Socks are by far my favorite knitting project. (At my knitting club this past Monday evening, I took a knitted purse for show and tell, and one friend commented that in years of knitting together, she never remembered me knitting anything besides socks.) Socks are always an interesting project with new techniques and patterns to learn.
One problem that new sock knitters often encounter is that the socks will slouch down their ankles, and logic would suggest that tighter ankles would be the answer. Not so. Often, the very top row at the end of the ankle can be too tight, causing the sock to slide down your ankle as it works its way towards a more narrow spot. So the answer to slouchy socks is frequently not a tighter ankle but a more stretchy top row.
Socks can be knit either from the ankle towards the toe, or from the toe towards the ankle. So the tight row can be an issue of a tight cast on row (for an ankle-down pattern) or a tight bind-off (for toe-up).
Nowadays, I am knitting strictly toe-up socks, as it lets me see how much yarn is left to knit the ankle area and alleviates that panicky feeling that I’ll run out of yarn before the sock is finished. So for me, the last row of the sock is the one that is at the top of the ankle, and that’s the row that needs to be nice and stretchy to make the sock stay put. And with my latest pair, I found the world’s best sock bind-off, which is easy to learn and available as a YouTube video by none other than knitting goddess Cat Bordhi. Cat credits Jeny Staiman with inventing what she calls “Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off,” and I’ll be using it on every pair of socks from now on. It’s as easy as adding a yarn over and makes the bind-off row as stretchy as the rest of the ribbing. Enjoy!