (scooping up the wrap from the back of the stitch). Wrap the next stitch again as before. Turn the work.
Row 3 and 4: Work to first wrapped stitch. Work similar to rows 1 and 2, but picking up both wraps and knitting together with stitch and wrapping the following stitch.
Continue until all stitches on the heel have been worked.
Begin working in the round again. Knit the calf until desired length. Bind off very
loosely. Repeat this pattern for the matching sock.
- When making toe-up socks, there are two numbers you'll want to remember after you make sock #1: the number of stitches at the point you stopped increasing for the toe, and the number of stitches left un-shortrowed when you did the heel. I write these two numbers on a little tag and pin it to the finished sock #1 so I don't forget them when I make its partner. (Never assume you'll remember them!)
- If you want to make the heels, toes, and a top band on your calf a different color than the rest of the sock, start the sock in the alternate color and then change to your main color after your toe shaping. Change back to your alternate color when you begin shaping the heel, and change to your main color just before you knit in the round again on the leg. Change to your alternate color for the last inch or so of your calf.
- Socks will generally fit better if you knit the calf in ribbing. My favorite is 3x2.
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