My Go-To Simple Toe Up Sock Guide
There are a million of these floating all over the interwebs, but I’ve been asked multiple times how I knit my socks. I hope this helps! This is in no way tested by other knitters or perfect — it is just my method that I either stick to or tweak a bit until I’m happy with it. This is not so much a pattern to follow, but more of a guide. Enjoy!
Full disclosure, I’ve tried TAAT and can’t stand it. I knit my socks one at a time or otherwise concurrently, but never on the same needles. Feel free to adjust this to work with TAAT if that is what you prefer!
The Cast On
I start by casting on 14-16 stitches using the Turkish Cast On method, which I’ve found to be the easiest to remember — not only to do. Nine times out of ten, I’ve started with 14 stitches, but recently have bumped it to 16. It is really personal preference and in my opinion, doesn’t make a huge difference. Just be sure to note it for the second sock!
I should also mention that I am always magic looping the toes. I’ve tried and failed miserably with DPNs because they just weren’t long enough.
I’ve often been asked what my favorite needles are and I will always choose Chiaogoo Red Lace knitting needles when using the magic loop method. The tips are very pointy and the cord is heavenly. I use a US 1 (2.25mm) for most of my socks — your results may vary.
Once you’ve finished the Turkish Cast on and you have live stitches ready to go on both needles, you can begin your increases. If you’re following along with the video linked above, I increase the exact same way. However, I add an additional row of only knit stitches after completing the cast-on. No reason other than it feels more sturdy in my brain. (That is probably completely false.)
Mark the ‘front’ or ‘top’ of the sock with a stitch marker so you can remember which side you started your increases on. Knit the first stitch and then yarn over. Continue knitting until there’s one stitch left on the needle, YO and knit that last stitch. Turn your work and repeat on the other side.
Once back to the side with the marker, knit all stitches for a round — knit the YOs through the back loop so it does not create holes. Your rows should look something like this:
Row 1: K1, YO, k to last st, YO, k1 (for both needles)
Row 2: K1, ktbl, knit to last 2 st, ktbl, k1
Repeat those two rows until you’ve increased to your preferred number of stitches. Most of the time this is 64 (32 on each needle), but it will depend on the size of needle and your foot circumference. There are loads of resources out there to help you figure out your magic number.
I want to mention that there are a number of ways to work the increases. For a long time, I would do the Make 1 method of picking up the ladders and yada-yada, but I always had to remember the difference between a M1L and M1R, which drove me bonkers. You also need to pay close attention to whether you’re on an increase row or not. With the YO method, it is really obvious so there is no remembering. Genius!
If you’ve managed to complete the toe increases, you’re off to the races! Assuming that you’re planning on knitting a plain vanilla, stockinette sock. Obviously, if you were knitting any kind of pattern, you’d be following along with that and not this silly guide. 😉
The beauty of knitting toe-up socks is the ability to try on your sock as you go. Is it too loose? Decrease a couple stitches. Too tight? Increase a couple more. Once you’re happy, just knit. Turn on some Netflix, grab a tea/coffee/beer, and just knit. This would be a great time to set down your finished toe, grab a second set of needles, and repeat to work the socks concurrently.
I will also tend to switch over to use my KnitPro Zing DPNs at this point, too, but again, you do you.
Knit. Knit. Knit until you reach the spot where you’re ready for a heel.
I would highly suggest purchasing the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern. It is only $1 US and the first few pages show you how to measure your foot for the length of each segment. I went along and created my cardboard foot cut-out (HELLO 2nd grade art!) which has been an invaluable resource as I’ve learned to knit socks.
I jump back and forth between the Fish Lips Kiss Heel and the Cut-in Afterthought Heel. I prefer the fit of a FLK heel just a smidgen more, but honestly they’re pretty interchangeable in my mind. I have a pair where I did a FLK on one sock and an Afterthought on the other because I was movie theater knitting and went right on past the heel. They wear the same in my opinion.
The photo below has a FLK on the left and an Afterthought on the right. Similar construction fit-wise, but they do look a bit different.
If you’re knitting an Afterthought Heel, skip past this section and continue on to the leg of your sock. If you’re knitting a FLK heel. This is where that happens.
Some people are terrified of cutting into their yarn – and understandably so. It is an adrenaline rush, for sure, but once you’re past the first one, you’ll be good to go. 😂
Nothing to see here… just more knit, knit, knitting! Knit that baby until you reach the desired length. I shoot for around 5″ from the heel before starting the cuff, but it is entirely up to the person knitting and/or wearing them. Time for another Netflix binge.
I like a 2×2 ribbed cuff. It is completely personal preference. I’ve done a 1×1 ribbing and a 1×1 twisted ribbing, also.
2×2 Rib: Knit 2, Purl 2 all the way around.
1×1 Rib: K1, P1 in the round
1×1 Twisted: K1tbl, P1 in the round
Continue working the cuff in your preferred method for as long as you’d like. I typically knit a 20 round cuff.
When you’re happy with the length, cast off using the Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off.
That’s it! Sit back and admire your HO (half-object) Sock. Take a photo, Instagram that baby, and tag me in it if you’d like! I’d love to see them!
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