Have you chosen your yarn and needles yet? Have you tried them out to make sure that you're getting a suitable gauge with them? If you haven't, there's still plenty of time to get them and catch up. I'll be giving you two weeks before posting the next step to make sure that everyone who wants to knit along has plenty time.
My recommendations have all been for craft store yarns and needles because I think those will be easiest to find. If you have a yarn shop near you, by all means go and check out the gorgeous yarns they have to offer. If you want to shop online, I can't recommend Knitpicks enough. Their yarn is absolutely yummy and their prices and customer service are hard to beat.
If you're wondering if your knitting skills are up for this project, take a look at this post over at Wonkyworld about a quilter who chose Dear Jane as her first project and finished it in under a year. If you're determined and adventurous, anything is possible. (Remember my daughter's dress?)
Now let's get started!
The first thing you're going to do is figure out what size to make your socks. Stand on a piece of paper and trace closely around your foot. I'm using my smallest boy because I know how many stitches to cast on for me and Teenage Daughter and want to make sure that I'm really doing this from scratch, not memory. Mark where the front of your ankle is and draw a line across your "pattern." That's the point where you'll start turning your heel.
Keep your piece of paper in a safe place. You'll be needing it again before too long.
A note about my toe -- When I first started knitting socks, I tried all kind of cast ons and couldn't get any of them right. Out of desperation, I finally just cast on some stitches and joined them in the round. When I'm weaving in my ends, I sew up the little hole that's there. It's not a flawless toe, but it works for me. If you want to learn a respectable cast on instead of taking the easy way out like I do, here's a page that has links to provisional and figure eight cast ons.
If you're using my method, here you go --
Using your cast on method of choice, cast on eight stitches. (The instructions for the toe are the same whether you're using worsted weight or sock yarn.) Knit one row.
Now we're going to distribute the stitches onto three dpns and increase those eight stitches to sixteen by knitting into the front and back of each stitch. (If you haven't done that before, I've got a quick video over on youtube.)
Knit into the front and back (kfb) of the first two stitches (4 stitches on this needle). Using another dpn, knit into the front and back of the next four stitches (8 stitches on this needle). With another dpn, knit into the front and back of the last two stitches (4 stitches on this needle.)
Arrange your needles so that the one with the working yarn is in your right hand and the one with the cast on end of the yarn is in your left, making sure that the stitches aren't twisted around the needle. Using your empty dpn and the working yarn, knit the first stitch on the left hand needle to join the stitches into a circle.
Now you're knitting in the round. Each time you've knit the stitches from the left hand needle onto the empty dpn, rotate your work clockwise and knit the stitches from the next needle onto the one you just emptied. (At this point, you're not turning the work back and forth like you would with stockinette stitch, you're going around and around.)
Knit the stitches from all three needles. Now you're back at the beginning of the round. If it helps you keep track, you can place a stitch marker. I just remember that the beginning of the row is between the two short sections.
Knit the first two stitches, then knit into the front and back of the second stitch from the end, knit the last stitch. On needle #2 (the one with eight stitches), knit one, kfb, knit to the second stitch from the end and kfb, knit the last stitch. On needle #3, knit one, kfb, knit to the end of the needle.
Alternate plain and increase rounds, occasionally checking your toe against the outline of your foot. When you have enough stitches to cover the widest point of the foot, gently try the toe on your actual foot.
Now you've got a toe! Come back on October 17 and we'll work our way up the foot.
If you're knitting along, what yarn and needles are you using?