Experiments with Toe Up Sock Toes
This past weekend, I started my second pair of toe-up knit socks. This time, I am knitting them in fingering-weight yarn, using leftovers from my Creme Brulee Socks and my Tiramisu socks. I’m breaking up the stripes with some white, undyed, targhee sock yarn that I bought from this shop on Etsy. Along with some new stripe styles, I decided to experiment with changing my toe up sock toes.
If you’re just now joining the saga, I wrote a little about my journey learning to knit toe-up socks. A quick review to help you get caught up:
- Here’s a post where I figured out how to cast on and how many rows I’d need for my socks.
- In this post, I tested out a few different bind-offs for the cuffs.
- Finally, this post covers the benefits and drawbacks of both toe-up and cuff-down socks.
All of these posts might be helpful background reading if you’re also learning to knit toe-up socks.
As part of my learning process, I thought I’d try a new-to-me toe technique that Louise Tilbrook recently shared on her Instagram account. It involves using a different kind of increases on the toes for your toe-up socks. This technique makes it easier to keep track of where you are.
Why My Earlier Toe Up Sock Toes Didn’t Work Well For Me
First, let’s examine the issue with the previous sock toe I tried.
The last time I knit a pair of toe up socks, I used a very traditional toe increase. In that technique, you knit one, kfb, knit to two stitches before the end of the first half of the toe, kfb, knit one, and then repeat for the second half of the stitches in the toe. That’s a very effective and tight increase. It makes for a sturdy, neat toe.
There’s just one problem. When you knit toe up, it’s hard to keep track of the yarn on the end of the round. That’s because it’s inside the toe instead of dangling down from the cuff. This also means it’s a little harder to remember whether you are on an increase round or a plain round. The kfb can be kind of hard to see, too, especially in darker yarn.
All of this meant that there were a couple points on my first pair of socks where I should have increased and didn’t. There were also some where I didn’t need to increase but did anyway. I didn’t really mind because they were my first pair of toe-up socks and I was mostly experimenting, but I knew I wanted something a little neater for my next pair of socks.
Louise’s Toe Innovation
When I saw Louise’s post, I knew this was the technique I had been looking for. Instead of using kfb, Louise uses a yarn over. Then, on the next round, she knits that yarn over through the back loop, which tightens it up and prevents it from leaving a hole in the toe. I’ve used this increase method on round-yoke sweaters before, but I had never tried it on a sock.
The advantage the yarn over has over the kfb method is that it’s very easy to see whether you have worked an increase. That way, you are not terribly likely to work an increase on a plain round or fail to increase on an increase around. While this increase method is not as snug and tight as a kfb, it is sturdy enough that I think it will do the trick.
If you are hard on your sock toes, though, you may prefer to stick with a denser increase. That’s because there is still a tiny bit of a gap at the bottom of the stitch created when you knit the yarn over through the back loop. If, like me, you mostly wear your knit socks around the house and while you’re sleeping, it won’t be an issue at all.
A Closer Look At My Toe Up Sock Toes
Here’s a peek at my first sock toe using this method.
I’m pretty pleased with this! It’s very tidy, and I like the pretty ridges along the increase edge. Unless I find something I like better, I think I will use this method going forward.
If I’m honest, I still generally prefer cuff-down socks. I’ve got a little problem, though: there are a few more combinations of leftover sock yarn that are calling my name. There’s some pink from the Amicus Socks and some cloudy gray from the Socktober Socks. I might not be able to resist for much longer.
How about you? If you’re a toe-up knitter, what sorts of increases do you prefer using? I’d love to hear about other techniques that I can experiment with in future pairs. Drop me a comment and let me know what you’d recommend.