Sock Knitting: The Perfect Toe

This month, we’re delighted to host the Leanna Lace Spring Socks KAL with our friends at Heart of the Mitten. It’s not too late to join this KAL! Click here for all the details, including the pattern link, coupons to purchase yarn, and details about how to participate and win prizes.

Previously, we shared tips for knitting the heel of your sock. From there, once you have decreased the gusset stitches back down to the original stitch count, you will continue to knit in the round, much as you knit the leg, but with one change: the stitches on the top of your foot will continue in the established lace stitch pattern, and the stitches on the bottom of the food will be worked in stockinette stitch (knit all stitches). 

Now it is time to turn your attention to the finishing of your socks: the toe and beyond!

Knitting the Toe

The Leanna Lace Socks pattern is written for a rounded toe. In knitting terms, this means that you're going to decrease slowly at first, and then more quickly until you get to the tip of the toe, where you'll finish our sock. 

First, make sure you've knit the foot of your sock to the length listed in the pattern, or where you feel you’re ready to start to knit the toe. You should have finished after completing Row 4 or Row 8 of the Leanna Lace pattern.

To knit the toe, you will need:

  • US Size 1 ½ (2.5mm) needle(s), circular or DPNs, or size to get gauge
  • One skein of Dale Garn Alpakka Forte or Hakkespett yarn

(Note: for the purposes of this tutorial we used US Size 1 (2.25mm) Knitter’s Pride Zing Double Pointed Needles and Dale Garn Hakkespett yarn)

Now let’s knit the toe!

Step 1: Arrange your stitches such that you are knitting the instep stitches as one set and the sole stitches as another set. You may need to switch stitches around on the needle if you working in Magic Loop. Remember at the end of the heel, the beginning of the row started at the middle of the bottom of the foot. Now, your beginning of round will be at the start of your instep stitches.

Step 2: Knit 1 round even. On the next round, beginning with the instep stitches, K1, sl1-k1-psso, then knit across the instep stitches until the last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.  Repeat once for the sole stitches. You have now decreases 4 stitches, 2 on the top of the foot and two on the bottom.  Repeat Step 2 twice more (for a total of three times, 6 rows, 12 stitches decreased).

Step 3: Continue repeating your decrease round, bolded above, on every round until only 8-10 stitches remain.

Step 4: Cut yarn, leaving an 8” tail, and thread end through tapestry needle.  Use the tapestry need to run through the remaining live stitches, then pull taut to close the toe.

That’s it! You’re done knitting your sock.

Finishing Your Socks

Once you have finished the knitting you still have a bit of finishing work to do. Using the tapestry needle, weave in any ends that remain (specifically one at the toe and one at the cuff).

Now you should finish the sock by washing it and blocking it. In case you haven’t washed or blocked anything before, here are a few simple steps to follow:

Step 1: Fill a clean sink (or bucket, or basin) with lukewarm water. We like to add just a smidge of heat to the water to loosen any oils or dirt that might be lurking in a knit, but prefer not to go too much beyond lukewarm.  

Step 2: Add some of your favorite wool wash. We like to use either Eucalan or Allure, but there are many wool washes out there to choose from.  

Step 3: Gently add your socks to the water. We like to press the socks into the water softly and make sure they are entirely submerged. Don’t add too much agitation, just enough to get your socks good and wet. Let your sock soak for about 20 minutes in the water/wool wash solution.

Step 4: Check the label of your wool wash. Some suggest a cool water rinse to remove remaining wool wash; others such as Eucalan and Allure don’t require a rinse. No-rinse detergents can not only be time-savers, they also remove an extra opportunity to accidentally felt your socks during the rinsing process if you haven't used machine washable yarn.

Step 5: Remove your socks from the water and squeeze gently to remove excess water. The key here is being gentle; don’t wring or twist your socks. If you have a clean towel nearby, you can roll your socks into the towel and squeeze gently again to remove more excess water.

Step 6: Lay your socks out to dry. If you would like, you can purchase sock blockers and put your socks on the blockers to dry to give them a nice shape!

Additional Notes About Toes

As we mentioned earlier in this post, the toe as written in the Leanna Lace sock pattern is a rounded toe. Similar to the many varieties of heels, there are many other kinds of toes you can knit if you prefer something different. You can achieve different toes by varying the rate and frequency of your decreases; we’ve included a few examples below.

The Wedge Toe

For a rounded toe, you knit your decreases every other round at first, and then knit them every round to create a rounded shape. To knit a wedge toe, simply keep decreasing at the slower rate - every other round. This creates a toe that looks a little bit more like a pie wedge. In the case of many wedge toes, you don’t decrease down to quite as few stitches as in the Leanna Lace sock, and when you finish you don’t pull your working yarn through the remaining stitches to cinch it closed, but rather graft the top and bottom stitches together using Kitchener Stitch.

The Star Toe

The Star Toe is a mixture of elements from the round toe and from the wedge toe. In a star toe, you are decreasing at multiple points around the toe down to a very small number before you close the toe almost in a point. The decreases make a sort of a swirling pattern around the sock to the point, hence the star name. You can vary the frequency of decreases to create either a longer or shorter toe as you wish.

To check out these toes and more you can refer to this Knitty article by Kate Atherly or this Interweave post entitled “5 Ways to Work a Sock Toe.”

We'd love to see your sock projects on Instagram - be sure to share your photos with #knitterpride and #KPHOMsocks in your post!

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