There are two ways to knit a sock. You can either cast on, starting with the toe, and work your way up to the cuff, or you can begin with the cuff and knit down to the toe. Both methods of construction require different skills for knitting the toe of the sock. If you become skilled in both methods, you'll be able to knit practically any sock pattern.
Grafting a Cuff-Down Sock Toe
When you knit a sock starting with the cuff and ending with the toe, you'll end up with several stitches on your needles at the end. Binding off these stitches will leave an open hole, so in order to knit that toe, you'll need to graft the toe closed using the Kitchener Stitch.
- Divide the remaining stitches equally onto two double-pointed needles. Hold the needles parallel with the wrong sides of the sock together.
Thread a tapestry needle and insert it into the first stitch on the needle closest to you purlwise. Pull it through, and leave the stitch on the needle.
- Insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle knitwise. Pull it through, and leave the stitch on the needle.
Insert the needle into the first stitch on the front needle knitwise. Slip the stitch off the needle.
- Insert the needle into the next stitch on the front needle purlwise. Pull it through, and leave the stitch on the needle.
- Insert the needle into the first stitch on the back needle purlwise, and slip it off the end of the needle.
- Insert the needle into the next stitch on the back needle knitwise, and leave it on the needle. Pull the yarn through.
Repeat steps 1-4, pulling gently on the yarn as you work to even out the stitches. When you have two stitches left, repeat step 1, skip step 2, and repeat step 3.
If you can't seem to memorize the order of the stitches, just remember: Knit, purl, purl, knit.
Knitting a Toe-Up Sock
For a toe-up sock construction, you'll begin by knitting the toes. Knitting the toes in the round will leave a large gap that will need to be seamed later. This can often create a bulky, unattractive lump in the toe. To prevent this, you can use a special cast on that joins the toe together without any seaming.
This particular toe-up cast on is called the Turkish cast on. The Turkish cast on is one of many ways to begin a toe-up sock.
Turkish Cast On
Hold two circular needles of the same size parallel with the tips pointing toward the right. Make a slip knot on the needle closest to you (Needle A). Hold the working yarn behind the needle farthest from you (Needle B).
Wrap the yarn loosely from left to right around both needles, wrapping it half as many times as stitches desired. For example, if the pattern instructs you to cast on 20 stitches, then complete 10 wraps.
Pull Needle A to the right so that the wrapped loops are now on the cord of the needle.
Grasp the end of Needle B that DOES NOT have wraps and bring it up to meet the opposite end of Needle B. Knit all the loops on Needle B.
Slide the Needle A loops onto the tip of the needle. Slide Needle B to the right so that the loops are now on the Needle B cord.
- Slide the slip knot off the tip of Needle A and unknot it. Knit across the loops with Needle A.
Pull Needle A to the right so the new stitches are on the cord.
Turn your work and slide the stitches to the tip of Needle B. Knit across with the other end of Needle B.
Repeat step 8, alternating needles each time you begin a new row.
You have now created a seamless toe that has no hole and requires no finishing.