My current, or third, foray into the world of sock knitting is similar to the first two efforts, but with two structural differences and different yarn. Like the other pairs of socks I recently made, they are being worked from the toe up, and two at a time using two medium length circular needles. I tried this method because after reading a LOT about sock construction, toe up seemed the most sensible to me. I like the idea of making sure you have enough yarn to finish your socks on the one hand, and on the other hand, won’t necessarily have yarn leftovers (unless you want them and purposely finish before your yarn ends).
I tried magic loop, and found it very irritating. It felt like I was spending as much time adjusting the needles as I did knitting. So that’s how I picked the needle configuration.
This pair of socks is also still using Donna Druchunas‘ Universal Sock pattern of earlier post (and Craftsy class) fame. But this time I’m trying different toe and heel methods – specifically, short row toes and short row heels.
So to make short row toes, you do a provisional cast on of half the stitches you will need for your sock, and then knit short rows until you are down the the center bunch of stitches (there’s a formula for figuring out when to stop), then progress your way back down making your rows longer each time and picking up the stitches you left behind on your way up the toe. Then undo the provisional cast on and knit the foot.
In appearance you wind up with a toe that looks pretty much like the figure 8 cast on toe I used for the first two pairs of socks I made. I didn’t find it really harder or easier. The big advantage to a short row toe that I can see is if you wear through the toe, it’s pretty easy to replace. Especially if you use a different yarn from whatever you’re using for the rest of the sock.
The heels are likewise made with short rows. These are even easier than the toes, as you just work from the stitches for the bottom part of the foot, proceed with your short rows then increase back up, and continue on with the leg of your sock.
They look goofy and pointy just here lying flat, but they look fine when you have them on. And I try them on pretty constantly, to make sure I’m getting the foot long enough but not too long and so on. That is another advantage of knitting toe up – pretty easy to try them on and make sure you are getting a good fit 🙂
And a final note about these new socks – they are mostly made of Biscotte and Cie‘s super-cute self-striping Watermelon colorway on their bis-sock yarn. I haven’t used self-striping yarn, and was kind of dubious about how it was going to work out for me. But it’s working great! Look at the little seeds! The seeds are what killed me about this colorway – I smile every time I look at them. The toes and heels are done with different yarn, but I think it goes with the watermelon reasonably well.