It’s finally time to cast on and start knitting your socks. Yipee!
Before you started you need to make sure you have:
- Your yarn and pattern (remember, we’re using plied wool yarn);
- Knitting needles (the size needed for YOUR hands to work the gauge for your pattern using the yarn you have selected);
- Practiced your chosen method for knitting in the round if it’s new to you;
- Knit your gauge swatch and you know what needles you need to use to get the gauge for your pattern; and
- Your measurements and adjusted numbers for fitting.
- Other supplies – stitch markers, scissors, and a ruler
One of the big differences in knitting socks from the toe up is that you have to use a provisional cast-on. What that means is that you are going to cast on in such a way that the stitches can be worked in more than one direction. For a toe-up sock, that most often means you are casting on the stitches in a method that has you working the top and bottom at the same time and the fabric is connect so you don’t have to go back later and weave it together.
The two most commonly used cast-ons for toe up socks are Judy’s Magic Cast On (or a variation of it) and the Turkish (sometimes called Eastern) cast-on.
Instead of trying to describe this, I have found some excellent resources that explain the two most commonly used cast-ons. Start by reading the directions for your pattern and then finding a resource below that demonstrates that method. If your pattern uses a different cast-on than the ones below, please leave a comment on the blog and I will help you find other resources to help explain it.
If you haven’t done one of these cast-ons before expect to need to practice several times before you get a result that you are pleased with. If this is your first time knitting toe-up socks, it’s good to realize that perfection isn’t likely to happen right off the bat. The more you practice it, the better you will get, and the better your work will look. Aim for a very acceptable looking cast-on. It will look “right” to you. That’s your goal for right now. Don’t get discouraged or get, as my friend Jeanmarie says, “paralysis by analysis.”
Judy’s Magic Cast-On – Article by the cast-on’s creator Judy Becker in Knitty. The article includes descriptions and photos demonstrations of how to create the cast-on. Includes instructions for using one circular needle, two socks at the same time on a circular, and double point needles.
Judy’s Magic Cast-On (Video) – Video by Judy Becker demonstrating the cast-on. Be patient. The video is just a blank black background with silence for the first 10 seconds. Demonstration is using 2 circular needles.
Modified Judy’s Magic Cast-On (Video) – Video by Cat Brodhi using a modified version of Judy’s Magic Cast-On. Demonstration is using 2 circulars.
Turkish/Eastern Cast On – Article with pictorial demonstrations from FluffyKnitter on how to make the Turkish/Eastern Cast-On. Demonstration is on 2 circulars
Turkish/Eastern Cast On (Video) – Video by PlanetPurl on the Turkish/Eastern Cast-On. Demonstration uses 2 circulars.
Once you have your cast-on in good shape it’s time to move on to the toes, which we’ll talk about in the next lesson.