Toe-rrific Toe Construction

toe construction.jpg

Much like heels, (you can find the heel version of today’s post here) toes are a personal preference.  The type of toe you prefer will depend on the anatomy of your individual foot. The good news is that (most of the time) toes are easy to modify without having to do very much math or rework an entire pattern stitch.  They’re also fairly easy to re-engineer to accommodate toe up or cuff down construction.

My advice is always to try all the things (pertaining to knitting) so you can decide for yourself which toes fit you and which ones don’t and which toes you love to knit and which toes you hope you never have to knit again.  Ever.

Here is a summary of some of the most popular toe constructions, their advantages and disadvantages, and when you might use them.

WEDGE TOE

 Heliotrope is an example of a sock with a wedge toe

Heliotrope is an example of a sock with a wedge toe

Advantages:

  • Very common heel in hand knit socks

  • Easy to memorize construction

  • Easily adaptable for either toe up or cuff down construction

  • Toe stitches are grafted closed so there is no annoying seam to rub against the tips of your toes

  • The math for this toe is pretty easy if you’re substituting it for another toe in a pattern

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

Disadvantages:

  • The wedge shape doesn’t accommodate all toe shapes

  • Some knitters think the shape when off the foot is pointy and unattractive

  • Lines of decreases/increases on the sides of the toes can be uncomfortable for sensitive feet

  • Requires Kitchener stitch if you want a seamless toe

ROUNDED TOE

 Lerwick is an example of a sock with a rounded toe

Lerwick is an example of a sock with a rounded toe

Advantages

  • Tends to accommodate a wider variety of toe anatomies than the wedge toe

  • Easy to memorize construction

  • Easily adaptable for either toe up or cuff down construction

  • Toe stitches are grafted so there is no annoying seam to rub against the tip of your toes

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

  • The shape is similar to the toe on most commercially sold socks

Disadvantages

  • Consumes more yarn than a wedge toe

  • Requires Kitchener stitch if you want a seamless toe

  • The math is slightly more difficult than for the wedge toe

  • Lines of decreases/increases on the sides of the toes can be uncomfortable for sensitive feet

STAR TOE

 Ahlie is an example of a sock with a star toe

Ahlie is an example of a sock with a star toe

Advantages

  • Easily adaptable for both toe up and cuff down construction

  • Kitchener stitch is not required

  • Decreases are spread throughout the toe so there are no lines of decreases on the outer edges of the toes

  • It’s an attractive looking toe (especially with variegated yarn)

  • Does not result in left and right specific socks

Disadvantages

  • The small opening at the tip of the toe where the stitches are pulled closed may be uncomfortable for sensitive toes

  • Math is a bit more difficult depending on the stitch count used

ANATOMICAL TOE

Advantages

  • Results in socks that are left and right foot specific

  • Very comfortable for feet that have very long first toes

Disadvantages

  • Math is more difficult

  • Depending on your gait, you may wear out one sock before the other since they aren’t interchangeable

  • Kitchener stitch is required for a seamless toe

  • Decreases/increases creates a seam on the outer edge of the toe

There are other toe constructions out there, but these are the ones I come across most often when designing and tech editing sock patterns.  Do you you have a favourite type of toe construction?