New socks might not be that exciting for a lot of you, but I learned a new way to make socks and I'm pretty thrilled with it.
I was browsing knitting blogs yesterday (because they're oh so much fun!) and read about the "magic loop method" and so just had to go out and get a long pair of circulars. I had already learned how to do toe-up socks with a short row heel. I love this method because you can really see the size of the sock as you go and make it a perfect fit. Plus the short row heel is so much less complicated than doing a heel flap and picking up stitches and all that headache. Also the figure 8 cast on makes a seamless toe, which is great for people who hate seams at the toe.
So here's a run down of how to make THE BEST socks
I use Bernat Handicrafter Cotton (the little 2$ skins) and size 7 circular needles (29")
Hold the two needles parallel with the points facing the same direction and wind the yar between them making figure eights until you have 10 stitches on each needle (you only need 8, but I always do extra in case I screw up!) The needle with the end of the yarn hanging off it gets slipped out so that those stitches stay on the wire of the circular, but don't pull it all the way through, leave a loop between the two sets of stitches. Knit 8 stitches off the other needle. Adjust so that both sides are on needles again and this time slide the side you just worked off so the other side can be knit (sounds much more complicated than it is!). Again, remember to keep a loop of wire between the two sections of stitches.
That is basically the magic loop method (but check the first few pages in the search linked above for a better explanation and pictures). You'll do that for the whole sock except for the heel. To shape the toe, on the second and second to last stitch every row (for each needle, so increasing on 4 stitches total) knit front and back to increase. I start with 8 stitches and increase until I have 22 on each needle (but I have little feet). If you figure out your gage (eg. 8 sts per inch) and the size of your foot (5 inches) and round up to make it even you can easily figure out how many stitches you need (40). Then you just knit. Knit until you get it long enough it goes to the front of your ankle. For the heel you just work one half of the stitches, leaving one stitch on the needle and turning the work as you do each row (read the short-row links above), then when you get about 6 working stitches you start to increase again, and voila! a heel! A few more rounds (ok, a lot more rounds) with ribbing for the cuff, and you're done!
Mine aren't done yet, still working the foot of my first one, but I just started yesterday. I'll get pics when I'm done!