I've started on the second. This is because I want to make sure I have enough yarn to knit the cuffs the same length. Once I turn the heel I'll try to knit evenly on both pairs until I either run out of yarn or am happy with the height of the cuffs.
I don't use a specific sock pattern when I knit socks. I just use a variety of sock parts and formulae that have worked well in the past. Occasionally I try something new, but I always come back to my basic way of doing things.
I like toe up socks. I like them for the reason I mentioned above; to make sure I don't run out of yarn. I also like being able to try them on easily at any stage of knitting. But especially, I like this particular toe.
I use a percentage formula based on a swatch. Originally I used this formula:
Measurement x Gauge - 10% = number of stitches needed
This formula has evolved over the years however as I realized that I had to factor in my personal knitting tension (tight for socks), the way I like my handknit socks to fit (snug), and the fact that my square knitted swatches don't work out to the same gauge as knitting in the round (IOW, my purl and knit stitches aren't the same tension.)
I do use this formula as my starting point however. For these socks, I knitted my swatch to a gauge of 10 stitches per inch on size US1 needles. The first measurement I used was the ball of my foot, nine inches. So,
9 inches x 10 stitches per inch = 90 stitches - 10% = 80 stitches
To start my toe, I cast on about 30% of this number (90 x .3), in this case 24 stitches.
Then I transfer the stitches to two new needles, alternating stitches so that every other stitch is on a different needle.........
Next I start knitting around, increasing the first and last stitches on each needle. I increase by knitting in front and back of the stitch. The next round is knitted even (straight around without any increases.) I transfer some of the stitches to two more needles as soon as possible. These two rows are repeated until the stitches are increased to the number I want.
For the ball of my foot, I find that the gauge minus ten percent fits too loosely. I actually like 20 to 25 percent better. For these socks, I found that 68 stitches gave me the snug fit I like.
I like the way this toe looks when it is complete. It is a nice solid, but attractive toe, and no grafting required (though I confess that I find the Kitchner stitch fun to do.) And most importantly, it's not terribly awkward to get started.
Of course, now that the scorching summer heat has waned into cool nights and pleasant days, my mind is turning to other knitting projects. Bigger ones. Ones that will help keep my lap warm when it's chilly out. Still, socks are a wonderful tote-along project. And I am anxious to wear these soon.
Summer Sock Knitting
Summer Socks Finished!