After years of trial and error and several different toe-up patterns I finally figured out what works for me.
The best knitting fabric that my feet absolutely love begins with a US size 0/2mm, 40″ circular needle. I prefer sharp points and use Hiya Hiya, ChaioGoo or Addi Turbo Sock Rockets interchangeably. I’ve got a good supply of all three brands. The cables on the ChiaoGoo tend to be a bit stiffer than the others and I have to say the Hiya Hiya needles are my all time favorite. With fingering yarn I get 9 stitches and 12 rows per inch before blocking.
The finer the knitted fabric of your sock the more comfortable your socks will be. More stitches per inch makes a smoother fabric for socks that will wear better. And I don’t mean knitting tightly to get the firmer gauge. I mean a relaxed stitch with smaller needles to give a flexible knitted fabric that doesn’t feel rough on the bottom of your bare foot. After washing it will be closer to 8 stitches per inch and stretchy.
I use the Magic Loop toe-up cast on with a total of 24 stitches, 12 on each needle point. I usually work with 68 to 72 stitches for my socks, depending on the pattern. I have narrow feet and I wear a size 9 shoe. However my left foot is slightly different from my right foot especially my ankle joint which I broke in three places five years ago.
I like a K2, P2 or a K3, P2 rib for the leg of my socks. It allows for more ‘give’ around my repaired ankle which is now larger than the right ankle. After I finish all the toe increases and get back to the 68 or 72 stitches I usually work with, I begin with ribbing on the top of the sock and stick to stocking stitch for the sole of the sock. After making the gusset increases, heel cap and flap and I am back to the same number of stitches, I will continue the ribbing around the top of the sock and bind off in ribbing.
I found these socks that I had started, and forgotten, just like the pair in Trekking. This is Knit Picks Stroll in “Coffee Shop” colorway. It’s very soft and knits up very well. I’ve just begun the gusset increases for the denim blue socks and set them aside to work on this pair for a little while. Before long I will have two more pair of hand-knit socks to add to my sock drawer.