Gee, there are so many ways of making the toes for socks that you knit. This page is to keep track of the various kinds of toes options that exist for socks knitters. However, for toe-up socks, some of the techniques for casting-on and doing the toes are inextricably linked, I have decided to include both here.
As I love to knit toe-up socks, that is what is covered on this page. Toe-up socks are great in that they allow you to make sure the foot fits before going on to the easier to fit leg portion and it allows you to keep knitting until you run out of yarn. I tend to get nervous that I will run out on yarn on projects. If that happens on toe-up socks, your leg is a bit shorter than you might have wanted, but you still have a usable sock. If it happens on cuff-down traditional socks, you have a lovely leg, but your sock has no toe. The toe-up approach frees me from worry about that happening.
Short Row based toes:
Short Row Toe by Wendy D. Johnson (Knitty, Winter 2002)
Provisional Cast-on by VeryPink.com
These two links describe the same process: cast on with a provisional cast on and then knit a short row toe. The Knitty link explains the process in the written word and photos, the VeryPink link shows it in video format.
Really, you can use whichever provisional cast-on you prefer. Alternatively, you could cast-on in a permanent cast-on (for example, backwards loop or even long-tail or what ever you like) and pick up those stitches after crating the toe. There would be a bit of a ridge, but that may not be a concern for you.
Wedge based toes:
Figure 8 Toe by Wendy D. Johnson (Knitty, Winter 2002). This toe uses as figure eight cast on.
Easy Toe by Wendy D. Johnson (Knitty, Winter 2002). This toe uses a provisional cast on.
Aggies Easy Cast on for Toe Up Socks (video). Using the standard long tail cast on, cast on the number of stitches for half the toe + 1. Turn the work around so that the tails a hanging down and knit into the strand of yarn that crosses the bottom of the stitch. There will be two fewer of these loops than the number of cast on stitches. Move one of the cast on stitches from the top of the cast on needle to the second needle to even up the number of stitches. At this point you are ready to start working the sock. This creates a beautiful, invisible cast on.
Bosnian toe. There are several variations of this toe that I have come across, but they are all formed similarly. Some start with a stockinette stitch rectangle (see Lynn DT Hershberger’s Crystal Socklet pattern and accompanying videos), some with a garter rectangle (like these Easter socks) and some with a faux knit in the round rectangle, that is the rectangle is knit right to left, with the knit side facing on all rows (see Donna Druchanas’ Bosnian Slipper Socks) . All follow the basic rectangle toe instructions, but some with variations.
Seam Free Rounded Toe for a Toe-up Sock by Lynne Ashton
Whirlpool Toe (Cat Bordhi) and its variations including Whirlwind Toe