My socks are worked on one circular needle, always toe-up and always with short row no-wrap heels. The toes - I either do short row no wraps or Turkish Cast On and Make-One shaping. All the terms I use are referenced at the bottom.
I'd no idea how hard it would prove to be to write down what I knit so easily so if you find any mistakes, please tell me.
You need to read it in conjunction with the various references and explanations!!
Pattern Outline for Toe-Up Socks.
I use one 80cm circular needle and cast on 12 sts using the Turkish Cast On. After working 2 rounds straight I work two rounds increasing at each end of the needles (16sts on each needle)- Make One leaning to Right at beginning of row and Make one leaning to Left at end of row. Continue the increases on alternate rounds to 30 sts on each needle - or as required for your foot. I always increase after the first st at the beginning of the row and just before the last stitch at the end.
Start working in your pattern on the top of the foot and stocking stitch on the sole.
I start my heel shaping about 2 1/2" from the back of my heel (try it on). About 4 rows before I shape the heel I increase at each end of the needle on alternate rows on the sole side only to give me 4 extra stitches to work the heel. It makes the heel slightly deeper and for me gives a better fit.
The heels are worked flat in rows of stocking stitch back and forward on the sole stitches only, decreasing with short row shaping down to 12 "live" stitches. Then start the short row increases to incorporate all the stiches again. I have described my no-wrap short rows in great detail and with pictures here.
Continue working in rounds, decreasing those extra 4 stitches over the next 2 alternate rows on the sole side. And now you can start patterning all round the sock.
Work in pattern until the required length and then work a rib. My preferred rib is 2x2 and I use one size larger needle because I don't like it at all tight.
Cast off loosely. I use the lace cast off where you work 2 stitches in pattern, slip them back to the LH needle and knit them together in back.* Work next stitch in pattern, slip these 2 sts back and knit together. Continue from * to end.
As an alternative to the Turkish Cast On I use a Provisional Crochet Cast On and knit 4 rows stocking stitch before picking up the stitches on the chain.
And the method that was my favorite until a few weeks ago is to work the toe as a short row toe.
To do this you start with an Invisible Cast On or Provisional Crochet Cast On and cast on half the number of stitches you need for your sock. For me that is 60 stitches so I cast on 30. Start knitting the short row toe in exactly the same way as the heel and when you are ready to start knitting in the round you just pick up the stitches on the spare circular or waste yarn. I have described this in detail and with pictures here.
Description of Terms
Turkish Cast On
This is described beautifully by Fluffy Knitter here.
Invisible Cast On
I love Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' method and description for the invisible cast-on in"Simple Socks" p46 or you can follow these instructions
Provisional Crochet Cast On
I follow Lucy Neatby's instructions for this in "Cool Socks Warm Feet" p110 or instructions here with a video
Make Ones Leaning to Left or Right are described in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts "Simple Socks" book p 58
Make One Leaning to Left:
Lift bar (between last stitch worked and next stitch) with the right needle and place it on the left needle so that the RH edge of this loop is at the front of the LH needle and knit it through the back. This makes a twisted stitch and therefore no hole.
Make One Leaning to Right:
Lift bar (between last stitch worked and next stitch) onto the left needle so that the RH edge of this loop is at the back of the needle and knit into the front, making a twisted stitch and no hole.
Short Row No-Wrap
My short row no wraps are based on Montse Stanley's method for Mitred Corners in her Knitter's Handbook p103. And it is almost the same as "Knit Encroachment " and "Purl Encroachment " described here
This is what I do:
Short row decreases:
Slip first stitch, work to the stitch before the end or the stitch before the marker. Don't wrap, just turn. Place a marker on the RH needle. Slip first stitch, work to one stitch before the marker. Turn. Place marker on RH needle. Continue like this working one stitch less each time until there are 10 - 12 stitches between the markers and begin short row increases.
Short row increases:
*Slip the first stitch, work to stitch before the marker, slip this stitch to the RH needle, discard the marker and put the slipped stitch back to the LH needle and work it together with the head of the stitch below the next stitch (knit together through the back on knit rows and just purl together on purl rows). Turn. Repeat from * until all the markers have been discarded and continue knitting in the round.
I have described this in minute detail with lots of pictures here. And a complete sock is described here - you can leave the lace out completely or put a pattern of your own in if you don't want the lace.
For more help consult Lauri B's Toes and Heels page .