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 Toe-Up or Top-Down
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sobahime
Warming Up

USA
89 Posts

Posted - 04/24/2009 :  11:44:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit sobahime's Homepage Send sobahime a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just knitted my first sock using Wendy Johnson's online pattern.
http://wendyjohnson.net/blog/sockpattern.htm

As long as you know how to do short rows, this seems to be fairly easy. I thought knitting socks was difficult.

Are Toe-Up socks inferior to Top-Down ones?

I think Toe-Up makes sense because you can knit as high as your yarn lasts. But I am wondering if there are any negative aspects in Toe-Up socks.

marjotse
Permanent Resident

Sweden
1018 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  12:25:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit marjotse's Homepage Send marjotse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No I don't think one method is superior over the other and I knit socks both ways, but for me, a top down sock with a heel and gusset just fits better, so I have a slight preference for them. So I guess it is all up how you feel about them.

Marjolein

my photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/98299499@N00/
www.ravelry.com/projects/marjotse
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GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  06:24:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I knit socks top down.

My reasons?

Top down the toe is the simplest part of the sock. Toe up the toe appears to be the most complicated part of the sock

Top down I can keep trying on the socks as I knit - to check fit or just to admire

It doesn't matter to me about knitting to the end of the yarn. It isn't like I'm going to knit an 8" length leg anyway and I'm very average in foot size and ankle/calf

I am very proud of my kitchener skill, LOL. I actually do get knitting satisfaction from seeing those stitches nicely joined


Nevertheless, in my mind I am always planning to do toe-up for my next pair of socks just to see how it works and because it's ridiculous that I've never tried it.

I also don't use 2 circs or Magic Loop, only DPNS. Stuck in my ways I suppose although I have stepped out & started using metal DPNS in addition to wood or bamboo.

You asked if one method is inferior to the other. IMO the answer is no but there are reasons that a knitter might prefer one to the other which could easily be the opposite of the reasons that I listed above.
Some knitters are happy either way based on whatever pattern they are using whereas others will alter the pattern to the method they prefer.



GFTC of NYC
my knitting photos on Flickr or Ravelry
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Coolj
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
428 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  07:04:35 AM  Show Profile Send Coolj a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Toe-Up for me, but I've been doing the Fleegle heel on the last half dozen or so pairs.
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GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  07:14:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Link to Fleegle Heel?

GFTC of NYC
my knitting photos on Flickr or Ravelry
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  08:14:28 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Are Toe-Up socks inferior to Top-Down ones?


No, a well made sock is a well made sock. Some say they are inferior because they don't like the heel. That is not a good reason because you can reproduce almost every heel in both techniques.
quote:
Top down the toe is the simplest part of the sock. Toe up the toe appears to be the most complicated part of the sock


With top down, many don't like the toe because they are not comfortable with kitchener stitch. With toe up I agree and that is the beauty of it. The toe is the most complicated and the toe is so easy. If you don't like the provisional cast on, there are many other ways to start it, like the figure 8 cast on, or that technique that starts the toe by knitting a small rectangle and then picking up stitches around it. To quote my mother: difficult means, I don't know how to do it. Easy means I know how do it.

quote:
Top down I can keep trying on the socks as I knit - to check fit or just to admire

You can do the same thing toe up.


Your personal preferred technique is the one with which you are the most comfortable in knitting. Or, if like me, you like a lot of variety in your knitting, try different things.

I have only found one difference between toe up or top down. It involves the pattern stitches used in the cuffs. A pattern stitch may not always convert exactly the same way because you are dealing with stitches that may look like this \/ or like /\. That little difference may make a change in how a pattern looks, especially if it is one with individual single stitches. Be sure to look at any pattern stitch both ways before choosing your method. This does not mean one technique is better than the other, only that there is a slight difference.

If you really want to test it, try knitting the same sock pattern in both techniques and compare.

fran

http://martianmischief.blogspot.com/
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GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  09:42:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As long as we are deconstructing posts.....

I don't view "complicated" as having the same meaning as "difficult". Complicated has a lot of steps or is fiddly or micro-detailed. Difficult is hard to do. A recipe for a cake with 25 ingredients and 10 preparation steps is complicated but is not difficult.

quote:
To quote my mother: difficult means, I don't know how to do it. Easy means I know how do it.

I'm glad my childhood (and adult) accomplishments of difficult tasks were not met with that comment. As a mother when I think of some of the amazing things my son has done I can't even imagine having that thought. I come from a family that respects the children and knows that mastering a daunting task does not automatically reclassify it as easy.

GFTC of NYC
my knitting photos on Flickr or Ravelry
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ellensatch@msn.com
Chatty Knitter

256 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  6:12:34 PM  Show Profile Send ellensatch@msn.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Personally I prefer top down - I have smaller than average feet (5 1/2) so running out of yarn is not a problem. I also like to use small needles - 1's or 0's. I have a lot of difficulty with Kithchener in these sizes so I use a 3 needle bind off in the next size down - this works very well for me. Yes I have 00's and brand new glasses which really help! Hope this helps.
- Ellen
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kadiddly
Permanent Resident

USA
3076 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  8:09:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit kadiddly's Homepage  Send kadiddly a Yahoo! Message Send kadiddly a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I prefer toe-up, for the sole (ha! a pun!) reason of not having to swatch for them. Toe up, I cast on, and then just keep trying it on and increasing until it fits my foot. I always have to kind of cross my fingers and hope that the cuffs will be stretchy enough when I do cuff-downs.

Gone Crazy, Back Soon
Backstage Stitches
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baldocchi
Chatty Knitter

198 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2009 :  9:00:09 PM  Show Profile Send baldocchi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm like kadiddly. Toe-up please. I use magic loop and two-at-a-time (except that I am now attempting four-at-a-time!!!).

Here's a couple of youtube links for Judy's magic cast-on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qehzpuC9mxc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhBIS0AhhQY&feature=related

I first learned this cast-on with pictures and text on knitty. I admit that it takes a while to wrap your mind around it that way. Much easier, for me at least, to see it on youtube. Cat Bordhi does a great job of making it fun.

I'm not fond of a short-row heel, just personal preference, so I use Mouse's "pattern."

http://www.finsout.com/knit/sockpattern.html

Once you have this mastered, then you just have to apply all the fun pattern stitches you might like to try. Just be sure to pay attention to Fran's caveats there.

Socks are faster and cheaper than sweaters. They make great gifts. Even husbands have been known to wear them! They wear out so they need to be replaced. Mostly though, just relax and have fun.

Nicole

If we don't get there together, we won't get there at all.
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knitz2
Permanent Resident

USA
1800 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  05:27:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitz2's Homepage Send knitz2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nicole, thanks for the link to Mouse's pattern -- I think I had it once but lost it so am happy to see it again!

I do prefer toe up socks but the common short row heel doesn't fit me well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass ...
.....it's learning how to dance in the rain!
Come visit me at http://yarnbasket.wordpress.com
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Coolj
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
428 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  06:05:09 AM  Show Profile Send Coolj a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's the link to the Fleegle Heel: http://fleeglesblog.blogspot.com/2006/11/leegles-toe-up-no-flap-no-hassle-sock.html

Juanita
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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  08:22:50 AM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you so much for all the links. I lost them in a computer crash and hadn't found all of them before these postings.

fran

http://martianmischief.blogspot.com/
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Bethany
Permanent Resident

USA
1546 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  08:31:15 AM  Show Profile Send Bethany a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kadiddly

I prefer toe-up, for the sole (ha! a pun!) reason of not having to swatch for them. Toe up, I cast on, and then just keep trying it on and increasing until it fits my foot. I always have to kind of cross my fingers and hope that the cuffs will be stretchy enough when I do cuff-downs.

Gone Crazy, Back Soon
<a href="http://stagestitches.blogspot.com">Backstage Stitches</a>



I see this as the big advantage of toe-up as well. Since I have reasonably large feet and like socks tall enough to not show pasty white leg when I cross my legs, when I'm using smaller balls running out is also a concern.

Downside I'm noticing so far: if you want to make a traditional heel flap, you need to do it cuff down at least once so you know where to start the gusset on your personal foot. You can't do it by trial and error like you can cuff down.
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AuntyNin
Seriously Hooked

USA
772 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  11:36:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit AuntyNin's Homepage Send AuntyNin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Neither technique is inherently superior, it's really just a question of personal preference. As long as you end up with a sock that makes you happy, go for it.

My preference is top down, just because the flap and gusset heel done in that direction fits best on my feet. Also, I find getting a sock started with the cuff to be less fiddly and irritating than starting from the toe. Like GFTC, dpns are my method of choice, as both Magic Loop and 2 circs tend to result in projects being flung across the room, accompanied by prodigious amounts of ... um ... "unladylike language."



AuntyNin

Everything happens for a reason, except possibly football. --- Terry Pratchett

http://home.earthlink.net/~lradiga1/
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fiddlerbird555
Permanent Resident

USA
1429 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  2:06:55 PM  Show Profile Send fiddlerbird555 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like toe up,for the swatching reason and the fact that having done a sock once, I never have exactly followed the pattern since. (And a lot of the "magazine" patterns are "USE THIS EXACT YARN AND GET THIS EXACT GAUGE"; I don't go for that.) I can kitchner well enough (what's the fuss) but I knit because I like to knit, not because I like to sew.

The one disadvantage of toe up is that you'd better be REAL careful not to bind off too tightly. My edges may not be the best you've ever seen, but they're still socks, so I'm happy.

Oh yes, another reason to like toe-up. You aren't twisting your stitches accidentally while casting on. Last set of socks I did top-down, I had to start 3 times to get it straight.

____________________________________________________

I can go loopy, or I can knit. Your choice.
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sobahime
Warming Up

USA
89 Posts

Posted - 04/26/2009 :  5:41:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit sobahime's Homepage Send sobahime a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow! I did not expect this many replies. Thank you all for your comments.

I printed this page, so I can read over and over, anywhere, anytime. It will take a while for me to digest all of the precious info provided here.
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socks4all
Permanent Resident

USA
1460 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2009 :  06:24:03 AM  Show Profile Send socks4all a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I do it either way. I too have size 5 1/2 feet and from a family of small-footed people so rarely have to worry about running out of yarn. I do a peasant heel which can be done either up or down with ease. The peasant heel because it is easy to replace when worn out. When I do make a pair of large socks I do the heels on both socks last so if I run out of yarn I can use an alternate yarn and both socks still match.
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MindyO
Permanent Resident

USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2009 :  10:21:12 AM  Show Profile Send MindyO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I prefer toe up so far. I've done short row toe with provisional cast on, Judy's Magic Cast-on for 2 at a time magic loop and a 4 increase star toe.
For heels so far I've done short row, which as much as I love the look, the fit just does not work with my foot. It's too tight at the bend. Standard flap heel. My latest is the Fleegle heel. It's simple enough, but fussy and for me takes longer than a short row or flap, or at least seems to. But it fits quite well. My only concern with it so far is the replaceability if it were to come to that point. If it gets holey at the back it wouldn't be too big a deal, but if it becomes holey on the bottom the only option I see is darning.

I do intend to try a top down, but so far because I have hefty ankles, and big feet I would rather cast on fewer stitches and do toe up than struggle with casting on many and having to rip back after 20 riws because it looks too tight. Yeah yeah, swatch! Whatever... even when I swatch things still seem snug and I end up ripping out. Either that or I calculate and things are too big and floppy. So for now I remain strictly toe up and I've realized a lot of pattern are easily adapted or look just as good toe up.

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rejoyce
Chatty Knitter

USA
250 Posts

Posted - 04/27/2009 :  1:19:31 PM  Show Profile Send rejoyce a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I only knit socks top down. They seem to fit better.
kim
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Sticks and String
Permanent Resident

USA
1113 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2009 :  4:04:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sticks and String's Homepage Send Sticks and String a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I prefer top-down but I will knit toe-up when I'm in love with a pattern...like Baudelaire...sometime this fall, I think.


Jo
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