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 Toe-Up book extravaganza

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Clara Posted - 06/09/2010 : 7:16:31 PM
This week I went overboard and reviewed not one, not two, but three toe-up sock books - the latest from from Wendy Johnson and Melissa Morgan-Oakes, and Chrissie Gardiner's book. I wanted to give a little perspective to what could seem, from the outside, like a glut. Enjoy!

Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
12   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Coolj Posted - 06/14/2010 : 04:08:41 AM
Ceil, this makes perfect sense, and I'll definitely try it. Thanks so much for the clarification.
Ceil Posted - 06/13/2010 : 7:17:15 PM
Let me clarify: I knit short-row heels, so that's my point of reference for the measurement. I haven't a clue what to do when the heel involves a gusset.

Yes, you would definitely measure in a straight line. Knitted fabric is very forgiving and designed to stretch so you don't have to worry about bunions or whatever. Make sure your line of sight is >directly< over the foot, and that you are not viewing the ruler from an angle. I accidentally added a 1/2 inch to my measurement because my vision was skewed. (Boy, was I glad to get THAT figured out!)

Finally, there are other considerations for pointy or blunt toes.

My reference for all of the above is "Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. She talks about all of this. I don't know if the other gals' books just reviewed do this as well. Face it, socks is more about knitting them. It's also about knitting socks that FIT!


Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
lemons Posted - 06/13/2010 : 06:48:50 AM
And that's starting the heel, not the gusset, right?

lemons of missouri
Coolj Posted - 06/13/2010 : 05:56:00 AM
Ceil, I've made loads of toe-up socks, but they sometimes go to a person whose feet fit them rather than the socks fitting the intended. Okay, I'm going to try your method, but I need a bit of clarification. Is this a straight line from tip of toe to ankle bone, or do you figure in a turn below the ankle bone. Am I muddling this unnecessarily? Probably.
Ceil Posted - 06/12/2010 : 2:51:07 PM
Originally posted by knitter152

The biggest hang-up I find in toe - up is that you have to guess at when to start the heel.

No, you don't have to guess!

Measure your foot from the end of the big toe to the >ankle bone<. For me, that's 7.5 inches BUT, because I want the sock to stretch onto my foot without being baggy, I often subtract from that length by a half inch to 7 inches to allow for fabric stretch. The amount I subtract all depends on how much the fabric stretches; it could be more or less, but SOMEthing is always subtracted.

I've done this for feet I've never seen and the socks always fit. Give it a try!


Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
eldergirl Posted - 06/11/2010 : 3:07:50 PM
I'm with GFTC (as usual) all the way down to not buying High Fructose Corn Syrup goods.

I keep thinking I'll try a toe-up pair of socks, but there I am, halfway down the leg, before I know it!

I think it is really funny that Clara's kind announcement that she has reviewed *three* (count 'em, three) toe-up books has given some of us leg-down die hards the go-ahead to voice their opinions!

GFTC Posted - 06/10/2010 : 10:53:37 AM
Cuff down and staying that way. Not buying any toe-up books or patterns. I'm bullheaded and stubborn traditional when it comes to socks. I want to cast on 60 or 64 stitches and start knitting the sock on my dpns. I'll be done with the leg faster than you can say Judy's Magic Cast-On.

IMO all the fun of knitting the sock is seeing the complete stitch pattern immediately, not 1/2 & 1/2 to accomodate the instep/sole.

I agree with above posters who said they'd rather kitchener a few stitches than bind off many and you can try on the sock at any time. I'll add that I never decide what toe I'm going to use until I see the sock finished up to that point, regardless of which toe is instructed in the pattern.

And I wish everyone would stop trying to sell me food with High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. I'm not buying that either.

my knitting photos on Flickr or Ravelry
knitter152 Posted - 06/10/2010 : 10:28:09 AM
I've never understood the argument that toe up is a better construction method because it allows one to try on the sock and adjust for a custom fit.
I use all kinds of construction methods--depends on how I'm feeling, yarn I'm using, for sake of portability--or what I'm teaching a class on.
I find top down technique lends itself best for trying on as one progresses. I find top down the best way to custom fit a toe. Once you start decreasing for the toe you can adjust for a perfect length foot by either decreasing every row (if it seems to be getting too long), or put more even rows between decreases (if you need a longer foot).
Also, you can adjust and decrease on the little toe side only if you have that shape of foot, and thereby create a left and right sock.

The biggest hang-up I find in toe - up is that you have to guess at when to start the heel. Patterns will say to start the heel at the point that the foot joins into the ankle. But thats not a specific spot, it's gradual.
There are some very good advantages to toe-up, such as being able to not waste yarn, not have to pick up stitches along a heel flap. But, because it allows for custom fit (being able to try it on as you work) as stated in the review just doesn't hold true .
P.S. I have two of the toe-up sock Wendy Johnson books and I found them excellent!
ikkivan Posted - 06/10/2010 : 08:28:48 AM
I have several of the toe-up socks books, but use them only for pattern ideas, as I hate knitting socks from the toe (yes, I've done it, once). I, too, have no problem with kitchener stitch, but I LOATHE binding off ... give me 8-20 stitches to graft any day over binding off up to 80 stitches. Also, I never have a problem trying on my socks "as I go" when knitting from the cuff down. I don't understand why some knitters refer to doing that with toe-up socks as though it can't be done the other way, too. Oh, well, to each her/his own.

I'm addicted to knitting books, so will probably be adding at least one or two of these to my knitting library, anyway. I read knitting books the way some folks read novels!

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time.
azblueskies Posted - 06/10/2010 : 07:08:14 AM
I've knit socks both ways, stitchellen, and don't find kitchener hard at all. But I prefer toe up because I find the heel much easier to turn (Fleegle's version) and I can continue up to the cuff until the yarn runs out. I tried toe up several times and almost gave up on them because I found them confusing, too. But then I tried them one more time and something clicked. I don't think I've made a cuff down since.

So much to learn, so little time.
stitchellen Posted - 06/10/2010 : 06:24:58 AM
I have knit socks from cuff-toe for at least 60 years. I don't plan to change. I have read directions for toe-up socks and found them confusing. Why are knitters terrified of the kitchener technique for finishing toes? I use it for joining shoulder stitches, too. It makes a lovely, smooth seamless finish; I see nothing difficult about it.
pjkite Posted - 06/10/2010 : 03:57:07 AM
Lovely review, Clara - I've just ordered Chrissie Gardiner's book. It sounds right down my alley, and may come in quite handy as a class reference for the toe-up class I'm supposed to teach at my LYS later this month!

Pamela Kite
East Tennessee

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