Top-down or toe-up . . . you decide!

Have you tried toe-up sock knitting? It's a fun departure from the usual top-down sock patterns; I'm a fan of this technique because I have short feet, and I like to be able to try on the foot as I go so I can make it short enough. You can try on top-down socks, too, but somehow I have more success gauging foot length when I'm knitting toe-up.

Wyeast Socks by Chrissy Gardiner, from Sockupied Spring 2011

I also label the Kitchener stitch as my enemy and Judy's Magic Cast-On as my friend, so toe-up allows me to surround myself with friends.

In the Spring 2011 issue of Sockupied, Chrissy Gardiner's pattern, Wyeast Socks, are written so that they work top-down or toe-up. The cabling is simple but makes an impact.

And these are great unisex socks because of the classic cable design and because they're written for a sportweight yarn. I find that men like a thicker sock, so instead of rewriting the pattern for a thicker yarn, here's one that's good to go.

Chrissy also wrote an article in this issue of Sockupied about switching heel techniques from sock to sock, which includes a handy calculator. For example, if you're doing a top-down pattern that has a heel flap and you want to knit it toe-up instead of top-down, Chrissy gives you several options for how to "flip the heel" if you will.

To use the calculators, you simply plug in the number of heel stitches you have in your pattern and your row gauge and click "calculate." The program spits out step-by-step instructions for knitting the heel. It's really handy!

The short-row heel in the Wyeast Socks

My favorite is the short-row heel. Some knitters prefer the heel flap because it's more durable than the short-row heel, but I've never had a problem with my short-row heels. A bonus is that the short-row heel is worked the same whether the pattern is toe-up or top-down. And I love the way it looks, too.

I have so much sock yarn, and I'll bet you do, too. In fact, I was just saying to my knitting group that I'm going to start knitting plain stockinette socks to use it up and fill my drawer with handknit socks. But I love the cable pattern in the Wyeast socks, so I think I'll use it for my sportweight yarn—I probably have three or four pairs' worth.

Don't have this issue of Sockupied? Download yours now and try knitting some top-down socks toe-up!


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