How to hand knit toe-up socks with afterthought heels - Part 1

Knitting socks can be one of the milestones for hand knitters. It seems complicated with many techniques and endless tiny stitches. It took me a long time before knitting the first pair of socks. After finishing one sock, I did not feel like making another matching sock because following all instructions on the book gets tedious and boring. There must be another way.

 Socks knitting with ribbing in the middle part of the foot.

Socks knitting with ribbing in the middle part of the foot.

All I want is to make wearable socks that are also enjoyable to knit. This is the version I prefer to knit now. It requires less concentration and you can try on for the fit as you knit. It knits from the toe up using the Turkish cast on, increase stitches until a comfortable circumference, continue the tube, optional ribbing in the middle of the foot, ending with a ribbed edge and a stretchy bind off. After that, we can try it on and find the location of the heel, cut the yarn, pick up stitches and knit an afterthought heel. 

What are the advantages of this construction of sock knitting? 

1. You don't need to do a Kitchener stitch to close the toe. Turkish cast on creates a closed end toe.

2. You can try on as you knit, so it fits better.

3. Don't have to worry about the heel turn, gusset, or heel flap. Less learning curve.

4. Because you knit toe-up, you can knit until running out of the yarn. It is more flexible on the length of the socks and makes the best use of the yarn stash. 

The skills you need or you will learn:

1. Knitting in the round. I use magic loop method but the traditional set of 4-5 double point needles will work too.

2. Turkish cast on. 

3. Make one increase (M1R and M1L). You can also use Knit front and back (Kfb) or another increase method. 

4. Stretchy bind off. I prefer ribbing bind off and sewn bind off.

5. Cut the yarn, pick up stitches and knit an afterthought heel. You have many choices here for knitting heels.

Yarn and Needle suggestions:

I use sports weight yarn. It is a little thicker than sock weight yarn and knit a little faster. It works great for me because it also fits my Brother 260 knitting machine with the lowest tension. Machine knitting is faster but hand knitting is relaxing. We will have a machine knitting version in a different post later.

I use 2.25 mm size circular knitting needle (about 24 inches long). It is US size 1 (I said US size 2 in the video, sorry for the mistake).

Some suggested yarn and needle:

(disclosure: affiliate links)

1. Cascade Longwood: https://goo.gl/hihBQB

2. Cascade 220 superwash sport: https://goo.gl/rZ7zPY

3. Cool Wool by Lana Grossa: https://goo.gl/ZkCGfQ

Needle: HiyaHiya 2.25mm (US size 1) 24 inch: https://goo.gl/1Y9mmv

Size chart and stitch count:

(You might need to adjust the stitches or needle size for the best fit.)

Adult size chart for your reference:

1. for Woman's small: cast on 6 stitches on each needle, and increase to 20 stitches on each needle. Total stitch: 40 in a round (row).

2. for Woman's medium or man's small: cast on 7 stitches on each needle, and increase to 21 or 23 stitches on each needle. Total stitch: 42 or 46 in a round (row).

3. for Woman's large or Man's medium: cast on 8 stitches on each needle, and increase to 26 stitches on each needle. Total stitch: 52 in a round (row).

4. for Man's large: cast on 9 stitches on each needle, and increase to 29 stitches on each needle. Total stitch: 58 in a round (row).

Kids size chart for your reference:

1. for 6-12 month, cast on 4 stitches on each needle, and increase to 14 stitches on each needle. Total: 28 stitches in a round (row).

2. for 1-3 years old, cast on 5 stitches on each needle, and increase to 15 stitches on each needle. Total: 30 stitches in a round (row).

3. for 3-5 years old, cast on 5 stitches on each needle, and increase to 17 stitches on each needle. Total: 34 stitches in a round (row).

4. for 5-9 years old, cast on 6 stitches on each needle, and increase to 18 stitches on each needle. Total: 36 stitches in a round (row).

5. for 7-13 years old, cast on 6 stitches on each needle, and increase to 20 stitches on each needle. Total: 40 stitches in a round (row).

Video tutorial for Part 1 of the Toe-up socks below:

 Pick machine washable yarn for easy care. Most machine washable yarn need to be air dried. Make sure not to dry them in a dryer.

Pick machine washable yarn for easy care. Most machine washable yarn need to be air dried. Make sure not to dry them in a dryer.