Toe-up or top-down? Socks your way

I recently received an email asking whether Sockupied includes toe-up sock knitting patterns. Why yes, we do! But how many, I wondered?

I took a look at all three Sockupied issues from last year, which are available together as a Kit of the Month until the end of April 2013. Of the 17 sock patterns, there are 13 pairs to be knitted top-down and 6 toe-up. (If you’re wondering how 13 + 6 = 17, it’s because two of the designs, Cat Bordhi’s Flutterby Socks and my Up + Down Socks, have included directions for knitting toe-up and top-down.)

The Up + Down Socks from Simply Sockupied are designed to be worked in either direction, perfect to try a toe-up sock pattern for the first time. Cat Bordhi’s Flutterby Socks use her brilliant Sweet Tomato Heel, which fits perfectly worked cuff-down or toe-up.

Technically Speaking

Some knitters prefer toe-up knitting because they’d prefer not to do the Kitchener stitch to graft their toes. Others prefer to avoid short-row heels. But designers sometimes mix and match these elements in different ways, and there are more new toe-up sock techniques that make knitting and wearing them more fun.

Lorilee Beltman’s toe-up Our Paths Cross Socks include a clever flap-and-gusset heel, usually a top-down element, with the decreases placed at the back of the leg. Kate Atherley added a gusset to short-row heels to make her toe-up (A)Symmetry Socks fit better. And Candace Eisner-Strick even figured out how to knit short-row heels and toes without a single wrap and turn in her Semaphore Socks pattern.

Lorilee Beltman's Our Paths Cross Socks, Sockupied Spring 2012 Kate Atherley's (A)Symmetry Socks, Sockupied Spring 2012

Some knitters and designers have strong preferences on knitting direction. Ann Budd has been known to design toe-up socks, but if you put needles and yarn in her hands she almost always turns to a top-down sock pattern that she shared with us in Simply Sockupied as Ann’s Go-To Socks.

Candace Eisner-Strick's Semaphore Socks, Sockupied Fall 2012 Ann's Go-To Socks by Ann Budd, Simply Sockupied


Knit All the Socks

At last count I had enough sock yarn to make over 70 pairs of socks. (But who’s counting?) With all that yarn, I don’t want to limit myself to knitting only toe-up or top-down. Besides the patterns, the 2012 issues of Sockupied include lots of techniques from toe-up and top-down toes to design elements that work in any sock. Until the end of April 2013, these three issues are on sale together as a bundle for $11.99, so you can knit in every direction to your heart’s content. (All right, so we haven’t done any side-to-side socks. Yet.)

Do you prefer knitting toe-up or top-down? Tell us why in the comments.


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