I think everybody has a preference of how they knit up socks. I knit my first sock in the early 1990's before there was internet and before knitting socks was a trend. I picked up a pattern at a LYS (so lucky there was one in!) and just started knitting. Yep. I did not do gauge. So the socks came out HUGE because it was DK weight yarn. Also the socks had about 50% cotton content so they were soaking wet whenever you wore them, they did not wick away water. I have them somewhere in my cedar chest and I do love them because they were my very first pair.
Now that I am a seasoned knitter, I have certain criteria for my sock knitting. I always knit on double pointed metal needles. I think I knit the fastest on these and I do not get ladders. I am guessing that I have been knitting for so long that I have perfected my tension. I have done magic loop and just did not care for it. I'm old fashioned???
I ALWAYS buy superwash wool with 25% nylon. My absolute favorite yarn is trekking. I machine wash all of my hand knit socks in cold water and sometimes I accidentally dry them in the dryer. Trekking can handle my mistakes. I avoid non commercial dyed yarn for socks because I do not hand wash and there's the chance they will felt (and they do when I dry them!).
I use 5 needles for knitting socks so that when I get to the heel flap I do not have to rearrange any stitches. I cast on 60 stitches for me or my daughter and I cast on 68 stitches for the guys. With sock yarn on size 2 needles. It never changes. I like to cast on multiples of 4 stitches so I can do a 2 x 2 ribbing. I love cuff down construction just because. This is the little pattern that I came up with for these pair of socks.
Cast on 68 sts. join. knit 2 x 2 ribbing for 2 inches.
Row 1-4: knit
Row 5 + 6: purl
Row 7-9: p2 k2 across
Row 10 + 11: purl
Repeat rows 1-11 until the leg measures around 8 1/2 inches. As you can see I am not at 8 1/2 inches yet!
Do you have a favorite sock pattern? dpns or magic loop? I 'd love to know!!