Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Methodology: Toe-up Socks

"the development of methods, to be applied within a discipline"

It's finally summer, and time for sock knitting. Sometimes nothing is better than casting on for a pair of toe-ups to utilize nearly every last bit of yarn that you have left for a pair of socks.

Like many of you, I've experimented and have tried a number of methods for toe-ups.

What I've tried and discarded:
Short-roe toe: By and large, this is not a bad option, although the knitter must graft 1/2 the number of sock stitches (usually via kitchner stitch). If the grafting isn't done well, a large lump occurs on the sole or instep of the sock. Uggh.

Middle Eastern cast-on or figure 8: I don't know about you, but I always have gaps that are just too large for my liking with these methods.

Toe-box: Works well, but can create a boxy toe. Also, whenever you pick up stitches from the cast-on row it takes a little work to seat them correctly to avoid twisted stitches. Or, you must use a provisional cast-on.

Don't let me stop you from using your favorite.
What do I do?
I guess you could call it RTT for short: Round Toe-ups with a Two-color (provisional) cast on. I'll walk you through it if you want to give it a go.
Select your sock yarn and a smooth, similar weight waste yarn in a different color.
Tie a loose knot.
Proceed with a long-tail two-color cast on. Cast on as many stitches as you like. This will be the final toe length for one-half of the sock. For a narrower sock toe, try eight to ten stitches. I usually use twelve to eighteen, depending upon finished desired sock width. I do this by creating the diamond shape in your left hand as you normally would for a long-tail cast on. Place the waste yarn in front over your thumb, and your working yarn in back. Using the right needle, pick up the waste yarn (down and up to the right), then go up and over the working yarn and pull left through the loop. Your working yarn has created one loop on the needle, and your waste yarn creates the bottom portion of the cast-on. Break waste yarn 2 to 3 inches from the end of your cast-on row.
Purl one row. Knit one row.
From the side without a knot, carefully remove the waste yarn from the cast-on row. Pick up the initial stitch with another needle. Proceed until all stitches have been picked up. (Do not untie knot). Knit the stitches you have just picked up. If using DPNs, use two across this row. Once you have knit the last stitch, remove your knot and the waste yarn.
Increase rows: From now on you will knit in the round. Starting at the longer needle side (your working yarn is in place).
Increase Rows 1 & 2: KFB (Knit into front and back of stitch), knit until you have two stitches left on the longer needle side, KFB, K1. Needles 2 and 3: increase one (MI or KFB instead of knitting first stitch), knit until you have two stiches left. KFB. 4 stitches increased, two per side.
Increase Row 3: Knit
Increase Row 4: Repeat row 1.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until you are eight stitches away from your final desired stitch count.
Increase Rows 5 and 6: Knit
Increase Row 7: Repeat row 1.
Increase Rows 8,9, & 10: Knit
Increase Row 11: Repeat row 1.
Your sock should now look something like this:
Continue by knitting each round.
Here's what the round toe looks like:

Enjoy! If you try it out, let me know what you think.


Stacey said...

Huh - interesting! Another one to add to my bag of tricks! I like the Magic Cast on (Knitty) - works perfect every time!

Sassy said...

Brilliant! Thanks for the great instructions, too. I'll let you know how this works for me!

deepa said...

I'll have to try this! My short row toe a la Wendy involves no kitchener, just a provisional CO. Instead of the crochet chain, I use the knittinghelp method. The heel & toe are identical. I've also been meaning to try the Japanese method- no wraps.

Big needle knits are looking very tempting to me. Socks on 1s- gaah!

Jess said...

That's a nice idea! I don't think I've done the two-color long-tail caston before, so that's a new trick anyhow.

theblondeknitter said...

very cool 'how-to' pics. i'll have to try this!

lv2knit said...

Very nice toe!!!!!