Blogtober 21st: You don’t need to be scared

Last night at kniting night, I sat in the sock corner.  We had a spinning corner too.  Kate is hoping her influence will rub off on the rest of us I think. She brought her new wheel with her in a fit of pique with her second ever sock.  Lizzie threw her sock across the room at one stage.  Desssert was served soon afterwards. 

Conversation in the knitting corner turned to sock construction at one stage.  My friends Kristie and Hannah are both new sock knitters, and both have started off with top down socks.  Kristie wasn’t too sure about toe up socks. So this post is for her.  She doesn’t need to be scared of them – and neither do you!

So, what’s different about toe up socks? 

* The cast on.  Generally you will be casting on quite a few stitches at once – typically 20 or so, and there are some awesome cast ons you can use to do this so easily.  Judy’s Magic Cast On is fab, and she explains it in a tutorial here.  Another clever cast on is the Turkish Cast On,  and you can find a tutorial here for this one.  Once you’ve cast on, it’s a simple matter of increasing, usually 4 times each round every second round, until you have the right number of stitches.  Nothing too scary about that, right?

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* The pattern – generally you get plenty of time to get used to any lace pattern because you get to practise it just on the top of the foot, so when you get to the leg you have it mastered.

* The gusset – this is where the big differences start.  A standard sock will work the gusset in the exact reverse of a top down sock – instead of decreasing as you go around, you will M1 (or Kfb) one stitch from each side of the instep.  Nothing to be scared of there.  And that’s where I am up to on my current sock (note the natural daylight pics).

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This is where some cool designs can vary – I’ve knit socks with gusset decreases moved to the front and to the bottom of the heel for different effects. This one has the decreases hidden in the almond shaped panel at the front.

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* Heel flap – There are different ways to work the heel flap, or not – this pair just have a fancy gusset – seriously simple.

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Generally the instructions are super simple, and often you will find they are very similar to how you would knit a top down sock, just in the reverse.

The leg – you’re on the home stretch!  You have the advantage over top down socks in that you can see how much yarn you have and knit until your yarn runs out if you want.

The cast off – the final difference is that you need to make sure you have  a good stretchy cast off.  My favourite is the sewn bind off. It is super easy, and pretty well guaranteed to be stretchy enough.  A tutorial for it is towards the end of this page.

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So, there you have it – it is awesome to see my friends knitting socks too (and buying sock yarn I can drool over). Maybe I’ll see them knitting socks from the toe up soon too 🙂

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9 Responses to “Blogtober 21st: You don’t need to be scared”


  1. 1 mazzygirls October 22, 2009 at 12:05 am

    After reading your blog I have been seriously contemplating trying my hand at sock knitting. Alas, it will have to wait until I have finished a few other projects yet…but I think you have another conversion.

  2. 2 Judy October 22, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Yeah, I’m hoping you’ll be taken in by spinning one day too. It’s super fun!

  3. 3 Caffeine Girl October 22, 2009 at 6:47 am

    I am another one of those people who is afraid of toe-up, but I’m determined to try — as soon as I finish my gift knitting. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. 4 Jo October 22, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Thanks for this Sheryl, I keep putting off knitting socks. Next project will now be socks. This post is fantastic. 🙂

  5. 5 Kristy October 22, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Hehehe a blog post for me!!!

    After reading those simple instructions I now have no excuse to keep avoiding the toe-up patterns 🙂

  6. 6 Sam October 22, 2009 at 8:03 am

    .. i think its time for more needles … may have to wait til all the christmas knitting is done though

  7. 7 Hannah October 22, 2009 at 8:27 am

    More vintage purls arrived today! wohooooo hehehe

    thanks for all the info!

  8. 8 neak October 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Toe up is dead easy, love it more than top down :)and it rules out that fear of not having enough yarn 🙂

  9. 9 nova October 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    lol i’m scared of top-down! and don’t know how anyone would choose a top-down grafted tow over a turkish cast on toe- it’s the ultimate in simple! 😀


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