Knitting socks from the toe up has become quite popular lately, with lots of books suddenly available on the subject.
Working socks "from the bottom" is a good idea for a lot of reasons, but the most popular include that you can easily try on the sock as you knit for a perfectly custom fit and that if you divide your yarn right you can just keep knitting until you almost run out of yarn. Your leg will be as tall as it can be and you won't have to guess or worry about running out of yarn with two rounds left to go on the toe (it happens!).
Janet Rehfeldt shares the basics of knitting from the toe up as well as 10 patterns worked this way in Terrific Toe-Up Socks: Knit to Fit.
About the Book
- Pages: 64
- Format: paperback
- Number of patterns: 10
- Skill level: 2 easy, 7 intermediate, 1 experienced
- Sizes: patterns offer sizing for narrow, medium, wide and extra-wide feet
- Illustrations: full-color photographs; knitting instructions are illustrated with color drawings
- Knitting lessons: 24 pages discuss yarns, sizing and tools as well as offering instructions for 3 cast ons, 6 increases, 2 heels and 4 bind offs as well as tips for knitting the socks
- Publication date: January 2011
The beginning of Terrific Toe-Up Socks runs knitters through the basics of knitting socks from the toe up, including different methods for casting on and a discussion of why she prefers the method she uses (a "closed toe" cast on using the long tail cast on and picking up stitches to make the other side of the toe -- she likes it because it's tighter than the Turkish or wrap cast on).
She offers a variety of ways to increase from the toe to the number of stitches needed for the foot and has a nice, detailed section on ways to work the heel on a toe-up socks, which is probably the part that confuses people the most (much like on top down socks).
There are also tips for preventing the all-too-common holes on the sides of the socks where the heel meets the leg, and a bunch of great options for loose bind offs that will make it possible to actually wear your socks. With all this information, knitters should feel confident choosing one of the 10 patterns in the book to experiment with.
One thing that's really cool about Terrific Toe-Up Socks is that it offers instructions for different sizes based on the circumference of the leg and the foot. Different patterns have slightly different sizes, but the smallest is 6.25 inches, which would fit an older child, and the largest is 11 inches, which would fit a largish man's foot or a very wide woman's foot.
My one complaint about the sizing is that the numbers are given with no real indication of who might fit that size; I guess that's because they're all supposed to be for women, just with narrow, regular, wide or extra-wide feet, but it seems like some would fit kids and men as well if you altered the length.
Though the number of patterns is small, there's a nice variety, from basic ribbed socks to easy lace, textured stitches and faux cables, even a little stranded knitting and beading.
Some patterns that caught my eye are:
- The Boyfriend, one of the easiest patterns in the book but still interesting thanks to a staggered knit 3, purl 2 rib
- Tide Pools, with a wavy lace pattern on the leg and eyelets running down the sides of the foot (this one is pictured on the cover)
- Faux Cables, which has a deceptive looking pattern of swirls made with cleverly placed decreases and yarn overs
If you're new to toe-up sock knitting and want to get the basics without being overwhelmed by a huge book or hugely intricate patterns, Terrific Toe-Up Socks would make a nice starting point. None of the patterns are too horribly difficult that they can't be accomplished by someone with a little experience knitting socks, and the wide range of sizes available means you can make these for gifts or simply knit yourself a pair of custom-fit socks you're sure to love.