I enjoy acquiring new skills and have tried many different cast on techniques in my quest to find one I love for socks. I think I may have found it. Check out the edge on this sock. Isn't it beautiful?
Best of all, it's super elastic. It's a two-row tubular cast on done in the round for a 1x1 rib. Here's the basic steps:
1. Cast on half the required number of stitches using waste yarn. The needle(s) used should be the same as those you plan to use for your sock cuff and the waste yarn should be the same weight as your sock yarn. In the sample pictured here, the sock required 72 stitches so I cast on 36 stitches onto my circular needle (I'm a magic loop sock knitter) using the backward loop cast on method.
2. Knit a few rounds using the waste yarn. In the sample pictured here, I knit one row straight, redistributed the stitches for knitting in the round and then knit several rounds with waste yarn. You don't need to knit as many rounds as I did -- only two are needed; I knit more rounds to create an easier-to-photograph sample. After completing 2+ rounds of knitting with the waste yarn, cut the yarn leaving a six inch tail.
3. Purl two rounds using your sock yarn. After completing the two rounds, look at your knitting. Notice that between each pair of purl stitches on your needles, you have a bump created with the sock yarn in the first purl row. You will also notice a bump between the last stitch on a needle and the first stitch on the next needle.
4. Create cuff edge. Purl the first stitch on your needle. Bring the working yarn to the back of your work. With your left hand needle, pick up the first sock yarn purl bump and knit it without twisting the stitch. If your needle tip picks up the purl bump in a top-down motion, you will knit into the back of the stitch; if your needle tip picks up the purl bump in a bottom-up motion, you will knit into the front of the stitch. Continue across all stitches, alternating between purling a stitch from the needle and knitting a purl bump. You have now doubled the number of stitches on your needles and established a 1x1 rib. If desired, you can shift your work one stitch to start each needle with a knit stitch.
5. Remove waste yarn. After completing several rows of 1x1 rib, you can remove the waste yarn. Using a spare needle and starting with the last stitch knit with waste yarn, pick out each waste yarn stitch around the cuff. In the sample pictured here, I knit several rows of twisted rib (k1tbl, p1) before picking out the last waste yarn row.