I was tempted to enter Elinor's Sock contest but realized I don't follow sock patterns so how can I in good conscious write a pattern for someone else to follow? Yet, I will share my sock madness process because I love hand knit socks.
I only knit toe up socks, with magic loop, at the same time but on separate circs, most often with a fleegle heel.
See it makes it easier to try them on and see how they fit. Since I make them at the same time I don't suffer from second sock syndrome.
Right now I'm working on pair of socks with Knit Picks Felici.
It's a really soft springy yarn so I'm going to go with 2.00 mm needles because I shoot for a gauge around 9st/inch but I don't mind if it's 10sts/inch. If the yarn was a bit stiffer I'd go up a needle size or two. Since I plan to knit some very plain vanilla socks I'm going to use my Hiya Hiya needles. If I was going to do a pattern that needed lots of increases and decreases I'd use my fixed Knit Picks needles because they have long pointy tips.
Let's start with the toe. I start by casting on about 24 sts. I find this works for my foot. Less or more might work for you. If you have really pointy toes you might use less. So as I said I start by casting on 24 sts using my favorite toe up cast on, Judy's Magic Casts On, or look here for more Magic Cast on.
Knit one round even
[k2, right leaning inc, knit to the last 2 sts on the needle, left leaning inc, k2] x2 (On the first increase round I add an inc/dec marker so I can keep track of my rows)
I repeat the above rows until I get the number of stitches I need. Then end with knit one round even row.
See knifty inc/dec markers below: (inc/dec position on the left and knit even position on the right)
How do I know how many stitches I need? In general I know I need about 64-80sts using sock weight yarn depending on the gauge. So at about 60 sts I take a look at my gauge.
For this pair of Felici socks I'm getting 9st/inch. The ball of my foot is 9.5 inches. I like some negative ease in my socks so I strive between 15-20%. I say strive because I don't always get the perfect fit but I get a good enough fit. I figure the more socks I knit the better I will get at it. This particular pair of socks I'm trying to get a better fit so I'm going for 20% negative ease.
20% ease: sts/inch x ball of foot x .80 = number of stitches needed
15% ease: sts/inch x ball of foot x .85 = number of stitches needed
So for my foot I get 9 x 9.5 x .80 = 68.4 for 20% ease or 72.67 for 15% ease. Round the numbers up or down. If you don't want to crunch the numbers feel free to use this hand dandy spreadsheet here.
The pattern I have in mind, 3 by 1 seed stitch ribbing, is a multiple of 4 so it will work for both 68sts and for 72sts but I'm going down to 64sts because I don't think I need the extra 4 sts and this means I have the same number of stitches on both needles. If needed I can add some stitches later. I need to do that sometimes for my arch.
3 by 1 seed stitch ribbing pattern:
R1: knit 3, purl 1
R2: knit all
Repeat rows 1 and 2 to create pattern.
Note: I have a bit of an issue with balance so I like to frame the the pattern on top of the sock whenever possible. To make that work in this sock I knit or purl the last stitch in pattern on the sole so the pattern on the top of the sock is framed.
So far so good:
I'll knit until theses socks until they are both 3-4 inches long. Then take some more measurements. Stay tuned for further progress.