Knitting socks from the toe up is a phenomenon that is becoming wildly popular in America. Knitting from the toe up is actually the standard way of knitting socks in European countries but in America most knitters are used to knitting socks starting at the cuff and ending at the toe.
Toe-up is great for so many reasons
One of the reasons is that you’ll never run out of yarn. The reason for this is that when you begin at the toe and end at the cuff you can basically knit until you almost run out of yarn and then finish the cuff. If you knit from the top down you always have to guess how much yarn you’re going to need and how long you can make your cuff. If you underestimate you’ll end up with extra yarn and maybe your sock won’t be as long as you wanted it to. If you over estimate the amount of yarn that you have you’ll end up with no toes on your socks. Dangit!
Never Run Out Of Yarn
In order to make sure that you don’t run out of yarn make sure that you have your local yarn store separate your skein of yarn into two separate balls before you begin – that way you can just knit until you almost run out of yarn and then finish your sock.
Another reason people love knitting toe-up socks is because you can do two-at-a-time very easily. Since there are many toe-up sock patterns including my basic toe-up sock pattern that don’t call for a heel flap, the heel construction is very simple and it’s just as easy to do two heels at the same time as it is to do one. On a top-down sock adding a heel flap, picking up stitches and creating a gusset can make knitting two-at-a-time a big headache. Because knitting the toe-up heel is so easy it’s also much faster. You can actually complete two toe-up socks in about 50 percent more time that it takes one toe-up sock. Why?
Because you skip all the measuring, thinking and counting for the second sock. It’s that simple. And creating the two-at-a-time heel is a snap. Another benefit is that both of your socks come out the same. You’ll never have to try to duplicate what you did on one sock on the other sock because you’ve done them both at the same time and this is very easy when you knit from the toe up.
In addition, you also learn a special bind off called the Invisible Ribbed Bind-Off which is a stretchy invisible finish to your toe-up sock. This adds one more skill to your set that you can use on other knitting projects. All you have to know in order to begin knitting two-at-a-time toe-up socks are a few special skills.
You need to learn a toe-up cast on. Judy’s Magic Cast-On is the one that I recommend the most. It’s so easy. Then you’ll need a simple heel such as the Fleegle heel. I do not recommend using a toe-up pattern that calls for a heel flap or a gusset right when you’re learning – it’s just needlessly complicated. The Fleegle heel is the simplest heel you can find and it doesn’t create any holes in the side of your sock. Lastly, you’ll need to finish off your ribbed cuff with the Invisible Ribbed Bind-Off, which sounds complicated but is just like Kitchener stitch only for knitting in the round.
Learning to knit toe up socks is a good challenge for the intermediate knitter, and I promise you’ll never look back.