Like many other knitters who just so happen to knit socks, I suspect I'm a bit of a sock snob.
Most knitters ascend to sock snobbery when they catch the sock knitting bug. Why buy socks when you can make socks that will fit perfectly and last longer? It's an easy choice for most sock knitters.
But I was doomed from the start. My nickname growing up was "Socks." (Really.)
I loved all the different cute little socks. There was a different pair of socks for every occasion, every outfit.
And then in college for three whole years before becoming a sock knitter, I worked in a store that sold SmartWool socks. And you have to know the merchandise, so I bought a pair in just about every color. (For you non-sock knitters, they're pretty durable. I still have almost all of them, and they're still in great shape.)
With all these predispositions to sock snobbery, the minute I got the hang of sock knitting, I was a goner. Now I have no fewer than 18 pairs of handknit socks in my sock drawer, in every color of the rainbow.
For years after I started knitting socks, I made them or less as directed in the pattern. I managed to learn a few different methods of heel and toe shaping, but that was about it. Socks always went up to the normal mid-calf height, and that was that.
But that's not really my sock style. If I had to choose, it would be ankle socks almost every time.
Early on in my sock knitting adventures, I tried to knit ankle socks and failed miserably. No matter what I did, handknit ankle socks always slipped down into my shoes and drove me crazy.
I figured handknit ankles socks just couldn't be done.
I was wrong.
To make non-slippy-sloppy ankle socks, you simply need to make the cuffs just a little bit longer than you think you should have to. My cuffs usually end up somewhere between 2 and 2 1/2 inches from the top of where I turned the heel (using short rows).
Somewhere between ten and twelve rounds of K1, P1 ribbing on the cuff seems to be the magic number for me, but if you wanted more elasticity, you could work in K2, P2. I do like to have at least a few rounds of stockinette between the heel and the cuff, just because it gives that smoothness inside the shoe.
That's it. It's that simple.
You could use this technique for just about any sock pattern. Nine times out of ten, though, I'm using a super simple pattern, since socks are my #1 mindless knitting/movie theater knitting project.
Here's what I do, more or less:
Size 2 needles
The tubular bind off is about as fancy as I get with this pattern. I just like the way it looks, but you could use any stretchy bind off you like. I'm also quite fond of the ssk bind off.
If this pattern is way too basic for you, there are some great simple sock recipes out there. I cut my sock-knitting teeth on the Yarn Harlot's pattern in Knitting Rules. Other folks swear by Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock pattern, which I have vague memories of maybe using once upon a time.Either way, I don't think you can go wrong.