The Joy of Socks

OK, since Thunderhorse54 has gone there, when you sock-stitchers "rock out with your sock out," what are your socks-ual preferences? Are you a hardcore "top-down daddy," or an insouciant "toe-up twinkster"? Or do you swing both ways? Or something else? (Neither from top or toe but sideways?) None of the above: perhaps you are a-socks-ual? Would you say you were born this way or did complex knitting forces mold you in your inclinations? What are the pros and cons of your particular fuzzy proclivity? Inquiring minds want to know!

By the way, you DO know the term for people who lavish this kind of extra-special care and attention on feet . . .

(Just sayin')


Thunderhorse54's picture

My first time was traditional top-down. But willing to venture out and try new things with the right needle.

hamimono's picture

Vanilla is one of the flavors and tastes damn good!

Re: willing to venture .... right needle. Aye, but there's the rub: that elusive right needle . . .

Crafty Andy's picture

I prefer top down. I have made toe up and they are perfect for when you don't know if you have enough yarn . I have made about two pairs of toe-up and about 10 or so top down, including mi Kilt Hose. Top down is my favorite on DPNs

hrypotter's picture

I am glad the subject came up. I am wanting to start a pair of socks to complete before Christmas(gift). I have done many projects over the last few years working my way up to the more challenging. I made a pair of socks early on but didn't like the result/fit/yarn, etc. They also were just so basis that i got bored with them. I get the knitting in the round with dpn's and all but am having a hard time finding a pattern I like. Any suggestions for a handsome, fun to knit sock?


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

There are lots of options on Ravelry and many are free. "Old Time Sock Knitters" group has a link to a database for free and for sale that is awesome. You may give that a try.
Beating my own drum...I have a pattern in Think Outside the Sox [from XRX Publishing] that is called "Split Reed" that I enjoy knitting and have had several nice comments on.
Hope your next sock knitting experience is a joyful occasion.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

bobinthebul's picture

I looked up Split Reed, it's a good looking sock, that! It reminds me of one I like a lot as well, the Skyp Rib socks, which you can also find on Ravelry.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Thank you for the kind words about Split Reed. They mean a lot, coming from you. The inspiration was from basketry - how it looks when reeds and split strips of wood are used to make a finished product.

I know the pattern that you reference...when I first saw it I was concerned about intentional - or unintentional - plagiarism. Then I realized that it was just a fluke and cosmic occurrence. It's more of a traditional knit basket weave pattern, whereas mine [so far as I know] is original.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I prefer top-down working with 5 dpns. However, I've mainly been using Magic Loop because it is easier to take the project to work and my knitting groups.
My toe-up experience was okay but I just knit my usual top-down pattern and reversed the order of things, substituting increases for decreases where applicable.
As to to why I knit socks...because I am very good at them and enjoy the portability of the work in progress.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

SAPBrown's picture

I prefer Toe-Up on DPN's, but I have only completed 1 pair, and a couple of singles (= no mates) all done Toe-Up. To me that is the logical way to proceed. My hats (many) I work Top-Down, Gloves (2 pairs) Tips-to-Cuffs, my first sweater will be a top-down seamless raglan. With Toe-Up, make sure you bind-off is good and tail woven in securely, otherwise pulling the socks on could cause an unravel (alas one of my mate less socks)

Hmmm... the more experienced knitter's seem to prefer top-down. There must be something to this...

My 2cents worth

Thunderhorse54's picture

I'm and experienced knitter, but this is my first pair of socks. I started top-down using the Magic Loop method. The next pair I will try toe-up, and see which I prefer. The guys on here give good advice, feel free to ask.


SAPBrown's picture

My apologies,
that should have read:
"the more experienced sock knitters..."

MrDalloway's picture

I'm "socks-less". Sad, sad, sad.... : )

hamimono's picture

Sox warms the sole . . .

bobinthebul's picture

I like both, for different reasons. I like the standard heel on cuff-down (I think turning heels is fun, and I like the way they fit) ;) and once you've done a few you get a pretty good sense of what fits you. Unless you're really picky, the sizing, after the basic formula, is mostly about the length. Minuses - you may end up with extra yarn because if you don't have more in the colorway you're using, you need to be careful not to run out before you finish your toe. Some people don't like the kitchener stitch. It's not the only way to finish but I like it; after you do it a few times it, like anything, becomes second-nature.

Toe-ups - Great if you're making socks out of an unusual thickness of yarn, for yourself, because (as long as you aren't following a picky pattern) you can size them as you go, both in terms of how many stitches to cast on and how high to make your gusset. And of course if you weigh your yarn on an accurate scale, you don't have to worry about what happens when you run out; you only have to leave enough yarn for your bindoff. Minuses - if you're not following a sized pattern and you're knitting them for someone else, it's best that they be there so you can try it on their foot. I found the reverse Dutch heel a little cumbersome at first but now I like it.

One thing that I also like about cuff-down (and it's just a personal quirk) is that I find the ribbing on the cuff a bit tiresome, and I like that I can get it out of the way first. When you get to the end, you start doing toe decreases, you really feel like you're on the "home stretch." With toe-ups, the increases are a bit more work (to me) and it seems like forever before I can just get going with the sock. Then I get to the last stage - the cuff - and it feels like drudgery. :)

I prefer DPNs for doing toe-up; it allows me to arrange the stitches conveniently when doing the heel without using markers (I have an aversion to them unless they're absolutely necessary). With cuff-down, either DPNs or magic loop is fine, though I've almost abandoned magic loop for socks now.

Tom Hart's picture

Thanks for spelling out the various pros and cons, Bob. I'd thought about giving toe-ups a go until you pointed out that I'd be doing increases instead of decreases. I much prefer decreases so I think I'll stick with cuff-downs. Thanks.

CLABBERS's picture

I'm still growing my sock, the ones I began at the retreat. It actually looks like 1.5 socks. I have had to take a few days off because my yarn shop has the thin yarn that I can knit in it to strengthen the toes and heels, but it was closed. Tomorrow I can swing by and spend $2.50 and be on my way to finishing the heel. I guess I just need to make smaller heels, or toes so it doesn't use up so much thread. I am getting very close to perfecting these simple socks, so I think I will get some. Since I learned on YouTube from some very wonderful tutorials. for heel types that I am anxious to try but I don't want to do any fancy stitch work. I'll do a posting of it when it is nearing completion.