PATTERN SUPPORT: TECHNIQUES
This page is intended as a reference guide for techniques mentioned in my patterns which the knitter might not yet be familiar with. If you still have questions after consulting the tutorials I have linked to here, please contact me via the Pattern Support info provided at the end of your pattern. I will do my best to help!
My cuff-down sock patterns call for using the Kitchener Stitch to close the toe. The Kitchener stitch is a grafting method, and you can master it by following this Craftsy tutorial. Be aware that the Kitchener Stitch, while easy to execute, is surprisingly difficult to memorise! So you might want to keep this tutorial handy for your first dozen pairs of socks ;)
As an alternative to Kitchener Stitch, some of my top-down sock patterns allow for the toe to be closed with a 3-needle bind-off. To be perfectly honest, I find this to be more awkward than grafting. But have a look at this straightforward tutorial from Knitty and decide for yourself which suits you best.
Short Row Heels and Toes
There are several methods for working short rows, and you can find a rather good overview in this handy Interweave article. For socks, my preferred technique is a variant of what this article refers to as the Catch Method. If you are new to this method and find the directions in my patterns insufficient, I recommend watching this delightfully narrated video tutorial from Bronislava of Handmade-Rukodelky. Personally, I love this version of short rows for socks because it is easy, does not involve advance planning (i.e. setting up wraps/YOs), and does not require using stitch markers. If you can Ktog and Ptog, you can master this short row method! That said, if you already have a go-to method for working short row heels and toes, any of them will work. So feel free to substitute the short row instructions in my sock patterns with your own preferred technique.
Provisional Cast On
Most of my toe up sock patterns call for a Provisional Cast-On. This method leaves the cast-on stitches live, so that they can later be picked up to continue the sock in the round after the toe is completed. I use this method because I find it by far the least awkward and fiddly of all the toe-up cast-on variants. However, that’s assuming that you can execute a provisional cast-on!
The most popular provisional cast-on technique seems to be the crochet method shown in this popular Pink Knits tutorial. However, the technique I learned, and prefer, is a staggeringly simple one that requires just one knitting needle and scrap yarn - no crochet hook or other tools needed. You can find a tutorial for it here - although I recall there is a more detailed one out there which I can’t seem to find at the moment, but will link to when I do.
All of my toe-up sock patterns call for finishing the cuff with an elastic bind-off. This is necessary, because if you use a traditional bind-off your cuff will end up too tight. There are several elastic bind-off methods out there, and I suggest taking a look at this excellent comparison from Stitch Diva, complete with links to video tutorials - then deciding which suits you best. My personal favourite Jenny's SurprisinglyStretchy Bind-Off, which is well illustrated in this video tutorial by Cat Bordhi.