There are several rules I try to stick to when knitting socks, unless more than one colour yarn is involved, the primary being knit both at once. I began with 2 circular needles, but once I had the hang of them, I've been seduced to the dark side and now use the magic loop. (180cm 2.5mm lace Addis to be precise). I knit both at once as it really is a case of as they come off my needles they get popped onto someone's feet. My New Year's resolution is to learn to knit one pair inside the other War & Peace style. But I digress.
I thought as I had just taken pictures of my latest socks I would give you a tour of how it knitted them.
Here we are. I love the way the pattern in the yarn starts on one leg and continues on to the next and back. I didn't follow a pattern as such so. These are knitted toe up with a figure of eight cast on. I usually start with 24 stitches (12 a side), and then increase until I get to the top of the little toe. In this case about 26 sts a side. (2 sides, top & sole). Once there I knit straight for an inch or two until I get to the beginning of the gusset. (Usually where the highest point of the arch of my foot is).
A lot of people increase either side of the foot, but I find it more comfortable to wear if the increases are in the middle of the top side. So. Increase evenly (every other round) until I have added sufficient sts to fit snuggly up to the ankle bone (bit that sticks out). I then abandon the front and begin to knit the heel on the sole. With the wrap and turn method.
After the heel is knitted, I then turn it and start knitting the heel flap (I pop the extra sts I increased on the top on to spare needles, not as fiddley as it sounds and over quickly). As I knit back and forth I k2tog/p2tog as appropriate incorporating all the increased st until they have disappeared.
Once round the heel, as these were for me, I continued until mid shin and then used the same increase I used for the gusset to accommodate my calves (this time, every 6th row rather). Then continue straight until just before the knee and then swap to 1x1 rib. Remember to rib more than you feel necessary, as any extra folds over for security. And your sock is not likely to stay up.
I then cast off loosley and here we are. The yarn is Freyalyn's Volcano recipe, in BFL sock yarn. It really is my favourite at the moment.
I do knit top down socks (very useful to establish size in pairs of feet that are different lengths). Occasionally, I have been known to follow a pattern. But always, if I can, both at once, for all the reasons I've given, and also I feel the most important. They will both be the same length with matching tension (for good or bad).