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Casting On for a Toe-Up Sock

There are several ways to cast on for a sock that will begin at the toe and end at the cuff. Here is one that's so neat and tidy it's virtually invisible. This method appears in several publications and on various blogs and YouTube videos, and is usually referred to as Judy's Magic Cast On and is attributed to Judy Becker who presented it on Knitty.com in 2006. This cast on can be used for socks that will be worked on double-point needles, or on one long circular needle with the Magic Loop method, or on two circular needles. Here we're working with double-point needles. For illustration purposes we've used a variegated yarn; the blue strand is the tail and the pink strand is the working yarn.

Wrap the yarn around one needle as shown in Photo 1 and hold the tail yarn over your index finger and the working yarn over your thumb. The wrap forms the first stitch, and you need a tail long enough to form half the stitches -- approximately 1/2 inch per stitch, depending on yarn and needle size.

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Photo 1

Hold a second needle below the first, in front of the yarn (Photo 2).

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Photo 2

Wrap the tail yarn around the second needle, bringing the yarn under and then over the needle so that it finishes between the two needles (Photo 3). This action forms the first stitch on the lower needle.

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Photo 3

Now bring the working yarn up over the top of the upper needle from back to front, ending with the yarn between the two needles (Photo 4). This forms the second stitch on the upper needle.

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Photo 4

Again bring the tail yarn around the lower needle from bottom to top, ending with the yarn between the two needles (Photo 5). This forms the second stitch on the lower needle.

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Photo 5

Continue in this manner until you have half the required number of stitches on the upper needle and the other half on the lower needle (Photo 6). Our example shows 16 stitches. Sometimes it helps to repeat a little mantra as you go: "Top yarn round bottom needle, bottom yarn round top needle." -- or something like that.

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Photo 6

Flip the needles over and hold them in your left hand with the yarn ends to the right. Let the tail yarn (blue) dangle and bring the working yarn (pink) in front of it as shown in Photo 7.

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Photo 7

Use the working yarn to knit across the stitches that are now on the upper needle (Photo 8).

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Photo 8

Knit all the stitches on the upper needle. You now have a piece that looks like the one in Photo 9.

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Photo 9

Flip this piece over and insert the needle into the first stitch on the other needle, which is now on top (Photo 10).

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Photo 10

Knit all the stitches on the upper needle (Photo 11).

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Photo 11

You now have 16 stitches that are ready to be worked in the round according to your pattern instructions (Photo 12). If you're working on double-point needles, divide the stitches so you have four on each of four needles. Otherwise, carry on with your Magic Loop or two circular needle method. Try this method with the Diamond Swirl Socks featured in this issue.

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Photo 12